10 tips for Cologne
Cologne, with its 1.1 million inhabitants, is the fourth largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich and the largest in North Rhine-Westphalia. As a cultural and economic metropolis, the city has international significance. Thanks to Cologne Cathedral and many other Romanesque churches and medieval buildings, but also due to various cultural events, the city has become a popular tourist destination.
If you visit the city in the near future, you should definitely take time for the following sights.
1st Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is considered Germany’s most visited tourist attraction and receives around 6 million tourists from all over the world every year. Guided tours of the cathedral are offered daily on various tourist portals. In this 60-minute tour you will learn everything you need to know about the history of Cologne Cathedral.
2nd Cologne Zoo
Cologne Zoo is located in the Riehl district in the north of the city. The zoo was opened in 1860 and is the third oldest zoo in Germany.
Almost 700 animal species from all continents and oceans live on an area of 20 hectares. Thanks to the constant further development and the species-appropriate keeping of all animal species, the Cologne Zoo can also be called a nature conservation centre. The heart of the Cologne Zoo is the 2000 square metre Southeast Asian tropical forest with free-flying birds, fruit bats, reptiles and a variety of tropical plants.
Other highlights include the zoo with the largest elephant park north of the Alps, the primeval forest house for apes and the newly opened hippodrome in 2010.
The zoo offers regular guided tours where you can learn more about the animals, their life in the zoo and in the wild.
The Cologne Zoo is open daily and offers a unique experience for the whole family.
3rd Hohenzollern bridge with love castles
Cologne also has a lot to offer for couples in love. A visit to the Hohenzollern Bridge is a must. Countless small padlocks in all possible colours adorn the entire railing. For years, couples in love have been attaching a small padlock to the railing of the bridge, bearing their names and dates, swearing eternal love and loyalty and throwing the key to the castle together into the Rhine.
This custom originates from Rome. Couples in love also put small locks on the Milvian Bridge and throw the key with the words “per sempre” together into the Tiber.
If you visit the cathedral city with your partner, do not forget to buy a small padlock before your trip.
4th Cologne cable car
Would you like to see Cologne from a bird’s eye view? This is no problem with Europe’s first suspension cable car over a river. Since 1957 it has been possible to cross the Rhine via one of the 44 gondolas high above the city. You will enjoy a unique view of the entire city.
Connected between the Rhine Park on the right side of the Rhine with the zoo on the left side of the Rhine, the cable car offers a good opportunity to combine the experience with a visit to the zoo.
The operators of the Cologne cable car offer night rides several times a year. Enjoy the sea of lights all over the city.
A wedding gondola has been in operation since 2008 and is used for civil weddings. Get married at a sunset far above the cathedral city, it can hardly get any more romantic.
5th Museum Ludwig
The Museum Ludwig is located in Cologne’s best location, directly next to the train station and Cologne Cathedral and was founded in 1976. It is considered one of the most important European museums of contemporary art.
The focus has been on modern art since the beginning of the 20th century. After Paris and Barcelona, the Museum Ludwig has the third largest Picasso collection.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and is definitely worth a visit for friends of modern art.
6th Chocolate Museum
You like chocolate and have always wondered how chocolate is made? Then you should definitely pay a visit to the Chocolate Museum in Cologne. The museum is located directly on the Rhine and is one of the ten most visited museums in Germany with over 650,000 visitors per year.
During a professional guided tour of the museum you will learn interesting facts about the cultivation of cocoa beans, the importance of roasting the beans and why conching chocolate is important. The highlight of the tour is the final tasting, during which you can taste some of the best fine chocolates in the world. A guided tour including tasting lasts about 90 minutes. You are guaranteed not to be satisfied with normal chocolate afterwards.
7. 4711 – Traditional house in the Glockengasse
4711, also known as Cologne Water, is one of the best known and oldest brands in the world. Originally, the Cologne water was not intended as perfume, but as an inner remedy. In 1792 the merchant Wilhelm Mülhens was given the recipe by a monk. The recipe has hardly changed since then. However, some EU regulations made slight modifications necessary. Main ingredients of the perfume are lemon, orange, neroli, petitgrain, lavender, bergamot and rosemary. Of course, the 4711 contains some more ingredients, but these are kept strictly confidential by the company. The perfume is said to have a relaxing, calming and anti-inflammatory effect.
Every Saturday, public guided tours of the Fragrance Museum are offered. Learn all about the traditional past of 4711.
In the Glockengasse you have the opportunity to participate in fragrance seminars. Under the guidance of experts you will compose your own Eau de Cologne and get to know the profession of a perfumer.
8th Cologne Triangle
The Cologne Triangle (LVR Tower for short) was completed in 2006. The tower, with a height of 103 meters, serves mainly as an office building, but has a 400 square meter viewing platform on the 29th floor. With a view over the entire city and Cologne Cathedral, the best holiday photos are guaranteed.
With optimal visibility, both Düsseldorf and the Siebengebirge can be seen on the horizon.
If you are hungry for this unique view, take time for a snack at Mongo’s restaurant on the ground floor of the tower. The restaurant offers a culinary journey throughout Asia and is known for its innovative cuisine.
9th Historical Town Hall
The town hall of Cologne consists of two parts: on the one hand the historical town hall and on the other hand the Spanish building directly opposite. Both buildings are centrally located in the old town, surrounded by the town hall square and the old market.
Both the Town Hall Tower and the Hansaal, the actual showpiece of the Town Hall, were severely destroyed in the Second World War. Only with great effort was it possible to reconstruct both the tower and the hall.
A special highlight of the town hall tower is the much praised glockenspiel. The bells ring four times a day in the town hall tower. The selection includes 24 pieces of music that change regularly. Melodies by Bläck Fööss, Jupp Schmitz or Jacques Offenbach are only a small selection.
The Town Hall can be visited by appointment at the Tourist Office.
After an eventful day, let your soul dangle in one of the numerous parks. Cologne is not only a trade fair and cultural city, but also offers numerous green areas for recreation.
In the heart of the cathedral city, the Volksgarten is considered the largest and oldest park in the cathedral city. The park is located in the south of Cologne near the Sachsenring near Eifelplatz.
In addition to numerous green areas, which invite you to relax and grill, the park with its 5.5 hectare large boat pond also offers a unique attraction for pedal boat lovers. The Hellers Beer Garden is located directly by the pond, where not only the ducks feel at home. In this atmosphere the Kölsch tastes twice as good.
Of course, the Volksgarten is not the only park in the city worth seeing. The Beethoven Park as a dog paradise, the Botanical Garden with its numerous exotic plants, but also the Rhine Park between the Deutzer Messer and the Mülheim harbour are worth a visit.
Of course, Cologne also offers many other sights. With this top ten list, you have a valuable “guide” at hand to explore the city’s most important sights in just a few days.