Great Escapes

European Travel Blog

Top 10 things to do in Cologne

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Those embarking on a break to Germany’s fourth-largest city will encounter a medley of attractions to explore. Whether it’s masterful architecture, world-class shopping or culinary indulgence you’re looking for, there are countless things to do in Cologne to keep your city break brimming with adventure and discovery. From its Roman history to its modern day flamboyance, you can discover Cologne through our self-drive and Eurostar breaks.

Climb Cologne Cathedral

Cologne’s cathedral is arguably the city’s most iconic inhabitant. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is Germany’s largest cathedral, taking a remarkable 600 years to build. You can climb the famed twin spires (if your legs feel strong enough!) and admire wonderful views of the city from the top.

Image credit: afcone

Image credit: afcone

Relax in the city’s Botanical Gardens

Presenting an oasis of calm within a busy city, relaxing in the Flora and Botanical Garden is the best way to rest up during Cologne city breaks. The gardens cultivates up to 10,000 types of plants, including tropical rainforest species in its popular Main Greenhouse.

Image credit: Glasseyes view

Image credit: Glasseyes view

Stroll across Hohenzollern Bridge

Adorned with thousands of ‘love locks’ and spanning the width of the River Rhine, Hohenzollern Bridge presents the ideal vantage point for that perfect photo of Cologne’s impressive skyline.

Image credit: Ulrich Peters

Image credit: Ulrich Peters

Hit the shops along Schildergasse

Those hoping to achieve a dose of retail therapy during their trip will be pleased to know that shopping is among the most achievable Cologne attractions. From high-street powerhouses to quirky boutiques, your money will go further along bustling Schildergasse. If you’ve come on a self-drive holiday to Cologne, make sure there’s room in the boot for your shopping bags!

Image credit: R/DV/RS

Image credit: R/DV/RS

Sip on Kolsch beer in the Altstadt

Germany is famed for its unique and diverse array of beers, but many may be unfamiliar with Cologne’s famous brew. Kolsch is the city’s very own style of beer, served in its largest quantities in the bars and eateries set around the Altstadt.

Image credit: Daniel Farrell

Image credit: Daniel Farrell

Marvel at city views from the KolnTriangle

For the best possible view of the city and its skyline, ascending to the top of the KolnTriangle is one of the most rewarding things to do in Cologne. The rooftop viewing platform sits at a height of 100m, presenting unbeatable panoramas.

Image credit: Georgie Pauwels

Image credit: Georgie Pauwels

Explore the Ludwig Museum

Featuring eye-catching Pop Art and one of Europe’s largest Picasso collections, The Ludwig Museum is a must-see for any art lover looking to get a cultural fix during Cologne city breaks.

Image credit: Markus Goller

Image credit: Markus Goller

Check out the Christmas Market

Unfortunately on offer only to those who venture to Cologne in the winter – from 23rd November to 23rd December to be precise – Cologne’s expansive Christmas Market is among the finest in the world. The best site is set below the cathedral, featuring row upon row of Christmas stalls and festive entertainment. If you fancy festivities elsewhere in Europe, there are a range of fantastic Christmas Markets in the likes of Belgium and France.

Image credit: Andy Walker

Image credit: Andy Walker

Indulge at the Chocolate Museum

One for the chocoholics indeed, Cologne’s Chocolate Museum is essentially a pilgrimage site for those with a sweet tooth. Don’t hold back on the free samples or in the museum shop.

Image credit: Andy Walker

Image credit: Daniel Farrell

Take a boat trip along the Rhine

Floating along one of Europe’s most iconic rivers, whether on a classy cruise or a sightseeing tour, is one of the best ways to end a city break in Cologne. From the waters of the Rhine you can enjoy a unique perspective of the city.

Image credit: Rolf Heinrich, Koln

Image credit: Rolf Heinrich, Koln

For more information about short breaks from the UK to Cologne please visit our website, GreatEscapes.co.uk.

Please feel free to share your top Cologne tips with us by commenting below.

3 thoughts on “Top 10 things to do in Cologne

  1. Will be in Cologne next month for the Christmas market. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Pingback: Discover the history of Cologne | Great Escapes

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