Cologne is a magnificent city situated on the majestic River Rhine in Western Germany, and it’s a fascinating place to visit at any time of year.
A city with a long and distinguished past (it dates back to Roman times), Cologne is still Germany’s fourth largest city and the Rhineland’s largest. It has plenty to offer every kind of tourist, whether you’re interested in sightseeing, want to immerse yourself in culture or just plan to sample some of the local dishes, washed down with a pint or two of beer.
Those arriving in the city as part of a cruise will find themselves moored on a one-mile stretch along the river embankment, somewhere between the central railway station and the chocolate factory.
High on the list of Cologne’s must-see attractions is the stunning, Gothic Cologne Cathedral. With its sky-scraping twin spires and impressive façade, it is well worth bringing your camera - guided tours are available, and you’ll get some great sweeping river views from inside.
Anyone interested in chocolate (and who isn’t?) will be fascinated by the city’s chocolate museum, Imhoff-Schokoladen Museum, while those with more highbrow tastes should head to the Museum Ludwig, with its collection of modern art - including Picasso - or the Romano-Germanic Museum, where you can browse a large collection of Roman artefacts.
As befits a city of this size, there are several other museums too, catering for more niche interests, including the German Sport and Olympic Museum and the Fragrance Museum. Most of the museums charge a reasonable admission fee, although the Cathedral is free to enter.
If you’re looking for other free things to do in the city, take a stroll along the Rhine Promenade or through the Rheinpark before crossing the Deutz Suspension Bridge, go window shopping on Schildergasse, the busiest shopping street in Europe, or visit the lovely Flora and Botanical Garden to admire the plants.
Hungry yet? Take some time out to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, cafes or bistros lining the city streets.
If your budget extends to fine dining, try Hanse Stube restaurant on Trankgasse, which offers the best in European fare, or go Japanese at Daitokai on Kattenbug, where the sushi is to die for. Cheaper food can be found at one of the many authentic German bars in the city, such as Lommerzheim on Siegesstrasse - expect large Germanic portions of meat and beer - or Max Stark on Unter Kahlenhausen, where you can fill your boots on Wiener Schnitzel until you have to loosen your belt.
And, of course, you can’t leave the city without sampling the local beers in one of the bars or even a brewery!
A very romantic city, Cologne is home to the Hohenzollern Bridge, which has been claimed as a lovers’ paradise by thousands of romantic souls who have attached their ‘love locks’ to the bridge’s railings.
If you’re lucky enough to be here with the love of your life, why not buy a padlock, write your initials on it and leave it locked to the bridge after throwing the keys in the river?
You’re certain to find plenty to do in Cologne - so much so that you’re bound to want to return.
View a selection of our best river cruises to Cologne - enquire online or give our award-winning team a call on 0800 810 8220.
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