Cologne is one of those cities that travellers often overlook. It’s not as famous as Paris or Barcelona, but it’s definitely worth a visit. There are plenty of things to do in Cologne, from visiting the iconic cathedral to exploring the city’s charming old town. So if you’re looking for a new European city to explore, be sure to add Cologne to your list!
1- Visit the Dom Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in Germany. Also known as the Dom, it is a Gothic cathedral that was built in the 12th century.
The Dom is located in the city of Cologne, on the banks of the Rhine river. It is one of the largest and tallest cathedrals in the world, with a height of 157 metres (515 feet).
The Dom is also home to some of the most important relics of Christianity, including the bones of the Three Kings. Every year, millions of people visit Cologne Cathedral to admire its beauty and history.
2- See history in the Romano-Germanic Museum
The Romano-Germanic Museum in Cologne is a must-see for history lovers. The museum is home to a large collection of Roman artifacts, many of which were discovered during excavations in the city.
Highlights include a life-size statue of the goddess Isis, a rare mosaic floor, and an impressive collection of coins and weapons. The museum also has a section devoted to Germanic culture, with exhibits on the Franks, the Saxons, and the Vikings.
Visitors can even see some of the original foundation stones of Cologne Cathedral. With so much to see, the Romano-Germanic Museum is a great way to learn about the rich history of this vibrant city.
3- Visit the Wallraf-Richartz Museum
The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is one of the leading art museums in Germany. The museum is located in the city of Cologne and houses a significant collection of works from the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
The museum’s collection includes paintings, sculptures, and other works of art from a range of European countries. In addition to its extensive permanent collection, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum also regularly hosts temporary exhibitions featuring works from a variety of different time periods and cultures.
The museum is a popular destination for both locals and tourists, and its central location makes it easy to reach by public transport. If you’re interested in seeing some of the finest works of art from Europe’s past, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum is well worth a visit.
4- Check out the Ludwig Museum
Ludwig Museum in Cologne is one of the best museums in Germany. The museum has a variety of exhibitions and displays on different topics such as classical art, modern art, and contemporary art.
The museum also has a library which is open to the public. The Ludwig Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. Admission to the museum is free for all visitors.
The museum is located in the city center of Cologne and is easily accessible by public transportation. The nearest train station is Cologne Central Station, which is about a 10-minute walk from the museum. There are also several bus lines that stop near the museum. The address of the Ludwig Museum is: Neumarkt 50667 Cologne, Germany.
5- Walk around Cologne’s Old Town/ Altermarkt
Altermarkt is the historic center of Cologne, and it has been beautifully preserved. The market square is dominated by the Gothic structure of St. Andrew’s Church, and the surrounding streets are lined with quaint shops and cafes.
Altermarkt is also home to the city’s iconic Rathaus, a magnificent building that dates back to the 14th century. Visitors can explore the Old Town at their own pace, and there is plenty to see and do.
Whether you’re admiring the architecture or sampling the local cuisine, Altermarkt is sure to enchant you with its old-world charm.
6- Visit the Groß St. Martin
Groß St. Martin is a Romanesque church located in Cologne, Germany. The church was built in the 11th century and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
Groß St. Martin is known for its two massive towers, which stand at an impressive height of over 100 meters. The church is also home to a number of unique artifacts, including a 12th-century bronze statue of St. Martin and a set of 17th-century tapestries.
Visitors can explore the church’s interior, climb to the top of one of the towers, or enjoy views of the city from the roof terrace. Groß St. Martin is a must-see for anyone visiting Cologne!
7- See art in Kolumba Museum
The Kolumba Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in art, architecture, or history. Located in the city of Cologne, Germany, the museum is situated on the site of a former church that was destroyed during World War II.
The museum was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Peter Zumthor and completed in 2007. The museum’s collection includes Christian art including paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts from the Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.
The museum’s architecture is also noteworthy, as it features a unique mix of old and new elements. The Kolumba Museum is an experience that should not be missed.
8- Check out House of Fragrances
The House of Fragrances 4711 in Cologne is one of the oldest perfume shops in the world. The shop first opened its doors in 1792, and it has been delighting customers with its unique scents ever since.
The shop’s signature scent, 4711, is a refreshing mix of lemon and rosemary that has remained popular for over 200 years. Today, the House of Fragrances 4711 is still a family-run business, and it continues to produce high-quality perfumes and colognes.
Whether you’re looking for a classic scent or something new and exciting, the House of Fragrances 4711 is sure to have something for you.
9- Visit St. Maria im Kapitol
St. Maria im Kapitol is a church located in Cologne, Germany. It is one of twelve Romanesque churches in the city, and was built between 1040 and 1080. The church is located on the site of a Roman temple, which was destroyed by the Franks in 711.
The current church was constructed under the direction of Archbishop Anno II, and has been restored several times since then. The exterior of the church is characterized by its two towers, which are connected by a bridge at the top.
The interior of the church is decorated with Romanesque frescoes and stone carvings. St. Maria im Kapitol is a popular tourist destination, and receives over 500,000 visitors each year.
10- Cologne Botanical Garden
The Cologne botanical garden is one of the oldest and most beautiful in Germany. It was founded in 1856 by the city’s mayor, Peter Joseph Lenné, and covers an area of 35 hectares.
The garden is home to over 10,000 different species of plants, as well as a variety of trees, shrubs and perennials. Visitors can also enjoy a number of sculptures and fountains, as well as a 3000 square meter greenhouse.
The garden is open all year round, and admission is free. There is also a cafe on site for visitors to relax in after a stroll around the gardens.
11- Drink Kolsh beer
When it comes to beer, there’s no place like Cologne. Located in the heart of Germany’s brewing country, Cologne is home to a wide variety of beer styles, each with its own distinct flavor and history. One of the most popular beers in Cologne is Kolsh.
Originating in the city’s *Altstadt* (old town), Kolsh is a light, crisp beer that gets its unique flavor from a lengthy fermentation process. Whether you’re enjoying a cold one at a *brauhaus* (brewery) or sipping on a glass at a local bar, Kolsh is the perfect way to quench your thirst and experience the best of what Cologne has to offer. Prost!
12- Cross the Hohenzollern Bridge for a view from the other side
The Hohenzollern Bridge is a bridge crossing the Rhine River in Cologne, Germany. It spans 740 metres and has two levels: a lower level for pedestrians and an upper level for railway lines.
The bridge was named after the House of Hohenzollern, the former ruling dynasty of Prussia and the German Empire. The original bridge was built between 1857 and 1862 and was destroyed in 1945 during World War II. The current bridge was rebuilt between 1953 and 1955.
The Hohenzollern Bridge is one of Cologne’s most famous landmarks and is often used as a symbol of the city. It is also a popular spot for tourists to take photos.
13- Visit the National Socialism Documentation Center
The National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne is one of the most important places to learn about the history of Nazi Germany.
The Documentation Center houses a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and photographs that tell the story of the Third Reich. Visitors can explore exhibits on topics such as Nazi propaganda, the persecution of minorities, and the deportation of Jews.
The Documentation Center also offers guided tours, educational programs, and events that help to bring this dark period of history to life. Whether you are a student, a historian, or simply someone who is interested in learning more about the past, the National Socialism Documentation Center is definitely worth a visit.
14- Walk Around the Belgian Quarter
The Belgian Quarter is one of the most vibrant and bustling areas of Cologne. It’s home to a mix of traditional German businesses and restaurants, as well as a Belgian beer hall and a number of small boutique shops.
The quarter gets its name from the fact that it was once home to a large number of Belgian immigrants. These days, the quarter is known for its lively nightlife and its cosmopolitan feel. It’s also a popular spot for students, as it’s located close to a number of universities.
Whether you’re looking for a good meal or a night out on the town, the Belgian Quarter is definitely worth checking out.
15- Walk along the Rhine at Rheinauhafen
Rheinauhafen is a harbor district in Cologne, Germany that has been redeveloped in recent years. The area was once a dockyard and has since been turned into a modern mixed-use development.
The district is home to office buildings, apartments, restaurants, and shops. There is also a public promenade along the riverfront. The Rheinauhafen District is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It is a great place to take a walk, go for a run, or just relax by the water.
In addition, the district offers stunning views of the city skyline. Whether you’re looking for a place to live, work, or play, the Rheinauhafen District is worth checking out.
The Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum in Cologne is dedicated to the history and production of chocolate. The museum was founded by Dr. Hans Imhoff, a former president of the German Chocolate Association, and it opened its doors to the public in 1993.
Visitors can explore the origins of chocolate, learn about traditional methods of production, and see modern chocolate-making equipment in action.
The museum also houses a cafe and a shop, where visitors can purchase delicious chocolate treats. Whether you’re a chocoholic or simply curious about this popular food, the Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum is definitely worth a visit.
17- Head to Chlodwigplatz
Cologne’s Chlodwigplatz is a local neighbourhood, popular with residents and visitors alike. The area is home to a number of local businesses, shops, restaurants and bars. On weekends, the neighborhood is lively with locals. Visitors to Cologne should make sure to stop by Chlodwigplatz to experience the local flavour of the city.
18- See the FC Koln Stadium
FC Köln is a professional football club based in Cologne, Germany. The club was founded in 1948 and currently competes in the Bundesliga, the top tier of German football.
The club’s home stadium is the RheinEnergieStadion, which has a capacity of approximately 50,000. The stadium was originally built for the 1974 World Cup and has undergone several renovations since then.
The most recent renovation was completed in 2020 and included the addition of a new LED lighting system and upgraded facilities for players and fans.
FC Köln is one of the most popular football clubs in Germany, and its home games are always well-attended. If you’re ever in Cologne, be sure to check out a game at the RheinEnergieStadion!
19- Go on a Boat Trip on the Rhine
There are boat trips available on the Rhine from Cologne, and they are absolutely gorgeous. The river is so wide and scenic, and there are quite a few quaint little parts of Cologne along the way.
3 companies provide panoramic tours of the city ( KölnDüsseldorfer, KölnTourist and Colonia). The best option is to reserve through the tourist board. You’ll pay a single price but you’re free to select the company of your choice.
Most visitors prefer to take the route south to the old fishing community of Rodenkirchen. The cruise lasts for an hour and takes you past the cathedral, the the old town and the Rheinauhaufen district.
20- Visit the St Gereon’s Basilica
St Gereon’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is one of the twelve Romanesque churches that were built in Cologne in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The basilica is named after Saint Gereon, a 3rd-century Roman soldier who was martyred for his Christian beliefs. The church houses the relics of Saint Gereon, as well as the remains of two other saints, Saint Severinus and Saint Pepin of Herstal.
The basilica is a magnificent example of Romanesque architecture, with its intricate exterior carvings and massive interior columns. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cologne, and is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
Where to stay in Cologne as a tourist
As a tourist in Cologne, you have a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. If you’re looking for a central location, the Belgian Quarter is a great choice. Located just north of the Rhine River, it’s within walking distance of many of the city’s main neighbourhoods, including the Altermarkt, Neumarkt and Rudolfplatz. If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, you can find plenty of hotels and hostels in the Belgian Quarter. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, there are also a number of good hotels in the area. No matter what your budget or preferences, you’re sure to find somewhere to stay in Cologne that suits your needs. If you prefer apartments to hotels and hostels, Airbnb is a good option for trips shorter than a month. If you’re staying in the city for a longer period, Homelike is a great option to find apartments for rent in Cologne.
So, whether you’re looking for a bit of culture, some retail therapy or just a good time with friends, Cologne has something to offer everyone. The city may be best known for its annual carnival celebrations, but there are plenty of other events and attractions worth checking out too. If you get the chance, make sure to pay Cologne a visit – it’s definitely worth it! If you have a few extra days, there are plenty of day trips from Cologne that you can easily do via train or car. We’ve also compiled a list of romantic things to do in Cologne as a couple.