The 2,000-year-old city of Cologne is home to unusual architecture and friendly faces. The Cologne Cathedral, in particular, is so beautifully grand and such a lovely sight when you first exit the train station and arrive in the centre. Make sure to visit it at night – the positioning of the Gothic building against the dark nights sky is spectacular and dominating.
Food and Drink to Be Enjoyed in Cologne
Much like in other German cities, you can expect to find traditional German food. However, if you want to try something a little different, there are various dishes you can try in Cologne. Himmel un Ääd (Heaven and Earth) is a dish made from apple and potatoes. It looks like mashed potatoes but is a lot sweeter due to the apples. This is usually served alongside blood sausage or red meat of some kind. Schnitzel is a traditional German dish made from flattened meat that is then fried in breadcrumbs. It’s something you must try when in Cologne! If you’re a fan of meat, you have to try the pork knuckle, served at most German restaurants. Usually, this comes with sauerkraut, potato salad and mustard…delicious!
Kölsch beer is a local speciality, with the brewery located in Cologne. You must try it when visiting the city, as the way in which it’s served is just as good as the beer itself…go and see for yourself!
Places to Stay in Cologne
There are a number of different places to stay when in Cologne. If you want to avoid budget accommodation, there are a number of reasonably priced hotels located all over the city, ranging from 2 to 5 stars. If cheap digs are more your thing, Station Hostel is a great place to lay your head down. It’s central, cheap and a great place to meet fellow travellers. It’s also a cheaper alternative as their big kitchen allows you to cook your own food, saving you from spending a fortune on eating out!
What’s on in the City of Cologne?
If you like to soak up the culture of a new city and enjoy catching a show, seeing live music or watching a play, Cologne is the place for you. The historic city is also a vibrant place full of fun events and lively goings-on.
• Christmas season in Cologne is truly magical. The twinkling of the fairy lights, big continental market, and festivities in the city, makes it a great place to visit during the holidays. The market usually begins at the beginning of November, up until Christmas Eve.
• Every year, the city is home to the Cologne Carnival. There are masks, parades, lots of colour and fun! Find out all you need to know about the carnival before you plan your trip to Cologne. And don’t forget to bring your smile!
• You will always find something going on in one of the many pubs and bars in the city of Cologne. There’s music on pretty much every night of the week, so make sure you check out what’s happening when you’re there.
Getting Around the City of Cologne
If you want an inexpensive way to explore the city, invest in a KölnCard. This card will allow you to top up and hop on and off trains, trams and buses to get around conveniently and quickly. You can obtain a card from tourist information and various shops in the city centre. You can even book on-line if you want to be prepared in advance.
Alternatively, Cologne is quite a big city, but not too big that you can’t walk around and enjoy the sights by foot. It’s great exercise too!
Cologne, the Cultural City
Much like most big European cities, Cologne is home to lots of museums and cultural buildings. The Old Town itself is very historical and a must see when you visit the city. If you want to catch an outstanding performance, head to the opera. In Cologne, the opera is renowned for being spectacular.
Churches, memorials and famous walls are also huge aspects of Cologne. There would need to be lots of historical and cultural aspects to a 2,000-year-old city!
Something a Little Different
With so much to see and do in Cologne, you can discover something new every single day. Some of the coolest places, which are a bit off the beaten track to tourists and travellers, are listed below:
• Papa Joe’s Jazz Bar is a nifty little hideaway that’s decorated with trumpets and saxophones, artistically hung from the ceiling. If you do choose to visit this fun jazz bar, made sure to look down when entering as the floor is made of glass!
• The River Rhine runs through the city and is great to walk along on a good day. You will spot lots of interesting buildings and boats.
• If you’ve had enough of walking, there’s a handy little ‘tour train’ that you can hop on and off to see the city. You can get on the train just next to the chocolate factory on the River Rhine, which is where it also ends.
• If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there are a number of lovely, spacious parks to be enjoyed. Some of the parks sit along the river Rhine while others can be found in and out of the city itself.
Make Cologne Your Next Destination
Cologne is certainly one of the more enjoyed German cities for tourists and travellers. The history contrasted with the modern architecture and events makes it an excellent place to visit no matter what your interests are.