I have totally changed my about Cologne. When I first visited in 2007 I thought it was the most boring of German cities. There aren’t many tourist attractions and there are better places in Germany to go shopping so I wrote it off. I did go back though, either passing through to go elsewhere or as a quick getaway from Paris, and little by little it grew on me. Here are my top 5 tips to make a trip to Cologne worthwhile.
Have a Beer by the Rhine
For me, Cologne is all about chilling out and sitting in one of the beer gardens by the Rhine is a great place to do that. There are plenty to choose from and they are always packed with tourists and locals alike. Ständige Vertretung has one of the best locations and if you’re lucky you’ll get some free entertainment from one of the local buskers.
Get the Best View of Cologne
Looking back towards Cologne from the right bank (the Deutz area) you’ll get one of the best views of the city including that of the Dom which dominates the skyline.
If you cross the River Rhine on the Deutz Bridge you’ll get a close up view of Cologne’s pretty altstadt (old town).
Add a Lovelock to the Hohenzollern Bridge
On your way back from the right bank, cross over the Hohenzollern Bridge and check out the 1000s of lovelocks which have accumulated in recent years. I’m not a huge fan of the lovelocks on the Pont des Arts in Paris but they seem to fit Cologne for some reason. Add your own if you like.
Visit Cologne’s Festivals
Cologne’s annual Christmas market and Carnival festival are known around the world and are great events to visit in the city. There are smaller events too like the Cologne Lights show and Cologne Pride, both held in July.
There are plenty of opportunities to try German specialities in Cologne and the best place for that would be one of the pubs around Heumarkt or try Cafe Wahlen for traditional coffee and cake. There’s a great choice of international cuisine too including Cuban and Mexican or if you prefer more contemporary meals head to the area around Ehrenstraße. If the weather is not too good you could always take refuge in the chocolate museum.
Those are some of my favourite things to do in Cologne. What would you recommend?