Situated on the Rhiver Rhine, Cologne is a city bursting with culture. It is a city that combines old with new due to it’s gothic churches sitting alongside modern architecture. Following my most recent trip, I have put together a list of my Top 6 things to do while visiting Cologne.
One of the top things to do in Cologne is the Chocolate Museum. It showcases 5,000 years of chocolate culture from around the world. The museum sits on the edge of the River Rhine and is a haven for chocolate lovers of all ages. I would advise to pre-book your tickets online before your visit because it saves queuing and a few euros off the admission fee.
Journeying round the museum, you will receive tokens of free Lindt chocolate. With the main highlight of the museum being the 10ft chocolate fountain. Where visitors receive a dipped wafer from the chocolate waterfall. To finish your visit off why not have a pit stop in the chocolate cafe. Where you can indulge in sweet treats while dining out on the river terrace. Before exiting the museum, you must visit the gift shop to stock up on your favourite chocolate treats from all across the world.
The cathedral is a must-see on a visit to Cologne. The gothic cathedral dominates the skyline and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. The cathedral itself has been an UNSECO world heritage site since 1996 and draws over 20,000 visitors a day.
Cologne cathedral is open all year round, but it’s worth checking the opening times depending on when you are planning to visit. As it has restricted opening hours on holy days. The entry to Cologne cathedral is free, however if you want to visit the treasury chamber or climb the tower there is an admission charge. I would recommend spend the admission fee of few euros to climb the 533 steps of the South Tower. It may leave you slightly out of breath, but it is worth it for the spectacular views from the top of Cologne.
Old Town – Cologne
Cologne’s old town has a distinctive charm. Due to the distinctive narrow alleyways and traditional old houses. Old Town is located directly on the River Rhine in Cologne. From strolling along the cobbled streets you will find many of Cologne’s top museums. Such as Museum Ludwig & Romano-Germanic Museum, which need to be added to your itinerary if you are a history lover.
Old Town in Cologne is home to many monuments including the “Cologne Elves” fountain, which is perfect for a photo opportunity or a cheeky Selfie! Old Town is brimming with restaurants, cafes and bars. Leaving plenty of choice to sample delights from all across the world. The ‘squares’ within Old Town are perfect for sitting alfresco, with a refreshment, to unwind on a summer evening.
Phantasialand is Germany’s best theme park that sits just outside the city of Cologne. This theme park is a family oriented, where the areas are named after countries e.g. Africa, China and Mexico. Even though it is a family oriented theme park, it still has several thrill attractions for adrenaline junkies. It is easy to reach the theme park from the centre of Cologne using public transport. Trains run frequently enough from Cologne station to Bruhl station.
Alternatively, you can take a tram from Cologne to Bruhl-mitte station, with both of these journey taking less than an hour. From both of these stations, you can catch a return shuttle bus direct to the theme park for a few euros. Finally, if you are planning on visiting I would book your tickets online in advance, as it is cheaper than purchasing on the day. Another great perk with your original ticket is that, if you are visiting in summer season you can return for another day for no extra cost (Terms & Conditions do apply).
The Botanical Gardens in Cologne is a must-see free attraction. Situated in the northern district of it covers an area of 11.5 hectares and is home to over 10,000 species of plants. Visitors are encourage to enjoy a leisurely stroll exploring the different areas of these gardens. Also, within the Botanical gardens is the Flora, a magnificent symmetrical event’s venue.
The Flora plays host to a range of events such as concerts and weddings. However, my favourite part of the Botanical Gardens was the cafe. The cafe has a raised sun terrace where you can sit and enjoy a magnificent view across the gardens. Not only that, the cafe serves organic and healthy produce that is served in a picnic hamper. Encouraging visitors to enjoy refreshments from different points within the gardens.
Rhine River Cruise
My final recommendation of things to do is to experience a river cruise along the River Rhine. The River Rhine runs for 766 miles and is one of the longest rivers within Europe. Booking a river cruise in Cologne is simple due to the many providers offering different types of cruises to suit everyone’s taste. Therefore, by simply going to one the booking offices along the promenade you can book onto a river cruise that meets your requirements. On my visit to Cologne, I chose an hour long river cruise on an open top boat. Where I experienced some fantastic views, while listing to the history of the city from the on-board guide. Overall, this excursion cost me less than 10 euros making it a cheap activity to see Cologne city in all of it’s glory.
These are my Top 6 things to do when visiting the beautiful city of Cologne and must be covered on your itinerary. I hope this has encouraged you to visit Cologne on your next city break. Do you want to know how to save money on a trip to Cologne? Why not check out my blog post on how I got a cheap city break.