In this town in the West of Germany, more exactly in North Rhine-Westphalia, everything appears to be designed to impress the visitor. Its dimensions, first of all with over a million inhabitants, it’s the greatest city in the country and the fourth biggest in Germany. It’s also one of Germany’s oldest big cities: founded over 2000 years ago by the Romans, this town of Catholic heritage has an extraordinary historical heritage, and it has established itself as a major industrial, political and commercial center in the European level.
However, it’s had a tormented history: annexed by France in the start of the 19th century, then passed under the Prussian yoke, inhabited by the victors of the First World War and eventually razed to the ground almost entirely by Allied bombing during the Second World War, it had been able to rise from its ashes and experienced an economic renaissance which now allows it to display its status as a European metropolis and also to welcome many tourists that have come to enjoy the charms of the gorgeous Germanic lady.
Do you want to become a part of it and are wondering what to do in Cologne during your stay? Here is the response with our 7 must-sees to go to Cologne and enjoy your trip without losing a crumb!
1- Cologne Cathedral
It’s a mythical place, globally famous: the cathedral of Cologne is a Catholic church built in the 13th century; culminating at 157 meters, it watches over the city and houses many treasures such as the shrine of the Magi, a reliquary made by Nicolas de Verdun. This island is unquestionably the most visited point of interest in town, and it isn’t hard to understand why: it will amaze visitors with its mysterious charm and its own grandiose vaults, in addition to the serenity of the area.
When the trip is finished, take a stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town center and respect the medieval buildings, it is well worth a look for people who don’t know what to do in Cologne.
2- The Chocolate Museum
Credit: Chocolate Museum
Located in the center of the city, on the banks of the Rhine, this gorgeous museum traces the history of chocolate from the Aztecs to the present day. It’s undoubtedly the favourite spot for children, who, if they had to choose one, would like to go to this awesome palace of delicacy. Needless to say, it’s possible to taste first creations and the trip is filled with exciting activities: this museum is really a chocolate heaven, renowned across the world.
3- Cologne Zoo
Credit: Cologne Zoo
The Cologne Zoo was established in 1860 and became one of the city’s top attractions. It was destroyed during the Second World War but reopened two decades later, evidence of the people’ attachment to the 20-hectare area split into three different parts: an open park park, an aquarium and a vivarium. Go and see the wild animals, antelopes, elephants, reptiles: you may even have the ability to go to the aviary, to the delight of parrot lovers!
What to do in Cologne if you want to have fun without getting in mind? Phantasialand is a theme park located in Brühl, 10 kilometers from Cologne; it includes roller coasters, a lot of rides adapted to various audiences, in addition to a wide variety of places and accommodation options to extend your stay on site.
Special feature: this theme park has been opened in the 1960s at a former open-cast coal mine! It is among the most popular tourist attractions for people to Cologne.
5- The Colonius Tower
The Colonius Tower is a telecommunications tower finished in 1981 and today stands over 260 metres high!
A few years back, it had a cafeteria and a restaurant, and a stage from which to admire the town of Cologne, a privileged vantage point over the whole conurbation. Unfortunately, this view is inaccessible to the public now, since the tower is on the lookout for a lease holder. Having said that, it is still possible to enjoy the Colonius Tower from the outside: it remains one of Cologne’s top attractions.
6- The Belgian Quarter
Credit: Belgian Quarter
Partygoers still searching for what to do in Cologne will be seduced by the Belgisches Viertel, the Belgian quarter: this pupil quarter is very quiet during the day, but it is here you can enjoy a fried sausage and a fantastic beer while strolling through the crowded alleys throughout the weekend! The people come to enjoy themselves round the Brüsseler square, where street artists and young students searching for adventure mingle in a festive setting. And if you would like an first visit, try the brewery tour! Take a stroll through Cologne and find the must-see places in town. Every time you visit a brewery, you’ll also have the chance to taste the famed Kölsch.
You also need to know that the Belgian district comprises a valuable art from the urban jungle of Cologne: street art! Scattered all across the trendy areas of the city, the numerous works must be discovered during a bicycle ride where you will find out more about the history and techniques of street art.
So, exhausted from your journey? Located on the banks of the Rhine, this park of 40 hectares of green area is the lung of Cologne. Have a break on the lawns popular with the natives, enjoy an ice cream in the shade of a tree or see one of the numerous shows provided to the residents on the banks of this river.
Oh, and do not overlook the Claudius Thermal Baths: a resort complex twinned with a thermal center, ideal for a day’s comfort… or more, if you feel like it and do not know what to do in Cologne!