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Cologne Cathedral

Marvel at the Gothic architecture and the shrine of the three wise men at one of the largest churches in the world.

The Cologne Cathedral is the tallest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world. It was built between 1248 and 1880 in order to house the precious Shrine of the Three Holy Kings. The cathedral stands 516 feet (157 meters) tall and is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Admire the majestic spires before entering the cathedral. Once inside, walk down the main aisle and look up at one of the tallest Gothic vaults in the world. The stained-glass windows are particularly eye-catching; five of them were gifts from King Ludwig I of Bavaria. One of the windows is a 66-foot (20-meter) high modern interpretation added by the German artist Gerhard Richter in 2007.

Approach the impressive High Altar to see the sarcophagus the cathedral was built for. Decorated in gold and studded with jewels, the shrine is said to hold the crowned skulls of the Magi, otherwise known as the “three wise men,” and is the largest reliquary in the Western world.

The shrine is not the only treasure you’ll find in the Cologne Cathedral. The oldest surviving crucifix monument north of the Alps, the Gero-Kreuz, is located just by the sacristy. In the Sacrament Chapel is the Milan Madonna, an elegant wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus, dating back to the 13th century. Enter the Treasure Chamber to see a collection of precious artifacts, some dating as far back as the fourth century.

Climb the cathedral tower for views of the city from 328 feet (100 meters) high.

Some say the cathedral is an example of divine intervention, as it survived the bombings that razed the rest of central Cologne to the ground during World War II. Others attribute its survival to the fact that Allied bomber pilots used the cathedral as a point of orientation for navigating the area.

The main hall can be entered free of charge. There are small fees for entry to the Treasury Chamber and Cathedral Tower. The cathedral is located next to Cologne’s main train station. Take the U-Bahn to the station Dom/Hauptbahnhof. There is a pay parking facility nearby.


Guide to Exploring around Cologne Cathedral


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Best Lodging Options Near Cologne Cathedral

See all 881 Properties near Cologne Cathedral
Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln $92
Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln

Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln

Pipinstrasse 1, Cologne, NW
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Alter Markt, and City Hall. Great St. Martin Church and Cologne Cathedral are also within 15 minutes. Heumarkt U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Neumarkt U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

    Hilton Cologne $98
    Hilton Cologne

    Hilton Cologne

    Marzellenstr. 13-17, Cologne, NW
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Innenstadt, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hohe Strasse and Cologne Cathedral. Museum Ludwig and Musical Dome are also within 10 minutes. Cologne Central Station is only a 3-minute walk and Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

      CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom $72
      CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom

      CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom

      Alter Markt 55, Cologne, NW
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is steps from City Hall, Alter Markt, and Great St. Martin Church. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Cologne Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Heumarkt U-Bahn is only a 5-minute walk and Cologne Central Station is 5 minutes.

        Mauritius Hotel & Therme $86
        Mauritius Hotel & Therme

        Mauritius Hotel & Therme

        Mauritiuskirchplatz 3-11, Cologne, NW
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Innenstadt, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Cologne Kathe Kollwitz Museum, Cologne Cathedral, and Neumarkt. Haymarket and Alter Markt are also within 1 mi (2 km). Mauritiuskirche U-Bahn is only a 2-minute walk and Zuelpicher Platz U-Bahn is 5 minutes.

          Hyatt Regency Cologne $143
          Hyatt Regency Cologne

          Hyatt Regency Cologne

          Kennedy-Ufer 2a, Cologne, NW
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cologne Trade Fair Grounds and Musical Dome. LANXESS Arena and Hohenzollern Bridge are also within 15 minutes. Deutzer Freiheit U-Bahn is 8 minutes by foot and Deutz Koelnarena U-Bahn is 9 minutes.

            Dorint An der Messe Köln $102
            Dorint An der Messe Köln

            Dorint An der Messe Köln

            Deutz-Muelheimer-Str. 22 - 24, Cologne, NW
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of LANXESS Arena and Cologne Trade Fair Grounds. Claudius Therme and Musical Dome are also within 1 mi (2 km). Koelnmesse U-Bahn is only a 2-minute walk and Deutz Koelnarena U-Bahn is 6 minutes.

              a&o Köln Dom $38
              a&o Köln Dom

              a&o Köln Dom

              Komodienstr 19-21, Cologne, NW
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Innenstadt, this hostel is steps from Hohe Strasse and Cologne Cathedral. Museum Ludwig and Musical Dome are also within 10 minutes. Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn and Cologne Central Station are within a 5-minute walk.

                Hotel Königshof The Arthouse $54
                Hotel Königshof The Arthouse

                Hotel Königshof The Arthouse

                Richartzstr. 14-16, Cologne
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is steps from Galerie Der Spiegel and Cologne Cathedral. Museum Ludwig and Alter Markt are also within 10 minutes. Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 7 minutes by foot and Heumarkt U-Bahn is 10 minutes.