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CologneGermany

Discover the character of this liberal and hospitable city, now a hub for arts and culture in Germany’s Rhineland.

Cologne lies on the banks of the Rhine River and is Germany’s fourth largest city. Its long and fascinating history has given the city a distinctive charm; a towering cathedral, medieval marketplace and grand old buildings sit alongside modern office blocks. Cologne is a hot spot for tourism, as well as media and business. It is famous worldwide for the scent Eau de Cologne, first produced here in 1709. It’s also known as being one of the most liberal cities in Germany.

One of the most popular areas for visitors is the picturesque Old Town, which was almost completely reduced to rubble during World War II. Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany, but it has been painstakingly rebuilt. The historic center, including the Alter Markt (Old Market), has been restored to its pre-war heritage and the surviving old buildings, such as the famous Cologne Cathedral, carefully preserved. A more modern attraction, but still one of the oldest of its kind in Germany, is the Cologne Zoo.

Cologne today is known for being a major cultural center and is famous for its Winter Carnival, held in February. There’s also plenty of activity throughout the year thanks to the city’s vibrant arts scene, countless galleries and more than 30 museums. The Museum Schnütgen houses an extensive collection of medieval art in an 11th-century Romanesque church. Visit the Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art) and browse through thousands of design objects, from a Mies van der Rohe chair to a retro vacuum cleaner.

If you want to practice your German, Cologne is a great place to do so as the locals are known for their welcoming nature. English is also widely spoken here, especially by younger people, and tours and information in English are available for all of the city’s main attractions.

Getting around Cologne is easy with the efficient and affordable public transport network, which includes trams, buses and trains. There is an English language feature on ticket machines. Renting a bike is another great way to see this city; rentals are available from the northern side of the main train station.

Where to stay in Cologne

Rheinau Harbour

Innenstadt

Known for its stunning cathedral and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Innenstadt. Check out top attractions like Cologne Cathedral and LANXESS Arena, and jump on the metro at Heumarkt U-Bahn or Severinstrasse U-Bahn to see more of the city.

Innenstadt
Deutz showing a river or creek and a sunset

Deutz

4/5Very Good!(26 area reviews)

Museums, shopping, and river views highlight some notable features of Deutz. Make a stop by LANXESS Arena or Cologne Trade Fair Grounds while you're visiting, and jump aboard the metro at Deutz Koelnarena U-Bahn or Suevenstrasse U-Bahn to get around town.

Deutz
Kolumba-Diocesan Museum

Old Town

Known for its stunning cathedral, stunning river views, and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Old Town. Top attractions like Cologne Cathedral and Alter Markt are major draws. Catch the metro at Heumarkt U-Bahn or Neumarkt U-Bahn to see more of the city.

Old Town
Another bridge in the south of cologne.

Porz

3.5/5Good!(15 area reviews)

Porz is well-liked for its bars and golf courses. If you're hoping to get in some sightseeing, City Center Porz and Kleiner Kiesstrand are top spots, and you can jump on the metro at Porz (Rhein) Station or Porz Markt U-Bahn to get around.

Porz
Cologne Cathedral

Altstadt-Nord

4.5/5Wonderful!(378 area reviews)

Known for its stunning cathedral and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Altstadt-Nord. Check out top attractions like Cologne Cathedral and Museum Ludwig, and jump on the metro at Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn or Heumarkt U-Bahn to see more of the city.

Altstadt-Nord
Kalk, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Kalk

4/5Very Good!(5 area reviews)

Get to know Kalk and its many features like its bars and festivals. You might want to explore sights like Odysseum and Bergisches Land Nature Park, and you can jump on the metro at Autonbahn U-Bahn or Merheim U-Bahn to get around the city.

Kalk

Top Hotels in Cologne

Steigenberger Hotel Köln
Steigenberger Hotel Köln
4.5 out of 5
Habsburgerring 9-13, Cologne, NW
The price is $85 per night from Nov 7 to Nov 8

Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Neumarkt, Cologne Cathedral, and City Hall. Alter Markt and Chocolate Museum are also within ...

4.4/5Excellent! (963 reviews)

"I had a short stay in the hotel in August 2019 so when planning my extended 2020 trip to Koln I took advantage of a very good price for 14 nights. The staff, even at the moment, were all helpful and attentive. Around Rudolfplatz is a great area with Aachener Strasse a special treat with a wide selection ..."…"

Reviewed on Aug 21, 2020

Steigenberger Hotel Köln
Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln
Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln
5 out of 5
Pipinstrasse 1, Cologne, NW
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $113 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 2

Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Alter Markt, and City Hall. Romano-Germanic Museum and Great ...

4.2/5Excellent! (974 reviews)

"Nice, friendly staff, great location. Only slight issue was my room being really hot, despite setting the thermostat to the coolest setting..."…"

Reviewed on Jan 29, 2020

Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln
Hyatt Regency Cologne
Hyatt Regency Cologne
5 out of 5
Kennedy-Ufer 2a, Cologne, NW
The price is $170 per night from Oct 23 to Oct 24

Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cologne Triangle Panorama and Musical Dome. LANXESS Arena and Museum Ludwig are also within ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (976 reviews)

"Great view. Convenient location. Nice hotel and great breakfast buffet."…"

Reviewed on Jan 14, 2020

Hyatt Regency Cologne
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Cologne

Aparthotel Adagio Köln City
Aparthotel Adagio Köln City
Blaubach 3, Cologne, NW
The price is $85 per night from Nov 4 to Nov 5

Located in Innenstadt, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hohe Strasse and Neumarkt. Cologne Cathedral and Alter Markt are also within 15 minutes. ...

4.3/5Excellent! (884 reviews)

"The Adagio is a very good, basic level hotel. Great location, well equipped and clean."…"

Reviewed on Jul 25, 2020

Aparthotel Adagio Köln City
Gallery Loft Cologne
Gallery Loft Cologne
4 out of 5
Grüner Weg 2, Cologne, NW

This family-friendly Cologne apartment building is located in the entertainment district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Cologne Carnival Museum and Colonius. Cologne ...

3.1/5 (126 reviews)
Not shabby-chic, just shabby.

"Take a look at the photos I posted. This place has everything you need to experience halfway house comfort at a premium price: cheap plastic furniture, grime, and an institutionalized vibe. Heating worked, couldn’t turn it down or off. This place is perfect for pore health — a real sweat box. Lumpy ..."…"

Reviewed on Jan 22, 2019

Gallery Loft Cologne
Domapartment Cologne City Altstadt
Domapartment Cologne City Altstadt
3.5 out of 5
Marzellenstrasse 25, Cologne, NRW

Located in Innenstadt, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Hohe Strasse and Cologne Cathedral. Museum Ludwig and Musical Dome are also within ...

3.9/5Very Good! (240 reviews)

"The apartment is located in a great place. The apartment is also very large with a lot of room. Very good stay."…"

Reviewed on Aug 25, 2020

Domapartment Cologne City Altstadt
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Cologne

An extensive bus, subway and trolley network means that Cologne is easy to get around using public transit, with many of the city’s main sights – like the cathedral and museums – sitting near to stops or stations. Unusually for a German city, Cologne is not particularly bike-friendly, but the historic center of the city is fairly easy to explore on foot. Regional trains serve the surrounding area. Visit the Cologne Transport Authority website.Browse Cologne rental cars.

Best time to visit

Cologne has different things to offer visitors at different times of year. Winters can be chilly, but around the holiday season this just adds to the cozy atmosphere of the city’s Christmas markets, which are open from late November. Summers are warmer than anywhere else in Germany but can also be busy and expensive, while spring and fall offer a good compromise, with nice weather but smaller crowds.

Popular places to visit in Cologne

Cologne Cathedral
Image for Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

4.5/5(394 reviews)

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

LANXESS Arena
Image for LANXESS Arena

LANXESS Arena

4.5/5(26 reviews)

Catch an event at LANXESS Arena during your trip to Cologne. Amble around this culturally rich area's riverfront or experience its fascinating museums.

Cologne Zoo
Image for Cologne Zoo

Cologne Zoo

4.5/5(11 reviews)

This is one of the country’s oldest zoological gardens, and has the biggest collection of animals in Germany.

Chocolate Museum
Image for Chocolate Museum

Chocolate Museum

4.5/5(78 reviews)

Delve into the delectable history of chocolate and sample the confectionary as you find out about the different ways that it is produced around the world.

RheinEnergieStadion
Image for RheinEnergieStadion

RheinEnergieStadion

4/5(46 reviews)

Catch an event at RheinEnergieStadion during your trip to Cologne. Stroll along the riverfront in this culturally rich area, or check out its local chocolate shops.

Neumarkt
Image for Neumarkt

Neumarkt

4/5(37 reviews)

Find out about the history of Neumarkt, one of the top monuments in Cologne. Amble around this culturally rich area's riverfront or experience its fascinating museums.

Top things to do in Cologne

Rhine Panorama Cruise & Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass
Image for Rhine Panorama Cruise & Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass

Rhine Panorama Cruise & Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass

$28
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
KölnCard - City Pass
Image for KölnCard - City Pass

KölnCard - City Pass

$11
Per adult
76% of travellers recommend
Cologne & Limburg Full-Day Tour
Image for Cologne & Limburg Full-Day Tour

Cologne & Limburg Full-Day Tour

$264
Per adult
76% of travellers recommend
Cologne Dinner Cruise with All-You-Can-Eat Buffet & Drinks
Image for Cologne Dinner Cruise with All-You-Can-Eat Buffet & Drinks

Cologne Dinner Cruise with All-You-Can-Eat Buffet & Drinks

$81
Per adult
86% of travellers recommend
Hard Rock Cafe Cologne Dining with Priority Seating
Image for Hard Rock Cafe Cologne Dining with Priority Seating

Hard Rock Cafe Cologne Dining with Priority Seating

$25
Per adult
76% of travellers recommend
Superior Private Transfer from Cologne City to Dortmund City
Image for Superior Private Transfer from Cologne City to Dortmund City

Superior Private Transfer from Cologne City to Dortmund City

$62
Per adult

Reviews of Cologne

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
189
5 - Excellent 48.71134020618557%
4 - Good
166
4 - Good 42.78350515463917%
3 - Okay
27
3 - Okay 6.958762886597938%
2 - Disappointing
3
2 - Disappointing 0.7731958762886598%
1 - Terrible
3
1 - Terrible 0.7731958762886598%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 19, 2020

Easy to get around, small enough to do major attractions in 2 days tops.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Mar 14, 2020

Lots to do. Very salable.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 26, 2020

Amazing city with a special charm.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jan 23, 2020

A short walk along Eigelstein street to the Eigelstein-Torburg gate, once you pass under the railway line is a pleasant surprise. The architecture, atmosphere and civilised restaurant prices compared to central station or shopping mall direction.

3/5 - Okay

Tina

Jan 8, 2020

Didn’t like at all, not much to look.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 1, 2020

Wonderful city

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Cologne

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