Cologne

Travel Guide
Hohenzollern Bridge showing a bridge, a church or cathedral and a river or creek

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

URBAN LOFT Cologne
URBAN LOFT Cologne
4 out of 5
Eigelstein 41, Cologne, 50668
The price is $96 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this family-friendly hotel in Cologne. Enjoy free WiFi, a rooftop terrace, and breakfast. Our guests praise the clean rooms in our reviews. Popular attractions ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (147 reviews)
"The inviting lobby , every night we sat and had a drink before heading to the room it was very nice and comfortable atmosphere !"

Reviewed on May 1, 2022

URBAN LOFT Cologne
Steigenberger Hotel Köln
Steigenberger Hotel Köln
4.5 out of 5
Habsburgerring 9-13, Cologne, NW, 50674
The price is $108 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury hotel in Cologne. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and 24-hour room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (959 reviews)
"Good location. Well presented. Was whatI was expecting"

Reviewed on May 16, 2022

Steigenberger Hotel Köln
Maritim Hotel Köln
Maritim Hotel Köln
4 out of 5
Heumarkt 20, Cologne, NW, 50667
The price is $115 per night from Jun 5 to Jun 6
Stay at this 4-star spa hotel in Cologne. Enjoy free WiFi, 3 restaurants, and 2 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy rooms in our ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (970 reviews)
"This is the best hotel and staff in Germany. 7th visit and still great"

Reviewed on May 1, 2022

Maritim Hotel Köln
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.
Ferienwohnung Bankwitz
Ferienwohnung Bankwitz
2.5 out of 5
Dasselstraße 26, Cologne, 50674
The price is $52 per night from May 22 to May 23
Stay at this apartment in Cologne. Enjoy free WiFi, a TV, and a kitchen. Popular attractions Cologne Cathedral and Neumarkt are located nearby. Discover genuine ...
4/5 Very Good! (5 reviews)
"Very disappointing and dirty"

Reviewed on May 9, 2022

Ferienwohnung Bankwitz
Aparthotel Adagio Köln City
Aparthotel Adagio Köln City
Blaubach 3, Cologne, NW, 50676
The price is $88 per night from May 22 to May 23
Stay at this business-friendly aparthotel in Cologne. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the breakfast and the comfy rooms in ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (905 reviews)
Perfect Hotel With a Small Flaw
"Great hotel! Or should I say Aparthotel S its properly called. Upon arrival my family and I was shocked, in a good way! We couldn't believe that we've practically gotten an entire mini apartment for ourselves, kitchen and all. Considering the price, we didnt expect sk much but were happily overwhelmed. ..."

Reviewed on Jul 1, 2021

Aparthotel Adagio Köln City
JOYN Cologne - Serviced Apartments
JOYN Cologne - Serviced Apartments
2.5 out of 5
Venloer Straße 241-245, Cologne, 50823
The price is $204 per night from Jun 6 to Jun 7
Stay at this aparthotel in Cologne. Enjoy free WiFi, onsite parking, and laundry facilities. Popular attractions Cologne Cathedral and Neumarkt are located nearby. ...
JOYN Cologne - Serviced Apartments
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

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