Cologne is made famous by its stunning cathedral which dominates this German city, is the perfect city break. Full of culture, history, and most important of all: good beer. Having been to Cologne every year for the past 10 years, I feel like I’ve got to know the city. Here are my top recommendations for things to see and places to visit whilst spending 48 hours there.
1) Kölner Dom (The Cathedral)
No matter where you are in this wonderful city, you’ll most likely be able to see this monster. As impressive as it is outside, it’s just as if not more impressive on the inside. This roman catholic cathedral is home to the bones of the Three Kings. Whilst walking around making sure to take in the beautiful stained glass windows, and you won’t be disappointed. Once you’ve wandered around the inside, make sure to climb the 533 stone steps to take in the view from the top of the spire. Although not my personal favorite view of the city (You’ll see mine later on), it’s still spectacular.
2) Try the local beer (Kölsch)
Of course, no trip is complete without trying the local brew. Cologne is famous for its own beer called Kölsch and has a number of different breweries making it. Served in a special glass called a Stange and holds only 200ml so the beer is fresh throughout. Be careful though as you can get through a lot in a short space of time. Waiters often just bring you another and it’s rude to say no isn’t it. My favorite brand is ‘Fruh’ and you can enjoy their Kolsch in their wonderfully German beer cellar located just around the corner of the Kölner Dom.
(Other brands include, Gaffel, Sion, and Reissdorf.
3) Take a walk around the old town.
The old town is located just a street away from the magnificent river, Rhein. Filled with wonderful German architecture and bright colored buildings, you could easily spend a good few hours taking it all in. One of my favorite things to do here is to just wander around from bar to bar sampling the kölsch and enjoying the views of the river. It’s simply bliss.
4) Visit the Museum Ludwig.
Museum Ludwig is located near the Kolner Dom and is one of the most famous modern art galleries in Europe. Home to one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe, it also houses pieces from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Even for someone who isn’t interested in art (like me), it’s a great way to spend a few hours just wandering around, and of course, the coffee shop in the foyer is sublime. The white hot chocolate is to die for. You can get into this fantastic museum for €12.00. Check the website to see about their special exhibits.
5) Sample the delightful Lindt chocolate.
Cologne is home to the Lindt chocolate factory so no trip would be complete without at least visiting the shop there. I’ve been on the tour but wasn’t overly impressed with it. Too much history and not enough free samples for my liking. It too is home to a magnificent cafe where you can get a Lindt hot chocolate and a slice of hot chocolate fudge cake whilst taking in wonderful views of the river. Located on the Rhein itself the views from the cafe justify a visit by itself. You can also pick up some goodies from the shop which make excellent presents for your loved ones.
6) Take in the view from Köln Triangle.
I said before that the view from the top of the cathedral tower wasn’t the best view of the city. Simply cross the railway bridge (the one with all the love locks on) and you’ll arrive at the Köln Triangle and for just €2 you can take a trip to the top. You really won’t be disappointed here with 360-degree views of the city. Located on the glass panels are little etchings of what you can see infant of you. If you want to get that stunning photo of the cathedral, then this is the place for it.
7) Visit the Weinachtsmarkt.
I won’t go into too much detail as I’ve got a whole other post dedicated to the Christmas Markets of Cologne coming very soon. All I’m going to say is they are simply stunning. It will never fail to get you into the Christmas spirit. Home to gluhwein, fantastic food and arts and crafts galore you’ll never want to leave.
So if you’ve not heard of Cologne before, or never thought about going, I strongly recommend this 4th largest German city for a weekend break. If you can head over there at Christmas time, then do it. You won’t regret it.
Let me know in the comment below if you’ve ever been and what you love about the city. I’d love to know your thoughts.
Tschus and Keep on Travelling.
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