Updated: May 28, 2020
Cologne is the 4th most populous city of Germany and located on the left bank of River Rhine. It's located in North Rhine Westphalia state of Germany. The city has a significant historical importance since medieval times and was a Military Area command Headquarter during Second World War. The city was badly damaged due the bombing in the war and also took over by Americans in 1945.
The City of Cologne:
The city has lot to offer for historians, travellers, artists, fashion addicts, party lovers in short for EVERYONE. If you are planning a trip to Germany. It's a MUST visit city to be included in your travel plans. It's one of my favorite cities in Germany. I have been to Cologne more than thrice but believe me this city always comes up with new surprises.
How to reach Cologne:
I had visited Cologne for the first time in August 2017 during my Euro Trip for 32 Days. Since then I have visited this Cologne in different seasons and in almost every season it sparkles its never ending charm and you don't wanna miss this out during your Euro trip.
In August 2017 I was coming from Düsseldorf which is just 40 to 50 minutes away from Cologne. If you are staying in another city in the NRW State of Germany you can also visit Cologne for one day.
I would suggest you to take the Day ticket costing € 30.50 for one person and if you are in a group there is also an option of buying Day ticket for a group which highly decreases the cost per person.
Off course, there are other options as well like FlixBus or BlaBla Car (car sharing) but it’s a bit of hustle for me so I always prefer trains. If you are coming out of Germany I will recommend you to use Train Services such as SNCF, DB, SNCB and NS.
Cologne-Bonn Airport is another option for the International flyers and Domestic flyers from Europe to reach Cologne city and you can use Skyscanner to find cheap flights. You can also use Omio formerly Go Euro for Cheap bus, Train and plane tickets.
When you go out from the Central Station of Cologne, you can see the magnificent Cologne Dome right infront of you. The catholic dome is a tall building with twin towers and declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Dome has a free entrance and always crowded with tourists.
The Interior of the church is just amazing with beautiful painting on the walls. For the 360 degree view of the city and the Rhine River, the narrow stairs takes to the top of the Cathedral.
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Eau de Cologne:
Cologne is a city where the famous Cologne ‘Eau de Cologne’ was invented in 1709 by Johanna Maria de Farina. In the famous shopping street, there is also an original Cologne shop from where you can buy the famous ‘Eau de Cologne’.
You can also go for the perfume tour and it costs € 5 and best way to know about the making and testing of different fragrances and get some free samples as a Souvenir.
Cologne Fashion Street:
For the shoppers, the city has best shopping street with all the best and affordable brands.
You have lots of options to find the things according to your choice and price range. It also has a shopping mall for indoor shoppers.
The city has an amazing old town with colorful architecture and building and narrow streets with small cafés, Restaurants and bars. Angel’s Square is a must place to go in Cologne Neumarkt. This is a most happening place in the evening time and lots of street artists are performing their instrument and receiving appreciation from the audience.
The famous Hohenzollern Bridge- the most photogenic place of Cologne. The heavy bridge has train tracks and walking pedestrian and it's used by thousands of people daily for commutating from one part of city to other.
The iconic bridge is known for the locking the love by putting the lock with yours and your lover’s name.
There are countless locks on the bridge and it’s really hard to find an empty place on the main side. I would suggest to look the empty place on the other side if you want to lock your love forever.
I had crossed the river and went on the other side of the river. It has a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset with an amazing view of the river, bridge and Cathedral.
The calmness of the place made me indulge into my thoughts and took me to another world. It is a best place for meditation. After enjoying the amazing view, I went to Hyatt Hotel to enjoy their amazing coffee with their special lemon cake.
Cruise in River Rhine:
A must do activity in Cologne is a cruise trip in River Rhine. There are many cruising companies set on the bank of the Rhine river offering within city and cruise to surrounding areas and cities such as Dusseldorf.
I opted for city cruise with a guided tour. The Cruise costs me € 11 but if you are a student in Germany. It costs € 6. It was a cruise tour for an hour and covered all the famous spots of the city.
Your trip to Cologne is not completed without a Cruise in River Rhine and this activity must be included in your "Things to do in Cologne, Germany" list.
For me, It's a best way to roam around the city and also knowing about the history and importance from the recorded guided tape. I was sitting on the deck of the ship and enjoying the beautiful architecture of the city.
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For the chocolate lovers, you have an opportunity to experience the amazing Chocolate museum in Cologne.
The museum has exhibited the origin of chocolate beans and also presented the machines which are being used for the production of chocolates.
You can see the live preparation of chocolate. For me, the most amazing thing was chocolate fountain and the tasting of yummiest chocolates. The ticket of the museum is € 11.50. Don’t forget to buy your favorite chocolate from the Museum shop. There's also a café in the museum where we can enjoy your favorite hot chocolate drinks.
Walk on the bank of Rhine River:
It's highly recommended to walk on the bank of River Rhine in Cologne, Germany at night. On of Europe's largest river offers a lot of attraction at night and do spend some quality time at the bank of Rhine and explore the Cologne Nightlife.
Question Arises: Where to eat in Cologne
i) Hard Rock Café:
For the Hard Rock Café fans, Cologne is among of those German Cities who offers the Hard Rock Café experience for you. The typical Hard Rock Café with great ambiance and live music makes your dining experience incredible.
The Hard Rock Café is located in the City Center of Cologne and can be accessed easily and with ample space to sit and relax its one of the finest Hard Rock Café's I have visited in Europe. With 2 floors and all the walls are well decorated.
ii) 3H's Burger and Kitchen:
On the basis of my personal experiences, I would suggest a best burger place of Cologne called 3H’s. They have best combos of burgers and fillets and also open their restaurant in other cities as well.
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iii) Royal Punjab Restaurant:
Being a real Punjabi and Desi food lover, I would also recommend the Royal Punjab Restaurant. The restaurant has a best taste with the perfect fusion of spices and great ambiance with friendly staff. You have to try their Biryani and Butter chicken.
iv) Beirut Restaurant:
For the Arabian food lovers, the Beirut Restaurant is also a nice place to go. The restaurant is located in the heart of Cologne and always full with people. Sometimes you have to wait for your turn to get in into the restaurant but its also highly recommended to try this restaurant during your trip to Cologne, Germany.
You can also book the city tour on Hop On Hop Off bus and explore different parts of city with guided tour.
I would also recommend to visit Roman Germanic Museum. It contains a huge archaeological collection of Roman Glass and medieval jewellery. For the art lovers, I would highly suggest the Ludwig Museum. It exhibits the modern art collection.
I had explored the Christmas Market of Cologne. Cologne hosts 7 most beautiful Christmas Market and ranked 3rd in most famous Christmas Markets in Germany and 6th best in the World. In 2018, It started from Nov 26th until Dec 3rd and hosting millions of guests from all over Germany and world.
Cologne has also a best Light Festival every year in month of July. Every July, the Rhine is lightened up with the mind blowing firework and welcome the Kölners and people from other surrounding cities to enjoy the summer festivity.