Cologne, also named Köln in German, is a beautiful city located in the state North Rhine-Westphalia. The city is nice to visit in all seasons of the year. There is so many to see and do in Cologne, you can easily spend a few days in and around the city. In this article I’ll tell about 10 things to do when you’re making a city trip to Cologne.

1. Cologne Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is a Roman Catholic church and it’s probably the face of Cologne. Since 1996, the cathedral is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. It’s located in the middle of the city center and easy to reach from all places. The cathedral is beautiful both from the in- and outside. You can visit the interior each day, free of charge.

Cologne Cathedral, picture made from the Hohenzollern Bridge

2. Hohenzollern Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge is famous for the love locks, with which the bridge is decorated. It’s a beautiful sight and really nice to walk along the bridge, which crosses the Rhine river. It’s also the perfect spot for some photos, as well of the Cologne Cathedral (see the photo above).

3. Chocolate museum

The Chocolate Museum of Cologne is located in the Rheinau harbour and close to Old Town. The museum is easy to reach by foot from the city center. If you’d like to get to know more about chocolate, than this is the museum for you. During the tour, you’ll learn more about the history of chocolate, the countries which harvest cocao, the production of chocolate and much more. It’s a very interactive museum, so really fun both for children and adults.

Would you like to read more about the Chocolate Museum of Cologne? I’ve written an extensive article about it which you can find by clicking here.

In the Chocolate Museum

4. Cologne Old Town

Next to the city center of Cologne (Innenstadt), very close to the Chocolate Museum and located directly along the Rhine, you can find the Old Town of Cologne (Altstadt). The Old Town gives a really cosy and authentic atmosphere, as you walk through narrow alleys and come across traditional, old houses. In Old Town, you can find several boutique shops, pubs and restaurants. Furthermore, you come across historical churches, museums, monuments, fountains and historical remains.

5. Great St. Martin Church

In the middle of Old Town you can find the Great St. Martin Church. A magnificent church which has been partly damaged during World War II, but which has also been reconstructed after the war. You can visit the church almost each day of the week, except for Monday. The interior shows some imposing architecture.

Part of Old Town and the Great St. Martin Church

6. Cologne Zoo

If you have some more time in Cologne and you’d like to see more than just the city center, maybe the Cologne Zoo is something for you. Although the zoo is located outside the city center, from the Cologne Cathedral it’s only a 30-minute walk. Of course you can also take a taxi or bus, but it’s also not too far for walking.

The Cologne Zoo is one of the oldest zoos of Germany and absolutely a recommendation! It’s a really nice place to visit for a day trip, when you love animals and zoos. The zoo is open 365 days a year. More practical information can be found on the official website.

7. Boat trip on the Rhine

Another nice thing to do when in Cologne is to make a boat trip on the Rhine! It’s really lovely to see the city of Cologne from a different side. These scenic, sightseeing cruises are quite popular and there are several organisations which offer these tours.

Hohenzollern Bridge

8. Ludwig Museum

Also located in the city center, is the Ludwig Museum: a museum of modern art. Here you can find lots of works from Pablo Picasso, but also pop art works and Russian Avantgarde paintings. The museum is very impressive and absolutely worth a visit when you’re into modern art.

The Ludwig Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday (Monday closed) from 10:00AM to 6:00PM. More practical information can be found on the official website.

9. The Belgian quarter

The Belgian quarter, also named as Belgisches Viertel, is one of the trendiest districts of Cologne. It’s the place to be when you’d like to visit an art gallery, some boutiques or a nice café for coffee, but also in the evening you can have a great time. The Belgian quarter consists out of many cool bars, clubs and delicious restaurants.

Cologne Christmas markets

10. Cologne Christmas markets

Like said before, Cologne a perfect city to visit all year round. As well in Winter time it’s a beautiful destination, as there are Christmas markets at several squares in the city. The markets offer plenty of food-, drinks- and decoration stands what creates a really nice atmosphere. Some Christmas markets also offer nice activities, like ice-skating rinks or other winter games. Every year in November and December, you can feel the magic of Christmas throughout the entire city!

Are you planning a trip to Cologne during Winter time? You can take a look here for our extensive guide to the Christmas markets of Cologne.


What’s the first thing you’d like to do when travelling to Cologne? Let us know in the comment section below!

Author: Tamara

This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.

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