The city of Cologne is more popular among tourists than ever before, but even as a resident of Cologne you may not have visited every beautiful corner of the city. We have put together for you the most popular sights that you should take with you when you visit Cologne.
Some Places to Know about Living in Cologne Germany
Tourists traveling to Cologne by train can hardly miss the city’s 157-meter-high landmark. And with every real Cologne resident, the heart beats a little faster when he sees the cathedral next to the main train station.
After all, the people of Cologne are proud of their cathedral, and rightly so: at 157 meters, it is the third largest church building in the world and is considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The foundation stone was laid in 1248, but it wasn’t finished until 1880, over 600 years later. The Gothic church survived the Second World War despite the bombing and has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1996.
Visitors can climb the south tower of Cologne Cathedral – attention, 533 steps have to be overcome! – and visit the cathedral treasury. In the old vaulted cellar, among other things, a valuable church treasure with St. Peter’s relics is at home.
Hours of Operation: November to April, 6am to 7.30pm; May to October 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sundays and public holidays 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Cologne’s old town at the foot of Cologne Cathedral has something to offer for every taste: a high density of Kölsch breweries, medieval streets and the historic Cologne City Hall.
Nearby is the fragrance museum in the Farina House, which is inextricably linked to the famous “Eau de Cologne” perfume. The Italian perfumer Johann Maria Farina created the fragrance, which reminded him of oranges, lemons, grapefruit and bergamot, cedar, the flowers and herbs of his homeland. The reopened “Dufthaus 4711” awaits in Glockengasse, with a fountain from which the finest cologne gushes.
On the edge of the old town, directly on the Rhine, there is also one of the most beautiful churches in Cologne: The Great Saint Martin Church, which was built in the Middle Ages and with its large crossing tower characterizes the Cologne city panorama.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Directions: Obenmarspforten 21, 50667 Cologne
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Rheinauhafen and crane houses
The Rheinauhafen begins a few hundred meters further south of the old town. The special thing about it is the mixture of old buildings like the port authority and new architectural highlights like the huge crane houses right on the river. Gradually, the former port facility was converted into a modern city district with apartments, offices, restaurants and culture.
In addition, the perfect combination of museums can be found here: the Sports and Olympic Museum shows exhibits from 3000 years of sports history, and the Chocolate Museum is in the neighborhood. During their tour, visitors follow the path of cocoa from the plantation to the chocolate factory. The three-meter-high chocolate fountain may whet the appetite for more – apart from the tiny Lindt tablet that every visitor receives with their admission ticket, snacking is unfortunately not included in the regular museum visit.
Sports and Olympic Museum
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday and on public holidays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Directions: Im Zollhafen 1, 50678 Cologne
Museum opening times: daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Mondays from January to March and in November.
Directions: Am Schokoladenmuseum 1A, 50678 Cologne
KVB stop: bus line 133, chocolate museum stop
Museums in Cologne
The two most renowned museums in the city are not far from the cathedral: the Roman-Germanic Museum (currently closed for renovation) shows archaeological finds from the time of the ancient Romans. The most important exhibits include the Dyonisos mosaic from the dining room of a Roman villa and the tomb of the veteran Lucius Poblicius.Due to a general renovation, it is currently closed. The most important finds will be on display in the Belgisches Haus (Cäcilienstraße 46) from spring 2019.
The Ludwig City Museum, on the other hand, collects art from the 20th century and the present. The museum is named after Peter and Irene Ludwig – with a generous donation of 350 works of modern art in 1976, the collector couple laid the foundation stone for the house’s collection, which is recognized worldwide today. In addition to the permanent collection, the Museum Ludwig always shows new temporary exhibitions with established modern artists.
The Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum am Neumarkt is a classic ethnographic museum that uses modern means to present different cultures. What separates us, what connects us? One of the most impressive exhibits in the house can already be seen in the foyer: an eight-meter-high rice granary from Indonesia, which was built without a single nail.
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday / public holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
KVB stop : Hauptbahnhof / Dom
Directions: Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Cologne
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday / public holidays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
KVB stop: Neumarkt
Directions: Cäcilienstraße 29-33, 50667 Cologne
Deutz Rhine Boulevard
The Cologne native contemptuously calls the right bank of the Rhine “Schäl sick” (“wrong side”). It has a particularly impressive advantage for visitors: the unobstructed view of Cologne’s old town including the cathedral and the Rhine promenade.
The Rhine Boulevard runs between the Hohenzollern Bridge and the Deutzer Bridge. The outside staircase was opened in July 2015 and is a popular place for a picnic and after-work party with Cologne residents. And if you are already on the right bank of the Rhine, you can visit one of the nice cafes here. We have put together 10 favorite places on the Schälsick.
KVB stop: Deutzer Freiheit
Directions: Ottoplatz 1, 50678 Cologne
Love locks are supposed to hold the love of hundreds of thousands of couples from all over the world. And the statics also hold, as has now been established. The Hohenzollern Bridge can carry the burden of love messages. The colorful castles have been a real magnet for tourists – whether in love or not – for some time.
The more than 150,000 padlocks have earned the railway bridge the nickname “love lock bridge” among tourists. And it weighs heavily: According to Deutsche Bahn, the total weight of the locks is now more than 40 tons.
KVB stop: Dom / Hauptbahnhof and then walk across the bridge.
The Belgian Quarter in Cologne is particularly popular with a young audience. The destinations are not only the many bars and cafes , but also the many small fashion boutiques in which unique pieces by designers are sold.
When the weather is nice – especially in spring and summer – many people gather around Brusselser Platz. KStA employee Julia Floss presents her favorite places in the Belgian Quarter .
KVB stop: Friesenplatz / Rudolfplatz
In the north of Cologne the Cologne Zoo, the third oldest zoo in Germany, is worth seeing. 10,000 animals of 500 species live here on an area of 20 hectares. The highlights of the zoo are the 20,000 square meter elephant park, in which the Asian elephants live and where they keep having cute offspring.
Opposite the Cologne Zoo is the Cologne Sculpture Park , which is exciting for those interested in culture when the weather is nice.
Opening times: November to February 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., March to October 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
KVB stop: Zoo / Flora
Directions: Riehler Straße 173, 50735 Cologne
Flora and Botanical Garden
Nature fans will get their money’s worth in the Botanical Garden in the Flora in the Riehl district. The oldest green space in Cologne has a total of 11.5 hectares that has retained much of the charm of the 19th century.
Angled gardens, romantic ponds with sculptures and rose gardens as well as show greenhouses with over 5000 exotic plant species from the tropics, deserts and subtropics await the visitor. At the moment only the subtropical house can be visited as the other show houses are under renovation. Behind the houses there are numerous sunny park benches with a view of old trees, the avenue of palm trees and the small waterfall.
Opening times: Garden: all year round, daily from 8 a.m. until dusk (in summer up to 9 p.m. at the latest); Greenhouses: daily from October to March from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from April to September daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (currently only subtropical house) – Admission is free
KVB stop: Zoo / Flora
Directions: Botanical Garden, Alter Stammheimer Weg, 50735 Cologne
Cologne Triangle Panorama
The parade panorama platform par excellence: From the Cologne Triangle you can look in all directions over the city to the Drachenfels in the Siebengebirge. The public visitor platform on the roof of the 100 meter high Cologne Triangle offers a nice change of perspective. An elevator takes tourists to the 29th floor in seconds. Height: 103 meters.
Opening times : October 1st to April 30th, Monday to Friday 12pm to 8pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10am to 8pm. May 1 to September 30, Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., weekends and public holidays 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closed during storms and thunderstorms.
Admission : Adults and young people 3 euros, children up to 12 years free.
Cologne-Triangle, Ottoplatz 1, 50679 Cologne