Often thrown aside for the likes of Berlin or Munich, Cologne offers a unique city break experience. Here are our top five things to do in Cologne:
1. Drink the beer
The obvious first choice for any German city really. Cologne’s local brew is Kölsch, a light and refreshing number found at eateries and breweries across the city. The beer has to be made within 30 miles of Cologne to qualify as Kölsch and is traditionally served in a tall 20cl glass called a ‘Stange’. Keep an eye out for your server who will be quick to replace your empty glasses without question (stick your coaster on top of the glass if you’ve had enough – but we’re sure you’ve got room for just one more!).
2. Visit the cathedral
Kölner Dom is simply unmissable. And that is why it’s next up on our five reasons to visit Cologne. It’s dark, gothic silhouette almost overpowers the city skyline. It’s construction began in 1248, but after a long delay, it wasn’t actually completed until the late 19th century. It is the tallest twin-spired church in the world and has the largest facade. Be careful not to strain your neck as you stare up at it from the Domplatte plaza. Entry is free, but donations are recommended.
3. Ride a scooter
Cologne, like many European cities, has a network of scooters for use. But these aren’t just any old scooters. Download an app, scan the barcode on the scooter and an electric scooter is at your beck and call. Charges apply to unlock and per minute of use, but they’re entertainment in themselves, so worth every penny in our opinion. Zoom up and down the bank of the Rhein and take in the cathedral and many bridges from a different perspective. Although, remember to ride safely and only park them in permitted zones.
4. Take in the views
Fourth on the list of our five reasons to visit Cologne are the views. The KölnTriangle is a three-sided skyscraper which gives you panoramic views of the city. Perfect for taking a cheeky instagram shot of the Hohenzollerbrücke and the KölnerDom. Admission is only €3 per person, which is a bargain compared to many observation platforms around the world.
5. Immerse yourself in chocolate*
What trip to Cologne is complete without a visit to the Chocolate Museum. Three floors of chocolate history, with plenty of interactivity and free chocolate. You can even make your own bar (for a fee). Take a guided tour or just marvel at the functioning chocolate production line, which throws out the occasional sample for you to try. Learn about the rainforest (the source of the cocoa bean) in the museums very own tropical house. But no visit is complete without purchasing some of the brown stuff from the well stocked shop on the ground floor. (Just don’t eat it all at once!)
*Don’t literally immerse yourself in the on-site chocolate fountain. You’ll probably get thrown out.
Feeling inspired? Check out more European travel recommendations!