COLOGNE

Germany

Cologne (German: Köln, Ripuarian: Kölle) is situated on the river Rhein in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the fourth largest city in Germany with around one million residents. It is one of the nation's media, tourism and business hotspots, and is considered one of the most liberal cities in Germany.

Info Cologne

introduction

Cologne (German: Köln, Ripuarian: Kölle) is situated on the river Rhein in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the fourth largest city in Germany with around one million residents. It is one of the nation's media, tourism and business hotspots, and is considered one of the most liberal cities in Germany.

Cologne has a rich history reaching as far back as the times of the ancient Roman Empire, when it was founded and remained a constantly inhabited important regional centre since then. Compared to other German and European cities, the ancient and medieval Cologne was relatively large, covering most of the modern-day city centre, and therefore a wealth of architectural heritage can be found across the city ranging from pre-Christian times to strikingly modern buildings, with a high concentration of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, culminating with the magnificent Cathedral (Dom).

Cologne is, however, not only a tourist destination, but on an equal note a major economic centre, a globally important trade fair location, a culture and media hotspot and a major transportation hub. This equal mix of roles and functions is permeable throughout the city and provides it with a constant inflow of various visitors, as well as a very diverse population mix. This all culminates during the traditional Karneval, and makes Cologne one of the most-visited destinations in Germany.

info
POPULATION :• City 1,046,680
• Metro 3,573,500
FOUNDED :  38 BC
TIME ZONE : CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
LANGUAGE : German
RELIGION :
AREA : 405.15 km2 (156.43 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES : 50°56′11″N 6°57′10″E
SEX RATIO : Male: 49.1%
 Female: 50.9%
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 221
POSTAL CODE :  50441–51149
DIALING CODE : +49 221
WEBSITE : www.stadt-koeln.de

Tourism

Cologne had 4.31 million overnight stays booked and 2.38 million arrivals in 2008. The city also has the most pubs per capita in Germany. The city has 70 clubs, "countless" bars, restaurants, and pubs.


Museums and Galleries

Cologne has one of the world's best collections of museums and galleries for a city of its size. As well as world class museums of art and archaeology, Cologne boasts two museums of ecclesiastical art, both housed in architecturally stunning buildings. There is also an ethnographic museum, a chocolate museum, the German Sport Museum and an abundance of Roman remains.

One can purchase a MuseumsCard from one of the municipal museums (such as the first five listed below). The single card cost €15, the family card, which costs €28, entitles 2 adults and 2 children (under 18) free admission to each of the municipal museums during two consecutive opening days. On its first day of validity, it can also be used as a ticket on all buses and trams on the cologne transportation system VRS.


shopping

The main shopping street of Cologne is the Schildergasse, extending from theNeumarkt. Both the Schildergasse and Neumarkt, as well as pedestrianized side streets extending from them (in particular the Hohe Strasse leading towards the Dom), feature numerous department stores, boutiques and other high-profile (and, often, high-price) retail establishments.


Tourist office

KölnTourismusUnter Fettenhennen 19 (directly opposite the front entrance of the cathedral, take the U-Bahn to "Dom/Hbf"),  +49 221 2213-0400.M-F 09:00-22:00, Sa-Su 10:00-18:00. The Cologne Tourist Office offers a wealth of information for the traveller who wishes to fill their itinerary with activities around the city. Ask about guide books that are available, most of which provide information for free.

History

Roman Cologne

The first urban settlement on the grounds of modern-day Cologne was Oppidum Ubiorum, founded in 38 BC by the Ubii, a Cisrhenian Germanic tribe. In 50 AD, the Romans founded Colonia on the Rhine and the city became the provincial capital of Germania Inferior in 85 AD.The city was named "Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium" in 50 AD. Considerable Roman remains can be found in present-day Cologne, especially near the wharf area, where a notable discovery of a 1900-year-old Roman boat was made in late 2007. From 260 to 271 Cologne was the capital of the Gallic Empire under Postumus, Marius, and Victorinus. In 310 under Constantine a bridge was built over the Rhine at Cologne. Roman imperial governors resided in the city and it became one of the most important trade and production centres in the Roman Empire north of the Alps.

Maternus, who was elected as bishop in 313, was the first known bishop of Cologne. The city was the capital of a Roman province until occupied by the Ripuarian Franks in 462. Parts of the original Roman sewers are preserved underneath the city, with the new sewerage system having opened in 1890.


Middle Ages

Early medieval Cologne was part of Austrasia within the Frankish Empire. Cologne had been the seat of a bishop since the Roman period; under Charlemagne, in 795, bishop Hildebold was promoted to archbishop. In 843 Cologne became a city within the Treaty of Verdun-created East Francia.

In 953, the archbishops of Cologne first gained noteworthy secular power, when bishop Bruno was appointed as duke by his brother Otto I, King of Germany. In order to weaken the secular nobility, who threatened his power, Otto endowed Bruno and his successors on the bishop's see with the prerogatives of secular princes, thus establishing the Electorate of Cologne, formed by the temporal possessions of the archbishopric and included in the end a strip of territory along the left Bank of the Rhine east of Jülich, as well as the Duchy of Westphalia on the other side of the Rhine, beyond Berg and Mark. By the end of the 12th century, the Archbishop of Cologne was one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Emperor. Besides being prince elector, he was Arch-chancellor of Italy as well, technically from 1238 and permanently from 1263 until 1803.

Following the Battle of Worringen in 1288, Cologne gained its independence from the archbishops and became a Free City. Archbishop Sigfried II von Westerburgwas forced into exile in Bonn. The archbishop nevertheless preserved the right of capital punishment. Thus the municipal council (though in strict political opposition towards the archbishop) depended upon him in all matters concerning criminal justice. This included torture, which sentence was only allowed to be handed down by the episcopal judge, the so-called "Greve". This legal situation lasted until the French conquest of Cologne.

Besides its economic and political significance Cologne also became an important centre of medieval pilgrimage, when Cologne's Archbishop Rainald of Dassel gave the relics of the Three Wise Men to Cologne's cathedral in 1164 (after they in fact had been captured from Milan). Besides the three magi Cologne preserves the relics of Saint Ursula and Albertus Magnus.

Cologne's location on the river Rhine placed it at the intersection of the majortrade routes between east and west as well as the main Western Europe trade route, South - North Northern Italy-Flanders. These two trade routes were the basis of Cologne's growth. By 1300 the city population were 50,000-55,000. Cologne was a member of the Hanseatic League in 1475, when Frederick III confirmed the city's imperial immediacy.


Early modern history

The economic structures of medieval and early modern Cologne were characterised by the city's status as a major harbour and transport hub on the Rhine. Craftsmanship was organised by self-administering guilds, some of which were exclusive to women.

As a free city, Cologne was a sovereign state within the Holy Roman Empire and as such had the right (and obligation) to maintain its own military force. As they wore a red uniform, these troops were known as the Rote Funken (red sparks). These soldiers were part of the Army of the Holy Roman Empire("Reichskontingent") and fought in the wars of the 17th and 18th century, including the wars against revolutionary France, when the small force was almost completely wiped out in combat. The tradition of these troops is preserved as a military persiflage by Cologne's most outstanding carnival society, the Rote Funken.

The free city of Cologne must not be confused with the Archbishopric of Cologne which was a state of its own within the Holy Roman Empire. Since the second half of the 16th century the archbishops were drawn from the Bavaria Wittelsbach dynasty. Due to the free status of Cologne, the archbishops were usually not allowed to enter the city. Thus they took up residence in Bonn and later in Brühl on the Rhine. As members of an influential and powerful family, and supported by their outstanding status as electors, the archbishops of Cologne repeatedly challenged and threatened the free status of Cologne during the 17th and 18th centuries, resulting in complicated affairs, which were handled by diplomatic means and propaganda as well as by the supreme courts of the Holy Roman Empire.


From the 19th century until World War II

Cologne lost its status as a free city during the French period. According to the Peace Treaty of Lunéville (1801) all the territories of the Holy Roman Empireon the left bank of the Rhine were officially incorporated into the French Republic (which had already occupied Cologne in 1794). Thus this region later became part of Napoleon's Empire. Cologne was part of the French Département Roer (named after the River Roer, German: Rur) with Aachen (French: Aix-la-Chapelle) as its capital. The French modernised public life, for example by introducing the Napoleonic code and removing the old elites from power. The Napoleonic code remained in use on the left bank of the Rhine until 1900, when a unified civil code (the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) was introduced in the German Empire. In 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, Cologne was made part of theKingdom of Prussia, first in the Jülich-Cleves-Berg province and then the Rhine province.

The permanent tensions between the Roman Catholic Rhineland and the overwhelmingly Protestant Prussian state repeatedly escalated with Cologne being in the focus of the conflict. In 1837 the archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August von Droste-Vischering, was arrested and imprisoned for two years after a dispute over the legal status of marriages between Protestants and Roman Catholics (Mischehenstreit). In 1874, during the Kulturkampf, Archbishop Paul Melchers was imprisoned before taking refuge in the Netherlands. These conflicts alienated the Catholic population from Berlin and contributed to a deeply felt anti-Prussian resentment, which was still significant after World War II, when the former mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, became the first West German chancellor.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Cologne absorbed numerous surrounding towns, and by World War I had already grown to 700,000 inhabitants. Industrialisation changed the city and spurred its growth. Vehicle and engine manufacturing were especially successful, though heavy industry was less ubiquitous than in the Ruhr area. The cathedral, started in 1248 but abandoned around 1560, was eventually finished in 1880 not just as a place of worship but also as a German national monument celebrating the newly founded German empire and the continuity of the German nation since the Middle Ages. Some of this urban growth occurred at the expense of the city's historic heritage with much being demolished (for example, the city walls or the area around the cathedral) and sometimes replaced by contemporary buildings.

Cologne was designated as one of the Fortresses of the German Confederation. It was turned into a heavily armed fortress (opposing the French and Belgian fortresses of Verdun and Liège) with two fortified belts surrounding the city, the remains of which can be seen to this day. The military demands on what became Germany's largest fortress presented a significant obstacle to urban development, with forts, bunkers, and wide defensive dugouts completely encircling the city and preventing expansion; this resulted in a very densely built-up area within the city itself.

During World War I Cologne was the target of several minor air raids, but suffered no significant damage. Cologne was occupied by the British Army of the Rhineuntil 1926, under the terms of the Armistice and the subsequent Versailles Peace Treaty. In contrast with the harsh behaviour of the French occupation troops in Germany, the British forces were more lenient to the local population. Konrad Adenauer, the mayor of Cologne from 1917 until 1933 and later a West German chancellor, acknowledged the political impact of this approach, especially since Britain had opposed French demands for a permanent Allied occupation of the entire Rhineland.

As part of the demilitarisation of the Rhineland, the city's fortifications had to be dismantled. This was an opportunity to create two green belts (Grüngürtel) around the city by converting the fortifications and their fields of fire into large public parks. This was not completed until 1933. In 1919 the University of Cologne, closed by the French in 1798, was reopened. This was considered to be a replacement for the loss of the University of Strasbourg on the west bank of the Rhine, which reverted to France with the rest of Alsace. Cologne prospered during the Weimar Republic (1919–33), and progress was made especially in public governance, city planning, housing and social affairs. Social housing projects were considered exemplary and were copied by other German cities. Cologne competed to host the Olympics, and a modern sports stadium was erected at Müngersdorf. When the British occupation ended, the prohibition of civil aviation was lifted and Cologne Butzweilerhof Airport soon became a hub for national and international air traffic, second in Germany only to Berlin Tempelhof Airport.

The democratic parties lost the local elections in Cologne in March 1933 to the Nazi Party and other right wing parties. The Nazis then arrested the Communist and Social Democrats members of the city assembly, and Mayor Adenauer was dismissed. Compared to some other major cities, however, the Nazis never gained decisive support in Cologne. (Significantly, the number of votes cast for the Nazi Party in Reichstag elections had always been the national average.) By 1939 the population had risen to 772,221 inhabitants.


World War II

 During World War II, Cologne was a Military Area Command Headquarters (Militärbereichshauptkommandoquartier) for the Military District (Wehrkreis) VI of Münster. Cologne was under the command of Lieutenant-General Freiherr Roeder von Diersburg, who was responsible for military operations in Bonn, Siegburg, Aachen, Jülich, Düren, and Monschau. Cologne was home to the 211th Infantry Regiment and the 26th Artillery Regiment.

During the Bombing of Cologne in World War II, Cologne endured 262 air raids by the Western Allies, which caused approximately 20,000 civilian casualties and almost completely wiped out the central part of the city. During the night of 31 May 1942, Cologne was the target of "Operation Millennium", the first 1,000 bomber raid by the Royal Air Force in World War II. 1,046 heavy bombers attacked their target with 1,455 tons of explosives, approximately two-thirds of which were incendiary. This raid lasted about 75 minutes, destroyed 600 acres (243 ha) of built-up area, killed 486 civilians and made 59,000 people homeless.

Cologne was taken by the American First Army in early March, 1945. By the end of the war, the population of Cologne had been reduced by 95 per cent. This loss was mainly caused by a massive evacuation of the people to more rural areas. The same happened in many other German cities in the last two years of war. By the end of 1945, however, the population had already recovered to approximately 500,000.

By the end of the war, essentially all of Cologne's pre-war Jewish population of 11,000 had been deported or killed by the Nazis. The six synagogues of the city were destroyed. The synagogue on Roonstraße was rebuilt in 1959.


Post-war Cologne until today

Despite Cologne's status as the largest city in the region, nearby Düsseldorf was chosen as the political capital of the federated state of North Rhine-Westphalia. With Bonn being chosen as the provisional federal capital (provisorische Bundeshauptstadt) and seat of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany (then informally West Germany), Cologne benefited by being sandwiched between two important political centres. The city became - and still is - home to a number of federal agencies and organizations. After reunification in 1990, Berlin was made the capital of Germany.

In 1945 architect and urban planner Rudolf Schwarz called Cologne the "world's greatest heap of rubble". Schwarz designed the master plan for reconstruction in 1947, which included the construction of several new thoroughfares through the city centre, especially the Nord-Süd-Fahrt ("North-South-Drive"). The master plan took into consideration the fact that even shortly after the war a large increase in automobile traffic could be anticipated. Plans for new roads had already, to a certain degree, evolved under the Nazi administration, but the actual construction became easier when most of the city centre was in ruins.

The destruction of 95% of the city centre, including the famous Twelve Romanesque churches such as St. Gereon, Great St. Martin, St. Maria im Kapitol and several other monuments in World War II, meant a tremendous loss of cultural treasures. The rebuilding of those churches and other landmarks such as the Gürzenich event hall was not undisputed among leading architects and art historians at that time, but in most cases, civil intention prevailed. The reconstruction lasted until the 1990s, when the Romanesque church of St. Kunibert was finished.

In 1959, the city's population reached pre-war numbers again. It then grew steadily, exceeding 1 million for about one year from 1975. It remained just below that until mid-2010, when it exceeded 1 million again.


Post-reunification

In the 1980s and 1990s Cologne's economy prospered for two main reasons. The first was the growth in the number of media companies, both in the private and public sectors; they are especially catered for in the newly developed Media Park, which creates a strongly visual focal point in Cologne city centre and includes the KölnTurm, one of Cologne's most prominent high-rise buildings. The second was the permanent improvement of the diverse traffic infrastructure, which made Cologne one of the most easily accessible metropolitan areas in Central Europe.

Due to the economic success of the Cologne Trade Fair, the city arranged a large extension to the fair site in 2005. At the same time the original buildings, which date back to the 1920s, were rented out to RTL, Germany's largest private broadcaster, as their new corporate headquarters.

Cologne was the focus of the 2015 New Year's Eve sexual assaults, with over 500 women reporting that they were sexually assaulted by persons of African and Arab appearance.

Climate

The climate of North Western Germany is changeable, with seasonal changes and day-to-day weather often comparable to that of the England or Northern France. Travellers to Cologne can expect the hottest time of the year to be July (in July 2010 the temperatures were above 30 degrees Celsius for several days), the coldest is January (temperature hovering around the freezing mark) and the month with the most rainfall is June.

Climate data for Cologne

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)16.2
(61.2)
20.7
(69.3)
25.0
(77)
29.0
(84.2)
32.4
(90.3)
36.8
(98.2)
37.2
(99)
38.8
(101.8)
31.7
(89.1)
27.6
(81.7)
18.7
(65.7)
16.6
(61.9)
38.8
(101.8)
Average high °C (°F)5.4
(41.7)
6.7
(44.1)
10.9
(51.6)
15.1
(59.2)
19.3
(66.7)
21.9
(71.4)
24.4
(75.9)
24.0
(75.2)
19.8
(67.6)
15.1
(59.2)
9.5
(49.1)
5.9
(42.6)
14.8
(58.6)
Daily mean °C (°F)2.6
(36.7)
2.9
(37.2)
6.3
(43.3)
9.7
(49.5)
14.0
(57.2)
16.6
(61.9)
18.8
(65.8)
18.1
(64.6)
14.5
(58.1)
10.6
(51.1)
6.3
(43.3)
3.3
(37.9)
10.3
(50.5)
Average low °C (°F)−0.6
(30.9)
−0.7
(30.7)
2.0
(35.6)
4.2
(39.6)
8.1
(46.6)
11.0
(51.8)
13.2
(55.8)
12.6
(54.7)
9.8
(49.6)
6.7
(44.1)
3.1
(37.6)
0.4
(32.7)
5.8
(42.4)
Record low °C (°F)−23.4
(−10.1)
−19.2
(−2.6)
−12.0
(10.4)
−8.8
(16.2)
−2.2
(28)
1.4
(34.5)
2.9
(37.2)
1.9
(35.4)
0.2
(32.4)
−6.0
(21.2)
−10.4
(13.3)
−16.0
(3.2)
−23.4
(−10.1)
              
Source: Data derived from Deutscher Wetterdienst

Geography

The metropolitan area encompasses over 405 square kilometres (156 square miles), extending around a central point that lies at 50° 56' 33 latitude and 6° 57' 32 longitude. The city's highest point is 118 m (387.1 ft) above sea level (the Monte Troodelöh) and its lowest point is 37.5 m (123.0 ft) above sea level (the Worringer Bruch). The city of Cologne lies within the larger area of the Cologne Lowland, a cone-shaped area of southeastern Westphalia that lies between Bonn, Aachen and Düsseldorf.

Economy

As the largest city in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region, Cologne benefits from a large market structure. In competition with Düsseldorf, the economy of Cologne is primarily based on insurance and media industries, while the city is also an important cultural and research centre and home to a number of corporate headquarters.

Among the largest media companies based in Cologne are Westdeutscher Rundfunk, RTL Television (with subsidiaries), n-tv, Deutschlandradio,Brainpool TV and publishing houses like J. P. Bachem, Taschen, Tandem Verlag, and M. DuMont Schauberg. Several clusters of media, arts and communications agencies, TV production studios, and state agencies work partly with private and government-funded cultural institutions. Among the insurance companies based in Cologne are Central, DEVK, DKV, Generali Deutschland, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, Gothaer, HDI Gerling and national headquarters of AXA Insurance and Zurich Financial Services.

The German flag carrier Lufthansa and its subsidiary Lufthansa CityLine have their main corporate headquarters in Cologne. The largest employer in Cologne is Ford Europe, which has its European headquarters and a factory in Niehl (Ford-Werke GmbH). Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), Toyota's official motorsports team, responsible for Toyota rally cars, and then Formula One cars, has its headquarters and workshops in Cologne. Other large companies based in Cologne include the REWE Group, TÜV Rheinland, Deutz AG and a number of Kölsch breweries. Cologne has the country's highest density of pubs per capita. The largest three Kölsch breweries are Reissdorf, Gaffel, and Früh.

Historically, Cologne has always been an important trade city, with land, air, and sea connections. The city has five Rhine ports, the second largest inland port in Germany and one of the largest in Europe. Cologne-Bonn Airport is the second largest freight terminal in Germany. Today, the Cologne trade fair (Koelnmesse) ranks as a major European trade fair location with over 50 trade fairs  and other large cultural and sports events. In 2008 Cologne had 4.31 million overnight stays booked and 2.38 million arrivals. Cologne's largest daily newspaper is the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

Subdivisions

Cologne is subdivided into 9 boroughs (Stadtbezirke) and 85 districts (Stadtteile):


Innenstadt (Stadtbezirk 1)
Altstadt-Nord, Altstadt-Süd, Neustadt-Nord, Neustadt-Süd, Deutz


Rodenkirchen (Stadtbezirk 2)
Bayenthal, Godorf, Hahnwald, Immendorf, Marienburg, Meschenich, Raderberg, Raderthal, Rodenkirchen, Rondorf, Sürth, Weiß, Zollstock


Lindenthal (Stadtbezirk 3)
Braunsfeld, Junkersdorf, Klettenberg, Lindenthal, Lövenich, Müngersdorf, Sülz, Weiden, Widdersdorf


Ehrenfeld (Stadtbezirk 4)
Bickendorf, Bocklemünd/Mengenich, Ehrenfeld, Neuehrenfeld, Ossendorf, Vogelsang


Nippes (Stadtbezirk 5)
Bilderstöckchen, Longerich, Mauenheim, Niehl, Nippes, Riehl, Weidenpesch
Koeln bezirke1.png


Chorweiler (Stadtbezirk 6)
Blumenberg, Chorweiler, Esch/Auweiler, Fühlingen, Heimersdorf, Lindweiler, Merkenich, Pesch, Roggendorf/Thenhoven, Seeberg, Volkhoven/Weiler, Worringen


Porz (Stadtbezirk 7)
Eil, Elsdorf, Ensen, Finkenberg, Gremberghoven, Grengel, Langel, Libur, Lind, Poll, Porz, Urbach, Wahn, Wahnheide, Westhoven, Zündorf


Kalk (Stadtbezirk 8)
Brück, Höhenberg, Humboldt/Gremberg, Kalk, Merheim, Neubrück, Ostheim, Rath/Heumar, Vingst


Mülheim (Stadtbezirk 9)
Buchforst, Buchheim, Dellbrück, Dünnwald, Flittard, Höhenhaus, Holweide, Mülheim, Stammheim

Prices in Cologne

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.70
Tomatoes1 kg€2.20
Cheese0.5 kg€3.60
Apples1 kg€2.00
Oranges1 kg€1.82
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€0.90
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€6.50
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.83
Bread1 piece€1.15
Water1.5 l€0.35

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€24.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€49.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€7.00
Water0.33 l€1.85
Cappuccino1 cup€2.50
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€3.00
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€3.00
Coca-Cola0.33 l€2.00
Coctail drink1 drink€8.00

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€18.00
Gym1 month€36.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€16.00
Theatar2 tickets€62.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.09
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€5.70

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack€11.00
Tampons32 pieces€3.25
Deodorant50 ml.
Shampoo400 ml.€1.95
Toilet paper4 rolls€1.45
Toothpaste1 tube€1.50

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€84.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€45.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€84.00
Leather shoes1€103.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.32
TaxiStart€3.50
Taxi1 km€1.80
Local Transport1 ticket€2.70

Tourist (Backpacker)  

54 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

217 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

  • Cologne Bonn Airport (IATA: CGN), handles international and domestic flights and is a hub for the low cost airlines Germanwings and TUIfly. The airport is approximately 15 minutes by S-Bahn "S 13" (local train) to the centre of Cologne. S-Bahn fare (ticket zone 1b) is currently €2.60 one-way.
  • Düsseldorf International Airport (IATA: DUS), The Düsseldorf airport offers many intercontinental connections. A train ride from the airport train station to Cologne central station takes about 40 minutes. The fare is €20.00 for a ride on the fastest kind of train available, the S-Bahn is considerably cheaper.
  • Frankfurt Rhein Main International Airport (IATA: FRA), is the largest airport in Germany, served by all major international airlines. ICE (InterCityExpress) high speed trains connect Frankfurt Airport and Cologne central station in less than one hour. Standard one way fare is €67 by ICE. However there are many reduced fares available if you order in advance with prices starting as low as 19€. If you pay full price you do not have to take a specific train, but discounted tickets are restricted to the train on your reservation. Note: Trains via Koblenz, which use the slower, yet extremely scenic route along the Rhine Valley are also 30% cheaper. The ICE train takes about one hour, the slower more scenic route takes about two hours.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Cologne is served by two major train stations:

Köln Hauptbahnhof.  
Köln Messe/DeutzOttoplatz 7, 50679 Köln.

Cologne is linked with Amsterdam,Brussels, and Paris by Thalys and ICE High Speed trains. Additionally, the Frankfurt airport (IATA:FRA) has direct service to Cologne and is within one hour by ICE trains.

 

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Cologne requires all cars to have a "Low Emissions" sticker in order to drive around in the city centre Low Emission Zone ("Umweltzone"). Information on obtaining a sticker (which must be done at least several weeks in advance) is available here .

Autobahns A1, A4, A3, A57, A555 lead to Cologne. During rush hour the streets are heavily congested, also due to massive construction of a new subway tunnel Nord-Süd Stadtbahn, crossing half the city centre.

For cheap parking, with quick connections to central Cologne, use park and ride ("park und ride"). At some stations, parking is free when you present a validated transit ticket on exit.


Transportation - Get Around

Cologne has an excellent public transport network consisting of trams, local trains and buses. Bicycles are also available for hire on the northern side of the Hauptbahnhof. Local transport systems rarely provide announcements in English, but network maps are commonly available to assist with your journey. Those wishing to explore areas away from the central city should plan their journey and potential connections before leaving. The KVB (Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe) website is a good source of public transport information.

Cologne has a very good subway/tram and bus network "KVB" (Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe); one- and three-day-passes are available. The tickets are valid for subway, tram and regional train within the VRS-network. Trips within the city limits require zone 1b tickets (2014: €2.80). For short trips of up to 4 stops on subway, tram or bus there is also the slightly cheaper "Kurzstrecke" (short trip ticket). A map of the network should be found at any station, and official Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe network maps are available online.

Cologne's subway and tram-system, or U-Bahn, is a mixture between both systems: A subway line can go on street-level and end up as a tram or vice versa. There are vending machines or ticket-offices at larger stations The trains and buses also have vending-machines. See the public bus, tram and subway-company KVB for printable maps of the bus/tram/subway system and here for their official street map (also found here) of Cologne.

Regional Trains are known as "S-Bahn", "Regional-Bahn" and "Regional Express". Most of them don't have ticket vending-machines so remember to buy a ticket at the station.

Cologne has, like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, a Call A Bike - System. After you register for an account on-line, it will charge your credit-card a per minute fee. You can pick up or drop off one of the silver-red bikes anywhere in the city. See here for details. It is also possible to rent a bike at many different places, by bike is maybe the best way to go around in the city.

But, on the whole, the centre of Cologne is not that big for a city of one million. It is entirely feasible to walk from one end of the centre, say, the Rudolfplatz, to the other end, say, the Cathedral, in half an hour.

Student Travel Tip: Student travel (age 20 or less) can be very cheap to and from Cologne, as well as around the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia. The German rail company (DB: Deutsche Bahn) offer a 'SchöneFerienTicket NRW' during student holiday times and allows free travel throughout North Rhine-Westphalia on local buses, trams, U-Bahn, S-Bahn and Regional Trains. Prices range from around €54 for summer holidays to €25.50 for Easter holidays, but prices and times change from year to year.

These tickets are available to anyone with valid student identification (student union card, enrolment card, etc.) and personal identification (passport, driving licence, etc.). Note: the ticket is only valid for the student holiday dates of North Rhine-Westphalia and the ticket is not valid for high speed express trains. Visit/contact Deutsche Bahn for more information before travelling to Germany.

Hotels

- BEST RATED -

Hotels

- BEST VALUE -

Shopping

The main shopping street of Cologne is the Schildergasse, extending from the Neumarkt. Both the Schildergasse and Neumarkt, as well as pedestrianized side streets extending from them (in particular the Hohe Strasse leading towards the Dom), feature numerous department stores, boutiques and other high-profile (and, often, high-price) retail establishments.


Department stores

  • Galeria Kaufhof. Germany's largest department store chain and direct descendant of the mighty Leonhard Tietz AG has its flagship store in Cologne, where it is headquartered (although the headquarter offices have now moved to a different, modern building in Altstadt-Sued). The original 19th century Tietz department store on the Schildergasse has been expanded with a modern part, including a multi-storey parking, facing the Caecilienstrasse and now fills the entire huge block. You can find everything there, from apparel to groceries.
  • Karstadt. Kaufhof's main competitor situated themselves in a modern shopping centre north of Neumarkt, over the Zeppelinstrasse.
  • Peek & Cloppenburg. The department store chain specializing in upscale apparel is known for their architecturally unique buildings, and the glass-façade Zeppelin over the Nord-Sued-Fahrt is one of them.

High-end fashion

Although it is Duesseldorf that brands itself as the German capital of fashion, Cologne's Altstadt also features a wide range of high-end fashion stores with a selection of top German and global brands.

  • Franz SauerMinoritenstraße 13, 50667 Köln
  • AproposMittelstraße 3, 50672 Köln. Features a Gucci brand store
  • La Belle ModehausMittelstraße 20, 50672 Köln.
  • Modehaus ElscheidtBenesisstrasse 36.
  • Boutique 69Pfeilstraße 31-35, 50672 Köln

Records

There is an abundance of record stores in Cologne, but most are hidden in non-tourist quarters.

  • For a mainstream record store, go to Saturn, which hosts the "world's largest CD collection", as they quote on their store windows. It's huge, and to pre-listen a record, you just have to hold it under one of the many scanners spread throughout the shop. Always worth a visit. Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring. Does not take credit cards.
  • Independent record stores are spread around Saturn: Cross the street for 2nd hand and punk, follow the "Ring" (boulevard) north, and you will find Jazz, Electro and HipHop at Schallschock record store. Famous alternative music-store Normal is south of Saturn, as well as Underdog Record Store(specialized in Alternative Rock, Emo, Garage and related matters) Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring
  • For electronic music, get off at Friesenplatz, and go to groove attack in Maastrichter street. Also famous is Kompakt record store. Both are connected to a label sharing the name, and putting out fine German electronic music. Subway: Friesenplatz

Books

  • "Mayersche" and "Thalia" at Neumarkt are the biggest bookstores, you will find anything you want, but mostly in German.
  • On "Ehrenstraße", you will find cheap and arty books, take a look at "Buchhandlung König" at the eastern end, buy art books at well known "Taschen" at the corner of Ehrenstraße and the Ring.
  • Travel books are bought best at "Gleumes", between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz. They have only maps and travel books, but these from around the world.
  • Books in English - "English Books and Tea", Auf dem Rothenberg 9a, in the old town, stocks a wide range of new and secondhand books in English. It also offers a choice of teas and conversation and invaluable tourist orientation - all in English.
  • Honorable mention: "Cafe Goldmund" in Ehrenfeld. A very cozy corner-café with all walls lined with bookshelves. You can buy every (second hand) book after you finnished flipping through it while you enjoyed your drinks for a small tip. Also hosts small music and poetry events. Glasstraße 2, right next to the S-Bahn station "Ehrenfeld".

Restaurants

Cologne has a wide variety of restaurants, both German and otherwise, as a glance in the colored pages of the local telephone book will illustrate.


Traditional Scene

One can eat pretty well in most traditional-style Kölsch restaurants, and in fact as a visitor, you should try some of the local food, which is quite rustic, but tasty, hearty fare.

The brewery taps (Früh, Sion, Pfaffen, Malzmühle etc. in the old town south of the Dom) are worth taking note of to that respect, although they tend to be expensive for what you get.

Places out of the way such as Schreckenskammer and Max Stark (north of the train station, the former being within crawling distance of the Station Backpackers Hostel), Päffgen (Friesenstrasse) and both of Cologne independent brewpubs (Hellers Brauhaus on Roonstrasse and Braustelle in Ehrenfeld) offer cheaper, better food that the old town tourist traps. Besides, most of these places have tons of atmosphere, which doesn't hurt ! You may also experience the deadly dry wit of the Köbes (traditional name of the blue-clad waiters) in most of those places. If it happens to you, don't get upset, just enter the game, send the Köbes packing with a dig and a smile and you'll be all right.

You'll mostly find typical Rheinland dishes in those traditional Kneipen. Classics include :

- Halver Hahn : nice big slab of Dutch gouda with a rye roll (Röggelchen)

- Himmel und Äd mit Flönz : fried black pudding with mashed potatoes ("earth"), apple sauce ("heaven") and fried onions.

- Soorbrode / Sauerbraten : joint marinated in vinegar with raisins, usually served with red cabbage and a kloss (potato dumpling). The joint may be beef or horsemeat, so you may want to ask first...

- Dicke Bunne mit Speck : boiled white beans with hefty boiled bacon slices on top.

- Schweinshaxe (grilled); Hämchen (cooked): pig's leg, usually a bit of a monster (ranges from 600 to 1400 g, including the bone)

- Rievekoochen / Reibekuchen : flat fried potato cakes usually on offer once a week, and served with a variety of sweet or savoury toppings, which may include apple sauce, Rübenkraut (the beet-sourced equivalent to black treacle) or smoked salmon with horseradish cream.


Ethnic Scene

If you are looking for a snack, you can either head for one of the Middle-Eastern or Asian places, or you can make use of the traditional fast food places like Mc Donalds, Burger King etc. Italian restaurants in Cologne seem to attempt to aim for a higher quality than in the UK, though it is debatable whether they achieve it, and whether their prices (often 150-200% of UK prices) are justified. There are several Indian restaurants across the city, which serve a fair fare, though the visiting Brit may be slightly disappointed to find that German 'curry culture' is rather akin to that of the UK in the 1960s: menus are neither large and varied, nor regionalised and specialist, and although ingredients are fresh, the food without exception appears to be tamed-down for the conservative German palate and the cooks are rather hesitant to spice it up even if you ask for it. "Clay Oven" (Luxemburger Straße near Südbahnhof) and "Bombay" (near Eifelstraße tram station) do make a vindaloo that will satisfy the most hardy customer, though. More recently, Japanese and Thai restaurants have become more common; both are quite expensive.


Budget

  • Hauptbahnhof - The ground floor of the central train station has a good number of cheap eateries, which include Pizza Hut to kiosks selling sausages.
  • Falafel Habibi located on Zülpicher Straße. They have two stores, which serve the same food (though sweetmeats may vary).
  • There is an abundance of Döner Kebab and similar takeaways around the town. Generally a lot of Turkish snack bar-style places can be found just north of the main station at Eigelstein, around Zülpicher Platz and in the Belgisches Viertel, with some excellent Lebanese and Persian takeaways further down Zülpicher Straße towards Südbahnhof. Probably best now (though expensive) isOruc Döner on Kyffhäuserstraße (near Barbarossaplatz); while the kebab is quite good though not outstanding, their freshly baked pide bread is famous all over town. There are lots of Turkish restaurants and takeaways within Kalk,Mülheim and (mainly restaurants) in the Belgisches Viertel.
  • Borsalino, an Italian-style restaurant located on Zülpicher Straße close to Zülpicher Platz. Very affordable prices.
  • Don CamilloHildeboldplatz 1a,  +49 221-138551. a small Italian tabula calde style restaurant. Coming from Hohenzollenring, head into Breite Straße/Ehrenstraße and take the first road to the left.
  • Mama MiaAlte Gasse 26,  +49 221-11347. Italian food not too hungry person 10-15 Euro/ person.
  • EllopiaCarmerstraße 106,  +49 221-14198. German food, you get served for 5-10 Euro/ person.

Mid-range

  • El Inca. Görresstrasse 2, near Rathenauplatz. Latin-American restaurant, open 1800-2400.
  • Johnny TuristaRathenauplatz. Easy-going pub/restaurant offering snacks, hot dishes and a daily changing selection of tapas; prices are lower than in most tapas bars.
  • Selam. Ehrenfeldgürtel 91 (tram station Venloer Straße/Gürtel) Ethiopian restaurant, opens 5PM Tu-Fr and from 4PM on weekends, closed on Mondays. Good selection of mild and spicy Ethiopian dishes served on the traditional plate of injera bread.
  • Farmer's. Steakhouses with several branches on the Ring (near Friesenplatz), Wallrafplatz (near the Dom, off Hohe Straße), Kreuzgasse (off Schildergasse shopping street). At Lunchtime they usually have a special, that will give you a square meal for 6-7 Euro.
  • pepeAntwerpener Straße 63 (near Stadtgarten and west of Friesenplatz).open 1800-0200. Spanish style food, tapas and cocktails. Cool crowd, usually booked out after 1900, make a reservation by phone or e-mail the day before.
  • UnsichtbarIm Stavenhof 5-7 (near Hansaring and Ebertplatz). open 1800-0000. "Unsichtbar" is a play of words. Literally it means "invisible", but the suffix "bar" also refers to being a bar. You will get your private butler, who is a blind person, and you eat in total darkness. You can choose your meal in a showroom and then your personal blind butler will lead you to the dark room where you have to smell, feel, maybe touch and of course eat your meal, but you won't see it. You'll have to refer to your butler about everything, whether going to the bathroom or refilling your glass. You are not allowed to smoke, use a cellphone or do anything else that could lighten up the room. The food on your plate is explained to you by using a clock-like system (e.g. "beans are on three o'clock"). It's an excursion into the world of blind people, who are supported this way, and a really good restaurant, too. For weekends you have to book around 13 weeks in advance, but during the week you'll get a free table (with a little luck).

Splurge

  • Landhaus Kuckuck, Olympiaweg 2 (near Müngersdorfer Stadion (Aachener Straße)). open Tuesday - Saturday 1200-2300 - Sunday 1200-1800.Exquisite German, but also international meals.
  • Fischers Weingenuss & TafelfreudenHohenstaufenring 53 (between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz). Exquisite French-like and modern food, great arrangements of wine and cheese. After noon you can get (quite) cheap 2-way dishes of the day including water or a glass of wine. You have to book (quite early) in advance and a menu will be created on your wishes.

Coffe & Drink

Typical Cologne beer is called "Kölsch" and served in bars around town in small glasses, called "Stangen", of 0.2l. That way the beer is always fresh and cold. Don't worry, waiters will be fast to bring you a new one once your old one is (almost) finished. In more traditional bars and especially the breweries, the waiter (called "Köbes" in local language) will even hand you a fresh Kölsch without being asked, so it is easy to lose track of how much you drank. He will put a pencil line on your coaster for each beer that you drank, this will be the basis for your bill, so do not lose it! To stop the beer from coming, leave your glass almost half full until you have asked for the bill or put your coaster on top of your empty glass.

If you buy bottled Kölsch, take either "Reissdorf", "Früh", "Gaffel" or "Mühlen", which are rated highest by Cologne citizens. Those looking for a beer with a little more bitterness might like to try Küppers (there are about 30 more brands).

Sights & Landmarks


Historical attractions

  • Kölner Dom (Cathedral) (U-Bahn: Dom / Hbf). M-Su 06:00-19:30. AUNESCO World Heritage site. It took over 630 years to complete this monumental cathedral. In 1880 the cathedral was finally consecrated. Cologne's Dom is the first sight you will notice when taking the main exit from the central station. (If you don't see it, you've taken the back exit.) If you are in good shape, take the 509 stairs to the top of the south tower. It takes about an hour, so wear comfortable shoes, but it's worth the hike. Touring the Cathedral is forbidden during Mass. Entry into the cathedral is free but you will be asked for a donation. Admission to the tower costs: €3, reduced: €1.50, family: €6. Admission to the treasury costs: €5, reduced: €2.50, family: €10 however, a combined ticket granting you admission to the treasury and tower can be purchased for (regular/reduced/family): €6/€3/€15.
  • Romanesque Churches - Between 1150 and 1250 saw the construction of numerous churches in the Romanesque style.
    • St. Kunibert. with wonderful stained glass windows
    • St. SeverinIm Ferkelum 29(Tram Clodwigplatz). – it is the oldest Christian foundation in Cologne
    • St. Maria Lyskirchen.
    • St. Andreas.
    • St. Aposteln.
    • St. Gereon, Gereonsdriesch 2.The originality of this church lie in its elliptic floor plan and the addition, in 1220, of a decagon between its towers
    • St. Ursula
    • St. PantaleonAm Panteleonsberg 2
    • St. Maria im Kapitol, Marienplatz 19.
    • Groß-St. Martin (Great Saint Martin Church), An Groß St. Martin 9 (U-Bahn Rathaus).
    • St. Georg.
    • St. CäcilienCäcilienstraße 29. today Museum Schnütgen
  • Die Kölner Synagoge, Roonstraße 50 (U-Bahn: Zülpicher Platz),  +49 221 921-5600fax: +49 221/921560-9. The synagogue is notable for its architecture that looks, well, right out of Gotham City. The Torah within the synagogue was rescued by a Catholic priest from another synagogue as it was being burned during Nazi rule. In August 2005 Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue, becoming the second pope to ever visit a synagogue.
  • Historisches Rathaus (Historic Town Hall) (U-Bahn Rathaus).
  • Praetorium. An accessible archaeological site with the ruins of the ancient Roman Praetorium of Colonia.
  • Gürzenich dance hall (U-Bahn/Tram Heumarkt). The Gürzenich is a municipal concert hall and multi-purpose festival hall

Remains of city walls and fortifications

  • ruins of Roman city walls and two towers.
  • Nordtor (ruins of Roman city wall gate) (Dom, Trankgasse).
  • Ruins of Middle Ages city walls and towers
    • Eigelsteintorburg (U-Bahn Ebertplatz).
    • Hahnentorburg (Rudolfplatz).
    • Ulrepforte (Sachsenring, Stadtbahn Ulrepforte).
    • Severinstorburg (Stadtbahn Clodwigplatz).
    • Bayenturm (Stadtbahn Ubierring).
  • Ruins of a small gate
  • Malakoffturm (Rheinauhafen, bus 233 stop Schokoladenmuseum).

Veedel - City Quarters

Cologne is well known for its "Veedel" or traditional neighbourhoods.

  • Agnesviertel – Here, most notably in the bohemian Agnesviertel, you can find independent designers, bookshops, bars, and art galleries. There are also historical monuments, such as the North City Gate or Eigelsteintorburg in the Agnesviertel, very near to Fort X, built to protect the city from French attacks, and Agneskirche, a late neo-gothic church on the boulevardesqueNeusserstraße. Neusserstraße also has a yoga school, an Aikido school, a Japanese restaurant, a well-stocked bookshop, and a range of pubs. Nearby you will find the Alte Feuerwache, where there are regular exhibitions on political topics and a surreal flea market every four weeks in summer. Opposite Alte Feuerwache is the Artclub, with regular exhibitions of contemporary art, and on Ebertplatz there is a cinema (Metropolis) which shows films in the original (mostly English, but sometimes also French or Spanish). On nearby Lübeckerstrasse, you will find the uncompromisingly Arty Filmpalette cinema. To round off a trip to the Agnesviertel, you might like a kölsch in the Lapidarium(right beside the North City Gate) or a coffee in Cafe Schmitz, Cologne's grooviest poser hangout (they also do a great breakfast.) All of these great places are within a short walk of Ebertplatz U-Bahn.
  • Eigelstein – around the Eigelsteintorburg, U-Bahn "Ebertplatz"
  • Martinsviertel / Altstadt – Old town between Rhine, Heumarkt, Alter Markt and Dom, (Cologne Cathedral), U-Bahn "Rathaus" or "Heumarkt"
  • Severinsviertel and Südstadt – around the Severinstorburg, U-Bahn "Clodwigplatz"
  • Kwartier Latäng – Quartier students Stadtbahn "Zülpicher Platz"
  • Belgisches ViertelStadtbahn "Moltkestraße"
  • EhrenfeldU-Bahn "Körnerstraße"

Other attractions

  • Hohenzollern Bridge. Also called the Locking Bridge. If you walk to the back of the Kölner Dom along a straight path, there is a bridge on the Rhine to your right that is covered in padlocks. The locks are placed there by couples to show their loyalty to each other. Couples often have their names and a significant date inscribed on the locks. There are other places across the world that have "love padlocks".
  • Rheinauhafen. This completely rebuilt area combines modern extravagant architecture with historical harbour buildings. The old Rheinauhafen opened in 1898 and became necessary due to increasing amount of freight traffic. The new Rheinauhafen is a mix of office buildings and apartment buildings and gastronomy. Directly located on a peninsula of the Rhine (1 km southern of Heumarkt) it is an invitation for a beautiful walk along the river or for having lunch or dinner. Also see the separate itinerary article for a walking tour.
  • Parks: Cologne has 2 park areas (Grüngürtel) encircling the city (immediately outside the medieval city limits) and nearly the entire town, respectively, which were set aside as public recreation areas after World War I. The inner Grüngürtel is probably more easy to reach for tourists who only stay a few days. Most notably are Volksgarten,Rheinpark, Hiroshima-Nagasaki- (colloquially known as Aachener-Weiher-) andStadtgarten parks where thousands of people come together to enjoy the sun, play and barbecue when the weather is fine. All these parks have an associated beer garden. Be aware to dispose any packaging, charcoal etc. into the waste bins (which are unfortunately few and far between), as the city has begun to employ anti-littering patrols that will levy a stiff fine on anyone seen littering. Metro: Eifelplatz for Volksgarten, Universitätsstraße for Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Park, Hans-Böckler-Platz/Bahnhof West for Stadtgarten, Bahnhof Deutz forRheinpark.
    • Flora and Botanical Garden(Near Zoo, Tram Zoo/Flora).Admission free.
    • Zoo (Near Seilbahn, Tram Zoo/Flora). Adult: 17.50 €.
    • SkulpturenparkRiehler Straße (Near Seilbahn, Tram Zoo/Flora). Admission free.

Südstadt

  • Overstolzenhaus. One of the oldest extant houses in Cologne, built between 1220 and 1225, with an impressive romaneque façade. Built as a residence for a local patrician, today it houses the Academy of Media Arts.
  • Kunsthaus Lempertz. The famous German art merchants and auctioneers, founded in 1845 (although the building itself is from 1952, reconstructed after the Second World War).
  • Postamt (Bürgerhaus Stollwerck), Dreikönigenstraße 23. The former post office built from red brick in 1906 is now used as a theatre.
  • Wasserturm. The former water tower built in 1868-1872 is now used as a luxury boutique hotel. The 11th floor (at 35 metres) houses a terrace and glass covered dining/meeting room, which can be rented out for private functions (the Michelin-starred restaurant that used to be hosted there is no longer in operation as of May 2013).
  • Wolkenburg. The baroque estate was built in 1734 for a benedictine convent, but is used today by the 190-strong man choir Kölner Männer-Gesang-Verein Cäcilia Wolkenburg. It is also an event centre.
  • Severinsbrücke. Completed in 1959, the cable-stayed bridge provided a relief for the Deutzer Brücke. Although not outstanding visually as such, it provides a nice view of both banks of the Rhine if you care to walk it.

Churches and other religious buildings

  • Kartäuserkirche (Charterhouse church). The church belonged to the local charterhouse (a monastery of the Carthusian order) until 1794, when the monastery was closed and the church was used variously as a warehouse or a military hospital until the 1920s, when it was restored to its religious function by a local protestant community, whom it serves as a church until today. After reconstruction, it features an impressive pipe organ array with glockenspiel.
  • Dreikönigenpförtchen. One of the best-hidden gems of Cologne, the small yet ornate gothic gate once led to an "immunity" belonging to the convent based at the St. Maria im Kapitol.
  • St. Gregorius im Elend. Neobaroque church from the early 19th century
  • St. Johann Baptist. This catholic church is one of the oldest in Cologne, predating even the famous romanesque churches, as it was founded in 948. It has seen many additions and reconstructions throughout the centuries, and was almost totally destroyed during the Second World War. Its current form is an eclectic reconstruction finished in the early 1960s.
  • Former franciscan convent with St. Marien church. Nested inconspiciously between contemporary residential buildings is this impressive complex with gothic-inspired decorations
  • St. Peter churchLeonhard-Tietz-Strasse 6. The lesser-known next-door neighbour of St. Cäcilien
  • St. Maria vom Frieden church and convent (corner of Schnurgasse and Vor den Siebenburgen). Baroque convent complex from the 17th century
  • TrinitatiskircheFilzengraben 6. This 19th-century evangelical church provides both regular religious services and serves as a venue for various cultural, especially musical, events.

Deutz

Dominated by two very utilitarian land uses, the fairgrounds in the north and the actually functional freight harbour of Cologne in the south, Deutz is not without long history and much heritage and charm in its built environment as well. While the left Rhine bank is clearly the dominant one in Cologne, Deutz is where you can get the best views of it across the Rhine, and this is a reason alone to cross the river and get there, but by far not the only one.

  • Köln-Triangle (LVR-Turm), Ottoplatz 1,  +49 2234 9921-555, e-mail:. 1 May–30 Sep Mo–Fr 11:00–22:00, weekends and public holidays 10:00–22:00; 1 Oct–30 Apr Mo–Fr 12:00–18:00, weekends and public holidays 10:00–18:00; The viewing terrace is closed during bad weather (like storm or hail). The Köln-Triangle is a high rise building in Deutz, immediately by the waterfront. It is a part of a building complex fronted by the Rhine-facing Hyatt hotel and is hard to miss due to its prominence and quite easily accessible from both Deutz and the left bank of the Rhine (simply cross the Hochenzollern bridge from the Altstadt). On its 29th floor, it has a viewing terrace called Panorama, which is publicly accessible via a lift for a relatively reasonable fee. The terrace has glass all around it for both safety purposes and for exhibiting the names of various landmarks you can see from it. If you want to take really good photos, you may want to have a piece of cloth with you to clean the glass of fingerprints and such. Admission is €3 for a single person, every additional member of the same party pays €2 only.
  • Tanzbrunnen.
  • Rheinpark.
  • Alt St. Heribert.
  • Neu St. Heribert.
  • Jewish Cemetery.
  • maxCologne.
  • Lanxess Arena.
  • Koelnmesse (southern entrance marked on the map - exit from the Koeln Deutz/Messe railway station in the direction of the Messe and follow the signs).
  • Rheinhallen.
  • Messeturm Köln.
  • Bahnhof Köln-Deutz. The historic building of the station now known asKöln Messe/Deutz is an interesting piece of architectural heritage many visitors to Cologne miss as they exit the station on the fairgrounds side.
  • St. Johannes church.
  • Düxer Bock.
  • Cuirassier Monument
  • Deutzer Drehbrücke.
  • ESSO Station An der Kölnarena. You may wonder what's so special about a gas station, but you will understand once you see its 1950s architecture with the unique structured roof and learn that it is the oldest gas station in Cologne in continuous operation.
  • Deutzer Freiheit. The main shopping street of Deutz, with not only retail opportunities but also many historic buildings along the way.

Museums & Galleries

Cologne has one of the world's best collections of museums and galleries for a city of its size. As well as world class museums of art and archaeology, Cologne boasts two museums of ecclesiastical art, both housed in architecturally stunning buildings. There is also an ethnographic museum, a chocolate museum, the German Sport Museum and an abundance of Roman remains.

One can purchase a MuseumsCard from one of the municipal museums (such as the first five listed below). The single card cost €15, the family card, which costs €28, entitles 2 adults and 2 children (under 18) free admission to each of the municipal museums during two consecutive opening days. On its first day of validity, it can also be used as a ticket on all buses and trams on the cologne transportation system VRS.

  • Museum LudwigBischofsgartenstraße 1 (U-Bahn: Dom/Hbf, behind the dom),  +49 221 26165fax: +49 221-24114, e-mail: . Tue – Sun: 10AM – 6PM. A museum of modern art, near the central railway station and the Cathedral hosts a worthy regular exhibition, as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission: € 11, concessions: € 7.50, families: € 22.
  • Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Art), An der Rechtschule (U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof),  +49 221 23860fax: +49 221-23885, e-mail: . Tu-Su 11:00–17:00. The Museum of Applied Art has a collection of popular design items, as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission: regular: €6.00, reduced: €3.50, permanent and special exhibitions: € 9, reduced: € 6..
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation CorboudMartinstraße 39 (U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof, then 10 minutes walk, U-Bahn: Rathaus, Tram Heumarkt, Bus Rathaus or Gürzenich),  +49 221 27694fax: +49 221-22629, e-mail: . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Every Th until 21:00. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period through to the early twentieth century. Admission: (permanent collection and special exhibition) € 8 - 12, reduced € 4.50 - 8.
  • Römisch-Germanisches Museum (Roman-Germanic Museum), Roncalliplatz 4 (Adjacent to the Cathedral's right side from its main façade.),  +49 221 22304fax: +49 221-24030, e-mail: . Tu-Su 10:00-17:00. Römisch-Germanisches Museum explores the history of Roman history in Cologne and the surrounding area. The museum's tour guides are exceptionally dull and can make any visit seem like it lasted just as long as the Roman empire. If you can, wander around the museum by yourself. Admission: € 8.00 (€9.50 including admission to the Praetorium (an excavation of various buildings)), reduced: € 4.00 / €5.
  • Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum für Völkerkunde (Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – World Cultures), Cäcilienstraße 29-33 (U-Bahn: Neumarkt),  +49 221 23620fax: +49 221 3369410, e-mail: . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-20:00. North Rhine-Westphalia's only ethnological museum, it has a fine collection of Amerindian and Austro-Polynesian artefacts.Admission: Regular: €7, reduced: €4.50.
  • Kolumba (Diocesan museum), Kolumbastraße 4. A Christian art museum. An architectural wonder designed by Peter Zumthor and a feast for the senses; this museum, built in concordance with the ancient foundations of the shrine of Mary in the rubble contains a selection of historical and contemporary religious art. Worth visiting just to explore the spiritually inspiring spaces and the beautiful walkway through the ruins of the past.
  • Schokoladenmuseum Köln (Museum of Chocolates), Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a. Opening hours: Tu-F 10:00-18:00, Sa Su and holidays 11:00-19:00, closed on Mondays. Last admittance one hour before closing.Chocolate Museum in Cologne. It's a short visit but very interesting exhibits. Admission: €8.50, concessions: €6, Family pass: €24.

Things to do

Cologne's strong side is its cultural life. For latest information on what is happening around in town, get the StadtRevue for €2, Kölner for €2 or Live for free.

  • Karneval The biggest festivity in Cologne is the Winter carnival (or Fastelovend) in February. According to the official Cologne tourism website, "Its highlight is the street carnival taking place from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, traditionally the day on which women take control of the city) to Karnevalsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday). On Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday) more than one and a half million people line Cologne's streets to watch the parade with the mad triad – the prince, farmer, and virgin – every year."
  • Cologne Gay Pride (Christopher Street Day). – Cologne Pride is a large gay pride festival held in Cologne annually on the Heumarkt square. The event showcases music, a candle light vigil remembering those with HIV/AIDS, and on the final day of the festival a large parade is held. Recently, up to a million people have attended the events.
  • Kölner Lichter (Cologne Lights). A fireworks display on the Rhine lights up the sky between the Hohenzollern and Zoo bridges.
  • Kölner Seilbahn,  +49 221 547-4183. Apr-Oct 10:00-18:00. Riehler Straße 180; Take a ride with the Aerial tramway across Rhine river, w Adults: One way €4.50, Return €6.50, Children (aged 4–12): One way €2.50, Return €3.70
  • Kölner Zoo (Cologne Zoo), Riehler Straße 173, e-mail: .Summer: 09:00-18:00, Winter: 09:00-17:00, Aquarium: 09:00-18:00. €17.50, Teenagers and students: €12, Children (aged 4–12): €8.50 (2013).
  • Phantasialand. 9AM - 6PM, Rides open at 10AM, Ticket office closes at 4PM.Berggeiststr. 31-41 in the town of Brühl; Phantasialand is a fun place for children and has some fun rides for adults too. Even the Colorado Adventureroller coaster was sponsored by Michael Jackson. Admission: Children: (Up to one meter in height) - Free, Children: (Between one meter and 1.45 meters) € 18, Adults: € 39.50, Senior citizens: € 18.50. Two day passes available (€68.50 / €30.50) (2013).
  • Claudius Therme, Sachsenbergstraße 1,  +49 221 981440. 09.00-24.00.Just below the Kölner Seilbahn is the Claudius Therme. Spend a very relaxing few hours unwinding in both indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, cold plunge pools, etc. Several areas are naturist (not clothing optional). Towels are available to rent and food and drink is served on-site. One nice option is to take the Kölner Seilbahn to the Therme and return by bus (directly in front of entrance) to Köln Deutz Station where you can catch U-Bahn back to the City Centre.
  • Metropolis CinemaEbertplatz 19+49 221 722436. 15.00-24.00. If you want to go to the movies while visiting Cologne and you don't know German, this is the cinema for you. In the evenings it shows movies in their native language, but mostly English.
  • Fishing at the rhine

Tours

  • KD Rhine River Cruise,  +49 221 208 83 18. Frankenwerft 35; Departure times: Daily: 10:30AM, 12PM, 2PM, 6PM; Köln-Düsseldorf offers cruises of the Rhine river around the Cologne area with an explanation of landmarks. €6.80
  • Stattreisen e.V.,  +49 221 7325113. this non-profit organization offers excellent tours of Cologne, led by volunteers. The prices are moderate and there is a huge list of tours, including (besides the more regular tours) Koelschtours (for testing the breweries) or language lessons in the local dialect (again, in a brewery). Ask for English tours, some guides are willing to conduct a normally German tour in English.
  • Rickshaws: environmentally friendly city tours. Rickshaws are exotic and environmentally friendly tricycles, that bring slowly and safely their passengers to their destination. By Rickshaw you will discover Cologne’s points of interest in a comfortable way.

Spa & Wellness


Spa and Massage

Beauty and spa treatments are popular in Cologne.

Just be aware that in typical German style, all sauna areas (referred to asSaunalandschaften, i.e. Sauna landscapes) are mixed (apart from the oddDamentag) and that bathing costumes are banned from them for hygienic reasons. Yup. Starkers, everybody. Do take a bathrobe (to keep you from the cold outside the saunas) and a large towel (to put under you in the saunas, no sweating on the wood, please) with you, though. Do not draw hasty conclusions either: mixed nudity does not make those places dens of sin, quite the contrary. Nudity is considered as the only appropriate outfit in saunas, and it all happens in a disciplined, wholesome, safe and respectful atmosphere. Possibly one of the highest forms of German civilisation one can experience. Gawkers and bathing costume-wearers will be expelled by the staff without qualms, so don't even think you can get away with playing the tourist who didn't know, it won't make a difference. That very matter-of factly, unerotic approach to mixed nudity may well turn out to be a revelation to many visitors open-minded enough to give it a try and go with the flow. You've been warned!

Sauna:

  • Claudius Therme. Large spa with pool and lots of different saunas (indoors and outdoors) next to the Rhine, north of Deutz.
  • Mauritius Therme. Decent Saunalanschaft in an hotel south of Neumarkt.
  • Mediterana. 11 saunas and a huge pool, in Bergisch Gladbach, East of Cologne.
  • monte mare Bedburg. Large Spa in West of Cologne.
  • Neptunbad. Located in the popular area of Ehrenfeld in an old renovated bath, to which an attractive "sauna landscape" in Japanese style on two levels has been added. Also a comprehensive fitness center.
  • Saunas in public swimming pools. Some of the public swimming pools managed by the Cologne city council, notably Agrippabad, do have smallSaunalandschaften too, all featuring a Damentag (ladies only day).

Massage:

  • Ananda. Tantra massage, an open minded and liberal attitude essential because the massages include sexually sensitive body parts, however, no sexual services are given by the employees.
  • Sukon - Thai Art Of Massage. Traditional Thai Massage - Institute, located in the city center. Thai native Massage- Therapists practise in the 160m² thai-styled studio original Royal Massage, Aromaoilmassage and Footmassage. This place does NOT offer any erotic massages.

Festivals and events


Carnival

The Cologne carnival is one of the largest street festivals in Europe. In Cologne, the carnival season officially starts on 11 November at 11 minutes past 11 a.m. with the proclamation of the new Carnival Season, and continues until Ash Wednesday. However, the so-called "Tolle Tage" (crazy days) do not start until Weiberfastnacht(Women's Carnival) or, in dialect, Wieverfastelovend, the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the street carnival. Zülpicher Strasse and its surroundings, Neumarkt square, Heumarkt and all bars and pubs in the city are crowded with people in costumes dancing and drinking in the streets. Hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to Cologne during this time. Generally, around a million people celebrate in the streets on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.


Music fairs and festivals

The city was home to the internationally famous Ringfest, and now to the C/o pop festival.

In addition, Cologne enjoys a thriving Christmas Market Weihnachtsmarkt presence with several locations in the city.

Nightlife

There are so many bars and pubs to choose from that you could spend most of the night going from one bar to the next. A really great bar is the Irish Pub, Flanagan's, in Altstadt located down below a building. Almost everybody speaks English in there if that's what you are looking for, and they have a really great Karaoke night on Sundays. The clientele is very friendly. For a comprehensive list, see this website, bars listed on the right.

  • For traditional breweries, head to the Altstadt around the Dom, where the "Früh Kölsch" brewery is the most famous, both with visitors and locals. You will find a younger crowd at "Hellers Brauhaus" on Roonstraße, near metro station Zülpicher Platz or "Brauhaus Pütz" on Engelbertstraße close to Rudolfplatz. Furthermore the "Päffgen", on the all-bar street Friesenstraße close to the Friesenplatz, and the "Mühlen" near Heumarkt are traditional brewery pubs but less touristy than the "Früh". Also recommended is "Sion", which is a lesser known brand, but hailed to be very good, although some beer enthusiasts have found it lacking character from 2007 on. Most Altstadt pubs are somewhat scorned as "tourist traps" by locals, however: prices here are usually higher than e.g. on Zülpicher Straße.
  • There are a lot of modern bars and lounges all around town. More mainstream ones are on Zülpicher Straße. For something more independent and funky on this street, try Umbruch (funky) or Stiefel (punky). The Low Budget on Aachener Straße next to Moltkestraße metro is a nice, unassuming, punky bar which features a fine selection of drinks and often hosts concerts, poetry or cabaret sessions.
  • A lot of stylish places are in the so-called Belgian quarter between Aachener Straße and the Ring, e.g. famous M20 or the Hallmackenreuther.
  • A secret Tip are the Bars of the alternative Szene in Cologne. Those you may find the most in Ehrenfeld, like the "Underground", or the "Sonic Ballroom", and in the Südstadt, for instance the "Tsunami Club" and the little pub "Lotta", but also in the famous Kwartier Lateng, which is near the University of Cologne, around the Barbarossaplatz, at the Zülpicher Straße and the Kyffhäuser Straße. If you are searching for something more rough, you may find some nice places to rock and roll, on the Schäl Sick in the cityparts Kalk, east from theKölnarena, like the little Trash Chic bar in the Wiersbergstreet, and in Mülheim, north from the Kölner Messe the little St. Pauli fanszene pub called "Limes", at the Mülheimer Freiheit street, near the Wiener Platz. But, this places are better to be known visited by the younger and not so rich people. So take care of your pockets.
  • Cafe Oscar (Oscar Bar & Cafe), Hohenstaufenring 25 (at the Zulpicher Platz S-Bahn stop). Awesome Italian restaurant that has a long running special of cheap cocktails after 5PM most nights, and pizza / pasta dishes for €3-4 daily before 6PM. Great place for lunch or an early dinner, and also a good base to kick off a night out. Staff are very friendly and generally speak English, and the food is excellent, as are the cocktails.

Kölsch

  • Früh am DomAm Hof 12 – 14(Just south of the cathedral, behind the Domhotel),  +49 221 2613- 211. Früh am Dom is a great place to try the local Kölsch brew.
  • Brauhaus Sion, Unter Taschenmacher 5 (Altstadt),  +49 221 - 257 85 40.
  • LommerzheimSiegesstrasse 18 (in Köln-Deutz (across the railway bridge)).

Club

  • "Bar Orange" - on Sudermannplatz, near Ebertplatz. Great atmosphere and great cocktails, or just a beer and a lively chat with Milan, the resident philosopher, or Rainer and Arash, experts on local goings on.
  • Blue Lounge Party. Every third Saturday, at the Bürgerhaus Stollwerck in Dreikönigenstrasse 23. Starts at 2200, tickets 5 €. Percussion-, Brazil-, balearic- and deep house, techno, trance. A must for people who like this kind of music.
  • #TAUSEND Bar. Aachener Strasse 57 (Moltkestraße metro): various events & music, nice bar styled by design students from the Köln International School of Design (KISD).
  • Bodycheck Party. Every second Saturday at the Filmhaus Köln on Maybachstrasse 111, metro station Hansaring. House, techno, always very good video projections.
  • 3Klang. On Ehrenfeldgürtel 127, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Every third Friday, 2200-0500.
  • Blue Lounge Bar. On Mathiasstrasse, lesbian bar. Off-shoot of the very successful party mentioned above.
  • Basswerk Session, bi-monthly, the second Saturday at GEBÄUDE 9, Deutz-Mülheimer Strasse 127-129 (tram 3 or 4, stop at KölnMesse/Osthallen), 2300–0500. Long-running and popular drum 'n' bass party in a defunct funky factory hall. Resident DJs often invite renowned guest DJs from the international d'n'b fringe. Alternates bi-monthly with the similar "Phonogenic" party in the same venue.
  • Art Of House Party. Once a month, the second or third Saturday atStadtgarten in Venloer Strasse 40 (Hans-Böckler Platz metro): nice and really crowded house Party, guests around 25.
  • Funky Chicken Club. Every Friday at Opernterassen next to the opera (Appellhofplatz metro): Cologne House Party since 16 years in a beautiful venue, always crowded, good House and Electronic Music.
  • Apropo. *, good Partys on Fridays and Saturdays with Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip Hop in a cosy venue located in Im Dau 17 (Ulrepforte or Severinstrasse metro) easy guests from 20 years on.
  • Sixpack* The place to be in 2011! Located in the vibrant Belgisches Viertel (Aachener Strasse 33 - next to Rudolfplatz) you should be aware to wait long or even get rejected especially at a late hour. Mixed music from Electro to Indie with a huge variety of bottled beer.
  • Subway. *, various parties from Hip Hop, Electro to Indie music with a hip but laid back audience (Moltkestrasse metro - next to Rudolfplatz).
  • Underground. * on Vogelsanger Str. 200, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Famous for concerts and partys with Rock, Metal, Punk and alternative music. Guests vary between 15 and 45.
  • Alter Wartesaal. * nifty bar and disco right beside the central station: various events & exclusive Parties
  • Die Werkstatt. * Houses clubs and concerts in an industrial area in Ehrenfeld.

Things to know


Talk

The distinctive flavour to the city of Cologne is often linked to the city's inhabitants, or Kölsche, who take an enormous amount of pride in their city. Cologne is a traditionally Ripuarian-speaking city, though this has mostly been replaced by German, which is now the main language of the city. English-speaking guides and information are available for many of the landmarks of the city. For tourists who speak German and wish to practice it, the citizens usually have a lot of patience with those trying to come to grips with the language. Cologne's citizens are very friendly and jovial people, welcoming tourists of all types and with all interests.

German is of course the language of this city but it is very easy to find information in French and English, also sometimes in Spanish and Japanese. Due to a large number of immigrants, Persian, Turkish, Polish and Russian are also widely spoken. Announcements in the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) are in German, French and English. Like many German cities and areas, Cologne also has a local dialect, called Kölsch, however all speakers will also be familiar with German.

Away from the landmarks, workers of the Deutsche Bahn (German railways) often speak English reasonably well, and ticket machines have a language selection feature. In general, older people in Cologne tend to have little or no knowledge of English, while younger Germans and those working in the business world tend to be reasonably proficient. Language is rarely a strong barrier, so this shouldn't be too much of a worry for the average tourist. Just approach a friendly native and use a smile on your face.


Orientation

Cologne lies on both side of the river Rhine, which flows through it in a northerly direction. The left hand, or western side, is Cologne proper with the Old Town (Altstadt), the famous cathedral and most landmarks and museums. The right side, or eastern side, used to be a separate town called Deutz - nowDeutz is a neighbourhood of Cologne.

Cologne is divided into 9 districts (Stadtbezirke), numbered from 1 to 9. Stadtbezirk 1, calledInnenstadt ("inner city"), is probably the one most tourists will spend all of their time in, as it contains most of the city's points of interest. It is also the only district that lies on both sides of the Rhine, as it includes Deutz. Districts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are on the western bank of the Rhine, and districts 7, 8 and 9 on the eastern bank, surrounding the Innenstadt.

Every Stadtbezirk is further divided into Stadtteile (literally "city parts", or "neighbourhoods"). TheInnenstadt includes Altstadt-Nordand Alstadt-Sued, two parts of the historic Old Town of Cologne facing the Rhine, divided by theL111 thoroughfare running from east to west (with the street names Cäcilienstraße – Neumarkt – Hahnenstraße), starting at the Deutzer Bruecke(bridge over the Rhine). The Altstadt is surrounded by a ring of wide avenues running over the former city walls of Cologne. They all have street names ending with the word Ring.

The part of Innenstadt lying on the outer side of the ring is the Neustadt, or "new town". Neustadt is further divided into Neustadt-Nord and Neustadt-Sued, also separated by L111 (Aachener Strasse). Both parts of the Neustadt form a crescent embracing the Altstadt and reaching the Rhine on either side thereof. Finally, facing the Altstadt and Neustadt on the other (eastern) side of the Rhine is the Stadtteil ofDeutz, which completes the Innenstadt.

Safety in Cologne

Stay Safe

Criminal activity in Cologne is similar to other big cities. Tourists should take normal safety precautions, particularly in the city centre, where pickpockets are known to be active. Also, be careful on the Ring, which is full of clubs and night-time crowds in the streets. During both day and night, it is advisable to be careful in outlying neighbourhoods like Chorweiler, Porz, Seeberg, Ostheim, Bocklemünd, Ossendorf, and Vingst. In general, avoid getting into fights and stay away from drunk people.

Very High / 8.0

Safety (Walking alone - day)

High / 6.5

Safety (Walking alone - night)

TOP

Pin It on Pinterest