The city of Cologne, located in the western part of Germany, is a very large city with over a million inhabitants. There are masses of immigrants in the city (almost 40 percent of them from Turkey and quite a few others from other countries in the world), which is evident in various points in it and especially in the quarters where foreign populations live. In Cologne there are also Italians, Yugoslavians (formerly) and of course also natives of the country, which is reflected, among other things, in the cultural wealth it offers.
The official founding date of Cologne is in 50 AD, and this is also the reason why it is seen as a kind of amazing jumble of ancient buildings that are hundreds of years old, next to modern and invested new buildings. Spectacular cathedrals, museums, rich nightlife, good restaurants and a host of attractions, all these and more can be found in this charming city that seems, at least recently, to become and occupy a place of honor in the list of German tourist cities.
Cologne is not far from the border with Belgium and the Netherlands. The access from it to these countries and from them to it is convenient and easy and this is also the reason why many travelers usually combine their visit with the neighboring countries. Due to its proximity to the Rhine River, known as one of the largest rivers in Europe, the city was, and still is today, a very important traffic center. Cologne is divided into several parts, connected to each other by a total of seven bridges that pass over the river, and quite a few Israelis, who have discovered its beauty and beauty, have been flocking to it recently.
As befits a touristic and developed city, in Cologne too you can find a wide selection of places to stay, scattered in different parts of it. Those with a high budget will be able to find plenty of luxurious and luxurious hotels, most of which are rated at the 5-star level, and those with a low budget will also find good solutions in the form of hostels or apartments for a fixed period of days. Airbnb is also a very popular solution there as well as apartment hotels, which are mainly suitable for all travelers planning a long stay there.
Those who are interested can also choose one of the hotels adjacent to the airport. This way you can save time and get directly to the flight. This option is often chosen by business people who arrive in the city for a limited time or those who arrive there for 24 hours in order to continue from there to another flight, leaving for the next destination. Be that as it may, you should make sure to book a place to stay in advance, especially if you plan to come to the city near Christmas or during the summer months, June and July, when it is packed with quite a few visitors.
To find the best place to stay, it is very useful to compare different parameters besides the price, such as the location of the place to stay (it is recommended to choose a place to stay in a central area of Cologne), the facilities it includes, the services it offers and promotions that can reduce costs.
Cologne, as mentioned, is a city of immigrants. It has a huge selection of restaurants and cuisines of all kinds, offering almost everything from everything. While wandering around the city you can find typical German restaurants, Asian restaurants, Mediterranean restaurants, kosher Jewish restaurants and of course also vegetarian and even vegan restaurants that are increasingly taking a place of honor in Cologne. There are fast food chains in the city, restaurants that offer cheap and satisfying food as well as those that are considered very prestigious.
The local pubs in the city, apart from a selection of beers and alcoholic beverages of all kinds, also offer a food menu, based on a variety of fine and above all – satisfying dishes. This way you can use one of the evenings to visit a warm and cozy pub, enjoy delicious food and good music. In almost every such pub you can find sausages, which are perhaps one of the most popular local dishes, you can also find thin schnitzels and of course potato salad, which is often preferred much more than chips or any other fried dish.
The street food in Cologne is perhaps the highlight of the city, both due to its simplicity, being cheap and very accessible, and thanks to the selection of options offered to the hungry. Restaurants, offering street food, are open every day and you can enjoy a good breakfast, a rich and tasty lunch, a light snack or a pampering dinner. Usually they will be very busy during the lunch hours, so locals and tourists from all over the world come to them.
Being a particularly ancient city with a very rich historical past, Cologne offers a wide variety of buildings that are hundreds of years old and even more. While wandering around Cologne it is hard not to notice the skyline, which includes a great combination of old and new buildings, which compare to the city with its special appearance. As in other cities in Germany and Europe as a whole, Cologne also has large and impressive cathedrals as well as quite a few museums, which are recommended to visit.
Important tip: Planning a short or long stay in Cologne? KolnCard is the right solution for you. This card allows you to travel free of charge on public transportation within the city itself, as well as a 50 percent discount on entrance to the various museums in the city, to the restaurants, to the shops in the city, as well as to the attractions it has. The ticket can be ordered online. And the cost: a ticket for 24 hours in the city will cost you 9 euros and for a group it will cost 19 euros, a ticket for 48 hours in the city will cost 18 euros and for a group – 38 euros. If you do not order the ticket online, you can purchase it in the city itself at various service points and at travel agents. This is a great way to save money and make the most of your visit to Cologne.
Here is a short overview of attractions in Cologne that warrant a stop:
This is one of the most impressive buildings in Cologne and also among the most impressive in Germany as a whole and in the world in general. The Cologne Cathedral is a Gothic Catholic cathedral known as one of the most prominent symbols of the city. It stands right in the center of the old city and has been recognized, since 1996, as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its maximum height is about 157 meters and its pointed towers add to its very special appearance, one that is hard to ignore. This cathedral has received no A few hits and bombings during World War II, and although many buildings around it were destroyed, it never collapsed. In the 80s of the 20th century, the cathedral underwent renovation and reconstruction.
This special museum, which first opened in October 1993, is one of the special museums in the city. It features exhibits on various topics related to chocolate, including those that tell its long history. While visiting the museum, you can learn about ancient and contemporary production methods of chocolate as well as about different types of products made from it. Guided tours are held in the museum and it is cataloged as one of the ten most successful museums in Germany.
If you are an art lover, don’t miss this museum. The Ludwig Museum, which opened for the first time in 1976, is a modern art museum that, apart from its interesting collections, is designed and planned in a very different and special way. It has a large wing that focuses entirely on pop art (with the works of Andy Warhol, among others) as well as other impressive collections, which include the works of the best artists, such as Marc Chagall, Picasso and more.
This is Cologne’s famous zoo, with over 10,000 animals and more than 850 different species. The total area of the zoo is about 20 dunams and it also has a display of an aquarium with underwater animals as well as animals that are in danger of extinction. The garden is active in nature conservation and research, focusing on the animals of Vietnam and Madagascar. The zoo was established in 1860 and was closed for two consecutive years after it was completely destroyed during World War II. It was reopened in 1947 and new parts were added over the years. This lovely zoo also has a large elephant park, a hippopotamus house, an artificial rain forest and much more.
This impressive church is a Roman Catholic church that is an attraction in itself. It is one of the oldest churches (it is thought that its foundations were built in 960 AD) and it rests on the remains of a Roman chapel. The current structure of the church, as well as its tower, were built between 1150-1250 and are part of an inspiring architectural plan. After being severely damaged during World War II, the church was renovated and restored and its construction was completed in 1985.
Cologne also boasts beautiful botanical gardens, which are considered its green bubble, where quite a few people spend time looking for peace, tranquility and calm. These gardens are an official city park along with a botanical garden and are located next to the Cologne Zoological Garden. They are open to visitors daily free of charge and some speculate that they were first opened to the public in 1863, as a replacement for Cologne’s old botanical garden, which was adjacent to its cathedral. The garden has design elements in the French Baroque style, the Italian Renaissance style, as well as glass and iron structures.
The Rhine Park is a very large urban park, covering an area of 40 dunams. It is located along the right bank of the Rhine River in Cologne and attracts many visitors especially on pleasant sunny days. Along with charming paths, beautiful Hamed corners and walking tracks, the park also has a theater that holds its performances in the open air and other surprises. The park was crowned in 2007 as the most successful urban park in Germany.
Being a large city, Cologne offers its visitors as well as its residents, a wide variety of transportation solutions. This is also the reason why many visitors to the city choose not to rent a car and take advantage of everything it has to offer. At the same time, for those who plan to go from Cologne to nearby cities or take advantage of the opportunity for a more comprehensive trip in Germany and neighboring cities, renting a car in Cologne is undoubtedly the right solution. You can pre-order a rental car through one of the car rental companies and pick it up at the airport or at the same company’s branches in the city.
As of today there are no direct flights to Cologne. For all those who wish to reach Cologne, a variety of flights with stopovers in various European destinations are offered. These flights are operated by various airlines, such as Lufthansa, Wise-Air, EasyJet, Pegasus, Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Turkish Airlines and more.
These flights land or take off from the Cologne airport, which is 15 km from the city and serves many international airlines. It is a very large airport and one of the only ones in Germany that operates 24 hours a day non-stop. From there the city can be reached by public transport, taxis or Shuttles or by rental car, for those who choose to rent one.
Cologne is worth visiting in any season. During the summer months the city is warm and pleasant and a wide variety of events are held there, while in the winter the Christmas atmosphere adds quite a bit to the winter charm of the city and the visit becomes an experience like no other.
For those who choose to fly to Cologne, you should take into account special events, which are recommended to include during the visit:
The winter events open in Cologne with a colorfulness like no other. Seven different markets are held in the city around Christmas every year, with the four largest of them being held in the square of the Cologne Cathedral. Scattered in these markets are a selection of spectacular stalls, offering for sale local produce as well as holiday gifts. In the very same square, a huge fir tree is placed for him, decorated with spectacular colored lights. Various performances are also held there and children’s activities are offered.
Every year during the month of February/March a huge carnival is held in Cologne, which includes spectacular colorful parades and great surprises. It is a carnival full of fun, enjoyment and laughter and it attracts millions of visitors to the city every year. This is a week of celebrations until the wee hours of the night, when the old market square is the main center of joy of the celebration. The carnival itself begins on the Thursday before the Christian fast, during which street parties are also held and the great joy is expressed in all the streets.