The Top 20 Free Activities in Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a beautiful city in Germany that is full of culture and history. It is also a great place to visit if you are looking for free things to do. Looking for things to do in Cologne, Germany that won’t break the bank? Check out this list of the top 20 free activities in the city! From museums and historic landmarks to parks and outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

 

1. Visit the Cologne Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. Build in the 12th century, the cathedral is home to an impressive collection of art and artifacts. Visitors can explore the cathedral’s many rooms and chambers, which are filled with paintings, sculptures, and stained glass windows.

Best of all, admission to the Cologne Cathedral is free. In addition to its many historical attractions, the city of Cologne also offers a variety of free activities for visitors. Guests can stroll through the picturesque Old Town, relax in one of the city’s many parks, or take a boat ride down the Rhine River.

With so much to see and do, Cologne is a great destination for a budget-friendly vacation.

Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Visit the Cologne Cathedral
Visit the Cologne Cathedral

 

2. See the City From Atop the Cologne Tower

The Cologne Tower is located in the heart of the city, and at just over 500 feet tall, it’s one of the tallest structures in the area. Visitors can take a quick elevator ride to the top, where they’ll be treated to panoramic views of Cologne and beyond. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to the nearby Rhine River.

But that’s not all – the Cologne Tower is also home to a number of other attractions. There’s a restaurant and bar with outdoor seating for visitors who want to enjoy a bite or a drink with a view. There’s also an outdoor deck where you can get up close and personal with some of Cologne’s most iconic landmarks, including the magnificent Cathedral.

So whether you’re looking for breathtaking views or a unique photo opportunity, be sure to head to the top of the Cologne Tower!

Address: Unter Taschenmacher 5, 50667 Köln, Germany

See the City From Atop the Cologne Tower
See the City From Atop the Cologne Tower

 

3. Admire the Art at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum

The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cologne, Germany. The museum is home to a large collection of art, ranging from ancient sculptures to modern paintings. Visitors can admire the artworks on display, or take part in one of the many free activities that the museum offers.

For example, the museum hosts regular guided tours, which provide an opportunity to learn about the history and meaning of the art on display. In addition, the museum often holds special exhibitions, which are a great way to see works by famous artists that you might not otherwise have the chance to see. Whether you’re an art lover or simply looking for something to do on a rainy day, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum is sure to offer an enjoyable experience.

Address: Obenmarspforten 40, 50667 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Admire the Art at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum
Admire the Art at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum

 

4. Discover World-Class Shopping on Schildergasse

Discover World-Class Shopping on Schildergasse. No trip to Cologne, Germany is complete without spending some time shopping on Schildergasse. This world-renowned street is home to a variety of high-end shops, boutiques, and department stores.

In addition, there are a number of delicious restaurants and cafes to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or unique souvenirs, you’re sure to find them on Schildergasse. And best of all, the street is located in the heart of Cologne’s historic center, so you can easily explore the rest of the city after a day of shopping. So make sure to add Schildergasse to your list of must-visit places in Cologne!

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Discover World-Class Shopping on Schildergasse
Discover World-Class Shopping on Schildergasse

 

5. Stroll Along the Rhine Promenade

If you’re looking for a fun and free activity to do in Cologne, Germany, then take a stroll along the Rhine Promenade. This scenic walking path runs along the banks of the Rhine River, offering stunning views of the river, the city skyline, and the famous Cologne Cathedral. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll or going for a brisk walk or run, the Rhine Promenade is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise.

And if you work up an appetite, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants along the way where you can stop for a bite to eat. So make sure to add the Rhine Promenade to your list of things to do when visiting Cologne!

Address: Hermann-Pünder-Straße 1A, 50679 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Stroll Along the Rhine Promenade
Stroll Along the Rhine Promenade

 

6. Marvel at the Gothic Architecture of Cologne City Hall

Marvel at the Gothic Architecture of Cologne City Hall The stunning architecture of Cologne City Hall is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Germany. The grandiose building was constructed between 1248 and 1280 in the Gothic style, and it houses a number of important historical artifacts. The highlights of the building include the magnificent stained glass windows, the ornately carved stone facade, and the imposing towers.

Visitors can also explore the underground tunnels, which were used as a bomb shelters during World War II. Best of all, admission to the City Hall is free, making it a great activity for budget-conscious travelers.

Address: Historisches Rathaus, Rathauspl. 2, 50667 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Marvel at the Gothic Architecture of Cologne City Hall
Marvel at the Gothic Architecture of Cologne City Hall

 

7. Catch a Free Performance at the Cologne Opera House

Looking for something fun and free to do in Cologne? Consider catching a performance at the Cologne Opera House. The Opera House offers a variety of performances throughout the year, ranging from operas and ballets to concerts and plays. Best of all, many of these performances are free or discounted for students. So whether you’re a cultural aficionado or just looking for a little entertainment, be sure to check out the Cologne Opera House. You might just be surprised at what you find.

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Catch a Free Performance at the Cologne Opera House
Catch a Free Performance at the Cologne Opera House

 

8. Get a Bird’s-Eye View From the Hohenzollern Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge is one of the most popular attractions in Cologne, Germany. Spanning the Rhine River, the bridge provides stunning views of the cityscape. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of free activities, including watching the boats travel up and down the river or simply taking in the panoramic view from the top of the bridge.

On a clear day, you can even see the skyline of Frankfurt in the distance. Whether you’re looking for a photo opportunity or just want to take in the sights, a visit to the Hohenzollern Bridge is sure to be a memorable experience.

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Get a Bird’s-Eye View From the Hohenzollern Bridge
Get a Bird’s-Eye View From the Hohenzollern Bridge

 

9. Learn About Cologne’s History at the Romano-Germanic Museum

When visiting Cologne, Germany be sure to check out the Romano-Germanic Museum. This museum has a wide variety of exhibits that cover the history of Cologne from its establishment by the Romans to the present day. The museum is located in a beautiful old building and it is definitely worth a visit.

One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Roman artifacts. These pieces give visitors a glimpse into what life was like in Cologne during the Roman era. There are also several exhibits that focus on Cologne’s medieval history. The Romano-Germanic Museum is a great place to learn about the rich history of this fascinating city.

Address: Roncallipl., 50667 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Learn About Cologne’s History at the Romano-Germanic Museum
Learn About Cologne’s History at the Romano-Germanic Museum

 

10. Enjoy the Greenery in Alter Markt Square

Alter Markt Square is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cologne, Germany. The square is home to a number of historical buildings, including the City Hall and the Gothic Church of St. Martin. Alter Markt square is also known for its greenery, with a number of trees and shrubs providing a refreshing oasis in the heart of the city.

Visitors to Alter Markt square can enjoy a number of free activities, including taking a stroll through the square, admiring the architecture, or simply relaxing in the shade of the trees. With its central location and wealth of things to see and do, Alter Markt square is an essential stop on any trip to Cologne.

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Enjoy the Greenery in Alter Markt Square
Enjoy the Greenery in Alter Markt Square

 

11. People Watch From Heumarkt Square

Heumarkt is a public square located in the old town of Cologne, Germany. The name Heumarkt translates to “hay market” which is appropriate as the Cologne Cathedral looms in the background. This Gothic-style cathedral is one of Germany’s most distinctive and popular landmarks, attracting over 20 million visitors each year.

The Heumarkt square is a great place to people-watch while enjoying free activities in Cologne. There are often street performers and musicians playing for tips, and the area is always bustling with locals and tourists alike. If you’re looking for a place to relax and soak up the atmosphere of this historic city, Heumarkt square is the perfect spot.

Address: 50667 Köln, Germany

People Watch From Heumarkt Square
People Watch From Heumarkt Square

 

12. See the City’s Landmarks From the Kölner Dom Observation Deck

The Kölner Dom is one of Cologne’s most iconic landmarks, and its observation deck offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can ascend to the deck via a spiral staircase or an elevator, and there is also a café on the premises. From the deck, visitors can see some of Cologne’s other popular landmarks, such as the Hohenzollern Bridge and the opulent City Hall.

The view is particularly stunning at night when the city is illuminated by twinkling lights. Whether you’re a visitor or a local, the Kölner Dom observation deck is definitely worth a visit.

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

See the City’s Landmarks From the Kölner Dom Observation Deck
See the City’s Landmarks From the Kölner Dom Observation Deck

 

13. Browse the Stalls at Cologne Christmas Market

Wintertime in Cologne is a special time of year. The air is crisper, the days are shorter, and the city is adorned with twinkling lights. One of the best ways to enjoy the festive atmosphere is to browse the stalls at Cologne Christmas Market. Held annually in Deutschlandhalle, the market features over 200 stalls selling a variety of goods, from handcrafted toys and jewelry to delicious Christmas treats.

There is also a large selection of mulled wine and other hot beverages to keep you warm as you wander from stall to stall. Best of all, admission to the market is free, so you can browse to your heart’s content without breaking the bank. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts or simply want to soak up the holiday atmosphere, Cologne Christmas Market is well worth a visit.

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Browse the Stalls at Cologne Christmas Market
Browse the Stalls at Cologne Christmas Market

 

14. Learn About Traditional German Culture at the Chocolate Museum

Looking to learn about traditional German culture? A visit to the Chocolate Museum in Cologne is a great way to do just that! This free museum offers a fascinating look at the history of chocolate, from its early origins to its modern-day popularity.

You’ll also get to see how chocolate is made, and you might even get to sample some of the delicious products! As an added bonus, the Chocolate Museum is located in the heart of Cologne’s historic city center, so you can explore all the other sights and attractions the area has to offer after your visit. Whether you’re a chocoholic or not, a trip to the Chocolate Museum is sure to be a sweet experience!

Address: Am Schokoladenmuseum 1A, 50678 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Learn About Traditional German Culture at the Chocolate Museum
Learn About Traditional German Culture at the Chocolate Museum

 

15. Admire the Views From the Top of the Flora Column

The Flora Column provides the perfect opportunity to do just that. Located in Brunnenplatz, this delightful piece of public art offers visitors a chance to admire stunning views of Cologne from atop a beautiful marble column. The best part? It’s absolutely free to enjoy.

The Flora Column was built in 1883 to commemorate the Silver Wedding Anniversary of King Wilhelm I and Queen Augusta. It stands 26 meters tall and is adorned with beautiful sculptures, bas-reliefs, and carvings. Visitors can climb a spiral staircase to reach the viewing platform, where they’ll be treated to sweeping views of the cityscape. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to the Siebengebirge mountains in the distance.

So whether you’re looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon or simply want to enjoy some of Cologne’s finest views, be sure to head to Brunnenplatz and check out the Flora Column.

Address: Heumarkt, 50667 Köln, Germany

Admire the Views From the Top of the Flora Column
Admire the Views From the Top of the Flora Column

 

16. Discover European Art at the Ludwig Museum

The Ludwig Museum in Cologne is one of the most important museums of European art. It is home to an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, and prints from the medieval period to the present day. The museum also has excellent temporary exhibitions, which feature works by contemporary artists.

Admission to the museum is free, making it an ideal place to explore European art without spending a lot of money. Visitors can also take advantage of the museum’s many educational programs, which include guided tours and hands-on workshops. Whether you’re a die-hard art fan or simply looking for a way to spend an afternoon, the Ludwig Museum is definitely worth a visit.

Address: Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Discover European Art at the Ludwig Museum
Discover European Art at the Ludwig Museum

 

17. Get a Taste of Local Nightlife at the Kölner Karneval

Then be sure to check out the Kölner Karneval! This annual event is a great way to experience some of the local cultures and have a great time. Held every year in February or March, the Kölner Karneval is one of the biggest and most popular Carnival celebrations in all of Europe.

The festivities begin on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and continue through the following Tuesday. During this time, locals and visitors alike dress up in costumes and enjoy a variety of different events and activities. One of the best parts of the Kölner Karneval is the Street Carnival.

This event features a large parade that winds its way through the streets of Cologne, with floats, dancers, and musicians all taking part. The parade is free to watch, and it’s a great way to get a taste of the local culture. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, there are also many smaller events and parties that take place during the Kölner Karneval.

These can be found throughout the city and are usually free to enter. So whether you want to experience the big parade or just enjoy some smaller parties, be sure to check out the Kölner Karneval during your stay in Cologne!

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Get a Taste of Local Nightlife at the Kölner Karneval
Get a Taste of Local Nightlife at the Kölner Karneval

 

18. Attend a Service at the Cologne Cathedral

The Cologne Cathedral is a must-see for anyone visiting the city. The imposing Gothic structure is one of the largest and most visited churches in Germany, attracting more than 20 million visitors each year. But the cathedral is more than just a tourist attraction; it is also an active place of worship.

Mass is held daily, and the cathedral hosts a variety of other services throughout the week. Visitors are welcome to attend any of these services, giving them a chance to experience the spiritual side of the cathedral. Even if you are not religious, participating in a service at the Cologne Cathedral is a moving and memorable experience.

Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Attend a Service at the Cologne Cathedral
Attend a Service at the Cologne Cathedral

 

19. Take a Scenic Walk Through the Cologne Zoological Gardens

Cologne is home to a number of beautiful parks and gardens, but the Cologne Zoological Gardens are definitely worth a visit. As one of the oldest zoos in Germany, it boasts a variety of unique animal species and attractively landscaped grounds. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, stopping to admire the animals or take in the stunning views.

The zoo also has a number of special exhibits, including a tropical aquarium and an outdoor section for goats and sheep. Best of all, admission to the Cologne Zoological Gardens is free! So whether you’re a local looking for a new place to explore or a tourist wanting to save some money, be sure to add this scenic spot to your itinerary.

Address: Riehler Str. 173, 50735 Köln, Germany

For pictures, booking, and more information, click here.

Take a Scenic Walk Through the Cologne Zoological Gardens
Take a Scenic Walk Through the Cologne Zoological Gardens

 

20. Visit the Cologne Chocolate Factory & Café

Looking to find something sweet to do while in Cologne, Germany? Then a visit to the Cologne Chocolate Factory & Café is a must! The first thing guests will notice upon entering is the tantalizing smell of chocolate permeating the air.

The next thing they’ll see is the large glass windows behind which the chocolates are being made. Guests are then free to explore the café, where they can sample some of the delicious confections on offer. There’s also a play area for kids, making this a great stop for families. And best of all, admission is free! So be sure to add a visit to the Cologne Chocolate Factory & Café to your itinerary when exploring this historic city.

Address: Am Hahnentor 5-7, 50676 Köln, Germany

Visit the Cologne Chocolate Factory & Café
Visit the Cologne Chocolate Factory & Café

 

In Conclusion

There you have it! The top 20 free activities to enjoy in Cologne, Germany. From attending the famous Street Carnival to exploring the scenic Zoological Gardens, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this historic city. So be sure to add some (or all!) of these activities to your itinerary when planning your trip to Cologne.

So what have we had so far?
Simply Germany
Simply Germany

Our goal is to provide reliable, up-to-date, relevant and quality information that will help anyone planning a vacation in Germany to get to exactly these places, easily and simply. We do it also because we love Germany, but mostly because we really like to help.