If you are looking for an excuse to make a trip to Germany, here are 5 things to do in the city of Cologne. Before we get started, Cologne is Germany’s 4th biggest city and home to the University of Cologne, one of Europe’s oldest universities.
Visit the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
The Dom, or Cathedral in English is Cologne’s biggest landmark. 1,000s of tourists visiting the 140+ metre Roman Catholic church each day. The Dom is located outside of Cologne’s central train station (Köln Hauptbahnhof/ Köln Hbf), making it accessible for tourists visiting from both abroad and other German cities. Our train ticket was €11.10 for a group of five which seemed like a bargain compared to back home.
For a €3 fee, you can climb the 533 steps up a narrow, winding staircase of the Dom with no lifts for the way back down. There’s a view from the top if you have the energy and fitness to make it up there. Otherwise, the Dom is an impressive site itself viewing from the bottom.
Visit Cologne Zoo (Kölner Zoo)
The zoo in Cologne is accessible for €15 for a day pass (cheaper for students and children). There are thousands of animals living within the grounds which includes an aquarium. More animals inhabit in Cologne Zoo than any other zoo in Germany, and the world’s largest elephant park in Northern Europe.
Cologne Zoo is a great day out for the family, especially on a nice summer’s day.
Smell the No. 4711 Shop
The forty-seven eleven shop is home to the famous Eau de Cologne perfume. These shops are simply full of bottles of all sizes of the perfume. A girl’s dream. The particular shop we visited had a tap running of the perfume pouring out. Try before you buy. Or in our case, try and walk out of the shop. Eau de Cologne has a very strong, distinctive scent.
The Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke) crosses the river Rhine. A bridge that survived World War II (whereas the Cathedral was badly damaged) has been full of love padlocks between the sidewalk and tracks.
If you visit Cologne with your partner, a romantic walk across the Hohenzollern Bridge is a must. Make sure you come prepared with a padlock and prepared to throw the key in the Rhine.
Taste the Local Beer!
Kölsch is the local beer in Cologne, with thirteen breweries producing their versions. During our short stay in Germany, we tasted Gaffel, Früh and Dom. Most bars serve your beer in 0.2L glasses for around €1, which for an Englishman like me was just a sip. I cannot deny each drink was fresh though.
One thing we did do in one bar we visited in Cologne was drink from a €34 barrel. That lasted the small group of us the evening!