Cologne can trace its roots back to the ancient centuries, when it was established as a Roman provincial capital and military stronghold. In fact, one of its most appealing features for tourists is that it retains elements from all the various periods of its long history. I visited to Cologne in November, 2021 for a weekend and has got me spellbound. The infrastructure, the connectivity and the mix of modern and old touch is absolutely spectacular. Loved the fact that the city is pretty much walkable. Moreover, considering the pandemic times, there wasn’t any hassle regarding passenger forms. We just upload our Covid certificate forms while checking in our flights and that’s it.
Now, to ensure you make the most of your sightseeing time, be sure to read through my list of the top things which are absolutely hard to miss in Cologne and is my personal favourite.
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)is located near the left bank of the Rhine. It is the city’s towering landmark, officially called the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary (Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus). This magnificent masterpiece of High Gothic architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It has been one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, which was started in 1248 and is considered the most ambitious building project of the Middle Ages. As impressive as its 157-meter-tall twin towers is the cathedral’s incredible interior, a must-see when visiting this bustling city.
This is hard to miss for anyone visiting the city as you can see the tower from pretty much anywhere from the city.
Find the details here:
Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Cologne
Official site: www.koelner-dom.de/en/first-page
THE HISTORIC OLD TOWN OF COLOGNE
As you explore Cologne’s city center (Innenstadt), you’ll probably also cross the city’s lovely Old Town (Altstadt). In addition to old churches such as Great St. Martin, you’ll find yourself strolling around countless cobbled alleys lined with traditional old houses, many now home to boutique shops, galleries, cafés, and restaurants.
And with its many pleasant paths along the Rhine river, you’ll find lots opportunity to enjoy great views and find ample choice of restaurants as you plan your route through this ancient city. You’ll also find yourself in awe of the countless monuments and fountains around the area, along with its Archaeological Zone, with its many ancient ruins and artifacts.
If you’re visiting the bars and restaurants here, don’t miss a pint of German beer, Kölsch. Its pretty popular and quite cheap as well.
THE CHOCOLATE MUSEUM – Schokoladenmuseum
The Cologne Chocolate Museum called Schokoladenmuseum by Hans Imhoff dating back to 1972 discovered rubbish container filled with broken machinery, packaging material, and other remnants of chocolate manufacture. This inspired him and he started the Stollwerck chocolate factory. He began by preserving and restoring these materials as the basis for the museum, where exhibits follow the entire process from bean to the finished packaged product.
There are interactive displays, collections of molds, antique chocolate boxes and wrappers, plus free samples from the chocolate fountain. There’s even a working production line where you can watch chocolates being made. Exciting and fun part is that you can even design your own chocolate bar to take home with you.
Address: Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, 50678 Cologne
Official site: www.schokoladenmuseum.de/en/
Also; if you fancy Ferris wheel, there is one right outside the museum which you can enjoy to get a whole view of the city and the river.
For a little bit more fun, also try out the toy train right outside the museum which will take you on a ride around the city while narrating the history of different places in the area.
These were my favourite places in Cologne. Since I had only a weekend I wasn’t able to visit all the places. But if you visit for more number of days then there are some other attractions you might fancy visiting. Some are listed below:
- Cologne City Hall (Rathaus)
- Rhine river Cruise
- The Wallraf-Richartz & Ludwig Museums
- NS Documentation Centre of the City of Cologne
- Cologne Zoological Gardens
- Cable Car ride for Bird’s Eye View of Cologne
- Visit Cologne Triangle in the evening to watch the panoramic view of the lit up city
- Flora and Botanical Garden
- The Roman-Germanic Museum
- Brühl: Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces
- St. Gereon’s Basilica
- Altenberg Cathedral