Cologne is the fourth largest and most cultural city in Germany. It was founded by the Romans, which is why you can find extensive information related to Roman culture. You can also find various heritage sites, such as the Cologne Cathedral, churches and museums, and many others things that will encourage you to visit Cologne during your tour in Germany. So that you don’t miss out on any of the best places to see in Cologne, here are the places to visit, in order of their popularity among travellers.
Things to do in Cologne
Cologne Cathedral is the largest cathedral in Germany, and one of the most remarkable in the world. It deserves to be admired for several reasons, the main one, which you will notice at first sight, is its enormous size.
The towers are 157 metres high, the interior is 144 metres long and 45 metres wide, and the central nave is 45 metres high.
Even so, the real reason you have to see this majestic cathedral is the beautiful harmony it creates as a splendid work of Gothic art.
Go to the top of KölnTriangle
If you visit Cologne you cannot miss this viewpoint. It costs only 3 euros but you can see almost all of Cologne, from the tallest church towers to the smallest house. This viewpoint involves going up 28 floors by elevator and from there enjoying a wonderful panoramic view of Cologne.
Explore Flora and Botanical Garden
All botanical gardens have their charm, a living attraction that makes you connect with nature, and this one is no exception. With free admission and open until 6 pm, you have no excuse to miss this travel spot. Here you can find parrots and birds in the trees along with squirrels and other animals.
With ample space, you can walk leisurely through every corner of this garden. If you want to discover the different places within the garden, such as greenhouses, parks, different geographical flowers (such as the area dedicated to the alpine flora) areas of magnolias, among others, you should keep your fingers crossed for good weather. You will certainly want to take all the flowers home with you. And I don’t blame you, me too!
Walk around the Stadwald
If you want to spend a quiet day and disconnect from technology and the noise of the city Stadtwald is the ideal place for you to have a picnic in the green zone of Cologne. Perfect if you long to be surrounded by nature and the peace it gives you.
You can go alone or with your friends, children or your partner. But if you are not interested in picnic plans, you can also take a canoe ride for a fun or romantic afternoon.
Things to do around Cologne
If you are wondering whether every popular tourist site is in the centre of Cologne, the answer is no! Like most cities, you can find places of great cultural importance on further out. As is in the case of Cologne, you can find the following places of historical importance in the peripheries of this German city.
Visit the Augustusburg Palace
It is located in the city of Brühl, but don’t worry, it is very close to Cologne. The palace of Augustusburg exudes medieval charm. The dirt and stone paths, its impressive structure and well-kept garden that surrounds it, give it a magical environment.
You can try different activities here. It is worth mentioning the fact that there is no public transportation, and to get there you have to walk from the train station. So it is time for you to bring out your athletic side and go jogging or hiking, while appreciating the typical German houses along the way.
Things to do in Cologne in Christmas
If you are a chocolate lover, during your stay in Cologne, this museum is a must for you and for the little ones. As you will see, they will be surprised and delighted by the sheer variety of this beloved sweet.
More than being surprised and enchanted by the aromas and flavors of the chocolate, they will be able to learn through about the production of chocolate, how it is produced and what materials are used to make it through interactive activities.
Here. you will be able to discover the history of chocolate and how it has evolved to reach the form we know it today. At the same time, you can witness every step of the production process. You can even feel the climate of the land where the cocoa, the main material used to make chocolate, is planted.
Visit the Hohenzollern Bridge
One of the most visited sites in Cologne. This bridge connects the industrial area and the historical area of the city. With this in mind, I recommend planning an evening walk. Enjoy the scenery, the weather, and stop to admire the structure of the bridge, its surroundings, as you will find an incredible view of the Cathedral and Cologne.
You can also leave a candle along with all the others, as a representation of love. At Christmas time it is beautiful. You will want the night to last forever, as the Christmas lights and decorations make it look like an enchanted place.
See the Reliquary of the Three Kings
At over 1200 years old the Reliquary of the Three Kings is a cathedral that you cannot miss during the festivities of December and much less in January. Known by all, the three wise men were those who followed a star to praise Jesus on the day of his birth. Due to the amount of mysticism surrounding them, this cathedral is the tourist place par excellence.
Its architecture is considered a jewel by every tourist who sees it. Even so, the best of this cathedral is inside, in the “Reliquary of the Magi”.
When you look at the reliquary, you will think it is gold. It has the shape of a basilica: two sarcophagi stand side by side, with the third sarcophagus resting on the ridges of their roofs. The ends are completely covered, so there is no visible space between the sarcophagi. The basic structure is made of wood, with a layer of gold and silver decorated with filigree, enamel and hundreds of jewels and beads.
Go to the Old Market
It’s the square of the historic centre of Cologne, with colourful buildings in which you will find restaurants, stores, bars, and much more. It is not only a commercial square but also a historical one. Here is the monument of Jan Von Werth in the fountain in the centre of the square. Tour guides will tell you the story of this brave knight.
Travellers often wonder why the old market square is so popular at Christmas time. This is because in December this historic square is decorated to fit the Christmas atmosphere; you will find great decorations that give night life to this square. Also, you will find an ice rink, so you can enjoy a cold night skating with your group of friends.
Things to do in Cologne with kids
Get to know the Lindenthaler Tier Park
If you want to spend a nice afternoon with your little ones this zoo is ideal. Lindenthaler Park in general is very large and spacious. In the middle of the park there is an entrance leading to the animals. A great place especially for children to meet donkeys, goats, chickens, cattle, fallow deer and different bird species.
Well-made signs indicate that the feeders are empty with phrases such as “Is the machine empty? Then the animals full!” If they are hungry you can feed them by buying from some stalls that sell candy or waffles.
You can’t miss this park if you want to give your little ones an unforgettable experience; it has so many attractions and games and you will want to try them all.
The setting is cared for down to the last detail. Everywhere you look you feel like you are in the world they have created with the ambient music, the bathrooms, the costumed workers, the attractions themselves in full action. Here, you can find incredible attractions such as Taron, which is the one that stands out the most, even a roller coaster with VR glasses.
Enjoy the Black Mamba
Who doesn’t love roller coasters? They are fast and thrilling, so if you are a thrill-seeker, this roller coaster is your top destination in Cologne.
A very good roller coaster, very fast and always cool, especially since the waiting time is usually not too long. The ride is also relatively long and fun – amazing roller coaster!
Chiapas Water Ride
Chiapas is a great waterway. The waiting time is a little longer, but the ride is a lot of fun. The track is very well designed and nicely decorated. The train also runs a bit backwards. Thrills are guaranteed on the last hill if you run almost vertically at more than 70 km / h. At the end you will get quite wet.
For some tourists, this is by far the best of the water slides. It’s a lot of fun and you have to be very lucky to stay dry.
JUMP House Cologne
The feeling of jumping and feeling on top, almost of flying, is guaranteed by the Jump House in Cologne. If you are looking for a perfect place to play with your children, this is the right place. Both adults and children can spend an extraordinary day!
Itineraries for your trip to Cologne
Cologne is a place full of history and interesting places to see. Clearly, we understand that there are so many spots that it is simply too easy to get lost in them, or not know where to start. Therefore, here we will help you organise your trip so that you don’t miss out on exploring everything that Cologne has to offer.
Things to do in Cologne in 1 day
- Go to the KölnTriangle
- Visit the Hohenzollern Bridge
- Go to the Cologne Cathedral
- Have fun at Black Mamba
Things to do in Cologne in 2 days
- Visit the Lindenthaler Tier Park
- Visit the Chocolate Museum
- See the Rliquary of the Three Wise Men
- Enjoy the Chiapas Water Ride
Things to do in Cologne in 3 days
- Explore Cologne’s Flora and Botanical Garden
- Visit Augustusburg Palace
- Stroll trough the Stardwald
- Visit the Old Market
- Visit the Ludwig Museum
- Wallraf-Richartz Museum Phantasialand
- JUMP House Cologne
How to plan the things to do in Cologne?
If you want to prepare your travel itinerary in a more organised and easy way, we recommend downloading the Passporter App.
With this app, you can prepare your itinerary based on other travellers experiences, as well as saving the places you want to visit. You can also organise your route with Google Maps, keep your tickets for events and even share your own pictures in your traveller profile for other Passporter users.
If you want to learn more about how to use the app, check our post: How to create your travel itinerary with Passporter.