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  • Writer's pictureTania Andreea

A day in Cologne, Germany

Updated: Jan 23

With a history of over 2000 years, the city of Cologne is one of the oldest cities of Germany, being elevated to the rank of a colony in 80 AD by the Romans. Also in the same period, this city was called Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, the first part of the name being kept in today's name.


Cologne ranks 4th in the top of the largest cities in Germany and is known both for the invention of cologne water and for being the home of one of the oldest cathedrals in Germany.


For the trip to this city on the banks of the Rhine, we had only one day, a little bit too short, certainly two days would have been enough to visit the most important tourist attractions. But since we never know what the future holds, if we ever return to Cologne, we will still have things to do and tourist attractions to check off.


HOW TO GET TO COLOGNE


The easiest way to get to Cologne is by plane. Most airline companies have direct flight to Bonn Airport.


There are regular trains from the airport to the Cologne Train Station. I have to admit that it was a bit difficult for us to buy the tickets, as all the names are in German. We had to get to the central station and there was absolutely no indication of which route we should choose, so we asked someone to help us. On the way back, because I didn't want any more hassle, I booked a taxi through the Free Now application (which can be used in several countries and cities), and the ride cost 30 euros.


To move around the city, we did not use any means of transport, we walked because there were no long distances between the tourist attractions.


WHERE TO STAY IN COLOGNE:


We chose the accommodation on Booking, at Hotel Opera Koln. Although it had a low rating, we were more than satisfied. The room is quite small, but clean and warm, this last aspect being quite important during the winter. Overall, the quality-price ratio was more than ok and I recommend this accommodation.


Other accommodation units in Koln, which have very good reviews:


- Hostel die Wohngemeinschaft - accommodation unit that has both double, triple or single rooms, as well as common rooms, where you can share the room with other people. They also have the option of a shared bedroom only for women;


- Bel Xanto - apartment accommodation unit. It has a kitchen, terrace, parking and internet included in the accommodation price;


- Hotel Merlin Garni - accommodation unit with double, triple or single rooms. It is located near most of the tourist attractions, and the internet is included in the price of the accommodation.



What we visited in one day in Cologne:


Cologne Cathedral


It is an impressive building, over 800 years old, with such a solid structure that withstood 14 bombing attempts in the world's war II. However, when I climbed up to the tower, I had the impression that at the slightest shaking of the ground, it would fall, because in some places it seems quite fragile.

Admission is free to visit the cathedral, but to climb the tower, the ticket costs 8 euros, with a guide.


Cologne Cathedral - one of the most interesting places to visit in Cologne

Although black stone was used in the construction of this cathedral, its original color would be cream / beige, not black. It gets this dark color due to acidity of rainwater and pollution, the facade of the building being periodically cleaned. I really liked this darker colour, it makes it even more special than it already is. It is considered the most visited location in Germany, and in 1996 it was included in the UNESCO list.

Cologne Cathedral - one of the most interesting places to visit in Cologne, Germany

The interior is not disappointing either, being as impressive as the exterior. The paintings in the choir were made in 1340, which presented a total of 12 narrative scenes, and in terms of sculptures, it is considered that they were made long before the paintings. Cologne Cathedral is the site of the relics of the three Magi.

The interior of Cologne Cathedral, Germany

The floor, covered with mosaic, was the thing I liked the most and it also made me wonder, how much patience did those people have to put so many tiny pieces in almost the whole cathedral? They managed to create a real work of art.

The interior of Cologne Cathedral, Germany

To climb the tower, a kind of circuit is organized, in one tower you go up, in the other you go down. Although there are many stairs to climb, I found the coming down much more difficult than climbing, because the stairs are very narrow and spiral and make you dizzy. Obviously, you should not let this impediment make you stop climbing, it is definitely worth it, both for the view and for the experience itself.

The view over the city from Cologne Cathedral

After visiting the cathedral, we walked through the city center, which has both a part with older buildings and a more commercial part, with various shops where you can have a shopping session. The shopping area is the busiest in the city.


The old town of Cologne, Germany

The old town of Cologne, Germany

The Chocolate Museum was our next stop in Cologne. I had never visited such a place before, so I chose it to the detriment of the Ludwig Museum. I can't say it was the best decision, probably because I had far too high expectations from this location. But, probably being put in the situation of choosing between art and chocolate, I doubt I would choose differently :))


The museum, which also has a functional mini-factory, presents the chocolate manufacturing process, starting from the processing of the cocoa beans, up to the finished product. There is also a shop where you can buy a sweet souvenir. Both single and guided tickets can be purchased. Link for the tickets.


Chocolate Museum in Cologne Germany

Even though I had very little time, I am very happy and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to visit this city, as I am, in fact, grateful for all the places I have ever visited.



Other tourist attractions and things to do in Cologne, which I did not get to visit, but which I am convinced are worth seeing:


The Ludwig Museum, with about 900 paintings by Picasso, today has the third largest collection of this artist, after those in Barcelona and Paris.

The Botanical Garden, which covers 11.5 hectares and has over 10,000 species of plants and trees. The best time to visit is spring, when the magnolias bloom. The garden is open every day and the entrance is free. Book your visit here.


A drink at the ice bar - a unique experience that can be tried if you arrive in Koln during the winter. Details and reservations.


Evening cruise on the Rhine. Tickets and reservations, here.

Cable car ride across the Rhine and can offer a different perspective on the city. The perfume museum, which offers a very detailed perspective on the methods of perfume production in the different stages. The main focus is on Eau de Cologne, the historical methods of production and the distillery used in the factory that was founded in 1709. More details here.


Tour of Koln breweries, where you can learn interesting facts and stories about the city and at the same time enjoy the local beer, Kolsch. Tickets here. The city tour in search of street art, where you can admire the works of art of local or international artists. It is worth doing this tour, especially if you are passionate about this art form. Tickets here.



CONCLUSIONS ABOUT COLOGNE: A single day can be enough to visit most of the tourist attractions in Cologne, especially if you organize yourself well and come here during the summer, when the day is longer and you can stay outside to walk the streets for several hours. We were there in February, and as expected it was quite cold and we could not explore the city as we would have done if the temperature had been higher. Keep in mind, if you come to Koln in winter, the temperature you feel is much lower than the one in the thermometers, because of the river that passes through the middle of the city. If you have questions about this location, leave them in the comments.


Read also about my experience in another German city, the so-called Manhattan of Europe or about other city break locations in Europe: Milan and Lake Como, Genoa or Dublin.

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