Things to Do in Cologne Germany

Boat in Cologne Germany

Cologne Germany is often overshadowed by Berlin and Munich, but the 2,000-year-old city on the banks of the Rhine River has its devotees for a reason: Think High Gothic architecture, 12 Romanesque churches, annual literary festivals, and the Museum Ludwig, one of the most important collections of modern art in Europe.

Here are the top things to do in Cologne, Germany.

1. Cologne Cathedral:
Near the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne’s towering landmark, the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary, is a masterpiece of High Gothic architecture, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the largest cathedrals in Europe, it 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.

2. Historic City Hall of Cologne:
Visit the oldest Rathaus (city hall) in Germany at the Alter Markt (old square) in Cologne. This is a prime people-watching spot as city life takes place in this central meeting point.

The building dates back to 1150 and over 130 statues adorn its elaborately decorated façade. The loggia is a quintessential example of the Renaissance era. Don’t miss the grotesque wood-carved Platzjabbeck; when the clock strikes the hour, it opens its mouth and rudely sticks out its wooden tongue.

3. The Old Town:
Despite being almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, the Old Town of Cologne is a delightful place to wander around. The narrow cobble stone streets are scenic to behold. A great place to begin your tour of the area is from Cologne City Hall. From this historical building, it’s time to get lost amidst the old streets and squares that dot the area. The Old Town has remarkably managed to retain its charm and is a great place to spend an afternoon.

4. Rhine Promenade and Deutzer Bridge:

The Rhine river is a defining geographic feature of the area. For a spectacular view of the cathedral and the city-scape, leave the Altstadt (Old Town) of Cologne and cross the Rhine to the other side of the river. Young people gather on basketball courts, musicians busk and strollers stroll. Walk down the Rheinufer promenade, and then cross back over the Deutzer Bridge which offers stunning views of the city, especially at sunset.

5. Celebrate Cologne Carnival:

The biggest festival in Cologne is well worth checking out for its fun energy and colorful parades. The week-long celebration that takes place in February each year is a riotous occasion that brings the people of Cologne together,with tourists alike, to celebrate and have a great time. With costumes galore and enough beer to last a lifetime, this is a carnival that you won’t forget.

Other great places to travel to and see: Quebec City, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy

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