11 Best Things to do in Cologne, Germany | Top Attractions

Want to hit up western Germany? Great! Cologne is one of the best towns in the west to visit! There are an array of things to do in Cologne that were all undeniably great and outstanding.

The town is the center of remarkable High Gothic architectures from the dwellings, spectacular churches, museums, the city itself, and lovely sceneries that will sweep you off your feet.

It is an ideal spot for history buffs and art enthusiasts were different structures and building rich in history and a lovely place to discover Picasso’s masterpiece.

We have prepared adventure-filled and scenic destinations for you to witness and experience the best travel in Cologne.

List of things to do in Cologne, Germany

Fish Market

Address: Am Leystapel, 50667 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

A fish market is a place where fish and fish products are sold and bought. It can be solely wholesale selling a buying between fish merchants and fishers or selling seafood to customers or incorporating both. Some fish markets also sell different kinds of street food.

These markets could be quite small or super large, like the fish market of Tsukiji in Tokyo. The Sydney Fish Market is the third-largest in the world. It is situated in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Blackwattle Bay is home to this popular market.

Sydney Fish Market features an active fishing port, the retail market for fresh seafood, the fish market for wholesale purchases, a vegetable market, a meat deli, a beverage store, cooking school for seafood, a bakery, gift shop, fruit market, outdoor promenade for tourists and sushi bar.

Daily auctions are held for Sydney’s retailers to buy wholesale seafood. You can get on the Sydney Light Rail from Darling Harbor, Haymarket, The Star, and Central Station to the Fish Market stop. They stop five minutes away from the market regarding buses, and there is a free bus that directly stops at the market on Fridays and Thursdays.

The Sydney Fish Market now has a pontoon for landing. This allows small personal vessels to reach the market. Only vessels that are 6 meters and below are allowed in the pontoon; there is also a pick-up/drop-off facility to guarantee maximum space availability on the pontoon. Mooring is not available.

Lastly, there is a car park entry from Bank street.

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Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral

Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, also known as The Cologne Cathedral, is situated in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The Archbishop of Cologne has his seat in this cathedral, and the Archdiocese of Cologne is administered from there as well.

This edifice is a prominent structure of Gothic architecture and German Catholicism. In 1996, It was proclaimed a World Heritage Site. The Cologne cathedral attracts about 20,000 daily, making it the most visited monument in all of Germany. It stands at 157 m (515 ft.) and is presently the longest twin-spired church worldwide.

It also has the second-longest spires and is the biggest Gothic church within Northern Europe. The towers erected for the cathedral’s twin spires give the building the biggest façade ever seen on a church. The choir possessed the biggest height to width ratio, 3.6:1 ever found in a medieval church.

The building of the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter started in 1248 but was stopped around 1560 and left uncompleted. The cathedral building did not resume till the 1840s, and the monument was finally finished in 1880.

The original plan by Cologne’s medieval builders was to erect an imposing structure to serve as the residence of the reliquary of the Three Kings and a worship ground for the Roman Emperor.

Notwithstanding the lack of building completion in the medieval era, Cologne Cathedral ultimately became both “a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value” and “a powerful testimony” to Christianity’s resilience and power in medieval and modern Europe.

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Dom Treasury

Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

The Aachener Dom is a catholic church situated in Aachen, Germany. It is also the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Aachen. The Aachen Cathedral is among the oldest existing cathedrals within Europe. Emperor Charlemagne ordered the chapel to be built around 796 alongside the other palace sections.

When the chapel was finished, it was consecrated by Pope Leo III in 805. Towards the close of the 8th century, many bronze pieces in the chapel, such as the bear statues, the horse, the railings, and the doors, were made in a foundry brought to Aachen. After a Viking attack in 881, the chapel was severely damaged, but it was renovated in 983.

After Frederick Barbarossa canonized Charlemagne in 1165, pilgrims flocked to the chapel in massive numbers. This led to the addition of a Gothic-style choir hall in1355 and a twin-part glass chapel (Capella vitrea) dedicated to Charlemagne’s death 600th anniversary.

More chapels, a steeple, and a cupola were added to the Aachen cathedral at later periods. The cathedral was additionally restored in 1881, and the Baroque stucco was taken out.

Emperor Charlemagne, who directed and supervised the cathedral’s construction, was laid to rest there when he passed away in 814.

From 936 to 1531, the Palatine Chapel witnessed the Coronation of thirty-one kings and twelve Queens. Since 1802, the church has been known as the Diocese of Aachen Mother Church.

In 1978, the Aachen Cathedral made it to the UNESCO list of world heritage locations.

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Rheinauhafen

Rheinauhafen Cologne

Address: Rheinauhafen, 50678 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Rheinau Harbor is an urban regeneration venture situated along River Rhine just between the Southern Railway Bridge (Südbrücke) and the Severin Bridge (Severinsbrücke), south of the city’s interior old historic town.

The harbor measures 15.4 hectares (38 acres) and is established around the original Rheinauhafen, which covers 2 kilometers (1.2mi) north-south and 200 meters (660ft) east-west where it is widest; and it used to be a commercial harbor built in the 1880s.

Preparation for the reconstruction project began with a modern design contest held in the early 1990s. Construction began in 2002 and was slated to be finished by 2011. The whole building venture was meant to take up 38 acres of waterfront land mostly used for hotels, cultural institutions, offices, and residential areas.

The previously commercial port is currently functioning as a marina. Architectural landmarks include the former Siebengebirge wharf warehouses as well as the three Kranhaus buildings – “KranhausPLUS,” “Kranhaus1,” and “Pandion Vista.”

These warehouses were named as an allegory of the old harbor cranes. The Kranhaus1 building was given the MIPIM Award in 2009 for the category of Best Business Center. The novel Rheinauhafen has become the abode of multiple creative industry companies.

Some of the bigger companies and law firms include CMS Hasche Sigle (in “Kranhaus1”), Microsoft (in its own building), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (in “KranhausPLUS”), and Electronic Arts (in its own building).

Cultural organizations on the site include the German Sport and Olympia Museum, Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum, and Kap am Südkai.

Kolumba

Address: Kolumbastraße 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

The Kolumba (formerly known as the Diözesanmuseum, “Diocesan Museum”) is located in Cologne, Germany. This art museum is situated on the St. Kolumba Church Site. It is also under the Archdiocese of Cologne administration.

The Kolumba is among the city’s oldest museums. It was established in 1853 by the Society for Christian Art, and in 1989, the Archdiocese of Cologne took over its management. Up until 2007, the museum was situated close to the Cologne Cathedral.

The museum’s new location had its structure constructed from 2003-2007 and was created by Peter Zumthor, then unveiled by Joachim Meisner. The land it was built on formerly held the Church of St. Kolumba, which got destroyed in the Second World War.

St Kolumba church was then replaced by a Gottfried Böhm chapel informally known as the “Madonna of the Ruins” in1950. The novel structure constructed by Peter Zumthor for the present museum shares the site with old Gothic and 1950’s church ruins.

There are sixteen showrooms in the museum, and they all have different qualities related to size, pathways, proportion, and lighting. When the museum was refurbished, Jura limestone was used on the flooring, ceilings were created from a mortar shell, and the curtains were made from silk and leather, while the fittings and casings were made of steel.

Collections in the museum include decorative art, sculptures, religious icons, paintings, prints, and sculptures from the Late Antiquity periods to the current time. Although some works are permanently on display in the museum, several artworks are constantly in rotation.

They include a Roman-like Mosan or Rhenish style 12th-century crucifix made of ivory, Stefan Lochner: Madonna with the Violet (pre-1450), Jannis Kounellis: Tragedia Civile (1975), and a huge collection of Leiko Ikemura works.

Kolumba is one of the best places that Germany keeps, for the country has a lot to offer and provides an array of great things to do in Lower Saxony, Cologne, Berlin, and more cities to explore.

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Cologne Zoological Garden

Address: Riehler Str. 173, 50735 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.4 out of 5

This Zoological Garden is situated in Cologne, Germany. There are more than 10,000 animals from over 850 species living in the Zoo. The grounds for the Zoological Garden covers over 20 hectares.

It is a popular zoo known worldwide. It features an affixed aquarium and an invertebrate exhibit that actively handles the preservation breeding of different animals at risk of extinction.

Furthermore, Wildlife Conservation efforts and research concentrating on animals found in Madagascar, Vietnam, and Wallacea are consistently assisted and promoted through collaboration with Cologne University and local ventures like the project of Prezalwaski’s horses.

The zoological garden was established in 1860. However, the zoo was forced to shut down for two years completely because both world wars adversely affected its development. In fact, the second world war essentially decimated the whole zoo. In 1947, the zoo resumed operation, and in 1971, the aquarium was erected.

The big primate house was launched in 1985, and it became a popular attraction in the zoo. Presently, the zoo has a free-flight rainforest hall with reptiles and birds. This hall was established in 2000.

Furthermore, the zoological garden has a hippo house with fascinating underwater views, a huge elephant park, a zoo for petting purposes, and most recently, a farm filled with rare animal species.

Some of the remarkable and popular exhibits in the Cologne Zoo Garden include the Meerkat paddock, Madagascar house of rare lemurs, a Great ape facility, an Asian elephant park, and a hippodrome built like the African landscape for crocodiles, aardvarks, and of course, hippos.

Cologne Chocolate Museum

Address: Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, 50676 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.3 out of 5

This chocolate museum was established and launched by Hans Imhoff on 31st October 1993. It is located within the Cologne area of Altstadt-Süd on the Rheinauhafen peninsula. Exhibits displayed within the museum show the complete history and story of how chocolate came to be.

Depictions show the start of Maya, Aztecs, and Olmecs chocolate discovery to modern production techniques and products. Yearly, the Museum receives 675,000 visitors and carries out 5,000 guided tours, making it one of the ten most popular museums in Germany.

The Imhoff Chocolate Museum is completely independent and gets no subsidy from government sources. It runs its own department of marketing.

It is also regularly used by the Schokoladenmuseum Gastronomie GmbH for their events. Some of the most popular attractions in the Imhoff Chocolate Museum include a miniature tropicarium made of glass and houses Theobroma grandiflorum and Theobroma cacao species of cocoa trees.

This 10-meter square tropicarium is open to the public. There are also small replicas of chocolate production machines, and visitors are treated to a demonstration of chocolate production; the small bars produced are offered at the museum entrance.

A particularly remarkable sight is the chocolate fountain. It stands at 3 meters, and a museum staff carefully dips wafers in the fountain and shares them with interested visitors. Right at the museum entrance is a chocolate shop filled with an impressive array of pralines and, of course, chocolate products.

The Imhoff museum signed a deal with Lindt & Sprüngli, so most products found within the shop are from Lindt & Sprüngli. Before this deal, the museum was partnered with Stollwerck, a chocolate producer based in Cologne.

Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln

Address: Alter Stammheimer Weg, 50735 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.7 out of 5

The Flora Garten is a formal city park and a botanical garden situated next to the Cologne Zoological Garden on Amsterdamer Straße 34, Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

The park garden is open to visitors for no charge. The garden goes as far back as 1863 when a private corporation was arranged to set up Flora park as the substitute for the older city garden close to the Cologne Cathedral, which was demolished in 1857 because of central railway station construction.

Peter Joseph Lenné created the replacement park in 1864. He used a combined German design, adding English landscape gardens, French Baroque, and Italian Renaissance elements into the plan. From 1912 to 1914, the garden experienced financial struggles, leading to the city stepping in to help by acquiring it.

The city has built a nearby botanical garden of 4.5 hectares and joined it with the Flora garden in 1920. In the 1950s, new exhibition houses and glasshouses for tropical and exotic plants were erected. Flora park was renovated in 1987, and currently, it has an Italian Renaissance-style garden.

The Flora botanical garden houses over 10,000 kinds of plants. About 2000 species are growing in the alpine garden. There are remarkable collections of maples, magnolias, rhododendrons, Hamamelidaceae, and coniferous trees. The park has a farmer’s garden filled with local crops and a medicinal plants garden as well.

Approximately 5,000 species are housed in four exhibition greenhouses. The main greenhouse contains tropical rainforest plants. The small tropical house contains crops such as vanilla, sugar cane, pineapple, coconut palm, cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, and bamboo.

It also houses marsh and water plants such as lotus, water lilies, rice, and taro. The subtropical house was opened in 1964 and contains plants from Africa, Asia, Australia, and America, such as tree ferns, camellias, and proteas.

Finally, a cactus house contains succulents and cacti from different deserts and semi-deserts all over the world.

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Rheinboulevard

Address: Hermann-Pünder-Straße 2, 50679 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.6 out of 5

The Rheinboulevard is located in Cologne, Germany. It runs along the Deutzer Promenade along the Rhine. Tourists tend to rest on the stairs of the boulevard or have a drink there or cycle or take walks down the Rhine.

Strolls are a prevalent activity on the Rheinboulevard as the view of the Cologne Cathedral, and the lovely landscape of the ancient town is irresistible. The boulevard stairs on their own have grown in popularity as a city hotspot since they were opened to the public in 2015.

Particularly in the summertime, many people- residents and tourists alike- can be seen having a great time. The Rheinboulevard can be accessed quickly and easily from the major train station.

Tourists who choose to walk to the boulevard usually pass the cathedral to enjoy its majestic sight as well as that of the Hohenzollern Bridge filled with numerous love locks left there by couples. The Boulevard can also be accessed by train, but visitors would have to walk about 500 meters from the Deutz Train Station before reaching the site.

The boulevard is positioned perfectly next to the Rhine bank, which means great photographs can be taken here, with a vista of the cathedral.

Visitors can use the boulevard to meet up with family and friends, particularly in the evening or early morning, to enjoy the Rhine River in the morning sun or golden sunset. There is also an impressive variety of cafes, shops, and restaurants on the promenade.

Rheinboulevard is filled with fantastic sceneries and food places, and breweries that served great brewed beers like the breweries in berlin.

 

Roman-Germanic Museum

Address: Roncalliplatz 4, 50667 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.2 out of 5

The Römisch-Germanisches Museum is a museum of archeology situated in Cologne, Germany. It houses an impressively large assortment of Roman artifacts gotten from the Roman Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium settlement, upon which present-day Cologne was built.

The museum safeguards the original location of a Roman villa town. A huge Dionysus mosaic gotten from the Roman villa site stays in its exact original place of discovery inside the basement. The linked Roman Road of the villa town is directly outside. In this regard, the museum functions as an archaeological location.

The museum is also charged with the duty of conserving the Roman heritage and culture of Cologne. Thus, it holds a vast compendium of Roman glass gotten from burials and funerals; and supervises the building of the underground Cologne project.

Many of the collections currently at the Roman-Germanic Museum were previously held at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne until about 1946. At the front part of the Roman-Germanic Museum, there is the old northern Cologne town gate with CCAA (for Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium) visibly inscribed on it and put on display for all to see.

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Museum Ludwig

Museum Ludwig, Cologne

Address: Heinrich-Böll-Platz, 50667 Köln, Germany

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Ludwig Museum is situated in Cologne, Germany, and it holds an array of modern style art. There are artworks in different genres, including Surrealism, Abstract, and Pop Art. This museum is home to a huge Picasso collection -one of the biggest in Europe. There are also artworks by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

The Ludwig Museum was launched in 1976 as a separate monument from the Wallraf-Richartz Museum it was formerly attached to. In that year, Peter Ludwig, the chocolate tycoon, agreed to donate 350 modern artworks in exchange for the city establishing a “Museum Ludwig” for artworks created post-1900.

Godfrid Haberer and Peter Busmann designed the new building, which was commissioned and opened to the public in 1986. The novel building close to the Cologne Cathedral first housed both the Ludwig Museum and the Wallraf Richartz Museum.

The museums were eventually separated, and the structure was shifted to Bischofsgartenstrasse to house only the Ludwig Museum. Steve Keene did a painting in 1999 at the museum. The building also houses the Kölner Philharmonic.

In 2016, the Ludwig Museum partnered with the Bell Art Center to arrange an informal exposition of Anselm Kiefer, which was first shown at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts.

The final showing was to be at the new Jupiter Museum of Art in Shenzhen, but it was postponed, and the artworks were placed in storage. Unfortunately, during this period, the museum misplaced the works and had to find them. The artworks were finally found in a Shenzhen warehouse in January 2020.

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Updated: June 8, 2021 — 9:42 am

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