Hello, beautiful people!
I am glad to be back and not only that, but if you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I was on a little adventure at the beginning of the year.
It felt amazing to be back in Germany after almost 4 years, and this time in Koln, located in the Western part of the country. If you want to read more about my previous experience, you can find the Munich post here.
Cologne (Köln in German) can be described as a city full of history and you can definitely notice it when you walk around its streets. It’s Germany’s fourth city and one of the tourist main attractions for a good reason, from the history of the city to the carnival, and impressive architecture, parks as well as rich history. It has simply always been a colorful and multicultural destination.
Preparing for Cologne
When preparing for your trip to Cologne, you must take into account the following:
- Germany has as its official currency EUR
- Card can be used for payments, but you can use some cash as well
- German is widely spoken, but most people speak English
Travel Tip: The best time to travel to Germany would be in spring, or late spring transitioning to summer, so you can get as much daylight and sun as possible.
Where we stayed
In terms of accommodation, you won’t have to worry so much about the prices since Köln is relatively small and the prices tend to only be a bit more expensive if you choose to stay near the Old Town. With keeping this in mind, you will have the opportunity to walk around pretty easily.
Also, if you are happy with having a look around, while saving some pennies, a great accommodation where we stayed at is Koncept Hotel International in Cologne. Not only they have affordable price ranges, but also offer a seamless experience supporting a great cause.
Koncept promotes the idea of self check-in and check-out, and once you get there you will have a dedicated terminal where you can do that, as well as obtain a card for your room, if you don’t want to rely just on the app on your phone. I especially loved the idea of the lobby and beverages you can get from there, together with breakfast. Although the idea of no staff on property may be weird, give it a try. Our staying was rather clean, not so noisy, close to the main attractions and restaurants, but I’ll let you find out more about it on their website. 😉
How to get around Cologne
You won’t have to worry about this at all. Cologne is full of trains and buses that run constantly. Also, you can walk towards the city center, because it is so lovely to see the buildings and the surroundings.
We mostly used metro to get around, because it was the fastest and easiest way to get there on time and the price of a ticket was 2 euros.
What to see and do in Cologne
When you say Cologne, you wouldn’t expect it to be such a touristic spot, but some of the most popular attractions in Cologne include:
This is the most famous landmark in Cologne (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and is the tallest building in Germany. It is 157m and it has a beautiful Gothic architecture. You just cannot miss this one! The entrance ticket is 3 euros, and this allows you to climb up the 500 stairs to the upper tower but we got the chance to visit it on a Sunday, and we had a free entrance and got the chance to see a bit of the ceremony as well.
The Cologne Chocolate Museum
Located on the banks of the River Rhine, it is more than an amazing experience whether you are a chocolate lover or not. It was established by German chocolatier Imhoff-Stollwerck Erck and it will take you through the entire process of chocolate making. The entrance ticket costs 13 euros and you will get the chance to also make your own chocolate. I found out so much information about chocolate and I really appreciate it more.
Bonus: You will get to taste free chocolate directly from the fountain and from the line of process. 🤤
Hohenzollern ‘love locks’ bridge
This bridge is the typical symbol of Cologne and you can definitely enjoy having a walk over there I guarantee it is so calming and nice. The bonus is that trains go past you and you can also stop and have amazing views over the Rhine River.
Cologne’s old town
This one is also known as Altstadt and by taking a walk in the area you will more likely explore the different architectural styles and histories. The colourful buildings, lovely streets, and shops will lure you in and win you over for sure.
Cologne’s Zoo and Botanical Garden
Their zoo was founded in 1860 and it contains the largest elephant park in Europe. It is lovely to walk along and see the flamingos, lions, tigers and so many more species of birds and animals. Also, there is a large aquarium you can walk along and see so much.
Botanical Garden is exactly near the Zoo and it’s worth a visit! Unfortunately, we spent so much time during the day at the zoo that we didn’t get the chance to properly visit it, just a quick stroll outside, but I wanted to see more for sure, especially the greenhouse.
Other great spots you cannot miss while in Cologne
- Köln Triangle
- Churches around the city
- The Court of Appeal Cologne
- Visit all the museums including the Ludwig Museum, and Romano-Germanic Museum (it presents the archaeological heritage of the city)
- Depending on the period you visit it, you can enjoy the Carnival too (during February and November)
Where to eat in Cologne
Ahhh, the good and old German food and drinks (beer) that you cannot miss for sure. The city has many restaurants you can choose from and here were some we tried out on our own and are an absolute no miss while you are in Cologne.
Bar Botanik was an absolute blast when we arrived on Saturday evening. It offered a great vibe, along with food and drinks. The music was also on point!
Bäckerei Veedels was a really nice place for a Sunday breakfast. Their bakery was spot on delicious and the place was cozy reminding you of a family business. You can eat there or have takeway, either way it was so cozy and nice.
Augustiner am Heumarkt has awesome beer, lots of choices in terms of food and a huge schnitzel served with fries that I am still raving about as I am writing this article.
Hard Rock Cafe Cologne couldn’t have been missed by us and we had to go and just have the a taste of the rock and roll vibes and burgers and salads accompanied with some cold drinks.
Backerei & Cafe Merzenich must have some of the best sandwiches I have ever had. Even though it was full of people, we managed to grab some food for breakfast and it is a must have Germany’s representative if you ask me. I wanted to have so much more of it.
Cafe Reichard close to the cathedral and so impressive with good coffee and apple strudel. If you want to have a break in between visits, then this is the best place near by to do so.
Besides these restaurants that we tried, other recommendations with high ratings would be: Ansgar’s, Pane e vino, and Acht.
I can guarantee your visit to Cologne will for sure be memorable and it will be the perfect mix between relaxing and good food, culture. If you were planning on visiting the Cathedral city, I hope you found this article helpful. Cologne’s area will give you more than you expect to receive, that’s for sure so don’t miss out on that! Follow me on Instagram to get more travel insights.
Happy travels until we see each other! ❤
Disclaimer: This post contains solemnly my own opinions and experience. There are no affiliate links or sponsored content.