things to do in cologne

Last Updated on: 7th February 2024, 08:30 am

Nestled on the western fringes of the country, Cologne is one of the best cities and best places in Germany to explore. With its vibrant culture, iconic landmarks, and festive markets, there are plenty of things to do in Cologne. Whether you’re scaling the heights of Cologne Cathedral, partying in the Belgian District, visiting world-class museums, or indulging in the sweet delights of the Chocolate Museum, Cologne offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors to enjoy. From historical sites to modern attractions, this German gem has something to offer everyone.

When it comes to finding the best things to do in Cologne, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Start your journey by immersing yourself in the rich history and stunning architecture of Cologne Cathedral. As one of Germany’s most famous landmarks, the cathedral boasts breathtaking views from its tower. Explore the bustling streets of the Belgian District, where you’ll find a vibrant nightlife scene, charming cafes, and delicious restaurants serving up local delights. Take a stroll along the banks of the River Rhine and admire the picturesque views, or visit one of the city’s many world-class museums, such as the Ludwig Museum, home to masterpieces by renowned artists like Picasso.

No visit to Cologne would be complete without a visit to the Chocolate Museum, where you can learn about the history of chocolate and even indulge in some delicious treats. Don’t forget to explore the hidden gems of the city, like the Melaten Cemetery or the street art in the Belgian Quarter and Ehrenfeld. And for the adventure seekers, a trip to Surf Langenfeld is a must, where you can ride the waves in a man-made surf park.

With its convenient transportation options, including train, plane, car, or even river cruise, getting to Cologne is easy. So don’t miss out on all the incredible things to do in Germany’s vibrant city of Cologne. Start planning your trip now and explore this German gem!

How to Get to Cologne?

Traveling to Cologne is a breeze with its convenient transportation options. Whether you prefer to journey by train, plane, car, or even a leisurely river cruise, there are multiple ways to reach this captivating city.

By Train

If you’re coming from other European cities, you can easily reach Cologne by train. The city has excellent railway connections, making it accessible from various destinations. For instance, from London, you can embark on an approximately 6-hour train journey via Brussels, immersing yourself in picturesque landscapes along the way.

By Plane

Cologne has its own airport, ensuring easy access for travelers. The airport welcomes flights from numerous domestic and international destinations, allowing visitors to reach the city with ease and convenience.

By Car

For those who prefer to drive, traveling to Cologne by car is a viable option. The city is well-connected by highways, making it easily accessible from nearby regions and offering an opportunity to explore the scenic countryside along the way.

By River Cruise

Located on the picturesque River Rhine, Cologne can also be reached by river cruise or regional boats. Arriving by water offers a unique perspective and a tranquil start to your Cologne adventure.

Transportation Option Pros Cons
Train Convenient connections from various European cities Longer travel time for more distant locations
Plane Direct flights from many destinations Potential customs and security procedures
Car Flexibility and opportunities for scenic drives Parking and traffic concerns
River Cruise Enjoy scenic views and a tranquil journey Limited options for disembarking

As you can see, getting to Cologne is hassle-free, allowing you to focus on immersing yourself in the city’s vibrant culture and exploring its countless attractions.

Travel to Cologne

Things to Do in Cologne – Top Attractions

Cologne offers a wide range of top attractions in Cologne for visitors to explore. One of the must-visit sites is Cologne Cathedral, with its iconic Gothic architecture and stunning views from its tower. The Belgian District is another popular area, known for its vibrant nightlife, cool bars, and delicious restaurants. The city is also home to world-class museums, such as the Ludwig Museum, which showcases works from renowned artists like Picasso. For chocolate lovers, the Chocolate Museum is a must-see, where you can learn about the history of chocolate and indulge in sweet treats. With its mixture of historical landmarks, cultural hubs, and unique experiences, Cologne has something for everyone.

top attractions in cologne

Must-visit Sites and Museums

  • Cologne Cathedral – iconic Gothic architecture and stunning views
  • Belgian District – vibrant nightlife and delicious dining options
  • Ludwig Museum – world-class art collection with works by Picasso
  • Chocolate Museum – delve into the history of chocolate and indulge in sweet treats

Discover Cologne’s Cultural Gems

“Cologne Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and is not to be missed. From the top of its tower, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the city. The Belgian District offers a lively atmosphere with its trendy bars and restaurants, perfect for a night out. And the Ludwig Museum is a treasure trove of modern art, featuring works by some of the world’s most renowned artists. Don’t forget to satisfy your sweet tooth at the Chocolate Museum, where you can learn about the chocolate-making process and even sample some delicious treats.” – Local Cologne Resident

Hidden Gems in Cologne

In addition to the well-known attractions, Cologne has a variety of hidden gems for adventurous travelers. These off the beaten path experiences add a touch of adventure and discovery to a visit to Cologne, allowing visitors to explore the city’s lesser-known treasures. From serene cemeteries to vibrant street art, here are some hidden gems you shouldn’t miss:

The Melaten Cemetery

The Melaten Cemetery, also known as the Yard of the Sick, offers a serene escape from the city. Located in the heart of Cologne, this historical cemetery is home to impressive tombstones and sculptures. Take a peaceful stroll among the trees and discover the stories of those laid to rest here.

Street Art in the Belgian Quarter and Ehrenfeld

For a unique experience, head to the Belgian Quarter and Ehrenfeld neighborhoods to explore vibrant street art. These areas are a haven for trendy graffiti and mural pieces that showcase the city’s artistic flair. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and creativity that bring the streets to life.

The Botanical Garden in the Riehl District

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the breathtaking oasis of the Botanical Garden in the Riehl district. Home to over 12,000 plant species, this tranquil garden offers a peaceful retreat amidst nature’s beauty. Take a leisurely stroll, learn about different plants, and immerse yourself in the calming atmosphere.

Surf Langenfeld

If you’re up for a unique adventure, make your way to Surf Langenfeld. Located on the outskirts of Cologne, this man-made lake offers a giant wakeboard park and the world’s first floating surf pool. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, you can ride the waves and experience the thrill of surfing right in the heart of Germany.

These hidden gems in Cologne are waiting to be explored. Venture off the beaten path and uncover the lesser-known treasures that make this city truly special.

hidden gems in cologne


In conclusion, Cologne, Germany, is a city that offers an abundance of attractions and experiences for visitors. From the awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral to the vibrant neighborhoods and cultural hubs, there is always something new to discover in this German gem. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or an adventure seeker, Cologne has something to offer everyone.

With its convenient transportation options by train, plane, car, or river cruise, getting to and exploring Cologne is a breeze. Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a city that seamlessly blends rich history, captivating culture, and a lively atmosphere. Take a stroll along the banks of the River Rhine, indulge in the local delicacies at one of the charming restaurants, or immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of the Belgian District.

Don’t miss the chance to visit world-class museums like the Ludwig Museum, where you can admire the works of renowned artists such as Picasso. And for those with a sweet tooth, be sure to make a stop at the Chocolate Museum, where you can learn about the fascinating history of chocolate while sampling some delectable treats.

Overall, Cologne is an exceptional destination that combines history, culture, and a vibrant atmosphere. So, if you’re looking to embark on a memorable journey, consider visiting Cologne and experience all the incredible attractions and experiences it has to offer.


What are some of the top attractions in Cologne?

Some of the top attractions in Cologne include Cologne Cathedral, the Belgian District, world-class museums like the Ludwig Museum, and the Chocolate Museum.

How can I get to Cologne?

Cologne is easily accessible by train, plane, car, or river cruise. There are train connections from various cities across Europe, including a 6-hour journey from London via Brussels. The city also has its own airport with flights from many destinations. Additionally, you can arrive by river cruise or regional boats on the River Rhine.

Are there any hidden gems to explore in Cologne?

Yes, Cologne has a variety of hidden gems. Some options include visiting the Melaten Cemetery for impressive tombstones and sculptures, exploring street art in the Belgian Quarter and Ehrenfeld, discovering the Botanical Garden in the Riehl district, or enjoying water sports at Surf Langenfeld on the outskirts of the city.