Cologne
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Top Tours & Activities in Cologne

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Best things to do in Cologne

Enriched by some of Europe's most striking churches, numerous museums, and one of the oldest universities in the world, Cologne is the Rhineland's cultural heart. If you're looking for its best places to visit, look no further!

Cologne Cathedral

By far the city's most famous attraction, the Cologne cathedral was built to house the reliquary of the Three Kings. Construction began in 1248, however, it wasn't finished until 1880!

Photo: Alexander Kaiser @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Cologne Zoological Garden

Founded in 1860, Cologne's zoo is world renowned. With over 700 species on display, it has an aquarium and inveterbrate house, although its emphasis is on primates.

Photo: Daniel Farrell @Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Imhoff Chocolate Museum

Located in the Old Town, Cologne's superb chocolate museum covers the entire history of the world's favorite treat from its Central American origins to its modern day production.

Photo: NH53 @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Roman Tower and Walls

Cologne's Roman fortifications take you about as far back into the city's history as is possible to go. The tower is at Ulrepforte, along with the best preserved section of wall.

Photo: Luftphilia @Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Hohenzollern Bridge

Known as the "Love Bridge" for its countless engraved padlocks honoring star-crossed couples, it's the best way across the Rhine to the cathedral, if not everlasting happiness!

Photo: Georgie Pauwels @Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Kolumba

One of the city's oldest museums houses an eclectic mix of religious art and iconography in its exemplary exhibition rooms. To this day it's run by the Archdiocese of Cologne.

Sculpture Park

Enter from the main entrance at Riehler Strasse to discover a modest yet picturesque park peppered with quirky, modern sculptures. The best part is that it's free!

Planning Your Cologne Visit

When to go?

Summer can get quite humid in Cologne, meaning the city's peak season is actually in the fall, so don't be surprised if your hotel costs more in October! Spring is also a good time as the beer gardens start to open up and the city awakens from its winter slumber. That said, it's worth going in winter too for the famous Christmas markets, and the city's carnival begins in February!

When are the Christmas markets?

Cologne has 6 main Christmas markets, each with its own personality. (Check out the Medieval-themed one outside of the Chocolate Museum!) They run from November 23rd to December 23rd.

How many days should you spend in Cologne?

2 or 3 days should be enough to cover Cologne's top attractions but bear in mind that the city is located in a cluster of others worth visiting, such as Bonn and Düsseldorf. Also, the breathtaking Rhine Gorge is just a short journey south, so it might be worth booking more time to accommodate a day trip or two!

Good to Know

  • Language
    German
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +49
  • Best time to visit
    Spring and Fall offer milder temperatures, but the Winter brings with it the famous Christmas markets.

Things to Do in Cologne

Top Attractions in Cologne

Other Sightseeing Options in Cologne

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What People Are Saying About Cologne

Great trip...good service on board, lovely views...only pr

Only problem...ticket office at Bingen would not accept the vouchers...had no idea what they were. After 15 minutes of perusing them, we finally just went to the boat and handed one to the ticket collector ( who was fine...with a queue of 30 people behind us, just as well...). Perhaps you need to look at your operating procedures?
KD RhinePass - Rhine River Cruise Full-Day Pass Reviewed by Margot, 08/08/2016

Great day on the Rhine despite the weather

We booked this day pass on line and it worked like a dream. The KD line was very efficient and informative on our trip from Mainz to Boppard. Although it rained all the way, we sat down in the lounge and watched the scenery pass a buy. We had lunch on board the boat and it was very good. The staff were excellent.

A fantastic day out, pity about the morning fog!

The whole day was wonderful, although due to the floods we had been advised at the ticket office that the boat may not be able to land passengers at all the stated stop off points. The morning started very foggy, I mean so bad you could not see Koln Cathederal from the boat! This is June 2016, it is supposed to be summer but every river from the Rhine to the Seine is suffering, along with the towns, cities and people who live beside the water! The waiters and staff were great and despite the increasing heat, after the fog had burned back, kept their sense of humour. Then came the thunderstorm! It had followed our return trip downstream, but it could not dampen a brilliant day out.
KD RhinePass - Rhine River Cruise Full-Day Pass Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 06/07/2016

Comprehensive tour of the city with great insight from tour guide

Thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the city and the tour guide was brilliant! The buses were very busy but we were able to move upsatairs as people got off at different points. The boat trip was also really enjoyable and relaxing. The staff were all very friendly and the boat had great facilities.
Cologne Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Boat Cruise Reviewed by Emily, 05/31/2016

Great way to snap some photographs of Cologne

It was very easy to find the ticket office and we had no problems whatsoever exchanging the paper booking for an actual ticket. There was plenty of space on the open air deck and in the closed lower deck that had windows. A nice relaxing trip down the river so you can see views of Dom etc. Food and drink is available. Was worthwhile.
Panorama Boat Cruise through Cologne Reviewed by Julija, 04/07/2016

Cologne
4.4
Based on 714 reviews by GetYourGuide customers