Nine Things To Do in Cologne, Germany

By - October 21, 2011 (Updated: November 21, 2014)

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany (photo via Wiki)

Today we have a guest post from our friends at all about Cologne (Köln) Germany. Cologne makes a great day-trip or short break from Belgium so read on!

If you are thinking of taking a short break, a well deserved holiday or maybe you just want to spend some time with family or friends away from your usual Belgian life, then a trip to Cologne, Germany is an easy and rewarding option.

Here’s a list of nine things that everyone should do on a trip to Cologne:

1. Wallraf-Richartz Museum

Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany

Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany (via Wiki)

Opened in 2001, this museum is one of Germany’s largest. It houses fine art collections from the 13th to the early 20th century. The collection includes Gothic, Early Renaissance, Impressionist and American Pop art and has one of the world’s leading collections of Medieval paintings. Make sure you check out the museum’s stunning Monet and Rembrandt paintings. Entrance costs 7 € for adults, 4 € for concession holders and students and children receive free entry.

2. Kölner Dom

Kölner Dom - Cathedral in Cologne, Germany

Kölner Dom – Cathedral in Cologne, Germany (via Wiki)

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this amazing Roman Catholic church presents an artistic work of genius, with its detailed and revolutionary Gothic architecture. If you are in good shape, the climb up the south tower will provide you with memorable views of the city. The Cologne Cathedral is often said to be the sightseeing highlight for many visitors to Cologne.

3. Kölner Zoo

Giraffe at Cologne Zoo

Meet a new friend at the Cologne Zoo (via Wiki)

The Cologne Zoological Garden is one of the oldest zoos in Germany and a interesting place to see animals in their near-to-perfect habitat. Places and attractions include the Aquarium, Rainforest House, Jungle House, Elephant Park, Owl Monastery, Hippodom and the Monkey Rock. All attractions will keep you fascinated with Mother Nature’s creatures.

4. Kolumba

Kolumba Museum, Cologne, Germany

Kolumba Museum, Cologne, Germany (via Wiki)

Another museum of distinction, in Cologne, is the Kolumba. The name was taken from the very grounds where the museum stands, the former chapel of St. Columba, which was destroyed during the Second World War. It has paintings, sculptures, icons, figures, and drawings of Christian preference.

5. Museum Ludwig

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany.

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (via Wiki)

To complete your museum experience, Museum Ludwig has selections of modern, pop, surrealist, and abstract art that will keep you attached in the modern art world. Masterpieces by Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein are included in the museum’s massive collection.

6. Claudius Therme

Claudius Therme features loads of thermal baths that will make you feel revitalised. The water is supplied by a natural mineral thermal spring, assuring the water is consistently warm, all over the facility, whether it be an indoor or outdoor pool. Claudius Therme is a perfect way to relax at the end of a busy day sightseeing.

7. Groß St. Martin

Groß St. Martin Church, seen from the fish market, Cologne, Germany

Groß St. Martin Church, seen from the fish market, Cologne, Germany (via Wiki)

The Klosterkirche Groß Sankt Martin is another great cathedral that stands in Innenstadt, Cologne. Despite being mostly destroyed in World War II, Great Saint Martin Church has been restored in its most established state and is now open for public viewing.

8. Hohenzollern Bridge

Hohenzollernbrücke  with Cologne Cathedral in the background

Hohenzollernbrücke with Cologne Cathedral in the background (via Wiki)

Another architectural wonder is the Hohenzollern Bridge that crosses the Rhine River. It is used by most trains, but is accessible by foot. You can feel the love on this bridge as you check out the Padlocks of Love.

9. NS Dokumentationszentrum – Gestapo Prison

Your curiosity of World War II can be satisfied at the Gestapo Prison as every corner of this facility is preserved in its original state. It is a place of knowledge in learning Nazism, and remembering the Holocaust horrors.

This is a guest post from Ben Savill. Ben runs, a website that specialises intraveltoEurope. Ben is a travel junkie that has travelled to over 200 destinations in 46 countries. You can follow on Twitter@offtoeurope and you can also subscribe to the sitesRSSFeed.

Editor’s Note: Cologne (or Köln), Germany is easily accessible from Belgium.

  • Drive – Cologne is about 183.76 km (114.19 Miles) from Brussels, Belgium.
  • Train – In addition to local trains, the Thalys high-speed train travels to direct to Cologne via Brussels, and Liege.
  • Fly – Currently there are no direct flights to Cologne/Bonn Airport from Belgium. KLM flies from Brussels International Airport, via Amsterdam Schiphol to Cologne.

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson
Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
Alison Cornford-Matheson
- 3 hours ago


  1. Comment by Sarah Bittorf

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Sarah Bittorf October 21, 2011 at 13:58

    We LOVE Cologne! The Dom cathedral is by far one of the best churches we’ve ever seen. We also loved the chocolate museum and tasting all the different types of Kolsch!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison October 21, 2011 at 14:54

      Glad you liked it Sarah! I was a big fan too. The Christmas market there is lovely in December!

  2. Comment by Betsy Talbot

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    Betsy Talbot October 22, 2011 at 13:22

    We recently took the train from Belgium to Cologne and loved it!

    You can go up in the Cologne Triangle building and get a great view of the city from the observation deck for just a few euros. The glass surround also has sketches of the historic and popular buildings and areas so you can orient yourself as you gaze.

    Another favorite was walking along the Rhine from the NATO building up to the center of the city, where you can enjoy a nice walk, historic buildings, and good food and drink.

    Nearby in Konigswinter is a great walk up to an old castle (or you can use the funicular) called Drachenfels (this is where the dragon was supposedly slain by Seigfried). The view of the city and river below is beautiful.

    Cologne is an easy trip from Belgium and delightful way to spend a weekend.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison October 22, 2011 at 15:14

      Thanks for the great tips Betsy! Looks like I’ll have to go back and do even more exploring!

  3. Comment by expatraveler

    Alison Cornford-Matheson

    expatraveler October 24, 2011 at 05:22

    Oh this looks like fun, especially when you have the opportunity to take such great photos! Loving the bridge and church pics the most.. Must go check out the links more!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison Cornford-Matheson

      Alison October 24, 2011 at 09:33

      I wish I could take credit for the photos Jen but these are all from Wiki. I definitely need to get back to Cologne with my camera though!

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