Nestled between the cities of Bonn and Dusseldorf, with the beauty of the flowing Rhine, words cannot describe the ancient value in Cologne. Cologne is the oldest and fourth largest city in Germany.
The medieval architectural buildings, Roman history, beer halls, festivals and parties found in this old city, the wonderful chocolate museum and the leisure culture of Cologne make it a popular travel destination among tourists from all over the world. The city of Cologne, pronounced Köln in German, has 12 elegant Romanesque churches. These churches are well-known among the general public, chief among them the magnificent Cologne Cathedral.
Founded in 50 A.D. as a Roman colony, Cologne became an important center for early trade. But by 785, the city of Cologne became an archbishopric. The archbishopric of Cologne remained firm until 1288, after which it became a free city. After that, this city prospered by successfully carrying out its economic and trade activities. Accordingly, today Cologne is a major trade and transportation hub.
What are the most visited tourist attractions in Cologne ? In this guide, we explain about 15 beautiful places that have won tourist attractions in Cologne. Those places are listed below for your convenience.
01) Historic Old Town
The old city of Cologne is an area of ancient value. Its quaint narrow streets lined with historic old houses attract tourists. Countless breweries, bars and restaurants tempt commuters to linger. You can sip a draft Kölsch beer or sample a Halver Hahn sandwich, a specialty of Cologne.
Cologne Cathedral, Great Romanesque Church of St. Martin and the old town hall tower, the old town, located along the Rhine, features the famous Rhine panorama. Many museums, including the Romano-Germanic Museum, the Wallraf Richartz Museum, the Ludwig Museum and the Farina Museum of Fragrance, can be found as you wander the winding streets.
The Heinzelmännchen (Cologne elves) fountain, Tünnes and Schäl, and other monuments and fountains can all be found in the old city of Cologne. You can learn more about the city’s past by visiting places like the Archaeological Zone, Old St. Alban’s Monument and the Staplehouse.
02) Majestic Cologne Cathedral
Officially known as the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Mary (Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus) Cologne Cathedral was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. At nearly 160 meters tall, it was the tallest building in the world until the Washington Monument was built. This cathedral is still the tallest Gothic building in the world. And the largest swinging bell in the world, weighing 24 tons, is located here.
To get an outstanding view of the Rhine and the city, climb the tower steps and climb up the narrow, spiral stone steps. Here you can see the variation in stonework, from the bon quarries of the Middle Ages to the sandstone used by nineteenth century builders.
Stained glass windows add to the beauty of Cologne Cathedral. The cathedral also houses the world’s oldest memorial cross. And the bodies of the three Magi kings were placed in a golden coffin behind the altar.
The Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market is a very popular feature of the Christmas season. There, the aroma of roasted chestnuts and Gluhwein (warm spiced red wine) fills the air. Endless vendors sell arts and crafts, scented soaps, and holiday goods.
03) Rhine River in Cologne
The second largest river in Europe is the Rhine. A boat trip down the Rhine River through Cologne is a must add to your travel bucket list. You can spend an hour or two enjoying the scenic spots of the city as well as the river scenery on both sides of the river.
The beautiful buildings of the old town, the Hohenzollern Bridge, the twin towers of the Cologne Cathedral, as well as the beautiful lights of the city at night, the experience of the Rhine River Panorama Cruise and the delicious food from a buffet on a ship like the Cologne Rhine River Dinner Cruise will make your trip more enjoyable.
04) Cologne Town Hall (Rathaus)
Some of the unique features that can be seen:
- Logo of Cologne
- Roof hall building and stone figures
- The Gothic tower and the five-storied tower
- Ringing the carillon in the tower
- A two-story arcade
- Upstairs sculpture
- Spanischer Bau building and piazza
Cologne’s coat of arms was established in 1114 and the town hall is the oldest town hall in Germany. The oldest structure in the City Hall is the Roof Hall Building. Built in 1330, the mansion has the emperor’s stone carvings, privileges and honors.
The five-story Gothic-style tower is 61 meters (200 ft) tall. The tower, which consists of 130 stone figures, was the first secular high-rise in Cologne. The tower was damaged by bombs dropped during World War II, but has since been repaired. Four times a day the carillon is played in the tower.
05) Wallraf-Richartz & Ludwig Museums
The Wallraff-Richards Museum and the Ludwig Museum jointly built a new museum building due to lack of space to properly display their works of art. As a result, the Wallraf-Richartz & Ludwig Museums were built.
The region between the east tower of the cathedral and the Rhine river has been chosen as the location for the new “double museum”. 260,000 cubic meters of space was converted for the building.
Today the Ludwig Museum is housed in the structure originally built for two institutions. The couple bequeathed their core Picasso collection to the museum in 1994. After the dissolution of the association with the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, the organization moved to a brand new structure.
A two-story hall at the intersection of Museum Street provides space for large exhibitions. Expressionist artworks are currently displayed in additional galleries on the 2nd floor facing the cathedral.
06) Cologne Zoo
Cologne Zoo is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in Germany. There are more than 10,000 animals there. Established in 2004, the Elephant Park is one of the main draws. Equally impressive is the Hippodom, completed in 2010 to celebrate the zoo’s 150th anniversary. The house of adventure features a large African river environment with hippos, Nile crocodiles and Sittunga antelopes.
In The Rainforest Lodge for Apes, visitors can view the primates unhindered and up close. On three floors of the aquarium, visitors can view a vast array of fish, reptiles, and insects. The old animal houses are also fascinating. The Moorish-style Elephant House from 1863, Monkey Rock from 1914, as well as the “South American House” from 1899, inspired by the Russian Orthodox Church.
A stroll through our spacious playground, a stop at the new zoo’s refreshments, a delicious snack and daily feeding events for sea lions, bees, raccoons and company make the perfect day.
07) NS Documentation Centre
The largest local monument in Germany is the NS Dokumentationszentrum. Prisons and interrogation rooms kept in their original form are among the most terrifying permanent exhibits as they give you a sense of how prisoners were interrogated, tortured and died in Nazi Germany. Manuscripts on the walls only serve to add to the sense of dread in the atmosphere. In addition, the NS Dokumentationszentrum contains a library fully stocked with books about Cologne under German occupation and the Nazi era in general.
Information on the National Socialism Documentation Center’s entrance tickets: 4.50 euros for adults (Discount: 2 Euros). Children under the age of six, inhabitants of Cologne up to the age of eighteen, students (including two teachers per group), KolnPass users, and Cologne citizens on their birthday – free. Use caution when bringing your kids to this museum because of its delicate subject matter.
08) Cable cars
Cologne is developing “Skytrain,” a cable car that will run parallel to the well-known Hohenzollern Bridge and cross the Rhine. The Rhine may be crossed by between 2,500 and 6,000 people per hour, which relieves pressure on the renowned Hohenzollern Bridge. There is space for between 30 and 40 people in each wheelchair- and pushchair-accessible gondola. From 8 am to 8 pm, it can carry approximately 70,000 passengers per day when operating at full capacity.
The Cologne Telecommunication Tower is well worth a visit for more breathtaking views. Colonius, as it is popularly known, is 243 meters tall and is situated northwest of Colon’s Old Town. It has a great viewing platform and a rotating restaurant.
09) Botanic and Botanical Garden
If so, visit the Botanical Garden in Cologne, which is the oldest and most established public park. This garden can be found in Riehl, close to the Rhine’s left bank. The 11.5 acre Botanical Garden includes the beautiful Flora event space. It was founded in the late nineteenth century and receives over a million visitors each year.
More than 10,000 different plant species call this vast complex home. You’ll have the impression that you’re in the middle of a rain forest as you stroll amid the unique plants in the tropical greenhouses and the Palm House.
10) Chocolate Museum
The chocolate museum is situated in the Rheinau harbor, close to the Cologne Cathedral, next to the old town, like a ship built of glass and metal. Interactive exhibits, collections of molds, vintage chocolate containers and wrappers, free tastings from the chocolate fountain, and interactive displays are just a few of the highlights.
You may even observe a functional production line where chocolate is being manufactured. Even better, you can create your own custom bar of chocolate to take home. There are also guided tours.
11) Romano-Germanic Museum
The 2nd-century Dionysus Mosaic and the 15-meter-tall funerary sculpture of Poblicius from the 1st century are exhibits discovered during city excavations. Other mosaics, Roman glass, domestic ceramics and sculptures, Germanic and Roman jewelry are also displayed in the Romano-Germanic Museum. Over three floors, the collection paints a vivid picture of Roman culture along the Rhine.
Common items such as containers, money and toys, a priceless collection of Roman glass, as well as other artifacts from the earliest Rhineland settlements can be observed. The Belgisches Haus (46 Caecilienstraße) is now the location of the exhibition. About a quarter of the actual collection is displayed in the museum’s side exhibition in the main structure at Roncalliplatz.
12) Museum of Applied Arts
Since 1988, the Museum of Applied Arts has called the Wallraf-Richartz Museum’s previous home its home. Furniture, ceramics, glass, jewelry, and textiles from the medieval Era to 20th-century designer items are all shown in the exhibition.
The Museum of Applied Arts is located to the southwest of Cologne Cathedral. Over 100,000 works of applied and decorative art from the Middle Ages are included in this impressive collection.
From medieval to twentieth-century designers, there is an exhibition of everything such as Furniture, weapons, architectural items, ceramics, glass, jewelry and textiles.
13) St. Gereon’s Basilica
Saint Gereon Basilica is dedicated to Saint Gereon. This church is one of the churches in Cologne built in Romanesque style. Its history dates back to the 7th century and the 10-sided domed structure built in the 12th century can still be seen today.
Among the unique features found in the Roman Catholic Church of Saint Jerian are domes, medieval paintings, mosaics, antiques, ancient relics, as well as unique architectural features such as the complex floor of David and Goliath.
14) Altenberg Cathedral in Cologne
Altenberg Cathedral is also known as Altenberger Dom, Burgischer Dom. One of Germany’s most exquisite Gothic churches is Altenberg Cathedral. Particularly significant in the context of art history are the Madonna with Halo and the Tabernacle. The expansive western window is 144 square meters in size and shows the heavenly Jerusalem.
Altenburg has recently developed as a hub for spiritual music. Every year, the cathedral hosts more than a 100 concerts.
15) Castles of Augustusburg & Falkenlust
Excellent examples of graceful Rococo architecture with light hues, gold, and exquisite stucco design may be found all around Germany. The Augustusburg and Falkenlust castles served as the catalyst for everything. Built in the 18th century, Augustusburg and Falkenlust Castle are situated in the German town of Bruhl, close to Cologne.
It took many years to finish Augustasburg Castle, which was intended to serve as the primary house. Because of this, the Rococo style has evolved over time since its inception. There are a number of connected chambers arranged along the fort’s wings.
The interior design of the chambers is unique. Between the personal lower floor and the higher floor that is open to the public, there are changes in how the interior rooms are decorated. The center staircase is the most noticeable feature. It has stunning ceiling frescoes, marble and stucco columns, and jasper stucco trim.
Through the estate’s gardens, it is two kilometers to Falkenlust Castle. It is much more compact, cozy, and has a variety of artistic mediums. Its main purpose was as a cottage.
Visiting Augustusburg and Falkenlust Castle in BRÜHL is a wonderful experience, despite the fact that they are not the most well-known castles in Germany. Regarding the architecture and design of the 18th century, they are quite significant. Both palaces are definitely worth seeing, as are the adjacent gardens.
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