Melissa McDonald, City Breaks Specialist

"Cologne has infinite attractions, the main attraction being the famous cathedral which makes the iconic image of this city, great for cultural buffs and a wonderful scene for a photo. I highly recommend the Hohenzollern Bridge, which is a must-see, the bridge is fixed with various love padlocks, similar to Paris’ Pont des Arts. Don’t forget that Cologne is renowned for producing great beers, so you must head to a Brauhaus in the centre, drink Kölsch and congregate with the locals!"

Cologne at a glance

A picturesque destination, Cologne is a thriving hotspot for art and culture, with some of Germany’s finest art galleries, museums and architecture. The city is made distinct not only by its world class exhibits, but also by its fascinating mix of old and new, with impressive Roman ruins and medieval churches resting beside modern museums and luxury shops.

First settled by a Germanic tribe in 38BC, Cologne went on to become the capital of the Gallis Empire and, with a prime location on the Rhine River, an important Roman trade and production site. During World War I and II the city was a target for air raids and much of the city centre was destroyed.

Today, reconstruction and preservation has allowed the city to once again become architecturally significant. Cologne Cathedral, one of the world’s largest cathedrals, dominates the skyline, while the city’s Rathaus is known to be the oldest city hall in Germany. Spanning the Rhine, the Duetzer Bridge offers up a spectacular view of the city’s landmarks, impressing upon visitors the size and beauty of this popular city break destination.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Stunning arcitechture 
  • Art and culture 
  • A bustling city break

Getting around

Cologne has an excellent system of subway, tram and bus networks throughout the city called the KVB. Tickets can be purchased in short trip, one day or three day passes.

A regional train called the S-Bahn is also available. Tickets can be purchased at the station.

Bike rental is also popular, with the online Call a Bike rental system available throughout the city in addition to traditional rental locations. 

Shopping in Cologne

Up and coming designer shops, exclusive boutiques, unique handcrafted accessories and well known high street brands offer an extensive shopping experience in Cologne. Be sure to visit Schildergasse, one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe, then head over to the Belgian quarter, where creative designs thrive and new fashion trends are born.

Dining in Cologne

Traditional Kölsch style restaurants can be found throughout the city, but there is also a growing mix of international cuisine providing a good variety of dining choices, from Middle Eastern, Asian and Italian faire to the more recent additions of Japanese and Thai cuisine.

Stop by a friendly brewhouse to try the city’s locally produced Kölsch beer, known for its moderate bitter taste and very pale colour.

Must-try local dishes

  • Schweinshaxe – a large, crispy pork leg often served with potato dumplings and cabbage
  • Halver Han – a large piece of gouda cheese served on a rye roll
  • Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte – a rich chocolate cake with multiple layers of whip cream and cherries

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice (not just Saturday to Saturday!)
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 1,017,000
Languages German
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Head to the Schildergasse for some retail therapy on one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe.

Distance from airports
Cologne 15km