The oldest city in Germany
Is steeped in more than 2,000 years of history, which emanates from its alleyways and monuments. Its heart, the cathedral, is situated directly on the banks of the River Rhine, and is the undisputed symbol of the city, and perhaps the entire nation.
The Cathedral of Cologne
Cologne Cathedral.
Cologne Cathedral. Copyright © / jan kranendonk / Shutterstock
Cologne Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals in Europe. Dedicated to St. Peter, it soars over the city with spires that reach 157 metres. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Its construction dates back to 1248, when it was built to house the relics of the Three Kings donated to the city by Federico Barbarossa in 1164, which are still found inside. A vibrant and rich city has developed at the foot of the cathedral.
The historic centre of Cologne
Cologne’s historic centre, on the left bank of the Rhine, is characterised by beautiful coloured buildings, tightly squeezed together and overlooking streets with a medieval flavour.
Amongst its most iconic buildings is the Rathaus Town Hall, located on Hohe Strasse and the twelve large Roman churches which, grouped in a semicircle, surround the old city centre.
Cologne. Historic centre.
Cologne. Historic centre. Copyright © / saiko3p / Shutterstock
Due to its many churches and relics Cologne was soon nicknamed “Holy Cologne” and now hosts the greatest number of places of worship of the world’s major religions in Germany.
Cologne has a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic feel and its cultural vivacity is evidenced by its large network of museums and galleries which reveal a valuable artistic heritage of all eras and styles.
Rheinauhafen quarter of Cologne
Cologne. Copyright © / Shutterstock
With its successful blend of old and new, Cologne is an established shopping destination and a bustling and friendly metropolis. To understand this, all that is needed is a visit to the new “Rheinauhafen” quarter (literally: port on the fields of the Rhine), facing the river between the Chocolate Museum (“Schokoladenmuseum”) and the southern bridge (“Südbrücke”); its three spectacular buildings in the shape of cranes, suspended in mid-air over the dock, are now an unmistakable feature of the city. From here you can visit Veddeltraditional quarters with a bohemian atmosphere, where you can lose yourself among art galleries and charming cafes and finish your visit with a Kölsch, Cologne’s traditional beer with a bitter flavour.
It’s not just the beer that is fresh and fragrant in Cologne. Is there anyone who does not know Eau de Cologne? Synonymous with perfume throughout the world, this famous essence, created by the Farina family, is produced to this day with the “4711” mark, which is the address of the old factory that has produced the fragrance since the 1800s and is now home to a museum dedicated to its history.
Panorama of Cologne. Copyright © / Shutterstock
To conclude a visit to Cologne, there is nothing better than a cruise on the Rhine during which you can admire the city’s splendid skyline, its ancient and modern bridges and maybe even visit the surrounding area with its panoramic views and castles.
Typical products of German cuisine
At international level, the most recognized typical products are undoubtedly beer, sauerkraut and sausages. But the German food and wine heritage offers 120 types of cheeses, sparkling and fruity Riesling Pinot Noir wines, produced 13 wine-growing areas.
Cookies like Printen, and desserts like Salzwedel's Baumkuchen in the shape of a tree, the Brezel bread, are just some of the typical specialties to be discovered together with the gourmet cuisine of the over 300 starred restaurants.
Text by Lea Tocchi
Updated by Alisè Vitri
Avion Tourism Magazine
Photos:, Shutterstock
Copyright ©
Tourism Board
Where to sleep in Cologne
Cologne. View of the Historic centre from the River Rhine.
Cologne. View of the Historic centre from the River Rhine. Copyright © / Shutterstock
Cologne is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Hotels for stars, differentiated by type of services:
WHERE TO GO in cologne
Monuments of Cologne
Cologne. Cathedral.
Copyright © / Shutterstock
The cathedral covers almost 8,000 square metres of floor space and can hold more than 20,000 people. Due to the building’s impressive Gothic architecture, the shrine of the Three Wise Men, the outstanding stained-glass windows and the many other important works of art, UNESCO declared Cologne Cathedral a World Heritage Site in 1996.
Copyright © / Eric Valenne geostory / Shutterstock
Colorful old houses (from the 14th to the 17th century) stand near the Old Market Square and the historic center (Martinsviertel) with the beautiful Romanesque Church of Groß St. Martin (1151-1240). A nice historical spot to linger to admire the typical architecture of this area of Cologne. Nearby is the characteristic Fish Market.
Museums of Cologne
Cologne. Ludwig Museum.
Copyright © / Alexander Jung / Shutterstock
The Ludwig Museum was founded in 1976 with the gift of around 350 works of modern art by the Ludwig couple. It is the first museum in Cologne to exhibit modern art.
Cologne. Roman-Germanic Museum.
Copyright © / Christian Mueller / Shutterstock
The museum was completed in 1974 above the place where the Dionysos mosaic was found. The collection gives a lively picture of the Roman culture on the Rhine over three floors. It is possible to see everyday objects and a precious Roman glass collection.
Cologne. Wallraf-Richartz Museum.
Copyright © / YuryKara / Shutterstock
The museum houses the most extensive collection of Medieval Cologne paintings, as well as precious works from the time around 1500. Flemish and Dutch masters of the 16th to the 18th century, Rembrandt and Rubens included.
Cologne. House of Fragrances 4711.
Copyright © / Christian Mueller / Shutterstock
Discover the  history of the Eau de Cologne, a multisensory museum.
Cologne Museum of Chocolate.
Copyright © / Paii VeGa / Shutterstock
(Museum of Chocolate)
A special museum for chocolate addicted.
Excursions in Cologne
Cologne. River Rhine.
Copyright © / Shutterstock
Cruise against the beautiful backdrop of Cologne's city skyline as you slowly meander along the river. Experience the most beautiful stretches of the Rhine with its fairytale castles and view the magnificent scenery in the tranquility of evening.
Cologne. The Rhine Park.
Copyright © / Shutterstock
In the heart of the city of Cologne, the Rhine Park offers the opportunity to regenerate in nature or stroll along the paths but also admire the numerous works of art that make it the most beautiful park in Germany. The Rhine Park was designed by the architect Fritz Encke and inaugurated in 1913.
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