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Excursions from Cologne: the best day trips around Cologne

Cologne is a magnificent city in northwestern Germany, crossed by the River Rhine. It is the fourth largest city in the country and the economic, cultural and historical capital of the Rhineland region.
Its strategic position makes it perfect as a base for exploring the magnificent surroundings or for taking part in crossings on the Rhine River. There are many activities to do and see, as are the surrounding areas. In addition, the excellent transport system makes everything even easier.
So let's see together what they are the best day trips around Cologne.



Index

  1. Dusseldorf
  2. Bonn
  3. Drachenburg Castle
  4. Siebengebirge and Drachenfels Boat Day Trip
  5. Aachen
  6. Essen
  7. Dortmund
  8. Neanderthal Museum and Neander Valley
  9. Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust
  10. User questions and comments

1 - Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf is a German city located north of Cologne, from which it is 39 kilometers away. There are two solutions to visit it in a day: either rent a car and reach it in just 40 minutes of driving, or, better solution, that of take the direct train from Cologne central station to Düsseldorf station and in just 30 minutes you will have arrived at your destination.

Düsseldorf is a city where tradition and modernity come together, giving life to a perfect union. Between squares of medieval origin and modern buildings, this city does not have the popularity it deserves. Unique and a little extravagant, Düsseldorf is known for being there German capital of fashion and also offers a lot from a cultural, architectural and musical point of view.

You certainly cannot get lost in your visit Burgplatz, the main square where many famous monuments are concentrated, and the possibility of enjoy a splendid view from the top of the Rheinturm. Also treat yourself to a nice and relaxing one walk along the Rheinuferpromenade, the pedestrian area that runs along the entire bank of the Rhine, from the Parliament to the port area.



  • Range: 39,1 km
  • 39,1 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in 40 minutes by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Düsseldorf Central Station, journey time 30 minutes - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; the Rheinturm is open from Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 to 00:00 and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 to 1:00
  • the entrance to the Rheinturm costs € 9,00, children under 6 years enter for free
  • Düsseldorf: By Segway along the Rhine

2 - Bonn

Bonn is the city with which Cologne shares its airport, Köln Bonn Airport. It is located south of Cologne, almost 27 kilometers away. You can reach it by car, in half an hour of travel. However, the best solution is the direct train, which will take you to your destination in just 18 minutes.

Perhaps not everyone knows that Bonn, also located on the Rhine, it was the capital of Germany for 41 years, from 1949 to 1990. In 1990 the title of capital passed to Berlin, with a very small majority.

Today it is one of the most important cities in the country and, after leaving its political role to the current capital, it has begun to focus on its cultural and tourist side, thus offering those who visit it some very interesting attractions.
Among these, the Poppelsdorf Castle, built between 1715 and 1753 and which today also houses the botanical garden of the University of Bonn, and the Beethoven House, museum dedicated to the famous composer who was born in the city.



  • Range: 27,7 km
  • 27,7 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in 30 minutes by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof to Bonn Central Station, travel time 18 minutes - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; Poppelsdorf Castle is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 16:00; Beethoven's house is open every day from 10:00 to 18:00
  • admission to Poppelsdorf Castle is free; admission to the Beethoven House costs € 9,00
  • Bonn: 90 minutes of historical entertainment - Bonn: One and a half hour cruise

3 - Drachenburg Castle

Drachenburg Castle is located in Königswinter, about 39 kilometers from Cologne, which can be reached in just half an hour by car. To reach your destination by train, you will have to take the direct train to Bonn and from there take tram 66 which will take you to the Königswinter Fähre stop.The ideal solution could be to combine the visit to Bonn and the visit to Drachenburg in one day.

Drachenburg Castle is located on the Drachenfels relief and towers above the municipality of Königswinter. It was built at the behest of the financier Stephan von Sarter, who wanted to make it his pleasure residence. Unfortunately, despite the construction work lasted only two years, Von Sarter never entered the castle and, at the time of his death, the property passed to his nephew who, in 1904, decided to convert it into a tourist attraction.

Since 1986 the castle has been a National Monument. Small curiosity about the name: the name "Drachenburg" comes from the promontory on which it is built, the "Drachenfels", where "drachen" means dragon and "fels" rock. According to legend, this was the place where Siegfried, a hero of Norse and Germanic mythology, faced the dragon.



  • Range: 39 km
  • 39 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in 32 minutes by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Bonn central station and from there take tram 66 to Königswinter Fähre stop, total travel time one hour and 40 minutes - Get directions
  • in January and February every day from 12:00 to 17:00, from March to June from 11:00 to 18:00, in July and August from 11:00 to 19:00, from September to 24 November from 11: 00 to 18:00, from the end of November and December on Saturdays from 12:00 to 21:00 and on Sundays from 12:00 to 20:00
  • full € 7,00, reduced € 5,00

4 - Siebengebirge and Drachenfels Boat Day Trip

The cities of Cologne and Bonn are connected to each other by the River Rhine, so we also want to offer you something different and special among the day trips: a day tour by boat that will take you to the discovery of Königswinter and Drachenburg.

We are talking about the tour From Cologne: Siebengebirge and Drachenfels Boat Day Trip. This boat trip will allow you to admire the beautiful landscapes that characterize this area from a different point of view. Cruise along the Rhine as you leave the majestic Cologne behind you, continue along the river until you arrive in Bonn, admiring Drachenburg Castle in the distance. All this while sitting comfortably for a hot drink or a good ice cold beer. The tour includes a boat ticket and a train ticket that will take you to the top of the Drachenfels.

  • Range: 39,5 km
  • the meeting and departure point of the tour is the ticket office Köln, in Frankenwerft, Leystapel - Get directions
  • the departure is scheduled at 9:30, daily duration
  • the cost of the tour is € 42,00 per person
  • From Cologne: Siebengebirge and Drachenfels Boat Day Trip

5 - Aachen

Aachen, in German language Aachen, is a city located near the border with Belgium and Holland, 71 kilometers from Cologne, reachable in an hour by car. The alternative is to take the train to Düren, where you then have to change to the direct train to Aachen central station, Aachen Hauptbanhof.

Aachen is a city of ancient origins, which date back to the Roman era, and, above all, it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire of Charlemagne. The perfect visit of this city starts from its magnificent cathedral, the Marienkeiserdom, built between 786 and 804 with the function of the church / palace of Charlemagne. In 1978 it became the first German monument to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The historic center of the city, despite being quite large, is totally pedestrianized, creating even more the effect of being back in time.

  • Range: 71,8 km
  • 71,8 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in an hour by car or by train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Düren station where you can take the direct train to Aachen Hbf, Aachen station, travel time one hour and 10 minutes - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; the Cathedral is open from January to March on Mondays from 10:00 to 14:00 and from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00, from April to December on Mondays from 10:00 to 14:00 and from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
  • admission to the Cathedral is free, the ticket for the guided tour costs € 3,00 and can only be purchased at Dominformation.

6 - Essen

Essen is a city not far from Düsseldorf, north of Cologne, which is 67 kilometers away. You can reach it by car, in a journey of about an hour, or, better solution, with the direct train from Cologne will take you directly to your destination in an hour.

Essen is certainly one of those cities in Germany that must be visited at least once in a lifetime, even if only for a day, as it is an example that everything can change, if there is the will to do so: from a gray and mainly industrial, with an excellent environmental requalification program, today it has become the greenest city in all of Germany.
In 2017 it also won the green capital of Europe award.

The main attraction of the city is the Zeche Zollverein, UNESCO World Heritage, the old coal mine on which the economy of the city was based, which since the Middle Ages has played a purely commercial role as a mining center. The site includes various areas, such as the Red Dot Design Museum, the Ruhr Museum, Zollverein cruises and much more.

  • Range: 67 km
  • 67 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in one hour by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Essen Hauptbahnhof station, journey time one hour - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; the Zeche Zollverein is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00
  • prices vary according to the areas you want to visit, you can find all the information on the official website - https://www.zollverein.de/besuch-planen/eintrittspreise/

7 - Dortmund

Dortmund is a German city which is 84 kilometers away from Cologne. You can reach it in an hour and 20 minutes by car or, better solution, taking the direct train which will take you to your destination in just an hour and 10 minutes.

Dortmund is the most important city in the Ruhr region and is known for its industrial tradition, for its numerous breweries and, above all, for its football team, Borussia Dortmund. In the city you will also find the Museum dedicated to this sport, where, in an interactive journey, the contribution that Germany has given in this world is told. Many tourists, both German and foreign, also come here to visit the particular football stadium, the Signal Iduna Park, which organizes many guided tours of different lengths every day. And to enjoy a beautiful view of the whole city, don't forget to climb the Florianturm, located at the Wstfalenpark, not far from the stadium.

  • Range: 84,2 km
  • 84,2 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in 20 hour and 10 minutes by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Dortmund Hauptbahnhof station, journey time hour and minutes - Get directions
  • the city can always be visited; the Football Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00; Tours at Signal Iduna Park are held from 10:40 am until 18:00 pm, they must be booked in advance on the official website; the Florianturm is open from Wednesday to Thursday from 14:00 to 18:00, Friday from 12:00 to 18:00, Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 12:00 to 20:00
  • admission to the Football Museum costs €, 00; The stadium tours start from € 15,00, to be booked in advance on the official website; entrance to the Florianturm costs € 3,00
  • Dortmund Football Tour - Dortmund: German Football Museum - Dortmund Lake Phoenix Segway Tour

8 - Neanderthal Museum and Neander Valley

The Neanderthal Museum is located in Mettmann, just 25 minutes by train from Düsseldorf. From Cologne it is about 41,4 kilometers, 45 minutes by car. To achieve it however, you can also take the train to Düsseldorf and here, from the central station, take the S-Bahn to the ME-Neanderthal stop, just 700 meters from the museum.

The Neanderthal Museum is located a short distance from the Neander Valley, where approx 160 years ago, the first remains of Neanderthal man were found. In this interactive museum, through texts, films and audio presentations, you can learn about the history of humanity from its beginnings until today. In addition to the permanent exhibitions, several temporary exhibitions are organized every year on themes that always concern the origins of man and nature. In addition to the museum, you can also explore the Neander Valley, visiting the site where the discovery took place, which is located just 400 meters from the museum, having fun at the Ice Aged Animal Park getting to know the animals of the Ice Age or walking the path of the "Human Trail" art. The latter is a public area that can be visited at any time without any entrance fee.

  • Range: 41,4 km
  • 41,4 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in 45 minutes by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof station, from there then take S-Bahn 28 to ME-Neanderthal stop, travel time 6 hour and minutes - Get directions
  • the museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00, closed on Mondays; the Neander Valley Discovery Site is open for visits November to February 10am to 00pm, March to October 16am to 00pm
  • full ticket € 11,00, reduced 6-14 years € 6,00, reduced 4-5 years € 5,00, reduced students € 8,00, reduced disability € 8,00; all tickets include the audio guide

9 - Augustusburg and Falkenlust castles

The Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust are located at Parkplatz, in Brühl, 13 kilometers from Cologne. To reach them you can rent a car and in 27 minutes of driving you will arrive at your destination, or take the direct train from Cologne main station to Brühl in just 21 minutes. Once you get off the train, the castles are only 350 meters away.

The Castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust represent one of the most important examples of Baroque and Rococo architecture and styles in all of Germany and since 1984 they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. They were built at the beginning of the 1946th century at the behest of Clement Augustus of Bavaria, one of the members of the important Wittelsbach family and elector of the Archbishopric of Cologne. Furthermore, from 1996 to 1842, at the behest of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, all official state receptions were held in Augustusburg Castle. Today they are home to museums: the castle of can only be visited by taking part in a guided tour, while that of Falkenlust you can visit them freely. Don't forget to also visit the beautiful gardens that join the two castles, in English style and designed in .

  • Range: 13,5 km
  • 13,5 kilometers from Cologne; reachable in 27 minutes by car or by direct train from Köln Hauptbahnhof station to Brühl station, journey time 20 minutes - Get directions
  • the castles are open from Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 16:00, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 17:00; the castles are closed in December and January
  • the entrance to the Augustusburg Castle costs € 9,00 full price, € 7,50 reduced, it can only be visited by taking part in a guided tour included in the price; admission to Falkenlust Castle costs € 7,00 full price, € 5,50 reduced, it can be visited freely; the combined ticket to visit both castles costs € 14,00 full price, € 11,00 reduced; the gardens are free to enter
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