What to see in Cologne in 3 days

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Cologne, the fourth largest city in Germany, is located in the north of the country, on the banks of the River Rhine, not far from the border with Belgium and Holland. It is a destination that is very suitable to be visited in a weekend or during the holidays. Between the cathedral, the Imhoff chocolate museum, a nice boat ride and, why not, a few hours of relaxation at the spa, there are really many things to do here and meet the tastes of all types of tourists.
So here are some tips on how to organize your trip and, above all, on what to see in Cologne in 3 days.


  1. 1 day
  2. 2 day
  3. 3 day
  4. How much does a weekend in Cologne cost
  5. User questions and comments

1 day

1 - Morning: breakfast, Cologne Cathedral, Alter Stadt

Before starting this day, you need to recharge your batteries with a good breakfast, we recommend the Café Reichard, where a breakfast menu is also offered starting from € 5,00 per person.

A few steps away you will find the Cathedral, in German Kölner Dom, that is the main monument of the city, its symbol and reference point to set out on its discovery. It is one of the most visited attractions in all of Germany: the relics of the Magi are built inside, built in wood and gilded silver placed behind the main altar. It is open from November to April from 6:00 to 19:30, from May to October from 6:00 to 21:00, Sundays and holidays from 13:00 to 16:30 and admission is free.

After visiting the cathedral, we advise you to stroll in the Old Town, the historic center of the city. The main points are the Alter Markt, the beating heart, is a meeting place for locals and tourists, full of beer gardens with outdoor tables, the perfect place to relax. A few steps away is the Frankenwerft, a pedestrian zone on the banks of the River Rhine, characterized by many colorful houses. At the height of the Fish Market there is a very characteristic small square, with beautiful pastel-colored houses with a pointed roof, on which stands the church of San Martino.

2 - Afternoon: lunch, Imhoff Chocolate Museum

Strolling south along the pedestrian area along the Rhine on an internal street, you will find the Brauerei zur Malzmühle, a 160-year-old brewery, where we recommend you stop for lunch. Here you can taste Brauhaus specialties, such as pork shank, Bratwurst or Mühlen Burger, all accompanied by excellent beer. On average, you will spend around € 20,00 per person.

Just 550 meters away you will find the Imhoff chocolate museum, a real paradise for chocolate lovers. It was founded in 1993, here you can learn about the history of chocolate, its origins and all the production methods. The second part of the museum, in fact, consists of a production department, where you can see all the machinery in action and the various steps to get to the creation of the chocolates. At the bottom you will find a huge chocolate fountain and you will be offered a wafer to dip under the waterfall. The museum is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 and is closed on Mondays in January, February, March and November. Admission costs € 12,50 during the week, € 13,50 at weekends and holidays.

3 - Evening: dinner, historic center

Once the visit to the museum is over, going back along the riverside until you reach the historic center and at Heumarkt you will find the restaurant Servus Colonia Alpina, where we strongly recommend you stop for dinner. In this restaurant / brewery you can eat traditional dishes, obviously accompanied by a good mug of beer. In Cologne, as in all of Germany, beer costs less than water. The place is very suggestive, it seems to be inside a mountain hut. On average, you will spend about € 20,00 per person.

Once you have dined, if there are interesting artists playing in the venue we recommend that you enjoy the evening there, the restaurant on weekends is open until midnight, even beyond in case of concerts. Or you can enjoy a nice one stroll through the Old Town and enjoy the illuminated cathedral.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 3,1 km / 39 min
  • Places visited: cathedral (free), historic center (free), Imhoff museum (€ 12,50)
  • Old Town and Cathedral: Kölsch Beer Tour Myths and Legends Evening Tour
  • breakfast at Café Reichard (Get directions); lunch at Brauerei zur Malzmühle (Get directions); dinner at Servus Colonia Alpina (Get directions)

2 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Römisch-Germanisches Museum

Second day in beautiful Cologne, we recommend you stop for breakfast at the Bakery Merzenich on Wallrafplatz, a few steps from the cathedral. This bakery is open and operational as early as 6:30 am and you will find excellent freshly baked products.

You can start your itinerary with a visit to Römisch-Germanisches Museum, one of the most important museums in all of Cologne, located just behind the cathedral. This real museum institution exhibits archaeological finds ranging from the prehistoric era to the Roman and Frankish era and come from excavations carried out in the urban area of ​​the city. Inaugurated in November 1961, the entire museum develops around its most important piece, a beautiful mosaic found during the reconstruction works after the bombings of the Second World War, which almost entirely destroyed the city. We are talking about the Mosaic of Dionysus, which portrays several scenes from his life and that, most likely, it was located inside a Roman house.
The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00, closed on Mondays. Admission costs € 3,00.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, Hohe Strasse, Dropped Coned, Neumarkt

At the end of your visit to the museum, we recommend that you stop for lunch at Bavaria Am Dom. If the day allows it, take a seat at the outdoor tables and have lunch with a beautiful view directly on the cathedral. Here you can choose between excellent meat dishes or various salads. On average, you will spend € 15,00 per person.

After lunch, we recommend that you walk the whole of Hohe Strasse, one of the main streets of the city, as well as a shopping street par excellence. Small note: on Sundays almost all the shops are closed, and this area will be almost completely deserted, while most of the people and open businesses are in the Old Town and the Alter Markt and Frankenwerft area. Continuing along these streets you will arrive at Neumarkt, a beautiful square where in December beautiful Christmas markets are held. Don't forget to roll your eyes and look for theimmense Dropped Cone on the roof of the Neumarkt Galerie. It is an installation in the shape of an inverted ice cream cone, 12 meters high and weighing about 3 tons!

3 - Evening: Dinner, Belgian quarter

Just 800 meters away from Neumarkt, in the particular Belgian district, is the HANS IM GLÜCK Burgergrill & Bar, a restaurant where you can eat excellent sandwiches and burgers accompanied by lots of beer. On average, you will spend between € 15,00 and € 20,00 per person.

After dinner, take the opportunity to discover the Belgian quarter, the favorite meeting place for young people. All the streets between Aachener Strasse and Friesenplatz are part of it and they all have Belgian place names. This is to celebrate the German victory over Belgium in 1870/1871, during the Franco-Prussian War. This neighborhood is full of trendy boutiques, galleries, theaters and live music venues. There is no shortage of restaurants, bars and clubs, open until late. The heart of this area is Brüsseler Platz.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 2,8 km / 34 min
  • Places visited: Römisch-Germanisches Museum (€ 3,00), Hohe Strasse (free), Dropped Coned (free), Neumarkt (free)
  • main attractions and city spirit 2-hour tour of the Kölsch breweries and beer
  • breakfast at Bakery Merzenich on Wallrafplatz (Get directions); lunch at Bavaria Am Dom (Get directions); dinner at HANS IM GLÜCK Burgergrill & Bar (Get directions)

3 day

1 - Morning: Breakfast, Südstadt, Rheinauhafen, Kranhaus

We start the last day in Neustadt Süd, the district located south of the Alter Stadt. Before starting your tour of this district, we recommend that you stop for breakfast at the Leone im Rheinauhafen CafeBar & Restaurant.
The coffee shop which is located under one of the three buildings named Kranhaus.
These modern buildings are also known as the crane houses, the name derives from their inverted L shape, which is very reminiscent of the port cranes used to load and unload goods. Each building is approximately 62 meters high, 70 meters long and 34 meters wide. Built between 2006 and 2008 following the designs of Aachen architects Alfons Linster and Hadi Teherani, two of the buildings are occupied by offices, while the northernmost one is made up of apartments. Thanks to this ambitious modernization project, the entire district is undergoing strong development and its streets are full of shops, clubs and restaurants. Here also, there are some important places of worship, such as the most important synagogue in the country.

2 - Afternoon: Lunch, boat ride on the Rhine, Hohenzollern Bridge, Deutz district

Returning to the center, along the pedestrian area on the Rhine, we recommend that you stop for lunch at the Bierhaus am Rhein. In this brewery you can choose between different traditional dishes and on average you will spend around € 15,00.

After lunch, take a boat tour on the Rhine. Head to the KD Reisebüro / Agentur Köln, the starting point. Boat tours last one hour and run from April to October at 10:00, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30, 18:00. You can sit on the outside deck, sipping a good beer and enjoying a beautiful view, while the various main points of the city will be explained to you. The cost is about € 11,00 for the full ticket, € 6,00 for the reduced one.

Once the boat ride is over, cross the famous HohKenzollern Bridge, which connects the two banks of the river, that of the old city and that of the Deutz district. This is both a pedestrian and a railway bridge. Built between 1956 and 1959, to replace the one destroyed during the Second World War, walking on it you can enjoy a beautiful view over the whole city. Arriving at the other side of the river, you will find yourself in Deutz district, considered by the Germans to be the "wrong side", it was at first a city in itself and, even if today it is part of the country, it is still viewed with a little diffidence. Here is the Rheinboulevard, a beautiful area where you can sit and relax looking at the Old Town side.

3 - Evening: Dinner, Koln Triangle

In Deutz we recommend that you stop for dinner at the Grissini restaurant, a beautiful welcoming place with an incredible view of the Rhine and the cathedral. On average you will spend between € 25,00 and € 30,00 per person, but the atmosphere and the good food are absolutely worth it.

After dinner, enjoy the beauty of this city for the last time, this time from above. The Koln Triangle is an innovative and modern glass tower of over 100 meters where at the top is the viewing platform. From here you can enjoy a beautiful view over the whole city. In the evening then everything becomes even more magical, with the illuminated Cathedral that stands out above all the rest. Admission costs only € 5,00 and the platform is open from 1 May to 30 September from Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 23:00 and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 23:00, from 1 October to 30 April from Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 20:00 and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 20:00.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 6,6 km / 1 h 25 min
  • Places visited: Südstadt (free), Rheinauhafen (free), Kranhaus (free), Rhine boat tour (€ 11,00), Hohenzollern bridge (free), Deutz district (free), Koln Triangle (€ 5,00)
  • 3-hour food tour Südstadt panoramic city cruise
  • breakfast at Leone im Rheinauhafen CafeBar & Restaurant (Get directions); lunch at Bierhaus am Rhein (Get directions); dinner at Grissini (Get directions)

How much does a weekend in Cologne cost

As in all German cities, here you will find prices similar to those of Northern Italy, if not even higher. As already mentioned, beer costs very little, while you will find yourself spending € 3,00 or € 4,00 for a liter of water.

As for stays, you can find different types of accommodations that suit all budgets, our advice is to book well in advance to find the best deals.
Here how much does a weekend in Cologne cost based on the itinerary we propose:

  • Costs to eat: about € 45,00 per day per person (including breakfast, lunch, dinner)
  • Costs for museums and attractions: about € 30,00 per person following the itinerary we suggest
  • Transportation: about € 15,00 per person for the whole weekend
  • Hotels, accommodation and b & b: from € 60,00 per room -
  • Fun: from € 20,00 per person per day (including snacks, coffee, aperitifs, drinks, ...)
  • Total cost of a weekend in Cologne: from € 390,00 per person (flights and transfers excluded)

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to visit Cologne: the best time is in summer, from May to September, when temperatures are milder and July and August, the hottest months, reach up to 25 °. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year, so we recommend that you always bring an umbrella and a sweatshirt with you, in case the temperatures drop due to rain - more info on when to go to Cologne
  • the airport is Koln Bonn Airport, 15 kilometers south of the city. Reaching the center is very simple: by train, the stop is located inside the airport, on the top floor, you can buy a ticket directly from the automatic machines for only € 3,00, travel time 15 minutes; by taxi, which will take you to your destination in 15 minutes and will cost you an average of € 30,00
    Compare flights to Cologne - from € 74,00
  • the best place is the historic center, so in the area of ​​the cathedral or the Old Town, all the main attractions are located in this area and you can easily move around on foot. A good alternative is the central station area, the Koln Hauptbahnhof
    Hotel and b & b starting from € 55,00 per room -
  • Getting around: the historic center is not very extensive and most of the main attractions are all close together, so the best way to get around the city is on foot. If you want to reach more distant places or neighborhoods, you can rely on an efficient transport network, which includes metro, trams and buses. All public transport is managed by the KVB company, so the ticket can be used on all means and the cost depends on the distance you want to travel: the one-way ticket costs from € 2,00, the 4-ride booklet € 8,00 - more info on how to get around in Cologne
  • Koln Card: is the tourist card that provides discounts in various museums and attractions and allows you to use, during its validity, unlimited bus, tram and S-Bahn, but not the U-Bahn. It lasts 24 or 48 hours, respectively at a cost of € 9,00 or € 18,00. To be purchased directly at the tourist office, in front of the cathedral or you can book online

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