What to see in Cologne in one day

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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-west of the country, on the banks of the Rhine. A beautiful city of truly ancient origins, dating back to the Roman era, what you can see today is the result of a recent city ​​was severely damaged by the bombing of the Second World War.

There are so many things to do, between museums, squares and attractions and to discover it well you should stay here for at least three days. But don't worry, if unfortunately your time is short, here are some tips for you what to see in Cologne in one day.


  1. One day itinerary in Cologne: Morning
  2. One day itinerary in Cologne: Afternoon
  3. One day itinerary in Cologne: Evening
  4. User questions and comments

One day itinerary in Cologne: Morning

1 - Cathedral

Obviously you can only start the itinerary with the beautiful Cologne Cathedral, but first recharge your energy with a good one breakfast. We recommend the Bakery Merzenich on Wallrafplatz, a chain of bakers that you will often come across while walking around the city. This is located a few steps from the Duomo and is open every day from 6:30 am, except on Sundays which opens at 8:00 am, perfect even for the early risers!

Il Cologne Cathedral, dedicated to Saints Peter and Mary and in the original language Kölner Dom, is the main monument of the city and its symbol. It is one of the most visited attractions in all of Germany and a pilgrimage destination for Christians since inside there are the relics of the Magi. The reliquary chest, built of wood and gilded silver, is the largest sarcophagus in Europe, and is located behind the main altar.
It is open from Monday to Saturday from November to April from 6:00 to 19:30 and from May to October from 6:00 to 21:00, while on Sundays and holidays from 13:00 to 16:30. Admission is free. In addition, it is possible to climb the tower to enjoy a fantastic panorama. The entrance ticket costs € 3,00 and the opening hours are as follows: from November to February from 9:00 to 16:00; March, April and October from 9:00 to 17:00; from May to September from 9:00 to 18:00.

2 - Alt Stadt

After the visit to the Duomo, the itinerary can continue in Alt Stadt, the beautiful and characteristic historic center of Cologne. Less than 500 meters away is theold market, the beating heart of this area, the old Piazza del Marcato. Numerous knightly tournaments were also organized here in the Middle Ages. Today it is the perfect setting for concerts and major events and in winter it turns into a real Christmas village.

The square is surrounded by several buildings above which the tower of the Town Hall rises, which is located in the next square, the Rathausplatz. Stop in one of the many bars with outdoor tables and admire the beauty of the place while having a hot drink if it's cold or a traditional Kolsch beer, to cool off on the hottest days.

Then head to the river bank and you will find yourself in Frankenwerft, a pedestrian zone on the Rhine, characterized by the presence of beautiful pastel-colored houses with the roof that house hotels and small rooms, above which the church of San Martino stands out. Stroll south along the river and enjoy the beautiful views this area has to offer.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1 km / 12 min
  • Places visited: Cologne Cathedral (free), Cathedral tower (€ 3,00) Alter Markt (free), Frankenwerft (free)
  • Old Town and Cologne Cathedral: Kölsch Beer Tour Cologne: Highlights and City Spirit
  • Where to have breakfast: Bakery Merzenich on Wallrafplatz, in Wallrafplatz 4 (Get Directions)

One day itinerary in Cologne: Afternoon

1 - Imhoff Chocolate Museum

Starting from the Frankenwerft and walking south along the pedestrian zone for 750 meters, about 9 minutes on foot, you will arrive at the Imhoff Chocolate Museum, one of Cologne's must-sees. But first, a typical lunch not too demanding to rest for a moment, right next to the museum is Hafenterrasse am Malakoffturm, a beautiful brewery with a terrace directly overlooking the Rhine and. Open every day from 11:00, here you can eat the traditional currywurst that you can buy in the kiosk with and accompany it all with a good beer. All for no more than € 10,00 per person.

The Imhoff Chocolate Museum, founded in 1993, it will take you to discover the world of chocolate, its history, its origins and all production methods, through an interactive exhibition. Here, moreover, you will find an entire production department, where you can see the different machines in operation and follow step by step how a chocolate is produced. In the last machine, by pressing the green button, you can activate a mechanical arm that will deliver a chocolate taken directly from the production belt!

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 from Monday to Friday, € 7,00 for children; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays € 13,50, € 8,00 for children.

2 - Boat trip on the Rhine

Once your visit to the chocolate museum is over, retrace the path you made on the way for 650 meters, about 8 minutes on foot, until you reach KD Reisebüro / Agentur Köln, also in the Frankenwerft area. Here you can buy a ticket to make one beautiful one hour cruise on the Rhine. This is an activity, as well as beautiful and fun, perfect if you have little time to spend in the city.

While you are sitting on the outside deck of the boat, perhaps drinking a beer or a coffee, you can enjoy a beautiful view and see the main points of the city from a different point of view. In this way you will be able to see, even if from a distance, the places that you cannot include in your daily itinerary. The boat rides run from April to October every day with departures at 10:00, 12:00, 13:30, 15:00, 16:30 and 18:00 and last one hour. The full ticket costs € 11,00, the reduced one € 6,00.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,5 km / 18 min
  • Places visited: Imhoff Chocolate Museum (€ 12,50), boat ride on the Rhine (€ 11,00)
  • Cologne: panoramic city cruise
  • Where to have lunch: Hafenterrasse am Malakoffturm (Get directions)

One day itinerary in Cologne: Evening

1 - Dinner, Hohenzollern Bridge

Just 250 meters away, about 3 minutes on foot, from KD Reisebüro / Agentur Köln, where you stepped off the Rhine boat ride, is a restaurant that is perfect for price: the Servus Colonia Alpina. This quaint place, with wooden walls and a log cabin atmosphere, offers traditional German cuisine and you will find a wide choice of appetizers, first and second courses, not to mention delicious desserts. You can accompany it all with a good beer, which costs less than water! The price is excellent for the quality of the dishes, with an average of € 20,00 per person you will be satisfied.

After eating, walk along the famous Hohenzollern Bridge to get to the "wrong" side of the city. The famous bridge connects the old town to the Deutz district, considered by the Germans to be the wrong side of Cologne. It was once a city in itself, but even if today it is in effect part of the city, this shore is still viewed with distrust. But returning to the Hohenzollern Bridge, this is a pedestrian and railway bridge, 600 meters long. On the railings of the pedestrian sidewalk you will notice many padlocks left here by lovers. And as you walk along it, stop to admire the beauty of the city, made even more fascinating by the lights that come on as the sun goes down.

2 - Koln Triangle

shortly after the Hohenzollern bridge, in the "wrong" part of the city, is the Koln Triangle, an innovative and modern glass tower built in 2005. On its top is the viewing platform, from which you can admire an incredible panorama, on which the cathedral with its spiers stands out.

Admission costs € 5,00, the opening hours are as follows: 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 12:00 to 20:00 and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 20:00. As this is an open platform, in the event of severe thunderstorms or meteorological situations that can endanger visitors, it will be kept closed.

In summary:

  • Distance traveled: 1,7 km / 21 min
  • Places visited: Hohenzollern Bridge (free), Koln Triangle (€ 5,00)
  • Cologne: Myths and Legends Evening Tour - Cologne: Night Tour guard through the old town
  • Where to dine: Servus Colonia Alpina, in Steinweg 12-14 (Get directions)

Before leaving: useful tips

  • When to go: the best months are from May to September, when temperatures are around 25 ° C and the days are longer; the worst months are winter, from November to February, when temperatures drop and rainfall increases
  • Getting around: the local transport system is very efficient and organized, however the historic center is small and the main attractions are all close together, so the best solution is to walk around
  • Useful cards: Köln Card is a city card that allows you to receive discounts on various museums, tours and guided tours, shops and restaurants, plus you will have free access to means of transport; the 24-hour card costs € 9,00 - book online
  • Clothing: the weather can change quickly, so our advice is to dress in layers and always carry an umbrella in your backpack; also do not forget to wear comfortable shoes to be able to move and walk safely
  • Opening time: shops and museums open almost all at 10:00, while on Sundays most commercial activities are closed, so we recommend that you organize your visit on the other days of the week
  • Sleeping in the city: for those who decide to extend the visit there are hotels and b & bs starting from € 75,00 per room -

What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up

  1. Kranhaus and Sudstadt
  2. Rheinpark
  3. Römisch-Germanisches Museum
  4. Hohe Strasse and Dropped Cone
  5. Neumarkt

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