For a revitalising getaway, discover the impressive architecture, fascinating history and gastronomic pleasures of Cologne. Situated in the south of Germany, Cologne, or Köln as it is known to the Germans, is blessed with an awe-inspiring cathedral, interesting museums and atmospheric brew houses.
Sitting on the banks of the Rhine and boasting a remarkable skyline, Cologne is an attractive city dominated by the imposing structure of Dom Cathedral. Originally built in the 13th century, this spectacular Gothic revival masterpiece is probably the best of its kind and is unsurprisingly the most visited attraction in Germany.
Cologne was once important Roman settlement reflected in the staggering number of quaint Romanesque churches. The Römischer-Germanisches Museum, depicts their influence on the city and is home to an astonishing exhibition of artefacts including a brilliant mosaic floor comprising of over one million pieces. Alternatively, try the Wallraff-Richartz Museum for the collection of medieval and impressionist art, or if contemporary works take whet your interests the Museum Ludwig is home to a fine collection of eye-catching pop art.
For chocolate lovers, the Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum is a must. The insight into the history of chocolate and methods of modern day production is a mouth-watering exhibition of delicacies and likely to tempt you into treating yourself. Beer lovers are spoiled for choice given the countless brew houses. Cologne has a long-standing and distinguished tradition of brewing beers and is the world’s leading producer. The locals are particularly proud of their favourite drink – Kolsch.
Cologne has more bars and restaurants per square capita than anywhere in Germany so finding somewhere suitable to eat is not a problem. International cuisine is well represented with a host of restaurants offering sumptuous recipes at a very reasonable price. German cuisine tastes much better than its sounds, but if you are particular about what you eat you are advised to go somewhere familiar. Otherwise, try a delicious traditional German dish like Eisbein – pork knuckles with sauerkraut, or Wiener Schnitzel – veal baked in breadcrumbs.
With a moderate climate Cologne is a good place to visit anytime of the year. The city is at its most attractive in spring together with December when the streets are filled with bustling Christmas markets and decorated with flashing lights. In February and March, Cologne plays host to the largest Carnival in Europe. And as you expect from a city of beer makers, the locals of Cologne know how to party!
Going by Ferry to Cologne
Cologne is not too difficult to get to if your traveling by ferry, most of the UK to Europe ferries will take you to within about a 3 hour drive from Cologne. The train service in Europe is great, you can book your tickets online and there is even a direct train service from Amsterdam to Cologne.