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Things to do in Cologne

Cycle along the Rhine

Hire your own bike and explore the city's narrow cobbled streets. If you're feeling more adventurous, venture further afield along the Rhine and into Stadtwald forest and beyond. Speak to Radstation (www.radstationkoeln.de) about getting yourself set up with some wheels.

Discover the joys of the Olympics

Cologne's Sport and Olympic Museum (tel: +49 (0) 221 33 6090, www.sportmuseum.de) contains artefacts from ancient events through to modern day, and is an absolute must-visit for all Olympic history buffs. If all that makes you hungry, nip next door to the Chocolate Museum (tel: +49 (0) 221 931 8880; www.schokoladenmuseum.de).

Jump out of a plane. No really.

Why walk, run or cycle when you can hurl yourself out of a perfectly functioning aeroplane? You can skydive over Cologne with Sky-Fun (tel: +49  221 500 678 80; www.sky-fun.de/) – either on your own if you have the experience or strapped to someone else in a tandem jump if you don't.

Open your heart on the Love Locks Bridge

Some people say 'I love you' with flowers, some do it by composing irregularly rhyming poetry. Cologne's residents express everlasting commitment to their beloveds by snapping a natty padlock to the Hohenzollernbrücke, a bridge which overspans the river Rhine. So many padlocks have been snagged there, that they add an extra 22 tonnes of weight to the bridge.

See the Pop Art at Museum Ludwig

If you know your Warhol from your Lichenstein, Museum Ludwig (tel: +49 (0) 221 221 26165; www.museum-ludwig.de) will get your art heart filled to burst. It's home to one of Europe's largest collections of modern art, as well as around 900 works from Picasso, making it the world's third-largest after Paris and Barcelona.

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Hilton Cologne

Set in a quiet side street by the cathedral, this smart, sophisticated hotel has all the quality you'd expect from a large chain. Its trendy IceBAR, which serves its signature shot in a glass made of ice, and onsite Konrad restaurant are popular meeting places for locals.

Hopper Hotel St Antonius

This very reasonably-priced design hotel is housed in a historic journeyman's hostel and set within walking distance from the main railway station and the banks of the Rhine. It comes complete with an excellent restaurant, original modern artworks and one of Cologne's most popular private theatres.

Stern am Rathaus

Nestled in the heart of the Altstadt, between the Rathaus and the Dom, this small family-run hotel couldn't wish for a more central location. There are only ninw rooms here, but each is spotlessly clean, modern in design, and equipped with everything you'd expect from an international chain hotel.

Savoy Hotel

The individually designed rooms in the Savoy are themed around different world destinations. So whether you're slumbering in the San Tropez suite or sleeping in the Samurai room, this smart boutique hotel allows you to travel the world without wandering any further than the wardrobe. It also has an excellent restaurant and spa facilities.

Excelsior Hotel Ernst

This grand dame of accommodation in Cologne continues to impress with its sweeping spiral staircases, great service and central location. Rooms come in beige and earth tones or calming blue and white. Taku, one of Cologne’s most exciting restaurants, is housed here and the Piano Bar offers an interesting range of cocktails.

Hyatt Regency Cologne

If you're looking for luxury and arresting views, Hyatt Regency Cologne fits the bill perfectly. The spacious, well-appointed rooms look out onto the Rhine and towards looming towers of the Dom. It also has an indoor pool, fitness club and spa, and a restaurant housed in a panoramic glass atrium.