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Things to see in Cologne

Tourist Offices

Cologne Tourist Board (Kölntourismus)

Address: , Kardinal-Höffner-Platz 1, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 346 430.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-2000, Sun 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.cologne-tourism.com

Opposite the cathedral, the tourist office stocks maps and brochures, and can offer advice on public transport and what to see. It can also help with hotel and tour reservations.

Tourist passes

If you plan on ticking off most of the sites, it may be worth investing in the KölnCard which gives reduced-price admission to most attractions and excursions as well as free travel on all public transport. The card is available from the tourist office or online.

Attractions

Wallraff-Richartz-Museum

The Wallraff-Richartz Museum houses more than 700 years of art. Its earliest work dates from around 1300 and takes visitors all the way through to Impressionism at the end of the 19th century. From Rubens, Rembrandt, van Dyck, and Tintoretto, to Renoir, Monet, Manet, van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin and Munch, it’s overwhelming to take it all in on a single visit, but there’s nothing to stop you from coming back.

Address: , Obenmarspforten (am Kölner Rathaus), Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 221 21 119.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1800 (first and third Thu of the month until 2200).

Website: http://www.wallraf.museum/en/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral)

Unmissable in every sense, this behemoth is one of the most awe-inspiring buildings in the world and holds a number of treasures. Look out for the golden casket possessing the remains of the Magi, the ninth-century Gero crucifix, the Stefan Lochner triptych and the medieval stained-glass windows. Climb the 509 steps to the viewing platform of the 157m-high (515ft) South Tower for the dizzying views and down below look in the Schatzkammer (Treasury Chamber).

Address: , Domkloster 4, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 179 40 100.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0600-2100 (May-Oct); Mon-Sat 0600-1930 (Nov-Apr), Sun 1300-1630.

Website: http://www.koelner-dom.de
Admission Fees:

Yes (Treasury Chamber and Tower)

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

NS Documentation Centre

For an unflinching look at the darkest period in German history, step inside the Nazi Documentation Centre. Housed inside the city's former Gestapo headquarters, today the building tries to educate as well as commemorate the lives of those lost during the Third Reich. It's designed to work both as an academic research centre and an exhibition centre for the public, with a mix of permanent and temporary exhibitions.

Address: , Appellhofplatz 23-25, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 221 26 332.
Opening times:

Tue-Fri 1000-1800, Sat-Sun 1100-1800. First Thurs of the month until 2200 (except public holidays).

Website: http://www.museenkoeln.de/ns-dokumentationszentrum
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Rathaus (Cologne Town Hall)

At first glance, the Town Hall looks like any other administrative building: staid and classical with stone figures representing nobility. In fact, more than 100 of them peer down, from kings and queens to saints and prophets. However, look more closely, and you'll discover a few surprises: sculptures with their tongues hanging out and their trousers pulled down - even ones with genitals on display. Consider yourself warned. Once you've seen those, you may have a hard time concentrating on its Roman remains and impressive wooden carvings.

Address: , Rathausplatz 2, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 2210.
Opening times:

Mon, Wed and Thur 0800-1600, Tue 0800-1800 and Fri 0800-1200.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Cologne Zoo

With over 10,000 animals representing 800 species, you can find elephants, giraffes and yellow-breasted capuchin monkeys among giant anteaters and pink pelicans, before heading to the aquarium to see seahorses, crabs and some fearsome piranhas. Combine a trip here with a flying visit over the Rhine on the adjacent Seilbahn (cable car open mid-March to early November).

Address: , Riehler Strasse 173, Cologne, 50735
Telephone: +49 221 567 99 100.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1800 (Mar-Oct); daily 0900-1700 (Nov-Feb).

Website: https://www.koelnerzoo.de/en/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Römischer-Germanisches Museum

Cologne has (quite literally) been uncovering its Roman history in recent years until today. In 2016 two Roman graves with many valuable burial objects and skeletons were discovered by archaeologists. Even bars undergoing renovation have discovered a mosaic or two in the basement. This museum is built around a superbly preserved mosaic floor (the best of its kind in Northern Europe). You'll also find the world’s largest collection of Roman glassware as well as some chic Roman jewellery in the permanent collection.

Address: , Roncalliplatz 4, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 221 24 438.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (until 2200 every first Thu of the month).

Website: http://www.roemisch-germanisches-museum.de
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Museum Ludwig

This world-class museum is full of eye-catching pop art icons from the late 20th century, including masterpieces from Andy Warhol (Marilyn Diptych and Campbell's Soup Cans), Roy Lichtenstein and René Magritte, plus several hundred lesser works by Pablo Picasso. Dalí's huge La Gare de Perpignan is worth the entrance fee alone. Exhibitions staged here represent modern art from around the world in a fresh, engaging fashion.

Address: , Heinrich-Böll-Platz, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 2212 6165.
Opening times:

Tue-Sun 1000-1800 (until 2200 every first Thu of the month).

Website: http://www.museum-ludwig.de
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Cologne's Romanesque Churches

Cologne boasts 12 wonderfully atmospheric churches, which were originally built between the 10th and the mid-13th centuries, then rebuilt and restored after severe war damage. Don't miss Groß St Martin, St Aposteln, St Gereon, St Maria in Lyskirchen, St Cäcilien (now home to the Schnütgen Museum of Sacred Art) and especially St Ursula with its amazing and macabre Goldene Kammer bone chapel and reliquary room.

Address: , Various, Cologne,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Various

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Hohenzollern Bridge

What makes a railway and pedestrian bridge so special? Here it's the expression of love. While love locks have swept across the world, in Cologne they’ve taken a life of their own. In most places, lovers place a single padlock on a bridge, inscribe their names upon it and throw the key into the river to symbolise their devotion towards one another. Cologne has put its own party style onto the proceedings, replacing padlocks with bicycle chains and fluffy heart-shaped locks with racy looking handcuffs.

Address: , Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne,
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum)

Set in a stunning building on the Rhine, this entertaining and educational exhibition (in English) studies every aspect of the history of chocolate and features a real working production line that culminates in a chocolate fountain. Real cocoa butter, vanilla and lecithin are on display as well as a tour through the tropics and a history lesson on the origins of the delicious snack.

Address: , Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, Cologne, 50678
Telephone: +49 221 931 8880.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800, closed on Mondays from January–March and November

Website: http://www.schokoladenmuseum.de/en/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

Grand Hotel Schloss Bensberg

Visitors are easily dazzled by the Grand Hotel Schloss Bensberg. Housed in a renovated baroque palace, each of the 120 rooms and suites maintains a sense of grandeur while supplying all the mod cons. Look out for the midnight blue ceiling above the swimming pool and spa. It's a way out of town but the payoff for that is the easy access to horse riding and golf.

Centro Hotel Conti

Rooms at this cheerful hotel in the Belgian quarter are on the basic side, with a bed, small cupboard and small TV. The decor is no-frills as well, but it is good value and sits above a great Thai restaurant. It is also close to other restaurants and shops and has its own car park.

Hotel Engelbertz

A family-run hotel in the centre of Cologne, the Engelbertz has clean rooms, each equipped with a satellite TV. But do come prepared for some noise after dark as revellers stumble home outside.

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.