The largest city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth largest in Germany, Cologne is a great tourist destination with its famous cathedral, friendly people (unless you bring up Dusseldorf!), and its refreshing Kolsch style beer. Similar and yet worlds apart from its rival city Dusseldorf, you can’t miss it if you’re in the region. If nothing else, spending time wandering around and admiring the architecture would be a day well spent.
See & Do
- Kölner Dom: A UNESCO heritage site, this Cologne cathedral is the first thing you will be see when you step out of the Cologne HBF. Saying this is a large cathedral is an understatement, as it is truly gigantic (157.4m/515ft tall), and all the more impressive when you consider it took over 600 years to build–finished in 1880, well before the typical Manhattan skyscraper was commonplace. The climb to the top is a bit strenuous, but not a huge effort if you’re reasonably in shape (about 15-20 minutes to the top at a slow pace). There is no elevator, but the view is worth the climb. Rating: 5/5
- Hohenzollern Bridge: This bridge, locally known as the Locking Bridge, is covered in padlocks for couples to show their loyalty to each other. Rating: 4/5
- Rheinauhafen (Harbour): A nice pedestrian path/walkway along the river that has some nice views of the old town. Whatever you do, don’t ask the staff of the Koln-Dusseldorfer ferry line if there is a boat that goes to Dusseldorf (the answer is an obvious never!). Rating: 4/5
Eat & Drink
- Gilden Kolsch @ Zims Haus: Kolsch is the locally brewed beer of Koln, and is available at many restaurants throughout the city (don’t order an Altbier). For all the talk about how different they are from Dusseldorf, the procedure for ordering is very similar, you will be constantly brought small 0.2L cups of Kolsch beer whether you’ve ordered it or not. Kolsch is lighter in color and a bit crisper than Altbier. Rating: 5/5
- Berliner: A jelly donut from Berlin. Rating: 5/5
- 4/19/2013 – Day trip from Dusseldorf .