When planning a visit to Europe, it may not seem like a desire to put Cologne on your list of destinations– although there are more reasons than not to do so. A historical and 2,000-year-old city in western Germany, Cologne is surrounded by the Rhine River and is currently rising as the region’s cultural hot spot. While it the roots of its past are felt within various old town districts, Cologne also grows within the commercial hub, offering guests a family experience with Phantasialand, the city’s amusement park. From the landmark of High Gothic architecture constructing the Cologne Cathedral to various restaurants sweeping river views, this classical city provides attraction from past to present. Here are four suggestions on how to spend a weekend in Cologne, Germany:
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Chocolate Museum
Located in the quarter of Altstadt-Sud on the Rheinauhafen peninsula, the city’s chocolate museum has become a customary attraction to explore. Translated from the German word Schokoladenmuseum (though we don’t expect you to pronounce that). The museum is scattered with interactive exhibits on cocoa farming and the rich history of the sweet treat, including a massive chocolate fountain and additional activities. Opened by chocolate-enthusiast Hans Imhoff in 1993, the chocolate museum now hosts around 600,000 visitors a year. The best part, however, is witnessing the creation of a delicate Lindt chocolate ball; watching how each piece is created with a gentle swirl. The museum is closed during Lent, though on regular admission days, entry is $14.00 USD.
Take a Tour Throughout the Cologne Cathedral
The Cologne Cathedral, the city’s second tallest structure, is a building of utmost spectacular architecture and historical value. It is an awe-inspiring landmark. Visitors are mesmerized by the gothic designs, encrusted with gargoyles and reaching towards the sky with twin spires. The entirety of the cathedral stretches almost 8,000 square meters of floor space and can also hold more than 20,000 people in one session. While the cornerstone of the cathedral was constructed in 1248, the building was not fully completed until 1880. The Cologne Cathedral was considered an important pilgrimage destination within Europe. While the Cologne Cathedral is available for a viewing free of charge, it is suggested to take a tour in order to take in all of its beauty. Prices may vary, though more information can be found on their official website.
Explore Cologne's Historic Old Town
An appealing square with historical charm and architecture, Cologne’s Old Town is a tourist destination not to be missed. What was once covered in rubble during the destruction of World War II, the city center was almost completely destroyed and had to be rebuilt. Standing today remains the Archeological Zone, the Old St. Alban Memorial, and the Stapelhaus, a historic marketplace that offers a Medieval charm. While these historic landmarks should be toured by visitors, so should the restaurants and breweries that are located in the square. As you stroll through the narrow alleys of the Rhine panorama, you will discover traditional brew houses such as the Fruh Brauhaus and the Sion Brauhaus. Whether you intend to tour the history or enjoy a historical brew, the Old Town of Cologne is a great destination to include during your weekend.
Grab a Bite at Cafe Feynsinn
Located along Rathenauplatz Street, Cafe Feynsinn is a small yet comforting restaurant with a mouth-watering menu. Credited with starting the city’s slow food movement, an organization geared towards producing local and traditional cooking, the cafe serves a large range of authentic selections. A restaurant that is proud of their fresh cooking, the majority of their food is prepared as organic and seasonally adapted, with regional dishes being prepared in their own modern style. From breakfast food options, like homemade tarts and a delicious cup of organic Moxxa coffee, to the dining menu of lamb tagine with couscous, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth with these delicious dishes.
A city with historical roots and a modern twist of culture, Cologne (Köln) is a stunning German location that is steadily rising amongst the ranks. The city offers a wide range of attractions, like its stunning cathedral. Cologne also has something for chocolate lovers, art enthusiasts, and those wanting to explore its historic Old Town. It is a city in touch with evolving architecture from the Hohenzollern Bridge to the roller coasters in their theme park. If you’re heading to Europe soon, don’t miss out on this electric city, and consider staying a night or two to explore it.