People usually associate the city of Cologne with its famous landmark, the Cologne Cathedral. But Cologne has much more to offer than the cathedral. There are many sights to see, parks and interesting, small cafés and restaurants in the cathedral city – you just have to look closely to find them.
What can you do in 24 hours in Cologne?
Go for a walk
The best way to begin the day is by taking a walk along the Rhine River. Everyone who has ever taken the train to Cologne has crossed Hohenzollern Bridge. Thousands of lovers have locked engraved padlocks to the bridge to symbolize their long-lasting relationships. They throw the keys into the river. Padlocks with or without engraving are available in many shops in Cologne.
Even if you have seen it before, the Cologne Cathedral is fascinating time and again. The Rhine Promenade is always full of visitors, there is room for everyone, regardless of whether you want to eat something, lounge around in the park or simply take a stroll. You can walk along both sides of the Rhine River.
After a bit of a walk, you will arrive at the Chocolate Museum. Here, you can munch on chocolate and at the same time, learn about how chocolate is made – from the cocoa beans to chocolate bars.
If you walk further, you’ll pass the newly renovated Rheinauhafen urban regeneration project. It used to be a working port, but today it consists of a modern building complex with a small harbour for private boats. The gigantic ‘crane buildings’ there symbolize the three old loading cranes that used to tower above the port.
Hungry? Turn back toward the centre of the city to find an enjoyable eatery. The excellent public transport network will make the return trip a quick one. Once you’ve arrived at Cologne Ring, try an excellent burger at Hans im Glück. The Ring is a popular party destination for young and old.
Now that you have your strength back, you can head out to Breite Straße for a round of shopping. The shopping hot spots, such as Hohe Straße and Schildergasse, are often too crowded to shop comfortably. If you’re not interested in the mainstream shops, go to Belgische Viertel, where you will find many small boutiques. This district of Cologne is known for young, striking fashion and jewellery shops.
The best thing about Cologne is that it has a large city centre in which you can travel from A to B very quickly. The city has 9 districts with a total of 86 neighbourhoods, but most of the action is in the centre.
Old Town and Zülpicher Straße
After arriving at Heumarkt/Altermarkt in Old Town, I find a brewery and treat myself to a nice, cool glass of Kölsch beer. Cologne’s local dishes are not designed for calorie-conscious diners. Hearty potato pancakes or a delicious pig’s knuckle are gourmet delights.
After an ample meal, it’s time to go to Zülpicher Straße. Alongside Cologne Ring, this is a popular party street – but it has more bars than clubs. As the sun goes down, I enjoy the delicious cocktails there and review what I’ve seen and done that day. There’s an opportunity to party for every taste and every budget here.
My conclusion about Cologne:
Cologne is a very interesting city and the residents of the city are truly amiable. If you want to make a day trip or holiday here – or are considering living in Cologne – the Cathedral City on the Rhine River has something for everyone.