Back Print

Cologne: the City of Art, Culture, and Gaiety

Largest city of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and fourth-biggest in Germany

Cologne is located on the Rhine River and known for its lively art and culture scene, its carnival, and Cologne Cathedral.

The cathedral is the hallmark of the city of Cologne. Its two towers reach a height of 157 meters, making it Germany’s tallest cathedral. It has been on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1996.

Cologne is known for its art and culture. There are 12 Romanesque churches scattered around the city, including Great St. Martin Church, and numerous museums such as the Chocolate Museum and the Romano-Germanic Museums.

Cologne is also called the “City of Five Seasons”. Starting at 11:11 am on November 11 and lasting until the day before Ash Wednesday, there is a constant stream of carnival-related events taking place. The season reaches its high point in the last week, when there is a large parade on Rose Monday that regularly attracts more than a million colorfully costumed spectators. The traditional greeting during the festival is “Kölle Alaaf!”.

If you’re in the mood to go out, there’s lots of action in Zülpicher Strasse and the Cologne Ring. Friesenplatz cultivates a more elegant ambience, while Ehrenfeld is multicultural, hip, and alternative. The traditional bars around Alter Markt and Heumarkt are also worth a visit.

Here are some other must-do’s:

  • Go for a walk along the Rhine, taking a break at the recently built complex called “Rheinterrassen” with a great view of the cathedral, the Hohenzollern Bridge, and the Old Town
  • Go on a boat tour on the Rhine
  • Hang a “love padlock” on the Hohenzollern Bridge
  • Drink a Kölsch, Cologne’s traditional beer