UNESCO World Heritage Site in North Rhine-Westphalia
In 2017, Cologne Cathedral was number eleven on the list of top 100 sights in Germany , according to Germany Travel. It’s a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and tourists from around the world come to the city to admire this popular landmark.
When I visited the Cathedral in 2017, I was completely in ore of how they built this 157m building in such detail in the 13th century. No wonder it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. The Cathedral is located in the heart of the city centre, close to the River Rhine and various museums.
Cologne is also a perfect place for a shopping trip. Look out for the smaller districts off the beaten track like the Belgian quarter and Ehrenfeld, where you’ll find some really nice, unusual shops.
As Cologne is also a university city, there’s always something going on – day and night. Depending on what you’re interested in, a weekend is usually long enough to get a feel for the city. If you can add on a couple of extra days, you could combine it with a trip to the wine-growing area around Koblenz on the River Rhine or Moselle. Numerous wine-makers offer fantastic wine tours and I know some truly romantic places to stay.
Taste something different in Cologne
At Christmas time, Cologne sparkles with festive cheer from the many different Christmas markets spread around the city. Take the opportunity to try some mulled wine (Glühwein) while you’re wandering around the stalls. If that’s not your thing, why not try some Kölsch, a typical beer from Cologne? It’s a light beer, served in 0.2l glasses and if you don’t place your coaster on top of your glass to show that you’ve finished, the waiter will assume you want another one and top you up again.
What you should also sample is the typical regional dish, ‘Himmel un Ähd’. Similar to black pudding, it’s served with apple sauce and mashed potatoes. Those traditional, hearty meals are certainly not to everyone’s taste, but in a creative city like Cologne, you’ll always find plenty of other options. New trendy food and drink places are constantly opening up to show that German food and drink is not only about sausages, meat, beer and wine. Check out some recommendations for vegan places in Cologne, written by a vegan blogger.
Cologne’s carnival – a huge part of the culture
If you’d like to truly experience Cologne’s culture, you should join in with one of the annual carnival celebrations, which kicks off on 11th November and ends on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.
In November last year, I went to a carnival party on the Rhine Embankment with some British friends of mine. The party was held on board one of KD’s boats. A fantastic time was had all-round! One friend even said that she could actually feel the love on the boat – confirming the reputation that Cologne’s people are a friendly lot! What makes it even better is that Cologne Airport is only 15 minutes away from the city centre by train. Read about our experience at the carnival party here.