Cologne Travel Guide
Cologne, also known as Köln, is the largest city in the Rhineland and one of the most cosmopolitan sites in Germany. With an unbelievably rich history stretching back to the Roman Empire, this city gliding alongside the Rhine is inundated with tourists who come to marvel at the towering cathedrals, wide open plazas and top-notch museums.
The bustling city of Cologne has an impressive cultural scene for a city of its modest size, and the excellent transport system makes it easy to get around. Thanks to a well-preserved history spanning 2,000 years, there are countless ancient sites to explore around town. Cologne is also fast becoming the fine arts capital of Germany, an impressive title considering potential contenders such as Berlin and Frankfurt.
Unfortunately, Cologne was not spared the bombing destruction of WWII, and as a result nearly 80 percent of its medieval old town, known as the Altstadt, was leveled. What remained, however, has been nicely preserved and complemented by new shops, cafés and bars. Another hot district for trendy wining and dining is the Sudstadt; meanwhile the laid-back Belgisches Viertel neighborhood offers even more entertainment choices in this German city, well known for its lively nightlife.
Cologne Cathedral (The Dom): arguably the world’s finest gothic cathedral (and the largest in Germany), The Dom is the spiritual and physical centerpiece of Cologne and can’t be missed.
Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum of Chocolate: this fun monument to the love of chocolate presents the history, preparation and legacy of one of the world’s greatest treats.
Museum Ludwig: this stunning art museum has one of the largest Picasso collections on the planet to go with its contemporary works. A highlight is the renowned American pop art collection.
Museum Schnutgen: the inspirational setting in St Cecilia’s Church is a bonus for this incredible collection of religious art and sculpture.
Schauspielhaus: three of the city’s most important performing venues are here, each presenting its own performance schedule ranging from the classic to the avant-garde.
Wallraf-Richartz Museum: Cologne’s oldest museum specializes in art from 1300 to 1900, with nearly every period and school well represented in this comprehensive gallery.