(UPDATED JUNE 2017) Cologne (or Koeln in German) is a great lively city, the, it is located very close to Belgium. I have visited it during my30 days Eurail trip around Europe. Check if it was worth the money here.
After I arrived, I immdeiately had an impression it is a young city with many students, where things are happening on every corner!
If you will open a regular tourist To-Do guide of Cologne you will only find some typical things to do in the city. For example, Cologne Cathedral, The cathedral and other popular attractions are great, no doubts!
Butthe point of this post is to give you a glimpse of the different side of the city.The side that you would probably not discover by yourself with any city guide book.
If you dont want to pass by some very peculiar spots in the city and not even notice them, read on, you will find description of some funny details in this post!
Here is your regular city hall, with statues on the wall, nothing special. What could go wrong, right?
But wait, look at the underlined statue! Do you see hmm someones back part? It seems that it was the architects cruel joke that was not noticed at first. The statue belongs to someone, who probably was not loved much by the public, as no one ever said anything.
Brussels square is a great great neighborhood that you absolutely have to check out! In my opinion, it is much better than the touristic center in terms of restaurants. Walking around there and noticing some guys drinking coffee on the balcony
No, you are not crazy, it is also a statue! I specially left the name of the street so that you can easily find it.
How about a huge car with wings made out of gold? Only in Cologne!
This car was created by an artist named HA Schult and is made out of gold completely. It was put somewhere else before, now they moved it here to Cologne City Museum and even elevated it on the tower. I have heard, that locals actually hate it and find it tasteless, but it is there nevertheless, and you can see it!
10 points for those who will notice a banana sign on many buildings in Cologne! They are literally everywhere!
It all started whenThomas Baumgaertelstarted to evaluate contemporary art museums in his own way a banana on their door would mean he approves their existence, the museum is good.
His banana stencil pieces eventually became well known and now some museums even draw a banana on their door themselves. The inventor of the banana evaluation went to court and proved that it is his trademark and only he has the right to leave the banana signature!
Nowadays, you can find these bananas not only in Cologne but all around the world, for instance, in Guggenheim museum.
Have you ever made the connection between Cologne, as the name of the city and Eau de Cologne 4711, the perfume?
Yes, exactly, that is where it was invented! Now it makes great sense, right?
And now, as we got the first part figured out, lets thinkwhat is the second part stands for, 4711?
It is easier than you think, it was just the address.
In 1794 Napoleon implemented the system of house numbers. So, 4711 is actually an address where the perfume house was located. Now it is a museum, which you can visit.
Since we started to talk about some unusual signs of Köln, I will also tell you about one really special hotel where I had a chance to stay.
Even its nameHumboldt1already tells us it is not your typical big chain hotel. Since the time you enter this eccentric hotel till the time you check out, you will feel like it belongs to some different world, a parallel reality even!
Shining lamps, bizarre looking check-in desk, interesting decor all these made me expect my room will be special as well.
My expectations were confirmed the room had a toilet cabin right in the room (there was some kind of curtain though)!
Was it a designers idea or they just did not bother to build the wall? I dont know, but for me and my sister it was an interesting experience, we giggled all the time! 🙂
In terms of location it is situated perfectly, all the tourist sights are in the walking distance.
The owner of the hotel, a woman named Anja is extremely nice and helpful, the breakfast was fresh and delicious. It was that big, it could hardly fit on the table! 🙂
I was very glad I choseHumboldt1for my stay in Cologne. I saw the alternative side of the city and I stayed in an alternative hotel. It was just a perfect match.
Stay in this hotel ifyou are searching for something different, a special experience in a small hotel where you will get an individual treatment.
Book your stay with Humboldt1 hotel here!
I have carefully selected your accommodation suggestions according to your budget, all are located in the heart of the city and have fabulous reviews:
Luxury stay (from 150 €)Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Domis a luxury at its best, it offers award-winning cuisine and elegant rooms with a free minibar.Hyatt Regency Kölnoffers great views of the Cologne Cathedral, gourmet cuisine, and a free spa area with large indoor pool, Hyatt rooms are, as always, very stylish.
Good quality/price ratio (50€ 150€)Hotel Sandmanns am Dom This 3* apartment is pretty good priced for all the advantages it has it is close to everything and the service is amazing. If you prefer apartments, go for an amazing lookingApartment Unter Kahlenhausen a cozy place in the heart of the city with all the facilities.
Budget stay (up to 50€) if you are searching for a good inexpensive hostel,Weltempfänger Hostelwith its clean shared rooms, guest kitchen and great atmosphere should definitely be your choice. If you are searching for a cheap double room, a hotel with unpronounceable nameDie Wohngemeinschaftis for you 9.2/10 rating, the prices for double starts at 30€, book in advance!
Even though I shared some really unknown things with you, I cannot help but also tell you about the MUST DO ones! What if you miss them? 🙂
Here are some more typical, usual things that you should do while in Cologne
Thebell tower of the Cathedral that is a number one thing you should do when in Cologne! Climb 573 steps of the Cathedral Tower to reach an amazing view to the whole city!
The construction of the cathedral has started in 1220, it was paused after 400 years of continuous works and it is still unfinished nowadays. Reminds ofSagrada FamiliainBarcelona, right?
PRICE:4 EUR. (Dont forget to take a student ID if you have one, you will get a 50% discount!). The entrance to the inside of the cathedral is free.
FUN FACT:Do you know why the cathedral has different colors? Somewhere it is blacker, somewhere it is yellowish. During the WW2 the tall cathedral was a great oriental point for pilots who bombed the city. They did not want to hit the cathedral, as it was so easy to spot the city from the air. But because they bombed everything else around, all the dust and bombed parts left their effect on the cathedral!
If you dont want to climb those 573 stairs, alternatively, you can go up theKölnTriangle, no steps, you can take the elevator. And what is even cooler you can actually see the Dome from there!
Hohenzollern Bridge (or just Love Locks bridge) is 400 meters long and it is filled with love locks from the bottom to the top, there is no square decimeter left!
It is thelargest padlocks bridge in the world!
The government take the locks down once in a while because it gets too heavy and thus, dangerous. But otherwise, you can totally put yours if you want. Just that, you want your love to last forever, dont you?
Fat Peter (or St. Petersglocke) is the largest ringable bell in the world!
No wonder its weight is approximately 24 000 kg and its diameter is 322 cm, can you imagine?
Feeling like it is still not enough, and you want to visit some more signs?
Do this, if you have some spare time in the city:
an interesting way to see the city from a different angle. The price is 7 EUR return or 4,8 EUR one way. I have to war you though that the view is not that spectacular as you take the cable car near the park, not in the city center.
if you are an art lover you will appreciate this modern art museum, it houses one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe. The entrance is 12 EUR for adults and free for kids (under 18).
Lindt chocolate built this Willy Wonka style museum with chocolate fountains etc. Fun not only for kids! Price: 9 Eur
is free, you can do a lot of tastings there.
for a lazy afternoon. There are numerous boats crossing the river Rhine, which will show you many sighs from the different angle.
Try Kölsch beer everything, which is brewed in the radius of 30 km from Koeln is considered to be Koelsh beer. This light beer is special because it is filtered from the bottom to the top. Which means, it loses its taste quickly. For this reason it is mostly served in small glasses of 0,2 L.
But be careful ordering it, you might not notice it, but your beer will be magically refilled all the time you finish your glass! It is done by default by waiters and you will doubtlessly be charged for it. But why not, huh?
If you want to give waiter a signal to stop refilling just put a beer coaster on top of your glass.
FUN FACT: Cologne and neighboring Dusseldorf were always rivals. If you order a dark Dusseldorf beer in Cologne, not the light Koelsh one, dont be surprised if the waiter will look weird at you! 🙂
Thank you very much for reading this post, let me know if you liked the post in the comments!
If you also want to see the capital of Germany, check out my post on22 things to do in Berlin!
P.S. Do you want to know where else I went for my Eurail adventure? Check out my posts aboutCroatiaPragueandSlovenia!
Have you been to Cologne? Do you know any other unusual things in the city?
Yulia is originally Russian but truly is a world citizen in heart. She was traveling around the world for over 4 years now. Her blog is created with the purpose to inspire people to travel more and to share her advice of how to travel smart.
You make me miss Cologne!! Such a vibrant and cool city! Planning a visit for June or July this year 🙂
yes, it is a great vibrant city that has its soul, agree! And so many things to do! Liked it a lot!
Thank you for this post! Im visiting Cologne at the end of April/beginning of May and I was looking for some interesting and useful information in one post. 🙂 Hotels/appartment recommendations were very helpful! Cant wait to visit this city! 🙂
Hey Rima, i am so glad it was helpful, i hope you will feel that special city vibe like I did!
Let me know if you have any more question! 🙂
great information about Cologne. Here is a fact you might not know: the famous brand 4711 is a rip-off. There was a Eaus de Cologne-Producer in Cologne (Farina Gegenber) since 1703, but the 4711 people stole their idea in 1784. This hapened a long time ago, and 4711 has by far the better marketing, so they deserve somehow their success, but the original still exist.
Thank you for sharing the great and useful information, I just got a pair of air ticket traveling to Frankfurt on this coming 16 Dec to 1 Jan, and is our 1st trip to Europe country.
Need your advise on the itinerary below:
Cologne-2 days/Strasbourg-2 days/ Colmar-2 days/Stuttgart-2 days & Munich-5 days
1). Is the itinerary looks ok? Will it be too rushing?
2). Frankfurt-Cologne- Strasbourg- Colmar-Stuttgart-Munich-Frankfurt. What do you think for the route and sequence?
3) should i purchase the Eurorail pass? Or just puchase the rail pass for point to point will be cheaper?
Hope to hear from you and thanks in advance!
Hey, I came across your post and I absolutely love it! I am from Cologne myself! I was born and raised here but I learned some new things just by reading your post! You make me want to explore my city some more! Thanks so much for sharing your travel experiences!
Thank you so much for your comment, I am HAPPY you could find some useful info in my post about your city.
I have many more interesting posts about other destinations that you might be interested in, check out Destination tab! 😉
Great Blog! I recognise a few of these things from the free walking tour! Did you go on one?
Yes, actually most of them are from the free walking tour, i always try to take those tours in every new city I visit!
Me and my wife travelled through Europe on a a Eurail Pass in the winter of 2015/2016 for three months. It was fantastic! This is the third time we have traveled on a Eurail Pass. Thoroughly recommended and fantastic value.We love Europe!! And we especially love Europe in the winter months. Magical in so many ways.
I have also traveled around Europe with Eurail pass for 1 month and it was fantastic!
Cologne is just one of the most beautiful city in germany!!
Interesting to read this thank you wish I was going there soon!
Just a note from someone from Cologne. The Cathedral was build in 1248 to 1880. Its the official enddate. But you are right. There is a lot of work done there and its actual never finished.
BUt i have to say your suggestions are very cool and interesting. Thumbs up
Those are really interesting tips for Cologne!!!! Ive never heard of a couple of them! Thanks! Really good job! 😉
THANK YOU YULIA! I am heading there in January (from California!) and I am very excited to check out these few things that you showed me. I appreciate the information and look forward to reading more of your adventures! 3 Amanda in CA
Thanks for your fun post!! My daughter and I are headed to Cologne soon (From Colorado, USA) and your post has given us some great information. I know you posted this awhile ago, but Im sure it will still be useful for our trip!
The info I am giving here mostly concern architecture and some attractions that do not change much, so I am sure you can use this post!
My mission is to inspire you to travel more and give some valuable practical tips about each destination
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