A Day Out in Cologne
Cologne, known to its inhabitants as Köln, is famous for a variety of reasons, from its spectacular cathedral through to the Cologne that takes its name from the city.
It is perhaps not as well visited as some of Germany's other cities, such as Berlin or Munich, but it is home to some fantastic attractions, giving the visitor plenty to do. Here are just a few options for your visit.
You probably know that Germany is famous for its beer. What you might not know is that each region is fiercely proud of its particular brand of beer, and inhabitants look unfavourably on beers from other regions, as well as people who drink them!
In Cologne, the local beer is Kölsch, viewed by the locals as being the finest beer in all of Germany. Unlike other regions of the country, Kölsch is served in fairly small glasses, and is a fairly light beer. It is very tasty. Just don't make the mistake of ordering a beer from another region!
Climb the Dom
Cologne's UNESCO world heritage listed cathedral is the most visited attraction in all of Germany, and for good reason. This is the largest gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, and for four years in the 19th century, was the tallest structure in the world, a title it lost when the Washington Monument was built.
For fact fans, this cathedral is also home to the world's largest free swinging bell, the 24 ton bell of St Peter.
My reason to visit though is for the spectacular view which can be had if you climb the 509 steps up to the 98 metre high viewing platform. From here you can see across the Rhine river and much of the city.
Leave a padlock on Hohenzollern Bridge
Leaving a padlock attached to something as a symbol of love has become incredibly popular in Europe, with Paris being thought of as the definitive place to do so.
Cologne has it's own bridge where you can seal your love, with the Hohenzollern Bridge being the place to do so. This is a rail bridge across the Rhine, just behind the cathedral and train station, which is worth wandering across anyway for the views of the cathedral, river and city.
Eat Chocolate at the Chocolate Museum
If you like chocolate (who doesn't like chocolate?), then your time in Cologne should include a stop at the Imhoff Schokolandemuseum, or chocolate museum.
This museum features the entire history of chocolate, as well as a three metre high chocolate fountain, and of course, plenty of samples for you to try. A great option for a rainy day or if visiting with family.
Visit the Eau de Cologne shop, 4711
The Original Cologne, invented by an Italian in the early 18th century, was of course created in Cologne. The longest in-production Cologne is the 4711 brand, which has been in continuous production since 1799 – always to the same formula!
You can visit the store and location of the original production at the 4711 house on Glockengasse street, although the number has since been updated to a more modern 4.