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How to experience the Rhine Metropolis
If you ask the people of Cologne, Kölle is the most charming and lively city on the Rhine. The magical attraction of the dynamic Rhine metropolis stems not least from the world-famous Cologne Cathedral.
In addition to the Gothic landmark, Cologne has many other sights to offer, such as the crane houses in the Rheinau Harbour (Rheinauhafen) or the beautiful Rhine Park (Rheinpark). The Cologne Carnival and its atmosphere are also among the city's top attractions.
Whether you want to experience the bustle of the city or walk in the footsteps of the holy three kings, find the best tips for activities in Cologne that will make your stay unique.
Cologne Cathedral: Landmark and World Heritage Site
Many people find the most beautiful way to get to Cologne is by train. By train, you travel over the Hohenzollern Bridge (complete with love locks) directly towards Cologne Cathedral.
It took over 600 years to build the Gothic church, often called a perfect cathedral, thanks to its balanced design. While much of the city was destroyed by bombing during World War II, the unique church stayed standing. Over time, the cathedral has acquired a special emotional significance for the locals: a symbol of their will to live.
The cathedral is located next to the central railway station. This means you can take a first look as soon as you get off the train and go straight out to explore after checking in at the ibis Hotel Köln Am Dom.
Art, history and stunning views
The inside of the cathedral is just as impressive as its exterior. The Shrine of the Three Kings (Schrein der Heiligen Drei Könige) is the largest and most significant shrine of the Middle Ages. The magnificent shrine is made of pure gold and decorated with precious stones. In the centre is a grille through which you can see three skulls, revered as those of the kings.
Discover Christian art in the cathedral treasury. Before you leave, be sure to climb the south tower. After 533 steps, your reward is a breathtaking view of the cathedral city, the Rhine and even the Seven Mountains (Siebengebirge).
Afterwards, relax in the wellness area of the Hotel Mondial am Dom Cologne – MGallery. In the romantic 4-star hotel, you can unwind and recharge your batteries before the sightseeing continues.
Take a breath in Rhine Park
Find balance and relaxation in the Rhine Park. To get there, start from the cathedral and walk to the right side of the Rhine. Discover varied gardens, fountains and sculptures over 40 hectares. Make sure to visit the Parkcafé, with its colourful façade and curved shape. It's perfect for refreshment while sightseeing or a cold Kölsch – Cologne's most famous beer – from the tap.
Experience Cologne tradition
Follow the Rhine until you reach the Deutz Suspension Bridge (Deutzer Brücke) or the Severinsbrücke. On the left side of the water, you'll recognise the Rheinauhafen, one of the best-known sights in Cologne.
The harbour district is known for its three famous crane houses, which owe their name to their striking shape. The rectangular cantilevered arms, each reaching down to the Rhine, are an integral part of the Cologne skyline.
The Chocolate Museum, also located in the Old Town South, is equally typical of Cologne. Discover the history of chocolate, from cocoa bean to the finished product, before testing some of the best at the chocolate fountain.
Visit during the 'fifth season' to enjoy Cologne Carnival
There are plenty of festivities happening in Cologne, especially during carnival season. During this time, you can hear a lot of "Helau" in the streets! Or is it "Alaaf"? In Cologne, the locals shout Alaaf, while in Düsseldorf, they cheer with Helau. Don't get mixed up; many friendly locals will welcome you into the hustle and bustle.
The highlight of the festivities is the parade on Rose Monday. The whole city is buzzing on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, and you can celebrate and drink Kölsch on every corner.
If you end up in one of Cologne's top bars for carnival, we recommend the Knobelbecher. The traditional Cologne pub smells of beer, and you can hear the sounds of clattering skittles: the Knobelbecher is a pub and bowling alley in one.
Traditonal food and drink
Did you know that you can drink and speak Kölsch? The word is the same for the local product and the dialect of Cologne. The refreshing beer is not the only speciality from Cologne that can be misunderstood. For example, a Halver Hahn (half rooster) is not really half a rooster but a rye roll with cheese, pickles and mustard.
These Cologne classics and other delicacies await you at Gaffel am Dom, one of Cologne's top restaurants and breweries. The cosy, traditional pub not only invites you to enjoy good food and drinks but also to socialise with locals and travellers.
Accor hotels in Cologne
Cologne is bursting with unique charm and beauty on every corner. Whether walking along the Rheinauhafen, shopping in the quarters of Cologne (Veedelnin the local dialect) or celebrating on the streets at the Cologne Carnival, there's always something to see and experience in the friendly cathedral city. Pick hotels with rooftop views, free parking and easy access to the top things to do in Colgne. Your perfect trip is right around the corner.