How to get the max out of a few days in Cologne

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    If you're planning a weekend getaway in Cologne, you are in for a treat. There are plenty of ways to stay busy. This German city is filled with wonders to look at and memories that you'll keep with you forever. If you want to get the most out of your visit, consider adding the following attractions to your list. You'll go home with a well-rounded collection of great experiences to remember your holiday by. Promised.

    Cologne is easy to reach by road, air and railway tracks. The latter is perfect if you're planning a tour of Germany. The country has an excellent high-speed train network that connects all major cities. But keep in mind that Germany is also famous for its Autobahn (motorway) network. It's up to you. Check out the current rental car deals in Germany and make Cologne the starting point of your German road trip.

    But first, enjoy everything the city has to offer. Quickly check into your inner city accommodation (see all deals on accommodation) and drop off your bags. It's time to explore. And these are some of our favourite things to do, see and taste in Cologne.

    The Old Town (Altstadt)

    When you walk through this part of town, it's easy to forget that 75 per cent of Cologne was destroyed during World War II. Most of this area has been rebuilt – in fact, the streets you walk on were cobblestone before the war. Even with the newer buildings, you'll get a feel for the old-world charm of the city. You can enjoy seeing a fountain that dates back to 1899 and you may even get to meet the town's gnomes.

    Don't want to explore the city by yourself? Join one of the many guided tours or group activities that are available in this German city. No worries, these won't break the bank, deals and discounts have been applied already by the awesome operators. Book online, save heaps on tours and activities in Cologne.

    Cologne Cathedral

    Dating back to the 1100s, this beautiful cathedral is a Gothic wonder inspired by French architecture. The cathedral is the most visited site in Germany and is a listed UNESCO site. Inside, you can see stained glass that dates back more than 500 years, an altar from the 1300s and the shrine of the Three Kings, decorated with reliefs depicting the life of Jesus Christ.

    Cologne Cathedral
    A classic must-see in Cologne: the Cathedral

    Botanical Garden

    The sprawling botanical garden is a masterpiece of greenhouses, lawns, and flower beds that will take your breath away. It's Located right next to the zoo, so you can check off another must-see item. It's a lovely selection of individual gardens gives you new and exciting things to look at every time you turn your head. A glass palace, inspired by the Crystal Palace in London is also there for you to marvel at. Ponds, a tropical plants house, and a cactus house are other things not to miss.

    Köln Triangle

    No weekend getaway would be complete without seeing Köln Triangle, a skyscraper that easily recognizable on the city's skyline. On one side you can climb up for a stunning view of the Rhine and on the other a variety of other landmarks. Make sure to get a glimpse, as the sun goes down.

    Cologne Skyline - Hans Permana (CC BY-NC 2.0)
    Cologne Skyline, from Köln Triangle | Photo: Hans Permana (CC BY-NC 2.0)

    Belgian Quarter

    This trendy area of town is found in a neighbourhood brimming with chic galleries. Plus heaps of hip new bars, cafes that are warm and inviting, and boutiques selling the best vintage clothing and wares you'll find in the city. If you're up for live music, the Belgian Quarter has plenty of options with theatres mixed in for something a little bit different. The area gets its name due to the streets being named after cities and provinces in Belgium and is the place to spend a summer evening or a winter afternoon.

    Breweries and craft beer tastings

    Craft beer fans will have the time of their life in Cologne. The city is famous for the creation of the Kölsch beer style, which got its name officially in 1918. When visiting this German city it's a must-taste in one of the many pubs. But the city has much more to offer when it comes to (craft) beer. Visit one of the many breweries and find out what's brewing nowadays. Take for instance:

    • Brewery Früh – famous for its Kölsch
    • Brauerei Heller – try their Wiess, which is a yeast-clouded version of Kölsch
    • Brewery Freigeist and its Deutscher Porter (Saphir Edition)

    There are also guided and private beer tours and brewery visits to do in Cologne. For examples, during a 2-hour brewery tour, you'll get to check out some of the top breweries in the city as well as sample the beers that each has to offer.

    Imhoff – Schokoladenmuseum

    For all things chocolate, you cannot miss a visit to this innovative and truly unique museum. Not only can you wander through exhibits that teach everything about the origins and creation of chocolate, but you can also watch it being made. At the three-metre chocolate fountain, you can even have a taste.

    Gamescom

    This interactive gaming fair brings participants the chance to hear about and try all the new upcoming games. As well as meet famous video game stars and creators, while enjoying everything the gaming world has to offer. It is held yearly in Cologne in August. Check out all info about the upcoming edition.

    Gamescom 2013 - Interlutions
    Experience Gamescom | photo: Interlutions (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

    Next stop? Cologne!

    Cologne is both a historical and a modern place to visit. Depending on the time of year, you may also want to see the zoo, the Christmas markets, or any of the museums the city hosts. It will definitely be a weekend getaway – or the start of a longer trip – you'll never forget.

    Either explore the city yourself or join a tour. Check out this overview of tours in Cologne, discounts already included. No promo code needed. Easy as.

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    Travel Geek

    We Travel. We Enjoy Life. We Share Stories. There's never a dull moment on the Travel.Geek.NZ travel blog. Our articles are about combining travelling with things like craft beer, live music, tasting local food and the geeky side of life.

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