Right in the centre of Cologne, beside the Hauptbahnhof is Cologne Cathedral and it’s huge. I knew of how tall it was and had seen it from the train on the way in from the airport but still had a moment of shock when I walked into the square and had to turn my neck almost vertical to see it. I then went in and climbed the 509 steps to the top from where I got to enjoy this phenomenal view of the city. Even if you’re not up for climbing that high a spiral staircase it’s well worth a visit, the inside of the cathedral itself is amazing too, if a little cold!
El de Haus
El de Haus is an old Nazi prison in Cologne and if you’re even remotely interested in history it’s well worth a visit, bear in mind though, it’s a sombre place, perhaps one not to visit on a family holiday!
If you are on a family holiday however (or even if you’re not), this is the place to go, you can learn everything you’ve ever wanted to learn about chocolate and best of all you get to try liquid chocolate, made on site, from the giant chocolate fountain, definitely a highlight of my trip!
Foto Gregor is a huge photography shop in Neumarkt, upstairs it has everything new photography related you could think of, including the largest selection of film I’ve ever seen in a shop! Downstairs is an Aladdin’s cave of second hand photography gear, I saw this Hasselblad there and dreamed I could afford to buy it!
The Lego Shop
While wandering around the city we found the holy grail of shops, the Lego shop, inside you can buy every type of lego you can think of and you can build anything you like on the play table in the middle, despite us being long past childhood, we weren’t going to miss out on the fun and made a car…kinda…
The Cologne/Bonn airport is well served and from there it’s only a 30 minute train journey to either city. Be sure to check you don’t fly in/out on the day their security are having a strike however, let’s just say we had an ‘interesting’ time getting home!
Cologne is a small city and walking from place to place is a very good way of getting around and ensuring you miss nothing! Be warned however, the path is divided into two to allow both pedestrians and cyclists to use it and walking in the cycle lane will get you shouted at, you have been warned!
For places further afield, Cologne is equipped with a comprehensive uBahn and tram system. Trips are cheap enough but for groups be sure to get a tagesticket, this enables upto 5 people to have unlimited travel within a specified number of zones for 24 hours, very handy if you’re only on a quick trip and want to see everything you possibly can!
Doughnuts are something my friends and I love, in fact on our 3rd consecutive day visiting Dunkin’ Doughnuts we bought an 18 doughnut box between us! As for the hot chocolate there, it was quite good, but without the doughnuts it wouldn’t be worth the visit, it’s good, but not amazing!
In the breakfast buffet in my hotel you could get ‘Kakoa’ powder and milk and combined the with the aid of a spoon and microwave, they create the perfect start to the morning. I got funny looks at the staff heating milk the first day but it was worth it!
The Lindt Chocolate Museum
I saved the best until the last day, as mentioned above the chocolate museum is well worth a visit and the cafe there is also the best place I found in Cologne to get a hot chocolate, it’s thick, chocolatey and doesn’t separate, it also comes with a free square of chocolate on the side, which was made on site. The location is perfect too, you can sit there for hours and watch the boats and barges go up and down the Rhine.
I visited Cologne in January with my university’s photographic society, above are only the things we did, there’s plenty more to do I’m sure, especially during the summer when the river attractions aren’t closed!
The rest of my photos from the trip can be seen on my flickr.