Cologne (German: Köln) is a perfect city for a 2-day journey. As usually, for me, a 2-day journey means a weekend trip. You can do it in one day, then you won’t have much time to spend in bars or restaurants to relax, but you save a hotel stay.
See also my poem November Joy composed during a walk from Kölner Dom to Triangle Panorama.
Tips: In Germany stores close on Sundays. Restaurants stay open.
City center is compact and preferably explored on foot. However, if you do want to take public transportation at least 4 times within 24 hours, do get the 24h Cologne Card. With it, you can use public transportation freely, and you can enter museums at a great discount. You break even easily.
Drink Kölsch Beer
If you missed Kölsch, you have visited Cologne in vain. Go a bit further away from the Dom so you escape the tourist area. Find a bar/restaurant where local people goes. I find most good places to eat in Cologne are German bar and restaurant combos. People drink at the bar while wait for a table.
Traditionally Kölsch is served in 200ml glasses. The moment you sit down a glass is served to you without you ask for one or not (now in some restaurants your permission may be consulted in advance). When your glass is almost empty, another glass is offered, again, without you asking for another.
Tips: To indicate you’ve done drinking, it is said you can place the coaster on top of your glass.
Kölner Dom is the first thing you see when taking the main exit of the central train station. It is very spacious inside as well.
A bridge over Rhine covered in padlocks. A nice walk from the Dom.
There are some museums you can enjoy. But if museum hopping is not your thing, they are not must-sees.
- Museum Ludwig – mostly artwork during the past century. It will take you 2 hours if you have no particular interests. Ticket price 11 euro, 7.5 euro with Cologne Card.
- Museum of Chocolate (German: Schokoladenmuseum) – tells you the history of Cocoa and how chocolate is produced. It will take you 2 hours (when without a kid with you). Ticket price 9 euro, 6.5 euro with Cologne Card.
- By plane – You can fly to Cologne Bonn Airport or Düsseldorf International Airport, then take a train to Cologne Station (German: Köln Hauptbahnhof) that is located right at city center.
- By train – Cologne is well connected with Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and the rest of Germany by train.