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Destination Guide: Cologne

Gothic steeples, contemporary art and Rhine River strolls
The medieval spires of Cologne stand guard over Germany’s lush Rhine River Valley. Stroll the riverbank and take in Gothic chapels and avant-garde galleries. Or catch a cruise boat for a day trip passed sweeping vineyards with a chilled kölsch beer in hand.

Food and Drink

Dine on hearty German dishes and cold beers in centuries-old taverns. Gravy-rich Sauerbraten and potato dumplings are among Cologne’s most famous culinary traditions. Smartly-dressed waiters serve steaming platters of the local fare in wood-panelled, candle-lit dining rooms in the central Altstadt district. Wash it all down with chilled glasses of Cologne’s signature beer, crisp, refreshing kölsch.

Sightseeing and relaxation

Explore 2,000 years of historic Cologne. Discover ancient city ramparts and faded Dionysus mosaics at the Rӧmisch-Germanisches Museum. Nearby, the towering stone edifice of the French Gothic Cologne Cathedral draws visitors with its glittering, golden Magi reliquary and hand-carved Madonnas. The spiral stone staircase of the Cathedral Tower treats climbers with views of snarling gargoyles and all of Cologne.

Shopping

Indulge in a wealth of artistic treasures at galleries or Christmas markets. Browse the eclectic galleries along St. Apern-Strasse, where cutting-edge artists push the limits of molten glass and dollops of acrylic paint. In December, the Christkindlmarkt tempts shoppers with the heady scent of mulled wine as holiday makers select gifts of fragile glass ornaments and candle-powered carousels.

Nightlife and Entertainment

Catch a symphony concert and enjoy a glass of Riesling wine. The Kӧlner Philharmonie offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in German culture with concerts honouring Germany’s finest composers such as Beethoven, Bach and Brahms. Afterwards, head to the charming, half-timbered Zülpicher district and toast Cologne’s artistic flair with a glass of the local wine, Rhine River Riesling.

Near Cologne: Bonn

Bonn, the former capital of Germany, enjoys a privileged location, close to the world famous Middle Rhine Valley and the Siebengebirge (Seven Mountains). Stroll through the streets of Beethoven’s birthplace and visit the fabulous exhibitions at the Museum Mile, before enjoying the many shops, restaurants, cafes and bars the city has to offer.