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Climb the cathedral, drink Kölsch beer and soak up the romance of the River Rhine on city breaks to Cologne...
Cologne's huge Gothic cathedral rises above the banks of the River Rhine, where locals stroll, picnic and watch boats drift by. Nearby is the wave-shaped Museum Ludwig, showcasing modern art. South of here, gabled houses, lively beer halls and pedestrianised shopping streets dot the Old Town.
You’re beginning to get a picture of this welcoming city. It’s got remarkable monuments and world-class museums, and its ancient Roman sites give it a feel of an open-air museum. And within this backdrop of culture and history you’ll find party upon party as you investigate the lively beer halls, brew houses and bars. There’s much to see and do for visitors with young families, too, with the city zoo and the chocolate museum putting big smiles on little faces.
Must-sees in Cologne include the mightily impressive Dom (cathedral), the German Sport Museum and the art-filled trio of the Ludwig Museum, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and the Romisch-Germanisches Museum. Between the three there’s an incredible collection of works spanning a range of genres, from medieval paintings to iconic Pop Art pieces.
It’s best to be located as centrally as possible during your Cologne city break. Hotels in the Old City, on the banks of the River Rhine, provide an excellent base for your trip as they offer easy walking access to the majority of the attractions. Lively Neustadt (new city) is also a good choice for a weekend break.
Flights arrive into Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN), which is a 20-minute drive from the city centre. To get into the city you can take a taxi, hire a car at the airport or make use of one of the public transport options.
To find the best deals on short breaks to Cologne simply use TravelSupermarket's search tool.
Cologne weekend breaks are popular throughout the year. Find out what the weather might be up to during your trip...
Warm in summer and cold in winter, Cologne enjoys a mild climate similar to London’s. Spring and autumn are cool but pleasant for sightseeing, and these seasons experience fewer tourists than the summer months.
December is another popular time to visit Cologne. The city’s fantastically festive Christmas markets lure thousands of visitors, and city breaks should be booked as far in advance as possible if you plan to be in Cologne as Christmas approaches.
The annual calendar of events in Cologne is diverse and exciting and there’s much more to see than the following three highlights…
Carnival; February: The annual carnival is one of the biggest events in the calendar, when there’s a week-long programme of events. Expect thousands of revellers in fancy dress, parades, parties, and opportunities to take part in the tradition of “Frühschoppen” – meeting at a pub for a drink… in the morning.
Long Night of the Cologne Museums; November: Stock up on caffeine and get ready to stay up all night to tour the city’s museums. For one evening only – and for the price of one ticket – you can visit participating museums and view works, hear live music and attend one of the many special events staged around the city.
Christmas markets; November-December: If you‘re lucky enough to fly in during the festive period, be sure to check out the main market by the cathedral, as well as the Market of Fairy Tales in Rudolfplatz, the Old Market in Alter Markt and the Angel’s market, which is the oldest festive market in Cologne.
Families, couples and groups all love Cologne. It’s got a little something for everybody at any time of the year...
Families: Cologne's Dom is the giant among cathedrals. Race your kids up the 509 spiral steps to the lookout for a gargoyle's-eye view over the city's rooftops and snaking Rhine.
Relaxing: Hang out with locals at a wood-beamed beer hall for a refreshing Kölsch pale ale served in a 200ml Stange glass. Peckish? Snack on potato pancakes and braised pickled beef.
Romance: It's all about the Rhine in Cologne. See the city from a riverboat as you cruise gently past the cathedral, church turrets and candy-coloured houses of the Old Town.