Cologne city breaks
Cologne holidays and city breaks
Germany’s fourth-largest and oldest city, sits between Düsseldorf and Bonn, on the river Rhine. Old and very new architecture collide in this vibrant metropolis, where 90 per cent of the buildings were destroyed in World War II. Pockets of history remain throughout the landscape, from its ancient Roman sites to its famous Gothic cathedral – once the tallest building in the world. River cruise passengers stop for a cultural fix at Cologne's superb museums, art galleries, and concert halls, while the city’s Christmas markets are gloriously good fun – offering suitably local gifts, from chocolate to eau de Cologne.
Things to see and do in Cologne
Cathedral in Cologne
No trip to Cologne is complete without a visit to the granddaddy of cathedrals – Kölner Dom – the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, with its soaring twin spires. Incarnations of churches in this spot date back to the 4th century. Climb the 533 steps up to the base of the steeple, marvel at the medieval stained-glass windows and craftsmanship of the carved oak stalls, and see the bejewelled Shrine of the Three Kings, said to hold the remains of the kings who followed the star to Bethlehem.
Museums in Cologne
Culture-seekers should make a beeline for Wallraf-Richartz-Museum’s modern cube structure. It’s one of the three major museums in the city holding European art from the 13th to the 19th centuries, including the 'Mona Lisa of Cologne’ – Stefan Lochner's Madonna of the Rose Bower. Meanwhile, Museum Ludwig features modern works by big hitters Andy Warhol, Picasso, Dali and David Hockney, among countless others. The El-De Haus, the former Gestapo headquarters, has a more sombre look at the area’s recent history, while a walk or cruise along the river Rhine offers a laid-back perspective of the city.
Best places to eat and drink in Cologne
Local restaurants serve up Halve Hahn (a traditional sandwich with open-faced rye, gouda cheese and raw onion), Himmel un Ääd (mash with apple puree, onions, bacon and fried black pudding) and Hämmche (pig leg with sauerkraut and hot mustard). Wash it down at the many brauhauses lining the Rhine, pouring hoppy glasses of Kölsch. Chocolate lovers should head to Schokoladenmuseum (aka the Chocolate Museum of Cologne), where visitors can learn about the five-thousand-year history of cocoa, sample plenty of sweet treats and create their own bar in the workshop.
How to get to Cologne
Thalys is becoming Eurostar, so from now on you can find direct trains to Cologne from France and book all your tickets in one place, on eurostar.com.
Address: Trankgasse 11, 50667
Finding your way: See map to orientate yourself when you arrive.
Phone number: +49 221 1411055
Facilities: Car park, bike park, luggage lockers, free wifi
Lost and found: If you’ve lost something on your journey please see the advice here.
Public transport: On Eurostar’s trains across Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany you can buy your ticket for public transport at the Eurostar Café, at the same price as buying a single ticket at the ticket desk. Search for details of your onward journey using public transport.
Connecting trains: Check timetables in real time for your connecting trains
Airport connections: Cologne Bonn Airport
Book a taxi & pick-up service: My Driver