Things to do in
Cologne

From the iconic cathedral to Gothic architecture and a charming old town, this German riverside city awaits.

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Our most recommended things to do in Cologne

Cologne: Panorama City Cruise Options

1. Cologne: Panorama City Cruise Options

1-Hour Panorama Cruise Journey through the charming city of Cologne and discover its sightseeing highlights from the water. Grab some snacks and drinks from the onboard bar and relax as you look out at Cologne’s historic landmarks and bridges. Get to know Cologne's Old Town, characterized by its beautiful churches and historic buildings. You'll also spot impressive modern buildings here and there, such as the Lindt chocolate museum. Admire the beautiful Cologne Cathedral and snap some photos from afar to capture the structure in all its glory. Sunday Brunch Cruise If you like brunch and love variety, then try Sunday brunch aboard a laidback boat cruise. You can come and enjoy brunch every first and third Sunday of the month from May to October, and on Easter, Mother’s Day and Whitsunday. Come on board and enjoy the fantastic buffet, which includes everything you need for a decent brunch. Receive a glass of sparkling Prosecco or tea or coffee as a welcome drink to start the cruise in style. Sit back and enjoy brunch with your friends or family. Enjoy the scenery as you pass by the beautiful Old Town and admire the fantastic views of the wonderful sights in the city. Combo: Rhine Cruise and Gold Menu at the Hard Rock Cafe Secure yourself the handy combination of a 1-hour panoramic boat cruise and a meal at the legendary Hard Rock Cafe Cologne. Only a few minutes’ walk separates the cult restaurant and the boat pier. You can decide whether you want to eat at the restaurant first and then enjoy the boat tour, or vice versa. Plan your memorable day in Cologne to your liking with the flexibility of having 5 daily departures to choose from. Visit the newly-renovated Hard Rock Cafe located in the city center, and skip the queue of people waiting to enter. Experience 40 years of rock history and admire the vast collection of valuable memorabilia such as Elvis’ sunglasses, Jimi Hendrix’s vest, or Bette Midler’s stage outfit. Enjoy an exclusive menu in a relaxed rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere. Receive priority seats and skip the line to kick start the party straight away. Pick up some unique Hard Rock souvenirs in the Rock Shop and enjoy the experience. Gold Menu Starter: Small House Salad Main Courses: -Twisted Mac & Cheese Pasta -Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich -Veggie Leggie Burger -Legendary Burger -Chicken Caesar Salad Dessert: Lil Brownie Choice of Drink: Soft drinks, coffee, or tea Evening Cruise with All-Inclusive Buffet Dinner Experience an evening with friends, colleges or in a pair. Enjoy the buffet while gazing over the city panorama. All drinks, such as red, white and rose wine, beer and soft drinks are included. A DJ will be there on board. Evening Panorama Cruise Cologne has a special charm when the sunset passes over the sights. See the cathedral and the Rhein Bridge on this 2-hour cruise.

Cologne to Königswinter: Siebengebirge Cruise

2. Cologne to Königswinter: Siebengebirge Cruise

Explore the spectacular Siebengebirge on a fascinating boat tour. Climb aboard in Cologne and cruise past Bonn and the legendary Drachenfels to Königswinter. Admire the stunning views of the countryside and the towns along the way. The Drachenfels is the most famous mountain in the region surrounding Cologne and Bonn. At the top of the summit is a ruined castle which, together with the Drachenfels plateau, is one of the most popular recreation areas in the Rhineland. Stroll along the waterfront or head up the mountain with the Drachenfels Railway to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Rhine Valley and the Rolandsbogen. You can choose between a one-way cruise from Cologne to Königswinter or a roundtrip cruise from Cologne to Königswinter and back. If you opt for the roundtrip cruise, you’ll have sufficient time to explore Königswinter on your own.

Cologne: Brewery Tour with Three "Kölsch" Tastings

3. Cologne: Brewery Tour with Three "Kölsch" Tastings

If you are you looking for a fun way to explore the beautiful city and history of Cologne, this renowned brewery tour is a great choice. On this tour, the guides have the freedom to choose which breweries to take you to. This allows them to make decisions based on the group dynamic, ensuring that everyone is entertained and satisfied. If you'd like an even more personalized experience, select the option with a private guide. The 2-hour tour begins near the cathedral's grand entrance by the Kreuzblumen monument. After a couple of fun facts about the cathedral and the Kreuzblume, you start the thirst-quenching journey to three different breweries, where you will taste three delicious local beers to find the one that best suits you. You will not only learn a little bit about the breweries and the local brewing culture, but most importantly, you will taste the result of hundreds of years of brewing experience. The tour covers some of the most traditional breweries Cologne has to offer, such as the 700 year-old Brauhaus Sion, as well as younger breweries such, as Früh am Dom, Cologne's largest brewery.

Cologne: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

4. Cologne: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

Awaiting the visitors is a walk-in tropical house, natural history information on cocoa, exhibits from the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America, an important porcelain and silver collection from the Baroque period, as well as numerous old machines from the time of industrialisation. In a glass chocolate factory and in the chocolate atelier, visitors can experience how chocolate products are made industrially, but also individually by hand. And: there is a 3-meter-high chocolate fountain in which 200 kg of delicious chocolate constantly bubble up for tasting. Tasting is expressly encouraged!

Cologne: Guided Tour of the Melaten Cemetery

5. Cologne: Guided Tour of the Melaten Cemetery

Discover a place of silence embedded in a beautiful park with incomparable flora and fauna in the middle of Cologne. Visit the Melaten cemetery and stroll through the complex, which has an area of over four hundred square meters and around 55,000 gravesites. Enjoy moments of peace and tranquility during the 2-hour guided tour and experience how close love, death and suffering as well as art culture are to each other. Learn interesting facts and curiosities about historical personalities and impressive tombs and monuments and visit the former "Leprosenanstalt".

Cologne Old Town: Historical Tour in German

6. Cologne Old Town: Historical Tour in German

Explore Cologne's old town and see the historic buildings lit up at night. Stroll through the alleys at the side of the night watchman and discover beautiful but also eerie things. Learn why pigs were beaten in front of Cologne's churches and why stray dogs were so well fed in those days. Learn how the citizens of Cologne defended themselves against the authorities and listen to many legends and anecdotes about Cologne's history. Follow the night watchman in historical costume to another time when every full hour was still proclaimed. Learn all about the tasks of the historical night watchmen during this eerie tour through the narrow alleys of the city. 

Cologne: 3-Hour Harbor Tour Cruise

7. Cologne: 3-Hour Harbor Tour Cruise

Enjoy some of Cologne’s harbors and their facilities with explanations from a knowledgeable local guide in German on this 3-hour harbor cruise. The tour on MS Rhein Cargo, MS Rheinland or MS Rheinperle examines the history of the Rheinau Harbor, offers insights into the Deutz Harbor and Mülheim Harbor and takes you into the container harbor Niehl, one of Germany’s largest inland harbors. During the tour your guide will offer you useful information and exciting anecdotes about Cologne's harbors, their history, dates and figures and you can observe the work in the harbor Niehl, a unique insight in the city.

Cologne: Melaten Cemetery Celebrities and Curiosities

8. Cologne: Melaten Cemetery Celebrities and Curiosities

Melaten Cemetery, which is over two centuries old, is an oasis of peace and quiet in the midst of this vibrant metropolis. Start the tour at its old main entrance. Your local guide will give you a short history of the area, how it was a village for the leppers, a place of execution, and finally how it became a central cemetery. Then, get ready to explore the area. Marvel at its parklike design and find numerous impressive monuments and objects of traditional and contemporary art. Admire Classicist to Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque grave monuments, symbols and sculptures. Melaten Cemetery has about 55,000 graves. Walk along the main paths reserved for the wealthy known as the "Millionaires Alley". Discover curious stories about the prominent Cologne citizens buried here. The tour will end at the tomb of the architect of the graveyard.

Cologne: 1.5-Hour Comedy Bus Tour

9. Cologne: 1.5-Hour Comedy Bus Tour

Experience a comedy tour through Cologne onboard a moving stand-up stage. The mobile comedy showcase started in Hamburg before conquering the German capital and now bringing laughs to Cologne. During the 1.5-hour show in the modern bus, laugh your way through a discovery of Cologne. Endless jokes, stories, and extraordinary activities make this tour an innovative comedy adventure. Pass by all the major sights of the cathedral city and experience the origins of the jokes. Various comedians, including Keirut Wenzel, Jessica Sinapi, Dirk Volpert, Marcel Höfs or Klaus Teigel, bring the fun bus to a start every Friday and Saturday from 6:00 PM and 8:30 PM. Experience an entertaining mix of information and comedy, from spontaneous humor to historical anecdotes. Sightseeing meets comedy!

Experience Cologne: KölnCard

10. Experience Cologne: KölnCard

Discover Cologne comfortably and cost-effectively with the KölnCard. The card offers a vast range of discount offers on artistic, cultural, and leisure attractions, as well as gastronomy and shopping. For example: you get reduced entry to the Cologne Museums and to many other places of interest. Receive concessions at theater and music venues in the city, and travel through the entire region on a tour by boat. This offer also gives you free travel on the city's public transport network. KölnCard discounts: Museums - Deutsches Sport und Olympia Museum - 50% off museum entry - Duftmuseum Farinahaus - 50% off museum entry - Kölner Karnevalsmuseum - 50% off museum entry for adults - Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum - 50% off museum entry for adults - Kölner Senfmuseum - 50% off the price of mills tour - Photografische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur - 50% off entry to current exhibition - Tanzmuseum des Deutschen Tanzarchivs - 50% off entry to current exhibition - Kolumba Kunstmuseum des Erzbistums Köln - 40% off entry price - Schokoladenmuseum - 24% off entry price - Archäologische Zone Köln - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - EL-DE Haus NS Dokumentationszentrum - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Kölner Dom Schatzkammer - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Museum für Angewandte Kunst - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Museum Ludwig - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Museum Schnütgen - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Römisch-Germanisches-Museum - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Kölnisches Stadtmuseum - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions - Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - 20% off entry price, excluding special exhibitions Food - Karstadt Le Buffet Restaurant & Café - 20% off meals and drinks - Maritim Hotel - 20% off all meals and drinks in the Café Heumarkt - Brauhaus Sion - 15% off a main meal - Café Scholl - 15% off the daily lunch meal - Dinea Café & Restaurant in Ihrer GALERIA Kaufhof - 15% off meals (excluding special offers) - Hard Rock Cafe Cologne - 15% off in the restaurant (excluding alcoholic drinks) Sightseeing - KölnTourismus tour - 50% off the daily tour (excluding Saturdays and Sundays) - Colonia Prima tour - 28% off the costume tour "Visit Heinrich Heine's forbidden city in Cologne" - Stadtgeschichten Köln tour - 23% off all tours - CCS Busreisen GmbH - 20% off the day ticket for the Tourist Shuttle Hop On Hop Off - Colonia Prima tour - 20% off public costume tours - Kolumba Kunstmuseum des Erzbistums Köln - 20% off public tours - Köln Düsseldorfer ferry (KD) - 20% off the regular fare, excluding special cruises - KölnTourist ferry - 20% off panorama cruises, harbor cruises and day cruises to Siebengebirge - Bike rental at Hauptbahnhof - 20% off the rental of a City-Bike for 1 day - StadtKunst Köln - 20% off all tours - inside Cologne - 15-20% off all public tours for adults - RheinEnergie Stadium tour - 17% off single tickets for adults - KölnerCity Tour e.K. - 15% off all sightseeing bus tours - KölnTourismus - 15% off tickets for public city tours - perpedalo Köln Rikscha - 15% off all rides Experience - Studiobühne Köln - 50% off ticket price - Wolters Bimmelbahn - 42% off the single ride for adults - Comedia Köln Theater - 28% off entry price - Kölner Zoo - 17% discount for adults and 24% for children - Gürzenich Orchester in der Philharmonie - 20% off concerts on Monday or Tuesday - Odysseum - 20% off entry price - Oper Köln - 20% off all events - Theater am Dom - 20% off all events - Kölner Haie Eishockey - 15% off the main round games of the KEC - Kölner Seilbahn - 15% off round trips for adults - Theater am Bauturm freies Schauspiel - 15% off the ticket price - koelnwhisky Dieter Matuschke - 10% off Whisky and Rum tastings Shopping - Hard Rock Cafe Köln - 15% discount in the Rock Shop - KölnTourismus - 15% off all purchases in the KölnShop - 4711 Traditionshaus - 10% discount for purchases exceeding 25 EUR - Duftmuseum Farina - 10% off the price of an Original Eau de Cologne - koelnwhisky Dieter Matuschke - 10% off international whiskeys, wines and liquors

Frequently asked questions about Cologne

What top attractions are a must-see in Cologne?

Which tours in Cologne are taking additional COVID-19 precautions?

Planning Your Visit

  • When to go?

    Summer can get quite humid in Cologne, meaning the city's peak season is actually in the fall, so don't be surprised if your hotel costs more in October! Spring is also a good time as the beer gardens start to open up and the city awakens from its winter slumber. That said, it's worth going in winter too for the famous Christmas markets, and the city's carnival begins in February!

  • When are the Christmas markets?

    Cologne has 6 main Christmas markets, each with its own personality. (Check out the Medieval-themed one outside of the Chocolate Museum!) They run from November 23rd to December 23rd.

  • How many days should you spend in Cologne?

    2 or 3 days should be enough to cover Cologne's top attractions but bear in mind that the city is located in a cluster of others worth visiting, such as Bonn and Düsseldorf. Also, the breathtaking Rhine Gorge is just a short journey south, so it might be worth booking more time to accommodate a day trip or two!

Good to know

  • Language
    German
  • Currency
    Euro (€)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+01:00)
  • Country Code
    +49
  • Best time to visit
    Spring and Fall offer milder temperatures, but the Winter brings with it the famous Christmas markets.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cologne

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What people are saying about Cologne

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 7,534 reviews

Our guide, Sasha, was very informative and very helpful. Our schedule became difficult after a train delay, but he was very accommodating of our shifting schedule. We enjoyed the walking tour very much.

Good vehicle and driver. Knowledgeable and helpful guide. Tour is private so it can be customized.

Knowledgeable guide! Covered the important city spots and was entertaining. Definitely enjoyed!

Unique cologne tour with an experienced local, who has a great attitude explaining.

The day was beautiful with good weather to enjoy the trip down the Rhine