Cologne Culture & history

Our most recommended Cologne Culture & history

Cologne: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

1. 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: The Night Watchman Old Town Walking Tour in German

2. Cologne: The Night Watchman Old Town Walking Tour in German

Explore the old town of Cologne on a guided tour and see the historic buildings at night. Learn why pigs were beaten in front of Cologne's churches and why stray dogs were so well fed in centuries past. Discover how Cologne's citizens resisted the authorities and listen to many legends and anecdotes about Cologne's history. Follow the night watchman in his historical costume by the light of his lantern to another time, when every full hour was proclaimed. Learn all about the duties of the historical night watchman and life in the Middle Ages during this tour through the narrow streets of Cologne's Old Town.

Executioner's Tour of Cologne in German

3. Executioner's Tour of Cologne in German

Who could practice the profession of an executioner? When did an executioner receive his master craftsman’s diploma, which enabled him to let heads roll on behalf of the state? Who exiled lepers and plague-infested harlots? Who walked through medieval dark alleys and killed wild dogs and stray hogs? Who burnt spell books and could build gallows? The executioner – somebody had to do it!  Join a medieval headsman on a bloodcurdling guided tour of 1.5 hours, leading you through Cologne’s historic centre. Find out what could go wrong during an execution and how a headsman supplemented his own low income as a knacker, dog-catcher or gold-seeker.  Learn all the gory and grisly details... if you dare to join. 

Cologne: Entertaining History Tour

4. Cologne: Entertaining History Tour

Embark on a journey through time and Cologne's city history and follow your guide through Cologne's beautiful old town. Take a look at the city's highlights, admire the impressive cathedral and listen to interesting anecdotes about Cologne's carnival. Learn in a fun way, where Cologne's inhabitants come from and how the city came to be. Hear all about the wars of the past and the facets of Cologne's traditional carnival. Learn how the Cologne dialect evolved and what the red and blue sparks mean.

Cologne: Private Walking Tour of City Center

5. Cologne: Private Walking Tour of City Center

Discover some of Cologne’s most relevant sites on a private walking tour in the city center. Wander along the river Rhine, gaze at the Cologne Cathedral, and cross the Hohenzollern Bridge while chatting with a local guide. Begin the tour in front of the city’s famed cathedral and take in this hallmark, historical structure that lies adjacent to the Rhine. The cathedral is the city’s second tallest building and boasts the title of UNESCO World Heritage site. Next, take the opportunity to see the Dionysus Mosaic, which dates from around A.D. 220 and is the centerpiece of the Roman-Germanic Museum. After checking out the mosaic, stroll along the Hohenzollern Bridge, which overlooks the Rhine, and snap some photos to capture this memorable experience. From the bridge, continue the tour in Cologne’s Old Town and experience its unique historical appeal. Take in the traditional old housing and local breweries, which are located directly along the Rhine. As you pass through Old Town’s narrow alleys, next stop at the Great St. Martin Church located at the city’s historical fish market. Observe the church’s distinctive design that has shaped Old Town’s skyline throughout the years. Next pass by the Willi Ostermann Fountain and then stop by the historical Cologne City Hall, famous for its Renaissance façade. After that check out the city’s largest shopping strip, Hohe Street, where everything can be found from electronics to clothes and shoes. Wrap up the walking tour by stopping at Heinzelmännchen Fountain, a monument dedicated to a local myth about little people who used to work all night so the people of Cologne could take it easy during the day.     

Cologne: Historical Crime Tour in German

6. Cologne: Historical Crime Tour in German

Discover some of Cologne's crime scenes from 1900 to the present together with your expert guide. In recent decades, Cologne has repeatedly made headlines with Hollywood-like burglaries, robbery, child abduction and murder, with resolved and unresolved crimes. Some of the cases have been remembered, but others have been completely forgotten, although the media interest was great. Not only have the media played a major role in the recent criminal cases, but also the criminals' and investigators' methods have changed a lot. Immerse yourself in the dark side of the city from the cathedral to the Neumarkt and find out more about Cologne's horrendous history.

Cologne: Search for Historical Traces of the Romans

7. Cologne: Search for Historical Traces of the Romans

More than 2,000 years ago the Romans founded an early settlement in the area of Cologne’s city center, which received full city rights in the middle of the first century as well as a new name: Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. The Romans built a city wall, a street network, a water supply, a sewage system, and established residential areas, businesses, temples and stately buildings. With these measures, the Romans created an urban infrastructure, which still influences Cologne's cityscape today. Even the main shopping streets align with those from 2,000 years ago. Depending on availability, you will explore the Ubiermonument and/or the excavation underneath the monastery church Groß Sankt Martin.

Cologne: The Dark Side of the City Walking Tour

8. Cologne: The Dark Side of the City Walking Tour

Enjoy a guided walk through Cologne and discover the dark side of the city as you hear about rogues, kidnappers and other rapscallions. Stroll through the streets and marvel at the famous cathedral, St. Andrew's Church and other sights. Start with the talking punishments of the Middle Ages and follow the manifold deeds, judgements and punishments down to our own day. Who was the last poisoner sentenced to death in Germany, and who was the vampire of Düsseldorf ? Do heads really roll in Cologne at carnival ? Where was the red light at home in Cologne and what did Romy Schneider have to do with Cologne pimps? Enjoy a spooky city walk you won't forget. Go home with lots of interesting facts about Cologne's ghoulish past and stories about this sometimes dark, sometimes red-lit city.

Cologne: Guided Walking Tour of the Cathedral Exterior

9. Cologne: Guided Walking Tour of the Cathedral Exterior

Discover the past and present of the Cologne Cathedral on a guided walking tour of the exterior. Get lost in the dramatic tale of the Cathedral as you hear about its most curious details. Uncover the secrets of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Meet your guide outside the Cathedral and begin your walking tour. Learn about how the it took more than 600 years after the groundbreaking ceremony in 1248 for the Cathedral to be completed in the 19th century. Listen as your guide answers questions like why did they construct a Gothic cathedral in the first place and why was it so enormous. Let your guide tell you about how the crane become a landmark in the city. Find out what the star on top of the ridge turret signifies. Explore the cathedral from different perspectives and find out how war damaged this piece of history. Learn about its ongoing reconstruction. Your guide will also include explanations on the highlights of the interior, so you can self-organized a visit.

Cologne: WWII Historical Sites Private Guided Walking Tour

10. Cologne: WWII Historical Sites Private Guided Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the historical unfolding of the Nazi regime in Old Town Cologne. Learn how historic highlights, such as the Roman culverts, bore witness to the horrors of war. Hear in-depth stories from your tour guide on how the city remembers its past, despite widespread destruction. Dive into this dark period of history with an experienced, licensed guide who will tailor the tour according to your interests and language preference. Take two hours for the highlights of the Old Town, or choose the extended option for access to the EL-DE House. First, glimpse the Cologne cathedral’s war-touched exterior before exploring the bunker. Follow your guide along the path of Stumbling Stones, commemorating concentration camp victims, and visit the Trail of Remembrance. Stroll through the ruins of the St. Alban Church and the Hindenburgbrücke. Continue at the EL-DE House, home to the NS Documentation Center. Visit former administrative rooms of the Nazis’ orchestrated evil and the Gestapo’s basement prison. Here, you‘ll witness over 1800 messages left by forced laborers and political enemies, some of whom survived the terror.   

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What people are saying about Cologne

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 1,006 reviews

Really nice opportunity to experience a virtual journey through time. They really tried hard. a lot of details, the wagon moves, wind blows in, etc. Sometimes the VR graphics got a bit stuck...but otherwise really nicely implemented...

The experience was just great, but the meeting point and arrival time of the guide did not quite match and unfortunately it took us a while to find him.

Good experience to learn about chocolate making. Not a bad choice to spend an hour here. Taste the chocolate straight out of production lane was yummm!

Had a lot of fun even without a guide. Very informative. Tasty chocolate samples!

Very interesting not only for the locals, made exciting and beautiful to look at.