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: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

1. Cologne: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

The Chocolate Museum is located in Cologne's old town, on the Rheinau harbor peninsula, surrounded by river on both sides. It can be easily recognized by the Malakoff Tower, which is located directly in front of the museum.   The museum houses a collection that traces 5,000 years of chocolate history. The 4,000-square-meter space contains exhibits that shed light on the origins and the culture of chocolate and how it has developed through centuries.  The treasure trove looks into pre-Colombian, Maya, and Aztec ways of using chocolate at the time when cocoa was a drink dedicated for Gods. From America cocoa travelled to Europe, where it became accessible only to wealthy classes. Cologne's Chocolate Museum will show you how chocolate became a treat for everyone and how media and advertising campaigns started spreading the news about this sweet snack.

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Cologne Old Town: Historical Tour in German

2. 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. 

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Cologne: Virtual Reality Time Travel to Old Cologne

3. Cologne: Virtual Reality Time Travel to Old Cologne

Set out on a thrilling journey with TimeRide and experience the undestroyed Cologne and the fascinating lifestyle of the legendary twenties! Together with the charming hatter Tessa and the Cologne streetcar driver Pitter, you will discover the exciting time after the end of the First World War, the British occupation, and the Spanish flu. Your time travel in three steps: · The Cinema: In the 1920s, more and more movie theaters evolved into massive movie palaces. The cinema was a ubiquitous and glamorous part of everyday life and an important source of information. Step into our “Lichtspielhaus” and take a seat together with the fine society: an entertaining short film in the style of that time will show you the historical development of Cologne in the twenties. · The Hatter's Store: In the hatter’s store of the Riedschneider family you will dive together with Tessa into the world of glamorous fashion of the twenties. In the 1920s, everyone wore a hat and the choice of hat said a lot about the wearer! In the lovingly decorated store, the art of wearing and making hats is illustrated using numerous originals from the Diefenthal family of hat makers in Cologne. You’ll also learn more about Tessa’s urgent special order… Will her important delivery arrive on time at Neumarkt thanks to Pitter? · The VR-Ride: The highlight of your journey back in time to 1926: On your virtual ride with the first electric Cologne streetcar, you will experience the beauty of the city before its destruction in World War II. With your VR goggles, you’ll enjoy a 360° panoramic view and discover iconic landmarks of old Cologne, many of which have disappeared or are barely recognizable today: Cologne Cathedral’s surroundings at the time, the old main train station, the Schauspielhaus theater, the city hall led by Konrad Adenauer, and much more. At Neumarkt, your trip ends in the colorful carnival hustle and bustle with a “Grand Finale”.

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Cologne: Guided Tour of the Melaten Cemetery

4. 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".

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Cologne: 1.5-Hour Comedy Bus Tour

5. 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!

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Cologne: Brewery Tour with Three "Kölsch" Tastings

6. 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.

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Experience Cologne: KölnCard

7. 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

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Cologne: Old Town Brewhouse Tour

8. Cologne: Old Town Brewhouse Tour

Your guide will meet you at the meeting point and bring you to 4 different traditional beer houses in Cologne's Old Town. In each establishment, you can order a different Kölsch, a local beer brewed in the city. While you rest at the brewhouse, your guide will tell you everything you need to know about Kölsch, Cologne and the local way of life. Throughout the 2-hour tour, your guide will share personal anecdotes as well as interesting facts about this historic city and its unique beer culture. If you're in luck, the guide will even let you in on a local secret and explain why the person bringing you beer in Cologne is not called a waiter, and why they have a very unique attitude.

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Cologne: Melaten Cemetery Celebrities and Curiosities

9. 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.

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Cologne: 3-Hour Harbor Tour Cruise

10. 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.

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Frequently asked questions about Cologne

What top attractions are a must-see in Cologne?

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

We loved this experience. So many highlights! But first, I forgot to check the newest COV-19 guidelines (2G +) and didn’t bring a negative test. We had only proof of vaccination. And the employee at the counter was so nice and gave us an option to come to the later cruise (4 pm). I also liked that he insisted that the rules are to be kept. I felt saver this way. But back to the cruise. It was so lovely. The whole staff was so kind and patient. Not only man at the counter but also the guy checking the tickets, the waiters (especially) and the singer. His voice was so calm and I really enjoyed his choice of songs (many many sang in english). He was singing the whole cruise! The interior felt also very cosy, toilets were clean, it was warm inside. Mulled wine was delicious, and so was the peas soup. I have nothing to complain about! I would love to go again :-)

From the order to the implementation of the city rally, everything went wonderfully. The delivered box with the cards looks very valuable and the tasks are easy to perform. We were in Cologne and had to open the envelope once to set up a Christmas market because the destination with the solution was blocked off. During the rally you walk through streets and alleys where you might not have gone on a normal tourist visit. So all in all it was a great day with lots of information.

Very pleasant boat trip. Cologne music, drinks and food put everyone in a good mood. The trip could have been longer.

Great tour with guide Boze, who told us a lot about Kölsch and the breweries. It was great fun, thanks again.

Super nice staff, especially the singer was great! Highly recommended for a change of perspective on Cologne.