Cologne is one of the leading cities in Germany in terms of places to visit. Cologne is appreciated for its medieval religious structures and attractions lined along the banks of the Rhine River. Find information about city's most important museums, historical buildings and other top tourist attractions in Cologne.
1. Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral)
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom in German), which is on UNESCO's World Heritage List, is situated right next to the Central Station in the city center. Finding Cologne Cathedral will not be difficult, because this magnificent Gothic structure can be seen from many parts of the city. Both the exterior and interior design of Cologne Cathedral is very eye-catching and it took 632 years to complete it. This monument is undoubtedly the most visited point of interest in Cologne. If you wish, you can climb more than 500-step stairs and enjoy the magnificent city view from high above. If you will traveling there in the end of November, you will also see one of Christmas Markets in the city.
Opening Hours: 06:00-21:00, but be noted that on Sundays it is open only between 13:00 and 16:30.
Entrance Fee: 4 Euro
2. Hohenzollernbrücke (Hohenzollern Bridge)
When you walk from Cologne Cathedral towards the River Rhine, you come across the iconic Hohenzollern Bridge. The bridge was originally built in 1911 and got its name from the Hohenzollern dynasty. The bridge was rebuilt because it was destroyed in World War II. Hohenzollern Bridge has a three-arched design with the length 410 m. On the sides of the bridge, there are safe areas for pedestrians and cyclists. From this bridge you will see stunning views of Cologne Old Town with the standing out cathedral.
When walking on the bridge, you will see thousands of locks hung there since 2008 by couples who want to make their love immortal. However, the officials wanted to ban this tradition as these locks, thought to be weighing 2 tons in total, could damage the bridge.
Another interesting way to discover the city of Cologne is by boat cruise along the Rhine. Cologne Panorama City Cruise will allow you to see the sights that include Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge on a 1-hour panorama tour, Sunday brunch cruise, or evening buffet cruise. Alternatively, you ca choose a combo package of a boat cruise and Gold Menu at the Hard Rock Cafe.
3. Römisch-Germanisches Museum (Roman-Germanic Museum)
A few minutes from Cologne Cathedral, the Roman-Germanic Museum hosts a wide range of archaeological heritage exhibits from the Paleolithic period to the early Middle Ages. The museum was opened to visitors in 1974. Roman-Germanic Museum, where glass and ceramics from the Roman period, sculptures and jewels from the Germanic period are exhibited, also contains works and antiques from the Archdiocese of the Cologne.
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00
Entrance Fee: 3 Euro
4. Ludwig Museum
Ludwig Museum in Cologne is one of the most important art museums in Germany, displaying artworks from classical modernism to the present day. The museum was founded in 1976, when the couple Peter and Irene Ludwig donated about 350 works. Ludwig Museum, which contains works of many important artists from different stages of modern art, also houses an incredible collection of Picasso and Pop Art masterpieces.
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: 11 Euro
5. Wallraf-Richartz Museum
Wallraf–Richartz Museum is one of the major museums in Cologne. Wallraf-Richartz Museum, which was opened in 1861, is Cologne's oldest museum. A great collection of art works ranging from the 1500s all the way to 1900s by well-known artists including Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, etc. is exhibited here. If you are an art lover who has an interest in the Medieval, Baroque periods and 19th century works, we would strongly recommend not to miss this museum.
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: 5 Euro
If you are going to visit museums in Cologne and use public transportation frequently, using KölnCard is especially recommended. The card offers a vast range of discount offers on artistic, cultural, and leisure attractions, as well as gastronomy and shopping. With KölnCard you get reduced price for the entry to Cologne museums and many other places of interest as well as receive concessions at theater and music venues in the city, and traveling through the entire region on a tour by boat. Cologne Card also gives you free traveling on city's public transport network, which is very efficient. You can check detailed information about the card and book Cologne Card here: Experience Cologne with KölnCard.
6. Great St. Martin Church
Great Saint Martin Church is a Romanesque Catholic church in Cologne, built in 1150-1250. It is considered one of the most important landmarks of the Old Town and is particularly appreciated for its magnificent architecture as well as its collection of contemporary stained glass. The most remarkable parts of the Great St. Martin Church, which was heavily damaged during World War II like many buildings in the city, constitute a passage tower and a clover leaf-shaped choral area. In addition to these two sections, when you go down to the basement of the church, you can see the ruins of the building dating from the Roman period.
Opening Hours: 9:30-19:30
Entrance Fee: Free
7. Fischmarkt (Fish Market)
Fischmarkt is the square known as the Fish Market, attracting tourists today with the 17th century Cologne houses. Cologne was one of the cities that suffered a lot of damage in World War II. However, these colorful houses in the square are one of the rare places that survived. This small square is filled with bars, cafes and restaurants.
To discover the main attractions of Cologne, you can book this Guided Highlights Tour with a Local. During this tour you will see the impressive and world-famous Cologne Cathedral, Cologne City Hall, and learn more about the history of the city.
8. Kölner Rathaus (Cologne City Hall)
With more than 900 years of history, Cologne City Hall is the building not to be missed during your trip to Cologne. Kölner Rathaus is the oldest town hall in Germany which was built between 1569 and 1573. Its architectural features and historical value, especially the Renaissance front designed by Wilhelm Vernukken make it worth a visit.
Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
9. Altstadt (Old Town of Cologne)
Cologne's Old Town district is the historical center of the city. At the Old Town of Cologne, which occupies the area parallel to the Rhine River, Cologne Cathedral is the top attraction that can be seen from almost every part of the city. In addition to the mighty cathedral, in the Old Town you will also find Cologne City Hall, many monuments and countless museums. The numerous old buildings are mixed with new shops and storefronts of brands, among which you will be able to shop during your stroll through the Old Cologne.
You can stroll through Cologne's Old Town and discover the historic cathedral city in the light of its relationship with beer as well as taste the different Kölsch varieties in traditional breweries by joining Brewery & Old Town Tour with Beer Tasting.
10. Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum)
Chocolate Museum might be the place that you did not intend to go, but you will hear many people saying that it’s an absolutely must-visit place in Cologne. The Chocolate Museum, founded in 1993 very close to Cologne Old Town, is quite remarkable with its unique view of the river. This museum is truly a chocolate paradise which traces the history of chocolate, starting from the cocoa bean. There is even a special greenhouse area with cocoa plants. You can get information about the history of chocolate at the Chocolate Museum, and taste the chocolate from its fountains. The museum has a shop and a café where you can buy different chocolates products as souvenirs. Plan your visit in advance and book a Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket to skip the line at the museum.
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00 Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday)
Entrance Fee: 12.50 Euro on weekdays, 13.50 Euro on weekends
11. Kölner Zoo (Cologne Zoo)
Cologne Zoo was created in 1860 and quickly became a top attraction for families with children of the city. It was destroyed during World War II but reopened two years later. The zoo houses more than 750 animal species and a giant aquarium on a total area of 20 hectares. When you come here, you can participate in various activities that also include feeding animals.
Opening Hours: 09:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: 19.50 Euro
12. Dufthaus 4711 (House of 4711)
The house of Cologne 4711 is the original house of cologne. You can stop there and visit the store where many period objects used for the production and sale of perfume are on display. The place is worth a visit for fragrance lovers. Prices are affordable and if you a looking for a fresh scent, check it out. There's a free exhibit for the 4711 history on the second floor of the building with an option of a guided tour.
Opening Hours: 11:00-17:00
13. Belgisches Viertel (Belgian Quarter)
The Belgian Quarter is one of the city's top tourist spots. This neighborhood is known by such a name because most of the streets within its borders are named after the cities of Belgium. The Belgian Quarter is filled with designer boutiques, pubs, cafes and restaurants. This is the place where locals, young people and students hang out.
14. Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln (Flora and Botanical Garden)
Flora and Botanical Garden, located adjacent to the zoo, was founded in 1920 under the leadership of Peter-Joseph Lenné. The Flora and Botanical Garden covers an area of 11.5 hectares with more than twelve thousand plants brought from all over the world. The different parts of the park are based on the French Baroque, the Italian Renaissance and the English landscaped garden. If you wish to visit it, the Botanical Garden is free and open every day.
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
Entrance Fee: 5 Euro (Guided Tour)
15. Basilika St. Aposteln (Basilica of the Holy Apostles)
Basilica of the Holy Apostles is a Romanesque church in Cologne, located near Innenstadt's busy Neumarkt. It is construction from the 11th century, although it was modified during the 12th century. Its Ottonian architecture is a type of architecture specific to the Holy Roman Empire, which is worth seeing at least once.
Opening Hours: 10:00-13:00 and 15:00-17:00
Entrance Fee: Free
16. Rheinpark (Rhine Park)
Rhine Park, the most famous park in the city, is one of the relaxing places where Cologne residents are going. You will find many activities here including inline skating, jogging, or ball sports on the gigantic lawns. These 40 hectares of parkland stretch along the Rhine River between the boroughs of Mülheim and Deutz. Rheinpark is home to the “Cologne Rhine Cable Car” that crosses the river from Rhine Park to Riehl and offers stunning views of Cologne. The trip by the cable car costs 5 Euro for a one-way trip and 7.50 Euro for a round trip.
Opening Hours: the park is open 24 hours
Entrance Fee: Free
17. Cologne Central Mosque
Cologne Central Mosque was built by the Religious Affairs Turkish-Islamic Union in 2009. The modern building, which is based on Ottoman architecture, has two minarets of 55 meters high. The building has many sections such as a library, exhibition hall, museum, and covered bazaar. Cologne Central Mosque hosts education activities and various exhibitions throughout the year. You can easily visit the main parts of the building by participating in free guided tours starting at 15:00 on Wednesday and Friday.
Opening Hours: 09:00-20:00
Entrance Fee: Free
18. Deutzer Hängebrücke (Deutz Suspension Bridge)
Deutzer Hängebrücke is a suspension bridge connecting Cologne city center to the Deutz district. The bridge is accessible both by car and on foot. This bridge offers a magnificent view of the city and the Rhine River, making it an excellent spot for taking souvenir photos of Cologne.
Schildergasse is one of the most popular shopping streets in Cologne. The most important symbol of Schildergasse is the glass-made Weltstadthaus (Global City Building). There is the famous German clothing store called Renzo Piano designed by Peek & Cloppenburg. Throughout Schildergasse, you can also see other major stores such as Galeria Kaufhof, H&M and Zara. The streets around Schildergasse are the place where you can find some more affordable boutiques and local shops selling cheaper items.
If you will be flying to Cologne, find detailed information about all the ways for getting into the city in our guide How to Get from Cologne Airport to City Center that will help you choose the type transportation that is the most suitable for you.