Top 5 for Cologne
- Take a gander at the cathedral – it’s hard to miss!
- Stroll along the river
- Try some fantastic cocktails at Little Link
- Shop – the city is known for good shopping
- Add a lock to the Hohenzollern bridge – if you can find a space
- Hotel Drei Kronen – within 2 minutes walk to both the river and the Cathedral, and 5 minutes walk to the main train station, this hotel is ideally located and reasonably priced to boot (82 euro for a double room).
Cologne is yet another German Hanseatic city, like Hamburg and Bremen. After World War II, the architect Rudolf Schwartz called Cologne “the World’s largest heap of debris”, which gives you an idea of the destruction during the War. Twelve Romanesque churches along with a further dozen were destroyed. However, the famous Kölner Dom, despite repeated bombings, remained standing and underwent repairs following the war. Today it is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and the most visited site in Germany. So, I felt I had to pay it a visit! Some friends and I came for the weekend, arriving late on Friday evening. Deciding to pay the cathedral a visit the next day, we instead started with Indian food at Namaste. Given that two of the four of us were from India, it’s fair to say we had proper judges – and the food here is authentic, traditional, and delicious. The service was fantastic, particularly for Germany where waiters tend to leave much to be desired.
Following dinner, we ventured out in the pouring rain to a recommended cocktail bar – Little Link. This place is easily the best and coolest Cocktail bar I’ve ever been to – hands down. I’m not alone in that opinion – check out reviews here and here. Great service, creative cocktails, good music, and a funky menu – what more could you want? I tried the Asian Club, a dry and delicious concoction with white port and citrus (top left).
Otherwise, the menu is a plethora of delicious options – specialty gin tonics and a full airplane-themed page with “Economy Class” up to “First Class” variations on the same drink.
We proceeded to dance into the wee hours, heading home once it finally stopped raining.
The next morning, we walked over to Cafe Schmitz for brunch and coffee, followed up by some shopping and a meandering stroll back to the cathedral for many many pictures and a tour inside. It is truly an astonishing thing – a mammoth and imposing building soaring above you, with gothic spires and arches straight out of medieval times. As usual, the only way to really appreciate it is to see it in person, but I hope the pictures give some idea of it’s beauty.
Still not having our cathedral fill, we stopped at Cafe Reichard across from the Dom – of course, given the location, it’s incredibly overpriced and touristy, but worth it to relax with a coffee or tea and take in the cathedral from a comfortable seat 🙂
View from the cafe to the Dom.
We took a stroll along the river after our coffee, with some late afternoon sunshine brightening the water.
For a sugar hit, try a Kolner Brezeln (Cologne pretzel), which is not a pretzel at all but in fact a big fluffy donut, dipped in toasted almonds and icing sugar.
Cologne, and mainly it’s giant cathedral, is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Germany. The shopping isn’t bad either, and the cocktails are the best you’ll find 🙂