Sometimes I forget why I moved to London. When I am wedged between 6 sweating strangers on the tube, and when I pay almost £7 a day to do so… but then, £10 flights to Europe happen and I remember. THIS is why. So my friend and I booked a 4 day weekend in Cologne and Luxembourg! (I will also have a blog for our 48 Hours in Luxembourg, so be sure to check that out too!)
Here is what we did and my tips for 48 hours in Cologne.
THINGS TO DO
Kölner Dom / Cologne Cathedral
This is a pretty obvious one because it is one of Cologne’s most outstanding landmarks. The Cathedral is stunning! It is right next to the central train station (Köln HBF) so it is very easy to get to. It is best to go earlier in the morning because like any other tourist spot, it does get very crowded. Also like a fair few other landmarks at the moment, there is some scaffolding on and around the cathedral. Because of that, I found the best photo angles to be from the front of the building either from the street in front of it, or from the steps.
Shopping at Neumarkt
A great way to kill time and gets some new goodies for yourself (or others, but let’s be real…) is shopping! Cologne has a shopping area called Neumarkt where you’ll find all your usual stores, maybe some new ones and of course, cafes and food spots. There is a train station (called Neumarkt) and tram stops that will take you right to it. We walked there from the cathedral and it took about 10-15 minutes.
If you’re a fan of vintage shopping then you will love Cologne! There are quite a few vintage stores around both central Cologne and the nearby neighbourhood of Ehrenfeld (which I will talk a little more about next!). The ones that we went to are; Humana Vintage – there are a few of these in Cologne, Vintage Emde and Vintage & Rags. If you google vintage stores around you when you’re in Cologne, I’m sure there will be some close by.
Ehrenfeld is a cool, hip neighbourhood of Cologne that I would definitely recommend visiting! You can get the train to Ehrenfeld station or Köln West. Just outside of Köln West station is a really cool graffiti wall. This is one of the things Ehrenfeld is best known for. It’s a cool and less touristy area to just walk around, or even find some cute cafes or bars.
I’m sure if you have ever looked up photos of Cologne you would have seen the 5 adorable, coloured buildings. This is the old town of Cologne. It is also known as Fischmarkt Square. It is also where the town hall building is. Which looks like part of a castle! Around these buildings are plenty of bars, restaurants and grass areas to just chill by the water.
THINGS TO DO
If you love animals, you will want to visit Stadtwald Park’s animal park. There are free ranging deer and sheep, there are also fenced paddocks with ox, donkeys and goats. They’re so cute and you can pet and feed them too.
The park in general is also beautiful. It is a lovely place to sit and have a picnic by the lake on the grass. We also happened to stumble upon some markets on the main street that runs through the park. We went on a Saturday so I’m assuming it would be a regular occurrence.
Another one of Cologne’s landmarks is the iconic bridge the crosses the Rhine river in front of the cathedral. It is covered in locks, which looks really cool as you walk across it. Once you’re on the other side, you get a gorgeous view of the bridge with Cologne’s cathedral as a backdrop. (PS. this is a great photo op!) We went across to this spot twice – once during the day and then again at sunset. It was stunning to watch the sun go down from this spot.
If you’re into architecture or just cool buildings in general, this will be one of interest to you, or should I say three… The Kranhaus, which means “crane house”, are three identical buildings next to one another along the river in the Rheinauhafen of Cologne. They are quite unique and hard to explain, so I will let the photo do the talking. You will get the best view of them from the eastern side (non cathedral side) of the river.
I don’t think we were disappointed by any meal we ate in Germany. I obviously can only fully recommend the places that I tried but I have a feeling it would be hard to go wrong.
There is a bakery chain called Kamps. They are kind of everywhere and it is soooo yum! They have fresh sandwiches, pastries, pretzels (of course), juice and coffee. We went there for breakfast both days, and were definitely satisfied until lunchtime.
For dinner on the first night we went to Mad Dogs; a really cool hot dog place that make their own sausages to specifically go with each different hot dog. They also do loaded fries (which you know we tried…) that are amazing! Everything was so yum and fairly affordable too! Would definitely recommend. It was located on a street full of restaurants and bars so if hot dogs and fries aren’t your thing then you can definitely find something else near by.
For lunch on the second day we decided to have a picnic by the water in Old Town. We went and bought food from the supermarket to make sandwiches and got some cheese and crackers, fresh strawberries and of course, a little bit of Milka chocolate (how good is it?!). The sun was shining, so we sat on the grass, along with many other people appreciating the warmth, ate our food and just relaxed for a little while.
For dinner on our last night, we had a drink and ate at one of the restaurants on the square. Then for dessert, we got waffles and froyo from the little place on the right hand side of Fischmarkt square. Sooooooo good!
The transport in Cologne is pretty easy. You can buy all different types of tickets, from single journey to multi-day ones. Usually around the city and single journey ticket will cost you €2-3, whereas a day pass will cost just €8.80. So it makes sense to get a day pass if you’re going to be going larger distances throughout the city. You can buy these tickets at the train/tram stops, sometimes even on the trains themselves. (Some of the underground stations look really cool too!)
Getting from the airport to the city centre is pretty easy by train too.
Would you visit Cologne?
Cologne was such a fun, pretty city that I would definitely recommend a weekend getaway to! I think a couple days is the perfect amount of time to spend there. I can’t wait to get back to Germany and explore more of it’s gorgeous cities! Let me know in the comments where you’ve been in Germany, or any cities you want to visit!