Cologne is a striking city adorned with Gothic architecture and has earnt its place as a cultural hub in West Germany. The River Rhine runs through the centre, meaning there are many riverside spots to hangout in. Parks, gardens, theatres and breweries keep travellers occupied and the many majestic buildings to take photos of. Oh, and visit the chocolate museum if you want all those childhood dreams to come true!
You’ll find most hostels in Cologne along the River Rhine and there are some absolute beauties. A four-poster hostel bed – sure! Sun terraces, hostel pools and on-site cafes for an afternoon coffee and slice of cake. Plenty of hostel bars can be found, which is where your new travelling friends are waiting for you by the way. Free Wi-Fi is available in whichever Cologne hostel you pick, but make sure you get plenty of face time too. Tuck into a free breakfast and cook in the communal kitchens if you’re on a tight budget. There are dorms, with all the facilities you could ever need and private rooms with en-suites.
Book a bed in Kapitolviertel if you want to be close to Cologne Cathedral, the main nightlife and the old town. Look out for the Cologne elves and the handicraft markets nearby and as you’ll be staying in the heart of the city, the River Rhine and train station are nearby. Stay on the edge of the city (still in the west) in Ehrenfeld for slightly cheaper places to eat, and more traditional pubs and clubs. Head east of the river and stay in Deutz, using the cable-car to cross if you want those panoramic city views. This area has Rheinboulevard running between it and the river for evening promenade walks.
We may have mentioned the cathedral a few times, but it really is a Gothic masterpiece and iconic Cologne. In the old town expect town house in pastel tones and spend an afternoon getting lost among its streets stopping for a Kölsch beer or two. Take a boat along the River Rhine and see the city from a different angle, or just people-watch from the banks or the Rheinboulevard. Admire the chocolatey expertise in Shokoladen Museum and obviously sample it too!
It really is up to you, how you fancy exploring Cologne as every form of transport is on offer. If you’re looking to up the step-count and take it in at your own pace then walking is an obvious choice, or bike. However, you can also take the tram, subway, bus, train boat or a taxi. If you choose to take the train there are two different prices, for either short or long stops but it’s often easier and cheaper to get a day pass if you have a full day of exploring. The Eurostar will take you right into Cologne if you’re travelling by train from London and if you come in by plane, getting to the city centre is easy on the S-train (S13).