Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to Do in Cologne, Germany

Cologne Bucket List: Best Activities and Amazing Places to Visit in Cologne, Germany

Along Europe’s iconic Rhine river, you will witness the dancing reflection of Cologne’s majestic architecture. Whether it’s a bright sunny day or during the twinkling night, this German city is prepared to give you a colorful and unique journey.

If you want Cologne to spoil you with its inviting culture, piquant cuisine, and spellbinding landmarks, these immersive trips can sum up your holiday list.

Experience memorable encounters at Cologne Zoo

Tiger at Cologne Zoo
Tiger at Cologne Zoo

If you expect to see wildlife in its natural form, animals that are well taken care of, and guaranteed safety, a vast zoo in Cologne will blow your expectations away. To the locals, Cologne Zoo is Kölner Zoo, and it is a comfortable home to more than 10,000 animals. What makes this zoo extra special is the variety of specialty areas where you can have unforgettable encounters with your favorite animals.

Many people are drawn to elephants because they tend to symbolize humility despite great power. Elephants usually grow to gigantic sizes, not constricting their ability to run 25 miles per hour. Besides this, they also make trumpet-like sounds, which can be heard even at a distance. Despite their intimidating physique, strength, and intelligence, they are lovable and extremely accommodating.

If you want to spend more time with elephants of varying ages, Cologne Zoo has an Elephant Park for you. There are around 13 cute elephants to put lovely smiles on your pretty faces, so make sure you drop by to at least see them.

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If you’ve got more time and energy, you can stroll around this zoo and find more. Many visitors love the Hippodom, Clemenshof, and The Aquarium.

Stretch the night at the Belgian Quarter

Belgian Quarter by Bordeaux via Wikipedia CC
Belgian Quarter By Bordeaux, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

One of Cologne’s unique feat includes having a distinct district that infuses different European cultures. Although Belgium’s influence over the Belgian Quarter is apparent, this district is also famed for having streets named after notable Prussian generals and marshals. This historical and cultural fusion is enriched by the must-see Romanesque buildings around the area too.

After tracing other cultures’ hints at this quarter, you can spend time with the locals and other tourists. While the sun is up, it is a good idea to stroll the surrounding elaborate boutiques. Reserve your evening for the trendiest pubs you’ve ever seen.

Engage in a walk worth remembering

Flora Botanical Garden Cologne by CEPhoto via Wikipedia CC
Flora Botanical Garden Cologne By Photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas or alternatively © CEphoto, Uwe Aranas, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Cologne’s Botanical Garden is an unparalleled gem. There are more than 10,000 species of colorful flowers and radiant plants sitting on its vast 11.5-hectare land. The amount of refreshing nature and vibrant color are sure to soothe and calm you. If you are looking for a destination wedding, you certainly have one more reason to visit this enchanting garden.

With its undeniable beauty, would you have thought that a portion of this garden was built during the 19th century? Visiting Cologne’s Botanical Garden not only spells history and beauty, but it also serves genuine peace on a rustic platter.

Blush around chocolates

Imhoff chocolate museum by I Noebse via Wikipedia CC
Imhoff chocolate museum By I, Noebse, CC BY-SA 2.5, CC

Like the author Ursula Kohaupt, I also believe that chocolate provides comfort without words. Chocolates are always nice to have around, and what a good way to celebrate their existence than to understand their journey. Cologne’s Chocolate Museum has a greenhouse where you can see chocolates’ journey from 5,000 years ago and from cocoa trees.

Before you leave the museum, indulge in mouthwatering and decadent chocolate cakes at the in-house cafe.

Find your way to the Cologne Cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral photo via Depositphotos
Cologne Cathedral photo via Depositphotos

You will find yourself blissfully walking towards this iconic landmark, for its twin spires get even more amazing the closer you look. If you’re curious, the 515 ft spires of this cathedral is the tallest in the world.

Apart from frequenting the list of Germany’s most visited landmark, this church is also a World Heritage Site, making it one of the most culturally valuable and tourism-relevant spots in the country.

Be in the loop with the hottest games.

Gamescon is the largest gaming event in the world both by exhibition space and by the number of visitors. If you’re a gamer, this annual event that’s attended by over 300,000 visitors at Koelnmesse in Cologne is absolutely a must-visit.

The latest video games tend to be released here. In 2020, Ubisoft showcased Just Dance 2021 through this convention, in a COVID-friendly itinerary. There are over 1,000 exhibitors from all over the world, showcasing their trendiest offerings yearly.

Cross Great St. Martin Church off your bucket list

St. Martin Church in Cologne photo via Depositphotos
St. Martin Church in Cologne photo via Depositphotos

This iconic landmark has been around since circa 960 AD. Although it’s been brutally damaged during World War II, the restorations were completed by 1985.

The long history of this cathedral has endured unimaginable tests of time. It is still standing majestically today, ready to influence lives through intricate architecture, immutable history, and solemn prayers.

Discover the track to the Hohenzollern Bridge

Hohenzollern Bridge photo via Depositphotos
Hohenzollern Bridge photo via Depositphotos

The amusing tracks of this bridge can be uncovered historically and geographically. The Hohenzollern Bridge facilitated much of Germany’s most important transportations during the Second World War.

It was insurmountable even to frequent airstrikes during this time. It has survived a war, bombings, and restorations. Today, this iconic bridge will connect you to Cologne’s train stations, the Köln Hauptbahnhof and Köln Messe. It’s a picturesque and convenient way to go around the city.

Seal your love with a padlock

Thousands of love locks which sweethearts lock to the Hohenzollern Bridge photo via Depositphotos
Thousands of love locks which sweethearts lock to the Hohenzollern Bridge photo via Depositphotos

If you’re traveling to Cologne with your partner, your visit to the Hohenzollern Bridge, also known as the Love Locks bridge, will need a little more preparation–the purchase of two padlocks, to be exact.

Tradition dictates that lovers who desire to stay together forevermore can mark their padlocks with their names, clasping the locks together and hanging them on to the wall at the bridge. The key to these locks is to be dropped over the edge, tumbling down the Rhine river. This symbolizes the everlasting strength of their attachment and affects one another.

Feel the wind at the KölnTriangle

Kolntriangle by Raymond Spekking via Wikipedia CC
Kolntriangle By © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Cologne’s 339 ft KölnTriangle will take you to the top of this city through its observation deck. What’s even more fascinating is the aerial view of the idyllic city.

You can see the best landmarks, including the Rhine river, as you stand at this majestic structure. Don’t forget to take photos of Cologne and your charming smile.

Fill your senses with a world-class fragrance.

Farina Fragrance Museum photo via Depositphotos
Farina Fragrance Museum photo via Depositphotos

Get to know Cologne through colognes and perfumes! The oldest fragrance factory in Germany, the Farina Fragrance Museum, has been operating since 1723. Several of their floors intend to showcase their perfume making craft, with the help of a reliable distillation process and pieces of machinery.

What’s special about visiting a fragrance museum is the journey being different for everyone. Huib Maat puts it perfectly in that “Each time we inhale or smell perfume, we are all going on our own very personal perfume journey. Fragrance can represent you and can appeal to someone else’s heart. If you want to learn a thing or two about scents, this museum can be found in Cologne.

Find your way to the Old Town.

Cologne Old Town by Thomas Robbin via Wikipedia CC
Cologne Old Town By Thomas Robbin, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

Cologne’s Old Town is oozing with local charm. It brings with it remnants of the past and the ways of the present. You can sit by the benches and pause to appreciate the beauty of Cologne.

You can also roam around the boutiques and look for a restaurant or cafe that appeals most to you. This city’s Old Town makes stellar selfies and photos as it’s picturesque in every angle.

Wine and dine against a tantalizing view.

The Rheinauhafen District combines a captivating harbor view and a romantic cocktail scene. You can wine and dine just before the sun sets so you can see a worth-the-wait grand city view.

You can watch the distant stars and city lights twinkle in the dark. The peace and calm are unique for a busy city, but Cologne has this ambiance for you. Top the experience with Kölsch, the city’s favorite beer.

Cruise over the city

River Cruise in Cologne photo via Depositphotos
River Cruise in Cologne photo via Depositphotos

Boats elegantly navigate the extensive Rhine river like swans, and this is a great way to tour the beautiful waters of this city. The scene is made more exquisite by the moonlight, with some cruises scheduling a firework display.

Experience Heaven and Earth

Interestingly, the main ingredients of the dish Himmel un Ääd symbolize the two opposing entities. Apples are from the sky while potatoes are from the ground, hence a meal of heaven and earth.

The sweetness from the fruit is distinct and flavorful. It provides a powerful contrast against the creamy mashed potatoes, and the explosion of the well-balanced taste on your mouth is simply unforgettable–this is certainly a must-try!

Cologne Travel and Tour Packages

To help you plan out your vacation to Cologne, we listed places to visit and other amazing activities in Cologne, Germany. We also listed some of the best travel deals and tour packages and excellent flight deals and accommodation.

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Cologne hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist spots in Cologne, Germany? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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