Spend a weekend in Cologne, Germany because it is a beautiful city on the river Rhine with loads to do and lots to discover.  There are so many points of interest in this beautiful city.

Cologne is located in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is the 4th largest city in Germany. Mostly post World War II rebuild, due to 90 percent of it being damaged by bombing.

Now, it boasts some impressive architecture, a great culture and an intriguing history.

Crane Towers – A Marvel of Modern Architecture

The first point of interest in Cologne is the three Crane Towers (Kranhauser) on the Rheinauhafen waterfront. These three buildings are an architectural representation of the cranes that used to load cargo onto ships on the Rhein. Each one stands at a height of 60m offering the onlooker an interesting visual on the horizon.

Crane towers Architectual Masterpiece on the Rhein
Called the Crane Towers, they are located in the Rheinauhafen district. Pic credit: Fokke Baarssen

Whats the Quickest way to discover Colognes History?

Free walking Tours are a gold mine for any traveller.  Available in multiple languages and they normally go for about two hours. The guide will give you all the insights you need to get the most out of your visit to Cologne.

Free tours are available in lots of cities and I recommend you do one in each destination you visit. However, remember that  its “free”, to a degree. Free tour operators usually ask you pay what you think the tour is worth, so more like a tip based service! 

FTM Tip: Do a free walking tour of Cologne, Germany

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Roman Germanic Museum – Exploring Colognes Romanic Era

Dotted all over Cologne are relics from the its’ Roman past. Half a wall here (in a car park), a well over there, its quite comical.

Keep your eyes open, because they pop up in the strangest places and where you least expect to see them.

Formerly know as CCAA (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensis), Cologne became the capital of lower Germany whilst it was occupied by the Romans. Therefore, there is a wealth of artefacts including glass, mosaics and jewellery from that era.

Roman remnants at the Roman Germanic Museum next to Cologne Cathedral
Look through the big picture window on the left of the entrance to see the beautiful Mosaic from the Roman Villa!

You can find some great examples at the Roman Germanic Museum. The museum is built over an actual Roman Villa and is home to the most beautiful Roman floor Mosaic (nearly completely intact). 

FTM Insider Tip:  If your tight on time or budget, you can actually see the mosaic from outside through a large picture window from the square. 

Cologne Cathedral – The heart of Colognes Old Town

Hohenzollen Bridge and Cologne Cathedral places to visit on a weekend in Cologne Germany
Looking down Hohenzollen Bridge (can you see all the love locks?) to Cologne Cathedral towering above the city of Cologne, Germany.  Pic Credit: Pixabay 5443882

The Cities most recognised building is definitely the Cologne Cathedral, otherwise known as Kolner Dom. It towers above the roof tops of the city.  The Cathedral is old (1248) and has some quirks in its architecture.

FTM Insider Tip:  Stand at the front doors and compare the stone work on the left and right side columns.  Notice how the stones are stacked. Really poorly on the left and precisely on the right, this is because the ‘precise’ Prussians took over the build of the cathedral half way through.


The quirky architecture does not take away from the appearance, this cathedral is truely majestic. Visited by millions every year because it houses the shrine of the three Maji – better known to you an me as the three wise men (from the Bible) and is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Not for the faint of heart is the climb to the top of the south tower. It costs a budget friendly €4 for an individual or €8 for a family ticket.  On a clear day you will see an outstanding view right across the city of Cologne.  Those not wanting to brave the 533 steps up, can visit the Cathedral Treasury instead which is housed below the Cathedral.

Visit Cologne in the Winter – Cologne Christmas Markets 

If your spending a weekend in Cologne in December, go to the Christmas markets and be dazzled by the thousands of sparkle lights.  There are five main Christmas Markets in Cologne.  But the most beautiful are located right under the Cathedral (Dom) and in the Old town.

Cologne Cathedral Christmas Markets

Set up in the square in front of the Cathedral, these markets are a spectacle of lights. Buy a mug of Gluewein to keep you warm and peruse the stalls with glass baubles, gingerbread, jewellery, candles, wooden decorations and so much more. 

For a real German experience, don’t forget to try a yummy Reibekuchen (Hot Potato Pancake) or a Bratwurst hotdog! 

Cologne Cathedral Christmas Markets a beautiful display of glass baubles
Look at this beautiful display of coloured glass baubles!   The Cologne Cathedral Christmas Markets are a sensory adventure. Lights, music, delicious sweet treats, and a visual paradise with displays of decorations, toys, jewellery & food.

Cologne Old Town Christmas Markets

Take the kids for a zoom around the ice skating rink at Heinzels Wintermarchen, Colognes old town Christmas Markets.  There is no need to have your own skates as you can hire them on site. 

The markets in the old town are the best for families as you can watch a glass blower making jewellery or a blacksmith hammering out horse shoe decorations.  There is a huge variety of beautifully decorated stalls with yummy treats, arts and crafts to peruse all under the cover of sparkle lights. 

Blacksmiths making christmas decorations at Colognes Christmas Markets
Heinzels Wintermarchen (Old Town Christmas Markets) puts on a great display for the kids with blacksmiths and glassblowers. Heres a blacksmith is making a horse shoe Christmas decorations engraved with the child’s name.

Colognes Christmas markets start on the last Monday before Advent.   So this year the 2018 Markets will be 26th November to the 23rd December.

A Romantic weekend in Cologne – For Love or Fortune

Visit these two pop culture puppet casts near Eisenmarkt in Cologne .  Tunnes and Schal.  One symbolises love of money and the other Love.
Visit these two pop culture puppet casts near Eisenmarkt in Cologne .  Tunnes and Schal.  One symbolises love of money and the other Love.

Located in the Eisenmarkt are Tunnes and Schal. These two cast puppet characters from Colognes theatre past represent love and fortune.  Rub Tunnes ‘nose’, for love to prosper in your life or ‘shake’ Schals hand to have fortune.  

As you can see, many have rubbed Tunnes nose!

Should you decide fortune is your future and your loved one is looking on (unimpressed),  I suggest you take a trip past Hohenzollen bridge.  Attach a padlock and lock your love together forever along with thousands of others.  It’s a win win!

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Cologne, Germany – A town with a History

For a little bit of history while walking around the city look down to the footpath you are walking on. You might notice golden plaques on the pavement.  Each of these plaques represents a Jew that was taken during WW2 from the very building your standing in front of.   

Although you might be temped to look up at the majestic sites of this city,  look down!   It helps you remember the past, so it is never repeated.

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I recommend you spend a weekend in Cologne, Germany.  You will not be disappointed.  There are so many things to see and do for singles, couples and families. Take a look inside the Cologne Cathedral, walk to the top or visit the treasury.  Wander along the banks of the river Rhein and take in the sites of the Crane Towers and Hohenzollen Bridge. Don’t forget to leave a love lock!.

Wander through the old town and see the Roman ruins at the Roman-Germanic Museum, or find out about Colognes history on a free walking tour.  Summer or winter this city has something for everybody.  I suggest you find the map and go!

Check out our post on what to do on a weekend in Munich.

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Cologne for the weekend
Cologne Travel Blog
Spend a weekend in Cologne, Germany. A beautiful city sitting on the banks of the Germany's famous river Rhine. Cologne has it all! Architecture, a romanic past, history, romance and culture. You should #FindtheMapandGo to #Cologne
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