A couple of weeks ago we managed to squeeze in a cheeky little minibreak to Cologne. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of a short visit to this vibrant German city.
First impressions Arrive by rail for an incomparable view of the twin spires of the Dom – Cologne’s landmark Gothic masterpiece – as the train crosses the Hohenzollernbrücke.
Prost! Trying the local brew in a brauhaus is a must for any trip to Cologne. Served by the famously rude and witty waiters (Köbes), the beer comes in deceptively small portions that leave you wanting more (and more). Luckily, the Köbes keep tally of how many you’ve had by marking the beer mat… We spent a very enjoyable night on the Kölsch with a group of locals in Früh Am Dom.
A river runs though it Cologne sits on the banks of the Rhine and options for river cruises are plentiful. Boats sail from the Hohenzollernbrücke and cost around 10 euros for a relaxing 1 hour trip down to Mülheim and back. Look out for cable cars whizzing overhead as you approach the Zoobrücke.
Cake break Stop off at Café Reichard and snag a table on the terrace for a great view of the Dom. Large slabs of seriously good kuchen are the hallmark of this establishment. I chose a slice of aprikose (apricot) while the mister went for kirsche (cherry). Yum! The cakes on offer at the Chocolate Museum in the Severins quarter aren’t too shabby either.
Money well spent Stroll across the Hohenzollernbrücke – browsing the dedications on the ‘padlocks of love’ as you go – and head towards the Köln Triangle on the Deutz-Messe side of the river. For the absolute bargain price of 3 euros, the elevator will whisk you up 28 floors to the open-air viewing platform located on the top of this building. On a clear day, you can see for miles in all directions.
For more information about visiting Cologne: http://www.cologne-tourism.com