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Getting around Cologne

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Wednesday, 23.07.2014
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Good to know
City map Cologne
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    Cologne – a brief overview

    Cologne has a big, big history. Germany’s western metropolis spent centuries overshadowing both Berlin and Munich, and its medieval-era importance has left it with an amazing array of museums, galleries and period architecture – not least, of course, its world-famous cathedral, which still dominates the skyline.

    Today it remains one of the most significant cities in the country, with an arts scene to rival the capital, a famously fun-loving spirit and a population of more than a million people. For lovers of festivals, food, culture or history – or ideally all four – it’s one of Europe’s great city breaks.

    Flight and accommodation

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    Top 10 sights in Cologne
    ListMap
    Köln, Dom, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Travel Guide

    Cologne Cathedral

    Domkloster 4
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 1794 0530
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0600-2100 (May-Oct)
    0600-1930 (Nov-Apr)

    The most famous and awe-inspiring of all of Germany’s religious buildings, the city’s cathedral (or, in German, Dom) has stood here in various forms for close to 800 years. Its twin spires are more than 150m (492ft) in height.

    Römisch-Germanisches Museum

    Roncalliplatz 4
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 2212 4438
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tues-Sun 1000-1700
    (first Thurs of the month 1000-2200)

    Focusing on the city’s considerable Roman heritage, this museum is best known for exhibiting a third-century mosaic that was discovered by chance in the 1940s. It’s an evocative place to wander through.

    Museum Ludwig

    Heinrich-Böll-Platz
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 2212 6165
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tues-Sun 1000-1800
    (first Thurs of the month 1000-2200)

    Boasting works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, David Hockney and Roy Lichtenstein, this modern art gallery occupies an eye-catching building with a rippling roof. It also contains works by prominent German expressionists.

    Cologne Cable Car

    Riehler Strasse 180
    50735 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 547 4184
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 1000-1800
    (late Mar to early Nov)

    Crossing the Rhine from up on high, this long-established cable car is an enjoyable way of adding a different flavour to a city break – particularly if kids are involved.

    Wallraf-Richartz Museum & Fondation Corboud

    Obenmarspforten 40
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 2212 1119
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    Opening times:
    Tues-Wed and Fri-Sun 1000-1800
    Thurs 1000-2100
    (first Thurs of the month 1000-2200)

    Another high-quality art museum, the attraction leads visitors on a display of art through the ages, from medieval works produced here in Cologne to European art from the 20th century.

    Phantasialand

    Berggeiststraße 31-41
    50321 Brühl
    Germany
    Tel: 01806 366 200
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    1100-2000 (late Nov-early Jan)

    Located just south of the city in Brühl, this is one of Germany’s oldest theme parks and remains a good bet for keeping kids entertained with roller coasters, theatres and other attractions.

    Cologne City Museum

    Zeughausstraße1-3
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 2212 5789
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    Opening times:
    Tues 1000-2000
    Wed-Sun 1000-1700
    (first Thurs of the month 1000-2200)

    A recommended port of call for visitors with a specific interest in the long and absorbing story of Cologne itself, spanning from the Middle Ages to the modern day.

    Chocolate Museum

    Am Schokoladenmuseum 1A
    50678 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 931 8880
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    Opening times:
    Tue-Fri 1000-1800
    Sat-Sun 1100-1900

    You don’t need to be a lover of the dark stuff to enjoy a visit here – but it certainly helps. The museum covers the history and production of chocolate, and has become one of Cologne’s best-known attractions.

    Fragrance Museum Farina-House

    Obenmarspforten 21
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 399 8994
    Show on map

    Opening times
    Mon-Sat 1000-1900
    Sun 1000-1600

    Ever wondered how “Eau de Cologne” got its name? This museum gives an overview of the production and popularity of fragrances over the centuries – a fascinating story.

    Kolumba

    Kolumbastraße 4
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: (0221) 933 1930
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    Opening times:
    Wed-Mon 1200-1700

    An art museum run by the city’s archdiocese, Kolumba offers a far-from-dry collection of spiritual art, showcasing beautiful works in a beautiful building.

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    Good to know
    Country Information

    Country overview

    Still misunderstood by many, Germany stands as one of the most endlessly engaging countries on the continent. Anyone expecting a homogenous nation conforming to rigid Teutonic stereotypes is in for a shock. As a travel destination it’s somewhere with huge personality, notable for a clutch of truly lovable cities, culture served up in hefty portions and rural scenery so heart-melting you’ll be left bemused why some people still think of the place as lacking allure.

    It’s the country’s urban highlights that tend to draw the attention first. Berlin is the very definition of a dynamic city, having forged a goodtime reputation for ground-breaking creativity while still keeping sight of it’s past. Elsewhere, the likes of Cologne, Munich and Hamburg are rich in historical buildings, eyes-to-the-future nightlife and excellent gastronomy.

    Geography

    Germany borders Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland. The northwest has a coastline on the North Sea while the Baltic coastline in the northeast stretches from the Danish to the Polish border.

    The country is divided into 16 states (Bundesländer) and has an exceedingly varied landscape. In what was once known as West Germany, the Rhine, Bavaria and the Black Forest stand as the three most famous features, while in the east, the country is lake-studded with undulating lowlands.

    River basins extend over a large percentage of the region, and some of Europe’s most prominent rivers flow through the country. These include the Elbe, the Danube and the Rhine.

    The highest point in the country is the 2,962m (9,718ft) peak of Zugspitze Mountain in the Bavarian Alps. Cable cars run to the summit – it can also be climbed.

    General Information

    Key facts

    Population: 81.147.265

    Population Density (per sq km): 227

    Capital: Berlin.

    Language

    German is the official language. Regional dialects often differ markedly from standard German. Minority languages include Danish and Sorbic, while some English and French is also spoken.

    Currency

    Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

    Electricity

    230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style round two-pin plugs are in use.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 0800-1600 (many close earlier on Fridays).

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2014-December 2015 period.
    Note: Regional observation only.

    2014

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2014
    Epiphany: 06. January 2014
    Good Friday: 18. April 2014
    Easter Monday: 21. April 2014
    Labour Day: 01. May 2014
    Ascension Day: 29. May 2014
    Whit Monday: 09. June 2014
    Corpus Christi: 19. June 2014
    Assumption: 15. August 2014
    Day of German Unity: 03. October 2014
    Day of Reformation: 25. October 2014
    All Saints’ Day: 01. November 2014
    Repentance Day: 19. November 2014
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2014

    2015

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2015
    Epiphany: 06. January 2015
    Good Friday: 03. April 2015
    Easter Monday: 06. April 2015
    Labour Day: 01. May 2015
    Ascension Day: 14. May 2015
    Whit Monday: 25. May 2015
    Corpus Christi: 04. June 2015
    Assumption: 15. August 2015
    Day of German Unity: 03. October 2015
    Day of Reformation: 31. October 2015
    All Saints’ Day: 01. November 2015
    Repentance Day: 18. November 2015
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2015

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    Getting around

    Public Transport

    The city has an extensive bus and tram network, with various tickets on offer allowing visitors to get good value from their time here – the Cologne Welcome Card, for example, allows use of public transport for 24 hours and also grants discounts at local attractions. To cross the Rhine in memorable fashion, there’s a cable car that’s been running for more than 50 years.

    Taxis

    Taxis aren’t hard to come by in Cologne – both in ranks and cruising the streets – and it doesn’t generally take long to hail one. Good companies to call include Taxi RUF Köln (tel: (0221) 2882).

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    Nightlife in Cologne
    ListMap

    Running the full spectrum from slick bar to jostling Bräuhaus, Cologne’s nightlife also offers up some quality cultural venues.

    Running the full spectrum from slick bar to jostling Bräuhaus, Cologne’s nightlife also offers up some quality cultural venues.

    Cölner Hofbräu Früh

    Am Hof 12-18
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    You’ll get a beery blast of traditional Cologne at this busy Old Town brewery.

    Papa Joe’s

    Alter Markt 50-52
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Billed as Germany’s oldest jazz venue, with free live music every evening; there’s food on offer too, if you want to make a night of it.

    Schauspiel Köln

    Schanzenstrasse 6-20
    51063 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    One of the city’s leading theatre and arts venues, with a diverse roster of events ranging from ballet to film.

    Club Diamonds

    Hohenzollernring 90
    50672 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    A glitzy and plush but enjoyable nightclub, mainly aimed at a young crowd.

    E-Werk

    Schanzenstrasse 36
    51063 Cologne
    Germany
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    Once a power station, this live music venue draws big names on a regular basis and has welcomed artists of the calibre of David Bowie and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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    Restaurants in Cologne
    ListMap

    Cologne is a very good place to sample traditional German fare – usually washed down with a glass or two of Kölsch, the famous local beer – but it gives a vast amount of other choice, from the cheap and cheerful to the über-refined.

    Cologne is a very good place to sample traditional German fare – usually washed down with a glass or two of Kölsch, the famous local beer – but it gives a vast amount of other choice, from the cheap and cheerful to the über-refined.

    Restaurant Konrad

    Marzellenstraße 13-17
    50668 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Offering a stylish contemporary take on German food, located in the Hilton hotel.

    Hanse Stube

    Trankgasse 1-5
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    The signature restaurant at the Excelsior Hotel Ernst, with the inventive quality of cuisine that this would suggest.

    Bulgogi Haus

    Neusser Straße 654
    50737 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A very good Korean restaurant, offering an attractive option for those looking for something different.

    Bei Oma Kleinmann

    Zülpicher Straße 9
    50674 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A thoroughly likeable local restaurant, famed for its enormous schnitzels.

    Lommerzheim

    Siegesstraße 18
    50679 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    No-frills traditional fare; its huge popularity with locals tells its own story.

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    Hotels in Cologne
    ListMap

    Cologne has a huge roster of different hotels for various budgets, but be aware that peak seasons – or major events like trade fairs – can see prices rise.

    There are lots of good options in the Altstadt (Old Town), but it can pay to look elsewhere.

    Excelsior Hotel Ernst

    Trankgasse 1-5
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Tel: +49 221 2701
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    A luxurious grand dame on Cologne’s hotel scene, sitting opposite the cathedral since the 1860s.

    Hyatt Regency Cologne

    Kennedy-Ufer 2A
    50679 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Expect top-tier, business-friendly luxury at this five-star hotel on the Rhine.

    Hotel Ariane

    Hohe Pforte 19-21
    50676 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    A three-star option within straightforward reach of the main sights.

    Das Kleine Stapelhäuschen

    Fischmarkt 1-3
    50667 Cologne
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    A small, well-priced option in a restored medieval house.

    Flight and accommodation

    Good to know
    Best time to visit

    Today: Wednesday, 23.07.2014 22:00

    sunny

    temperature


    18°C


    64°F

    wind direction

    wind speed

    3.125 mph

    humidity

    77%

    7 days forecast

    Thursday

    24.07.2014

    29°C / 15°C

    84°F / 59°F

    Friday

    25.07.2014

    27°C / 15°C

    81°F / 59°F

    Saturday

    26.07.2014

    26°C / 14°C

    79°F / 57°F

    Sunday

    27.07.2014

    26°C / 15°C

    79°F / 59°F

    Monday

    28.07.2014

    26°C / 14°C

    79°F / 57°F

    Tuesday

    29.07.2014

    17°C / 13°C

    63°F / 55°F

    Wednesday

    30.07.2014

    19°C / 11°C

    66°F / 52°F

    Climate and best time to visit Cologne

    May to September is the most popular time of year to come calling, with the allure of the summer months pushing up accommodation prices – the city’s beer gardens are at their best in the sunshine, but if you come calling in spring or autumn then the drop in visitor numbers has its own rewards. For those in search of specific events or festivals, the week-long Carnival is a street party of epic proportions taking place in the days running up to Ash Wednesday, while the city’s Christmas markets are renowned as being among the best in Germany.

    Climate & best time to visit Germany

    As with most European countries, Germany is a year-round destination but not especially dependable weather-wise. In general terms though, it’s temperate throughout the country with warm summers and cold winters – prolonged periods of frost or snow are rare. Rain falls throughout the year, with much of Germany experiencing its maximum rainfall over the high summer months. Unpredictability, then, is a major factor. The average January daytime temperature is 3°C (38°F) and in July is 22°C (72°F). Extremes commonly reach -10°C (5°F) in winter and 35°C (95°F) in the summer months.

    While Munich might be considerably further south than Berlin, the fact that the Bavarian capital sits at a much higher altitude means the two cities have broadly comparable summers. The highest annual temperatures tend to be in the southwest, where there’s almost a Mediterranean feel to the landscape at times. Unsurprisingly, this is where much of Germany’s wine is grown.

    May through to September are the most popular months in terms of tourist numbers, and certainly hold the most appeal for visitors aiming to spend significant periods of time outdoors. However, the spring and autumn shoulder seasons also hold real attraction for those who want the promise of decent(ish) weather without the tourist levels. The winter holidays are also a big draw in their way, due in no small part to their attendant Christmas markets. Peak season for ski areas is from December through to the end of March.

    Away from the mountains, January through to April will appeal to those who enjoy the benefits of uncrowded attractions, although be aware that cities like Berlin rarely witness "slow" periods at any time of year. Prices tend to be slightly higher over the summer months. One other thing to bear in mind is that hotel rates can increase when large trade shows are in town (potentially a problem in Frankfurt, for example).

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    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +49

    Telephone

    Local and international calls can be made from phone boxes in towns and cities. These usually accept both coins and pre-paid cards (available at post offices and other outlets). In larger cities, you’ll often be able to make international calls from internet cafes too.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good. It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving. If you’re going to be in Germany for a long period of time, consider obtaining a local SIM card.

    Internet

    Internet is readily available; there are many Internet cafes all over the country. Large Internet access centres exist in most main cities. Most hotels also provide facilities, either included in the room rate or charged separately.

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    Shopping in Cologne
    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    The city’s most obvious shopping streets are Schildergasse and nearby Hohe Straße, both of which sit in the centre of town and offer the expected range of goods and services. For something a little more specialist, Ehrenstraße has a number of young arty boutiques, while Mittelstraße plays home to numerous luxury brands.

    Markets

    The city’s Christmas markets are rightly famed (for their food and drink as well as their arts and crafts), with the stalls outside the cathedral representing the most naturally picturesque option. At other times of year, there’s a good flea market in the Neumarkt area, usually monthly, and an enjoyable Saturday food market on Wilhelmplatz.

    Shopping Centres

    The best-known shopping centre in town – and one of the oldest of its kind in Germany – is the well-located Galeria Kaufhof (Hohe Straße 41), while elsewhere the Rhein Center (Aachener Straße 1253) is a good bet for clothes and fashion items.

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    Traveller etiquette

    Handshaking is customary, and it is considered rude to address people by their first name unless invited to do so. Normal courtesies should be observed. Before eating, it is normal to say “guten Appetit” to the other people at the table to which the correct reply is “danke, gleichfalls” (“Thank you, the same to you”). If you’ve been invited to eat at a German house, it is customary to present the hostess with unwrapped flowers (according to tradition, you should always give an uneven number, and it is worth noting that red roses are exclusively a lover’s gift).

    In shops and other businesses, courtesy dictates that visitors should utter a greeting such as “guten tag”

    (or “grüss gott” in Bavaria) before saying what it is that they want; to leave without saying “auf wiedersehen” or “tschüss” can also cause offence.

    Similarly, when making a telephone call, asking for the person you want to speak to without stating first who you are is impolite. Casual wear is widely acceptable, but more formal dress is required for some restaurants, the opera, theatre, casinos and important social functions. Smoking is prohibited where notified and on public transport and in most public buildings.

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