When I still lived in Hanoi, we played guess the word game over food and alcohol. I was with my group of friends, the usual ones. I badly wanted our team to win. When it was about cities, I knew it was my turn to shine. They gave me the country, and I would narrate all the cities I knew. The 13-year-old Jona would have been proud. But some cities, they didn’t know the country. April said, it smells good. Huh? It smells good. Oh, Cologne. Home of Eau de Cologne. I don’t personally know if the name of the cologne was an inspiration of the city. When I think of Cologne, I don’t think of colognes and perfumes rather of the grandiose cathedral that the city has and the festivals and the parties it is known for. Having spent a day in Maastricht, another day in Aachen, my last full day for the long weekend was a day in Cologne, and I squeezed all the touristy things to do in less than 24 hours. LOL. Yep, I’m a full-pledged tourist. It’s about time. 😛
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is a central landmark, and there are several cafes and restaurants in the vicinity. As I said time and time again, having brunch near popular landmarks is like hitting two birds with one stone. You’re filling up your belly and eyes.
Here are five cafes near the cathedral where you can enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee.
Cologne Cathedral, or Kölner Dom, is a breathtaking masterpiece of Gothic architecture that looms majestically over the city of Cologne, Germany. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a symbol of the city’s rich history and a must-visit destination. Its awe-inspiring façade adorned with intricate spires and sculptures draws visitors from all over the world. Inside, the grandeur continues with towering columns and stunning stained glass windows.
PERSONAL TIPS: Make sure to climb the South Tower for panoramic views of Cologne and the Rhine River. Also, consider attending a choral performance to experience the cathedral’s acoustical wonders. It’s an absolute marvel that should not be missed.
Or not. I personally find it cringy. Sorry not sorry. I wonder if the people who left locks here are still together. Most likely many are not.
But yeah, the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, Germany, is not merely a functional railway bridge but a significant cultural and romantic landmark. Adorned with thousands of love locks, it symbolizes the affection of couples who have secured padlocks to the bridge’s fencing as a testament of their love.
Strolling along the bridge offers mesmerizing views of the cityscape and the majestic Cologne Cathedral. For a fuller experience, first, bring your own love lock to contribute to the tradition, but ensure it adheres to safety and environmental guidelines. Second, visit during sunset or early evening when the setting sun bathes the bridge in a warm, romantic glow, making it the perfect time for photographs and a touch of magic.
I personally did not do this. It was gloomy as hell during my trip. And cruises, especially the short ones, are best done when the day beams with hope.
But I’ve heard that a Rhine River cruise in Cologne is an enchanting journey that offers a unique perspective of this historic city. A tour guide friend is even doing this from Frankfurt all the way to Cologne As you drift along the calm waters, you’ll be treated to captivating views of Cologne’s skyline, including the iconic Cologne Cathedral and the Hohenzollern Bridge, beautifully illuminated at night. Many operators offer one-hour sightseeing cruises, making it a convenient and memorable experience for tourists. For first-time travelers, here are a couple of tips:
Indulging in lunch in Cologne’s Old Town (Altstadt) is a delightful journey into traditional German cuisine. With cobblestone streets and historic charm, this area is the perfect backdrop for savoring authentic local dishes. Try a succulent bratwurst, crispy schnitzel, or perhaps the adventurous kölsche Kaviar, a black pudding dish with onions. Here are five restaurants in the Altstadt area to enjoy these culinary delights:
Step into the vibrant world of modern and contemporary art at the Museum Ludwig. This cultural gem in Cologne showcases an astonishing collection of artistic masterpieces, from the innovative works of Picasso and Warhol to creations by other influential artists.
The museum is a journey through the evolution of art, where avant-garde visions and creative revolutions come to life. Whether you’re an art aficionado or just seeking inspiration, Museum Ludwig offers an immersive experience that will leave you captivated by the endless possibilities of human creativity.
The Alter Markt in Cologne is a historic marketplace that takes you on a delightful journey through time. As you wander its cobblestone streets, you’ll be greeted by charming and colorful historic buildings that tell the tale of centuries gone by.
The ambiance is enchanting, especially when you take a moment to sit at a local café, sipping on coffee or indulging in ice cream. It’s a chance to savor the city’s rich heritage while basking in the serenity of this picturesque square. An essential experience that connects you with Cologne’s heart and history.
I mean this is more of a personal bias. Me and flea markets. Me and secondhand bookstores.
Cologne’s Old Market Square hosts a vibrant and captivating flea market, a treasure trove of history and culture. As you stroll through this historic city center, the market comes alive with a kaleidoscope of colors and aromas. The market’s charm lies in its diverse offerings, from vintage trinkets and antiques to local crafts and international delicacies. Vendors haggle cheerfully, creating a lively atmosphere that resonates with the heart of the city.
Amidst the cobblestone streets and medieval architecture, visitors can uncover unique finds and immerse themselves in Cologne’s rich heritage. A visit to this flea market is a sensory journey that captures the essence of the city’s Old World charm.
Discover the perfect blend of tradition and modernity at Rheinauhafen in Cologne. This trendy riverside area boasts intriguing contemporary architecture that contrasts beautifully with the historical surroundings. Take a leisurely stroll along the Rhine’s edge, unwind by the water’s gentle flow, and let the urban atmosphere envelop you.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the striking, avant-garde buildings that define this area. Rheinauhafen provides a tranquil yet vibrant escape where you can savor the city’s architectural and natural beauty.
In Cologne, your evening transforms into a delicious adventure as you embrace the local culture. Enjoy dinner at a classic brewery or atmospheric beer hall, where traditional Kölsch beer flows generously, complementing hearty German dishes.
Savor the flavors of sausages, sauerkraut, and freshly baked pretzels while immersing yourself in the convivial ambiance of these establishments. The combination of hearty fare and the rich tradition of Kölsch beer will leave you with a truly authentic and satisfying culinary experience, a must-do for visitors to Cologne.
As the sun sets, Friesenstraße in Cologne comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to various tastes. This popular street is a hub of bars, clubs, and live music venues, promising an exciting evening. Whether you prefer to sip cocktails, listen to live bands, or dance the night away, Friesenstraße has it all.
Immerse yourself in the energetic atmosphere of Cologne’s nightlife, and discover why this bustling street is a magnet for both locals and tourists seeking a memorable night out. It’s a dynamic and pulsating finale to your day in this lively city.
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