Cologne  (German: Köln, Cologne dialect: Kölle) is situated on the river Rhein in North Rhine-Westphalia and is the fourth largest city in Germany with around 1,000,000 inhabitants. It is one of the nation's media, tourism and business hotspots and is also known as the country's "gay capital".
The distinctive flavour to the city of Cologne is often put down to the inhabitants, or Kölsche, who take an enormous amount of pride in their city. Cologne, like most areas of Germany, has its very own local dialect of German, though this is unlikely to hinder the average sight-seeing tourist, as many of the landmarks of the city have English-speaking guides and information. For those tourists who speak German, and wish to practice it, the citizens have a lot of patience with those getting to grips with the grammatically difficult language. Colognians are very friendly people; welcoming tourists of all types and with all interests.
Away from the landmarks, many workers of the German rail system (Deutsche Bahn) speak English, as well as ticket/timetable machines available in English modes. Local transport systems, however, rarely cater for the English speaker, with only the bare essentials of information available but this should only concern those wishing to explore the city away from the more centralised sights. Those wishing to explore away from the central city should plan their journey before leaving, to prevent minor complications as there is a lack of English away from the centre of Cologne.
Older people in Cologne tend to have little or no knowledge of English, whilst businessmen and women, as well as the German youth, all tend to have a good knowledge of the language. Language is rarely a strong barrier, so this shouldn't be too much of a worry for the average tourist, just approach a friendly native and use a smile on your face, your arms and legs.
The climate of north-western Germany is changeable, with seasonal changes and day-to-day weather often comparable to that of the United Kingdom or northern France. Travellers to Cologne can expect the hottest time of the year to be July, the coldest is Feburary (you will seldom see snow though) and the month with the most precipitation is June.
- Cologne Bonn Airport (IATA: CGN), , handles international and domestic flights and is a hub for the low cost airlines Germanwings  and TUIfly . The airport is approximately 15 minutes by S-Bahn (local train) to the center of Cologne. S-Bahn fare (ticket zone 1b) is currently €2.30 one-way.
- Düsseldorf International Airport (IATA: DUS),  The Düsseldorf airport offers many intercontinental connections. Train ride from the airport train station to Cologne central station takes about 40 minutes.
- Frankfurt Rhein Main International Airport (IATA: FRA),  is the largest airport in Germany, served by all major international airlines. ICE (InterCityExpress) high speed trains connect Frankfurt Airport and Cologne central station in less then one hour. Standard one way fare is €58. If you book your Deutsche Bahn train ticket online three days before your departure to Cologne, there are a limited number of seats at a reduced price of 30-50%. If you pay full price you do not have to take a specific train, but discounted tickets are restricted to the train on your reservation. Note: Trains via Koblenz, which use the slower, yet extremely scenic route along the Rhine Valley are also 30% cheaper. The ICE train takes about one hour, the slower more scenic route takes about two hours.
Cologne is served by two major train stations - Köln Hauptbahnhof  and Köln-Deutz.
Cologne is linked with Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris by Thalys and ICE High Speed trains. Additionally, the Frankfurt airport (IATA:FRA) has direct service to Cologne and is within one hour by ICE trains.
As of January 1, 2008, Cologne requires all cars to have a "Low Emissions" sticker in order to drive around in the city center (Low Emission Zone, "Umweltzone"). Information on obtaining a sticker (which must be done at least several weeks in advance) is available here .
Plenty of motorways (Autobahns A1, A4, A3, A57, A555) lead to Cologne. During rush hour the streets are heavily congested, also due to massive construction of a new subway tunnel Nord-Süd Stadtbahn, crossing half the city centre.
For cheap parking, with quick connections to central cologne, use park and ride ("park und ride"). At some stations, parking is free when you present a validated transit ticket on exit. More info can be found here .
Find a street map, also showing where you can switch into a KVB subway, S-Bahn or Bus here .
Cologne has a very good subway/tram and bus network "KVB" (Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe); one- and three-day-passes are available. The tickets are valid for subway, tram and regional train within the VRS-network. Trips within the city limits require zone 1b tickets. For short trips of up to 4 stops on subway, tram or bus there is also the slightly cheaper "Kurzstrecke". A map of the network should be found at any station, and official Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe cologne station maps are available online here .
Cologne's subway and tram-system, or U-Bahn, is a mixture between both systems: A subway line can go on street-level and end up as a tram or vice versa. There are vending machines or ticket-offices at larger stations The trains and busses also have vending-machines. See the public bus, tram and subway-company KVB  for printable maps of the bus/tram/subway system and  for their official street map of Cologne.
Regional Trains are known as "S-Bahn", "Regional-Bahn" and "Regional Express". Not all the trains have ticket vending-machines so remember to buy a ticket at the station.
Cologne has, like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, a Call A Bike - System. After you sign up to the system, use your credit-card to pay per minute, and you can pick up or drop off one of the silver-red bikes anywhere in the city. See here  for details.
But, on the whole, the center of Cologne is not that big for a city of one million. It is entirely feasible to walk from one end of the center, say, the Rudolfplatz, to the other end, say, the Dom, on foot in half an hour. On the other hand, a trip by subway/tram line 13, which encircles the larger part of the town, takes close to 3/4 of an hour (Most sites attractive to tourists are located inside the #13 line's track or immediate outside it, and most sights are located within walking distance in the inner city).
Student Travel Tip: Student travel can be very cheap to and from Cologne, as well as the surrounding area. The German rail company (DB: Deutsche Bahn) offer a 'Schoene Ferien Ticket' during student holiday times and allows free travel throughout Northrhein Westphalia on local buses, trams, U-Bahn and some trains. Prices range from around €48 for summer holidays to €16 for Easter holidays, but prices can change year-on-year.
The ticket is available to anyone with valid student identification (student union card, enrolement card etc.) and personal identification (passport, driving licence etc.). Note: the ticket is only valid for student holiday dates of Northrhein Westphalia and the ticket is not valid for high speed express trains. Visit/contact Deutsche Bahn  for more information before travelling to Germany.
German is of course the language of this city but it is very easy to find information in French and English, also sometimes in Spanish and Japanese. Due to a large number of immigrants, Turkish, Polish and Russian are also widely spoken. Announcements in the main train station (Hauptbahnhof) are in German, French and English.
- Kölner Dom, (U-Bahn: Dom / Hbf), . Monday - Sunday: 6.00 - 19.30. Protected by UNESCO , Cologne's Dom is the first sight you will notice when taking the main exit from the central station. (If you don't see it, you've taken the back exit.) If you are in good shape, take the 509 stairs to the top of the south tower. It takes about an hour, so wear comfortable shoes, but it's worth the hike. Touring the Cathedral is forbidden during Mass. Entry into the cathedral is free but you will be asked for a donation. Admission to the tower costs (regular/reduced): €2/€1. Admission to the treasury costs (regular/reduced): €4/€2, however, a combined ticket granting you admission to the treasury and tower can be purchased for (regular/reduced): €5/€2.50.
- Die Kölner Synagoge, Roonstraße 50(U-Bahn: Zülpicher Platz), ☎ +49/(0)221/921560-0(fax: +49/(0)221/921560-9), . The synagogue is notable for its architecture that looks, well, right out of Gotham City. In August of 2005 Pope Benedict XVI visited the synagogue, becoming the second pope to ever visit a synagogue.
- Veedel - City Quarters. Cologne is well known for its "Veedel" or traditional neighborhoods. Here, most notably in the bohemian Agnesviertel, you can find independent designers, bookshops, bars, and art galleries. There are also historical monuments, such as the North City Gate or Eigelsteintorburg in the Agnesviertel, very near to Fort X, built to protect the city from French attacks, and Agneskirche, a late neo-gothic church on the boulevardesque Neusserstrasse. Neusserstrasse also has a yoga school, an Aikido school, a great japanese restaurant, a well-stocked bookshop, and a range of pubs. Nearby you will find the Alte Feuerwache, where there are regular exhibitions on political topics and a surreal flea market every four weeks in summer. Opposite Alte Feuerwache is the Artclub, with regular exhibitions of contemporary art, and on Ebertplatz there is a cinema (Metropolis) which shows English language films in the original. On nearby Lübeckerstrasse, you will find the uncompromisingly Arty Filmpalette cinema. To round off a trip to the Agnesviertel, you might like a kölsch in the Lapidarium (right beside the North City Gate) or a coffee in Cafe Schmitz, Cologne's grooviest poser hangout (they also do a great breakfast.) All of these great places are within a short walk of Ebertplatz U-Bahn. Other "Veedel" include Ehrenfeld, Nippes, and the historical Südstadt.<see name="Agnesviertel, Ehrenfeld, Südstadt" directions="U-Bahn: Ebertplatz (Agnesviertel) Körnerstrasse (Ehrenfeld) Chlodwigplatz (Südstadt)"
- 12 Romanesque Churches: St. Kunibert (with wonderful stained glass windows), St. Severin, St. Maria Lyskirchen, St. Andreas, St. Aposteln, St. Gereon, St. Ursula, St. Pantaleon, St. Maria im Capitol, Groß-St. Martin, St. Georg and St. Cäcilien
- Parks: Cologne has 2 park areas (Grüngürtel) encircling the city (immediately outside the medieval city limits) and nearly the entire town, respectively, which were set aside as public recreation areas after World War I. The inner Grüngürtel is probably more easy to reach for tourists who only stay a few days. Most notably are Volksgarten, Hiroshima-Nagasaki- (colloquially known as Aachener-Weiher-) and Stadtgarten parks where thousands of people come together to enjoy the sun, play and barbecue when the weather is fine. All these parks have an associated beer garden. Be aware to dispose any packaging, charcoal etc into the wastebins (which are unfortunately few and far between), as the city has begun to employ anti-littering patrols that will levy a stiff fine on anyone seen littering. Metro: Eifelplatz for Volksgarten, Universitätsstraße for Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Park, Hans-Böckler-Platz/Bahnhof West for Stadtgarten.
Museums and Galleries
Cologne has one of the world's best collections of museums and galleries for a city of its size. As well as world class museums of art and archaeology, Köln boasts two museums of ecclesiastical art, both housed in architecturally stunning buildings. There is also an ethnographic museum, a chocolate museum, the German Sport Museum and an abundance of Roman remains. One can purchase a MuseumsCard from one of the municipal museums (such as the first five listed below). The family card, which costs approximately €20, entitles 2 adults and 2 children (under 18) free admission to each of the municipal museums during two consecutive opening days. On its first day of validity, it can also be used as a ticket on all buses and trams on the local transportation system VRS.
- Museum Ludwig, Bischofsgartenstraße 1(U-Bahn: Dom/Hbf), ☎ +49/(0)221/221-26165(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49/(0)221/221-24114), . A museum of modern art, near central station and the Dom hosts a worthy regular exhibition, as well as temporary exhibitions. 
- Museum für Angewandte Kunst, An der Rechtschule(U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof), ☎ +49/(0)221/221-23860(email@example.com, fax: +49/(0)221/221-23885), . Tuesday - Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.. Museum für Angewandte Kunst has a collection of popular design items, as well as temporary exhibitions. Admission: Regular: € 4.20, Reduced: € 2.60.
- Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Martinstraße 39(U-Bahn: Dom/Hauptbahnhof plus 10 minutes walk, Tram Heumarkt, Bus Rathaus or Gürzenich), ☎ +49/(0)221/221-27694(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49/(0)221/221-22629), . Thu 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Wed-Fri 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sat-Sun 11 a.m. - 6 p.pm.. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is an art gallery with a collection of fine art from the medieval period to the early twentieth century.  Admission: (permanent collection and special exhibition) € 9,-/reduced € 6,-.
- Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Roncalliplatz 4(Adjacent to the Cathedral's right side from its main facade.), ☎ +49/(0)221/221-22304(email@example.com, fax: +49/(0)221/221-24030), . Tuesday - Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM. Römisch-Germanisches Museum explores the history of Roman history in Cologne and the surrounding area. The museum's tour guides are exceptionally dull and can make any visit seem like it lasted just as long as the Roman empire. If you can, wander around the museum by yourself. Admission: €6.45 or €7.45 including admission to the praetorium (an excavation of various buildings).
- Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum für Völkerkunde, Ubierring 45(U-Bahn: Ubierring), ☎ +49/(0)221/336940(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +49/(0)221/3369410), . Tuesday to Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.. North Rhine-Westphalia's only ethnological museum, it has a fine collection of Amerindian and Australian-Polynesian artifacts. Admission (including temporary exhibits): Regular: €4, Reduced: €3.
- Kolumba. An architectural wonder and a feast for the senses; this museum, built in concordance with the ancient foundations of the shrine of mary in the rubble contains a selection of historical and contemporary religious art. Worth visiting just to explore the spiritually inspiring spaces and the beautiful walkway through the ruins of the past.
- Schokoladenmuseum Köln GmbH, Am Schokoladenmuseum 1a, D-50678 Cologne, . Opening hours: Tues. to Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sat., Sun., holidays* 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. closed on Mondays (* see visitors' information) Last admittance one hour before closing. Chocolate Museum in Cologne. It's a short visit but very interesting exhibits.
Cologne's strong side is its cultural life. For latest information on what is happening around in town, get the "StadtRevue" (2 Euro), "Kölner" (1 Euro) or "Live" (Free). See also the official website .
- Karneval The biggest festivity in Cologne is the Winter carnival (or Fastelovend) in February. According to the official Cologne tourism website (see Futher Information section): "Its highlight is the street carnival taking place from Weiberfastnacht (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, traditionally the day on which women take control of the city) to Karnevalsdienstag (Shrove Tuesday). On Rosenmontag (Shrove Monday) more than one and a half million people line Cologne's streets to watch the parade with the mad triad – the prince, farmer, and virgin – every year." Dates for Carneval: 2008 Jan 31st to Feb 05th, 2009 Feb 19th to Feb 24th, 2010 Feb 11th to Feb 16th
- Christopher Street Day ; CSD is a large gay pride festival held in Cologne annually on the Heumarkt square. The event showcases music, a candle light vigil remembering those with HIV/AIDS, and on the final day of the festival a large parade is held. Recently, upto a million people have attended the events.
- Kölner Seilbahn; Riehler Straße 180; Phone: +49 221-547-4183 (Line open until 6 PM); ; Hours: April - October 10 AM - 6 PM; Take a ride with the Aerial tramway across Rhine river, Germany's only cablecar crossing a river! Price: Adults: One way - €3.80, Return trip - €5.50, Children (Aged 4 - 12): One way - €2.20, Return trip - €3.00
- The Zoo; Riehler Straße 173; Phone: +49 221-7785 - 0; Email: email@example.com; ; Hours: Summer: 9 AM - 6 PM, Winter: 9 AM - 5 PM, Aquarium: 9 AM - 6 PM; Admission: Adults: €13, Teenagers (Aged 14 - 17): €8.50 Children (Aged upto 14): €6
- Phantasialand -Berggeiststr. 31-41 (In the town of Brühl); Telephone +49 ; Hours: 9 Am - 8 PM, Rides open at 10 AM, Ticket office closes at 4 PM; - Phantasialand is a fun place for children and has some fun rides for adults too. Even the Colorado Adventure roller coaster is sponsored by Michael Jackson. Admission: Children: (Up to one meter in height) - Free, Children: (Between one meter and 1.45 meters) € 27.50, Adults: €31.00, Senior citizens: € 21, Two day passes available.
- Unsichtbar, "Unsichtbar" is a play of words. Leterally it means "invisible", but the suffix "bar" also refers to being a bar. You will get your private butler, who is a blind person, and you eat in total darkness.  Im Stavenhof 5-7, near Hansaring and Ebertplatz, open 1800-0000. You can choose your meal in a showroom and then your personal blind butler will lead you to the dark room where you have to smell, feel, maybe touch and of course eat your meal, but you won't see it. You'll have to refer to your butler about everything, whether going to the bathroom or refilling your glass. You are not allowed to smoke, use a cellphone or do anything else that could lighten up the room. The food on your plate is explained to you by using a clock-like system (e.g. "beans are on three o'clock"). It's an excursion into the world of blind people, who are supported this way, and a really good restaurant, too. For weekends you have to book around 13 weeks in advance, but during the week you'll get a free table (with a little luck).
- Claudius Therme, Sachsenbergstraße 1, ☎ Telefon: (0221) 981440, . 09.00-24.00. Just below the Kölner Seilbahn is the Claudius Therme. Spend a very relaxing few hours unwinding in both indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, cold plunge pools, etc. Several areas are naturist (not clothing optional). Towels are available to rent and food and drink is served on-site. One nice option is to take the Kölner Seilbahn to the Therme and return by bus (directly in front of entrance) to Köln Deutz Station where you can catch U-Bahn back to the City Centre.
- Metropolis Cinema, Ebertplatz 19, ☎ Telefon: (0221) 722436, . 15.00-24.00. If you want to go to the movies while visiting Cologne and you don't know German, this is the cinema for you. In the evenings it shows movies in their native language, but mostly English.
- Cologne Tourist Office; Unter Fettenhennen 19 (Directly opposite the front entrance of the cathedral); Phone: +49 221-221304 00; ; Hours: Monday - Friday 9 AM - 10 PM, Saturday & Sunday 10 AM - 6 PM. Take the U-Bahn to 'Dom/Hbf'.
The Cologne Tourist Office offers a wealth of information for the traveller who wishes to fill their itinerary with activities around the city. Ask about guide books that are available, most of which provide invaluable information for free.
- KD Rhine River Cruise; Frankenwerft 35; Phone: +49 221-208 83 18; ; Departure times: Daily: 10:30 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM; Köln-Düsseldorf offers cruises of the Rhine river around the Cologne area with an explanation of landmarks. €6.80
- Stattreisen e.V.; Phone +49 221-7325113; ; this non-profit organization offers excellent tours of Cologne, led by volunteers. The prices are moderate and there is a huge list of tours, including (besides the more regular tours) Koelsch tours (for testing the breweries) or language lessons in the local dialect (again, in a brewery). Ask for English tours, some guides are willing to conduct a normally German tour in English.
Spa and Massage
Beauty and spa treatments are popular in Cologne.
Just be aware that in typical German style, all sauna areas (referred to as "Saunalandschaften", i.e. Sauna landscapes) are mixed (apart from the odd "Damentag") and that bathing costumes are banned from them for hygienic reasons. Yup. Starkers, everybody. Do take a bathrobe (to keep you from the cold outside the saunas) and a large towel (to put under you in the saunas, no sweating on the wood, please) with you, though. Do not draw hasty conclusions either : mixed nudity does not make those places dens of sin, quite in the contrary. Nudity is considered as the only appropriate outfit in saunas, and it all happens in a disciplined, wholesome, safe and respectful atmosphere. Possibly one of the highest forms of German civilisation one can experience. Gawkers and bathing costume-wearers will be expelled by the staff without qualms, so don't even think you can get away with playing the tourist who didn't know, it won't make a difference. That very matter-of factly, uneroticised approach to mixed nudity may well turn out to be a revelation to many visitors open-minded enough to give it a try and go with the flow. You've been warned !
- Claudius Therme  Large spa with pool and lots of different saunas (indoors and outdoors) next to the Rhine, north of Deutz.
- Mauritius Therme  Decent Saunalanschaft in an hotel south of Neumarkt.
- Neptunbad , located in the popular area of Ehrenfeld in an old renovated bath, to which an attractive "sauna landscape" in japanese style on two levels has been added. Also a comprehensive fitness center.
- Mediterana , 11 saunas and a huge pool, in Bergisch Gladbach, East of Cologne
- Saunas in public swimming pools  Some of the public swimming pools managed by the Cologne city council, notably Agrippabad, do have small Saunalandschaften too, all featuring a Damentag (ladies only day)
- Ananda , Tantra massage, an open minded and liberal attitude essential because the massages includes sexually sensitive body parts, however, no sexual services are given by the employees.
- Samudra , floating tanks and wellness massages
There is an abundance of record stores in Cologne, but most are hidden in non-tourist quarters.
- For a mainstream record store, go to Saturn, which hosts the "world's largest CD collection", as they quote on their store windows. It's huge, and to pre-listen a record, you just have to hold it under one of the many scanners spread throughout the shop. Always worth a visit. Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring
- Independent record stores are spread around Saturn: Cross the street for 2nd hand and punk, follow the "Ring" (boulevard) north, and you will find Jazz, Electro and HipHop at Schallschock record store. Famous alternative music-store Normal is south of Saturn, as well as Underdog Record Store (specialized in Alternative Rock, Emo, Garage and related matters) Subway and Regional Train from central station: Hansaring
- For electronic music, get off at Friesenplatz, and go to groove attack in Maastrichter street. Also famous is Kompakt record store. Both are connected to a label sharing the name, and putting out fine German electronic music. Subway: Friesenplatz
- "Mayersche" and "Thalia" at Neumarkt are the biggest bookstores, you will find anything you want.
- On "Ehrenstraße", you will find cheap and arty books, take a look at "Buchhandlung König" at the eastern end, buy art books at weel known "Taschen" at the corner of Ehrenstraße and the Ring.
- Travel books are bought best at "Gleumes", between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz. They have only maps and travel books, but these from around the world.
- BOOKS IN ENGLISH! - "English Books and Tea", Ritterstrasse 50, near the tram stop of Hansaring, stocks a wide range of new and secondhand books in English. It also offers a choice of teas and conversation and invaluable tourist orientation - all in English.
Cologne has a wide variety of restaurants, both German and otherwise, as a glance in the colored pages of the local telephone book will illustrate.
One can eat pretty well in most traditional-style Kölsch restaurants, and in fact as a visitor, you should try some of the local food, which is quite rustic, but tasty, hearty fare.
The brewery taps (Früh, Sion, Pfaffen, Malzmühle etc. in the old town south of the Dom) are worth taking note of to that respect, although they tend to be expensive for what you get.
Places out of the way such as Schreckenskammer and Max Stark  (north of the train station, the former being within crawling distance of the Station Backpackers Hostel), Päffgen (Friesenstrasse) and both of Cologne independent brewpubs (Hellers Brauhaus  on Roonstrasse and Braustelle  in Ehrenfeld) offer cheaper, better food that the old town tourist traps. Besides, most of these places have tons of atmosphere, which doesn't hurt ! You may also experience the deadly dry wit of the Köbes (traditional name of the blue-clad waiters) in most of those places. If it happens to you, don't get upset, just enter the game, send the Köbes packing with a dig and a smile and you'll be all right.
You'll mostly find typical Rheinland dishes in those traditional Kneipen. Classics include :
- Halver Hahn : nice big slab of dutch gouda with a rye roll (Röggelchen)
- Himmel und Äd mit Flönz : fried black pudding with mashed potatoes ("earth"), apple sauce ("heaven") and fried onions.
- Soorbrode / Sauerbraten : joint marinated in vinegar with raisins, usually served with red cabbage and a kloss (potato dumpling). The joint may be beef or horsemeat, so you may want to ask first...
- Dicke Bunne mit Speck : boiled white beans with hefty boiled bacon slices on top.
- Schweinshaxe aka Hämchen : pig's leg, usually a bit of a monster (ranges from 600 to 1400 grms, including the bone)
- Rievekoochen / Reibekuchen : flat fried potato cakes usually on offer once a week, and served with a variety of sweet or savoury toppings, which may include apple sauce, Rübenkraut (the beet-sourced equivalent to black treacle) or smoked salmon with horseradish cream.
If you are looking for a snack, you can either head for one of the Turkish, Arabic or Asian places, or you can make use of the traditional fast food places like Mc Donalds, Burger King etc. Italian restaurants in Cologne seem to attempt to aim for a higher quality than in the UK, though it is debatable whether they achieve it, and whether their prices (often 150-200% of UK prices) are justified. There are several Indian restaurants across the city, which serve a fair fare, though the visiting Brit may be slightly disappointed to find that German 'curry culture' is rather akin to that of the UK in the 1960s: menus are neither large and varied, nor regionalised and specialist, and although ingredients are fresh, the food without exception appears to be tamed-down for the conservative German palate and the cooks are rather hesistant to spice it up even if you ask for it. "Clay Oven" (Luxemburger Straße near Südbahnhof) and "Bombay" (near Eifelstraße tram station) do make a vindaloo that will satisfy the most hardy customer, though. More recently, Japanese and Thai restaurants have become more common; both are quite expensive.
- Hauptbahnhof - The ground floor of the central train station has a good number of cheap eateries, which include Pizza Hut to kiosks selling sausages.
- Falafel Habibi located on Zülpicher Straße. They have two stores, which serve the same food (though sweetmeats may vary).
- There is an abundance of Döner Kebap and similar takeaways around the town. Generally a lot of Turkish snack bar-style places can be found just north of the main station at Eigelstein, around Zülpicher Platz and in the Belgisches Viertel, with some excellent Lebanese and Persian takeaways further down Zülpicher Straße towards Südbahnhof. Probably best now (though expensive) is Oruc Döner on Kyffhäuserstraße (near Barbarossaplatz); while the kebap is quite good though not outstanding, their freshly baked pide bread is famous all over town. There are lots of Turkish restaurants and takeaways within Kalk, Mülheim and (mainly restaurants) in the Belgisches Viertel.
- Borsalino, an Italian-style restaurant located on Zülpicher Straße close to Zülpicher Platz. Very affordable prices.
- Don Camillo, Hildeboldplatz 1a; phone 0221-138551; a small italian tabula calde style restaurant. Coming from Hohenzollenring, head into Breite Straße/Ehrenstraße and take the first road to the left.
- Buffet Chang  - Large, clean and tasty Chinese style buffet (all you can eat for 6.50 Euro) on the top floor of DuMont Carré shopping mall, in the middle of the shopping district on Breite Straße. Open from 11.00 - 21.00 (Sundays and holidays 12.00 - 19.00). Also a good underground car park with reasonable hourly rates and discounts for microcars such as Smart and Mini.
- Mama Mia, Alte Gasse 26, Phone  221 / 11347, italian food, not too hungry person 10-15 Euro/ person
- Ellopia , Carmerstrasse 106, Phone  221 / 14198, deutsches Essen, you get served for 5-10 Euro/ person
- El Inca, Görresstrasse 2, near Rathenauplatz. Latin-american restaurant, open 1800-2400.
- Johnny Turista, Rathenauplatz. Easy-going pub/restaurant offering snacks, hot dishes and a daily changing selection of tapas; prices are lower than in most tapas bars.
- Selam, Ehrenfeldgürtel 91 (tram station Venloer Straße/Gürtel)  Ethiopian restaurant, opens 5 PM Tu-Fr and from 4 PM on weekends, closed on Mondays. Good selection of mild and spicy Ethiopian dishes served on the traditional plate of injera bread.
- Farmer's Steakhouses with several branches on the Ring (near Friesenplatz), Wallrafplatz (near the Dom, off Hohe Straße), Kreuzgasse (off Schildergasse shopping street). At Lunchtime they usually have a special, that will give you a square meal for 6-7 Euro.
- pepe, Spanish style food, tapas and cocktails  Antwerpener Straße 63, near Stadtgarten and west of Friesenplatz, open 1800-0200. Big plates for hungry eaters, cool crowd. Usually booked out after 1900, make a reservation by phone or e-mail the day before.
- Landhaus Kuckuck, Olympiaweg 2, near Müngersdorfer Stadion (Aachener Straße). Exquisite German, but also international meals, open Tuesday - Saturday 1200-2300 - Sunday 1200-1800.
- Fischers Weingenuss & Tafelfreuden, Hohenstaufenring 53, between Zülpicher Platz and Rudolfplatz. Exquisite french-like and modern food, great arrangements of wine and cheese. After noon you can get (quite) cheap 2-way dishes of the day including water or a glass of wine. You have to book (quite early) in advance and a menu will be created on your wishes.
Typical Cologne beer is called "Kölsch" and served in bars around town in small glasses, called "Stangen", of 0.2l. That way the beer is always fresh and cold. Don't worry, waiters will be fast to bring you a new one once your old one is (almost) finished. In more traditional bars and especially the breweries, the waiter (called "Köbes" in local language) will even hand you a fresh Kölsch without being asked, so it is easy to lose track of how much you drank. He will put a pencil line on your coaster for each beer that you drank, this will be the basis for your bill, so do not loose it! To stop the beer from coming, put the coaster on top of your empty glass.
If you buy bottled Kölsch, take either "Reissdorf", "Früh", "Gaffel" or "Mühlen", which are rated highest by Cologne citizens (There are about 30 more brands).
There are so many bars and pubs to choose from that you could spend most of the night going from one bar to the next. A really great bar is the Irish Pub, Flanagan's, in Altstadt located down below a building. Almost everybody speaks English in there if that's what you are looking for, and they have a really great Karaoke night on Sundays. The clientele is very friendly. For a comprehensive list, see , bars listed on the right.
- For traditional breweries, head to the Altstadt around the Dom, where the "Früh Kölsch" brewery is the most authentic place, famous both with visitors and locals. You will find a younger crowd at "Hellers Brauhaus" on Roonstraße, near metro station Zülpicher Platz or "Brauhaus Pütz" on Engelbertstraße close to Rudolfplatz. Furthermore the "Päffgen", on the all-bar street Friesenstraße close to the Friesenplatz, and the "Mühlen" near Heumarkt are traditional brewery pubs but less touristy than the "Früh". Also recommended is Sion , which is a lesser known brand, but hailed to be very good, although some beer enthusiasts have found it lacking character from 2007 on. Most Altstadt pubs are somewhat scorned as "tourist traps" by locals, however: prices here are usually higher than e.g. on Zülpicher Straße.
- There are a lot of modern bars and lounges all around town. More mainstream ones are on Zülpicher Straße. For something more independent and funky on this street, try Umbruch (funky) or Stiefel (punky). The Low Budget on Aachener Straße next to Moltkestraße metro is a nice, unassuming, punky bar which features a fine selection of drinks and often hosts concerts, poetry or cabaret sessions.
- A lot of stylish places are in the so-called Belgian quarter between Aachener Straße and the Ring, e.g. famous M20 or the Hallmackenreuther.
- Früh am Dom; Am Hof 12 – 14 (Just south of the cathedral, behind the Domhotel); Phone: +49 221-2613 - 211; . Früh am Dom is a great place to try the local Kölsch brew.
- Brauhaus Gaffel; Alter Markt 20-22; Phone: +49 221-257 7692; ; Hours: Daily: 11 AM - 1 AM;
- Brauhaus Sion, Unter Taschenmacher 5(Altstadt), ☎ +49 (0221) - 257 85 40, .
- Brauerei Päffgen, Friesenstraße 64-66 
- "Bar Orange" - on Sudermannplatz, near Ebertplatz. Great atmosphere and great cocktails, or just a beer and a lively chat with Milan, the resident philosopher, or Rainer and Arash, experts on local goings on.
- Blue Lounge Party , every third Saturday, at the Bürgerhaus Stollwerck in Dreikönigenstrasse 23. Starts at 2200, tickets 5 €. Percussion-, brazil-, balearic- and deep house, techno, trance. A must for people who like this kind of music.
- #TAUSEND Bar , Aachener Strasse 57 (Moltkestraße metro): various events & music, nice bar styled by a group of designers
- Bodycheck Party , every second Saturday at the Filmhaus Köln on Maybachstrasse 111, metro station Hansaring. House, techno, always very good video projections.
- 3Klang , on Ehrenfeldgürtel 127, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Every third Friday, 2200-0500.
- Blue Lounge Bar , on Mathiasstrasse, lesbian bar. Off-shoot of the very successful party mentioned above.
- Basswerk Session , bi-monthly, the second Saturday at GEBÄUDE 9 , Deutz-Mülheimer Strasse 127-129 (tram 3 or 4, stop at KölnMesse/Osthallen), 2300--0500. Long-running and popular drum 'n' bass party in a defunct funky factory hall. Resident DJs often invite renowned guest DJs from the international d'n'b fringe. Alternates bi-monthly with the similar "Phonogenic" party in the same venue.
- Art Of House Party  once a month, the second or third Saturday at Stadtgarten in Venloer Strasse 40 (Hans-Böckler Platz metro): nice and really crowded house Party, guests around 25.
- Funky Chicken Club , every Tuesday at The O directly at Rudolfplatz (Rudolfplatz metro): legendary Cologne House Party since 13 years in beautiful venue, always crowded, good House and Electronic Music.
- Apropo* , good Partys on Fridays and Saturdays with Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip Hop in a cosy venue located in Im Dau 17 (Ulrepforte or Severinstrasse metro) easy guests from 20 years on.
- Underground*  on Vogelsanger Str. 200, metro station Venloer Str./Gürtel. Famous for concerts and partys with Rock, Metal, Punk and alternative music. Guests vary between 15 and 45.
- Alter Wartesaal*  nifty bar and disco right beside the central station: various events & exclusive Parties
- Station Hostel , Marzellenstrasse 40-48 (Across from the main station). Basic rooms and facilities and the breakfast is extra but good value none the less. They also have storage lockers (deposit) if you want to keep your valuables somewhere safe.
- Jugendherberge Köln-Deutz, Siegesstrasse 5; Phone: +49 221-814711; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; .
- Hostel 404  , Neusser Strasse 404.
- Black Sheep Hostel , Barbarossaplatz 1 (four stops by subway 16/18 to Barbarossaplatz; ticket:Kurzstrecke). Individually, creative new hostel in the middle of nightlife - small breakfast included.
- Holiday Inn Cologne-Bonn Airport, Waldstrasse 255, Phone: +49-2203-5610, . Within walking distance of the airport (unless you have a lot of luggage), but they run a shuttle. Sometimes you can find a decently-priced room here when prices in town go through the roof. Nothing (but the airport) in walking distance. €99- €250
- Four Points by Sheraton Central Köln; Breslauer Platz 2; Phone: +49 221-16510; Fax: +49 221-1651333; ; Price: €70 - €200+
- Drei Könige am Dom; Marzellenstrasse 58 - 60, 50668 Köln ; ; Price: €85,-
- Cologne Marriott; Johannisstrasse 76-80; Phone: +49 221-942220; ; €81 - €385
- Ibis Koeln Leverkusen; Lichstrasse 72; Phone: +49 214-830290; ; €59 -
- Cologne Marriott, Johannisstrasse 76-80, ☎ +49 221 942220. A short walk from the railway station, the Cologne Marriott is surprisingly small, modern, and personal. Rooms are not huge, but they're immaculate and well appointed. Fou, the in-house "crazy brasserie", serves great breakfasts and casual French, while the excellent Executive floor lounge with breakfast, dinner and drinks is worth paying the extra for.€130-200.
- Hilton Cologne, Marzellenstrasse 13-17 (200 m from central station), Phone: +49-221-130710; . Modern Hilton hotel in the center of the city, convenient for sightseeing. Prices go through the roof during trade fairs in Deutz. €115 - €400.
- Hyatt Regency Cologne, Kennedy-Ufer 2A(in the old town), ☎ +49 (0)221 828 1234(Cologne@hyatt.de), . 5 star hotel. 306 rooms and suites with views of the River Rhine. Host to gourmet restaurant "Graugans", 13 conference rooms and a spa.
- Im Wasserturm; Kaygasse 2; Phone: +49 221-200 80; . A luxury hotel built inside of a 130 year old water tower. It has a designer interiour and a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views. Price: €180 - €840 per night
- Le Meridien Dom, Domkloster 2a, ☎ +49 (221) 20240(fax: +49 (221) 2024444), . €130 - €480 per night..
- Savoy, . A family run 5 star hotel with a huge spa area and a very nice rooftop bar. It's very close to the main station (Exit Breslauer Platz, Turn left, approx. 100 m) and has very good weekend offers. Known as the place of choice for many (German and international) celebrities.
- Campingplatz Stadt Köln A Rhineside camping site with a view of the Dom and city centre, the low drone of the nearby highway bridge does distract from the otherwise peaceful locality. It is right by a cycle and walking trail into the city and is an ideal family site (although there aren't many activities for children), rates are very reasonable and the owner speaks english. Getting to the site is a little difficult, take the tram/train to Rodenkirchen and walk over the bridge, when on the other side turn downriver and the campsite is on the right, there is a restaurant nearby more information (also in English) 
- Camping Berger  - another Rhine-side camping site, nearer public transport. with 125 spaces, a supermarket, playground and restaurant. Rates are reasonable (€6 for adult per night)
As in every big city criminal activity is also a problem in Cologne. As a tourist one should pay attention in the city centre particularly before pickpockets. Stay away from young people looking for fights, especially on the Ring where a lot of clubs are. During the day as well as at night it is advisable to be careful in outlying neighbourhoods like Chorweiler, Porz, Seeberg,Ostheim, Bocklemünd, Neuehrenfeld or Vingst .One should not provoke youngsters needlessly, because these often become violent and also do not shrink back before attacks with knives and the like.
Holy mass in catholic churches near to the central station:
- Dom, Domkloster 3 (next to the central station). Sun: 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 12:00, 17:00, 18:30; Mon-Sat: 6:30, 7:15, 8:00, 9:00, 18:30
- St. Andreas, Komödienstr. 8. Sun: 9:00, 11:00, 18:00; Mon-Fri: 12:05; Sat: 9:00, 17:00
- St. Mariä Himmelfahrt, Marzellenstr. 26. Sun: 11:00; Wed, Thu: 10:30; Sat: 17:00, 18:30
- Minoritenkirche, Kolpingplatz 5. Sun: 9:00, 11:00, 16:00; Tue-Fri: 9:00
- Bonn, the former capital of West Germany is located due south and easy to reach by train or S-Bahn.
- Königswinter A small town reachable by train.
- Brühl, almost a suburb of Cologne, contains the Augustusburg Palace which has been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The palace is one of the key works of Balthasar Neuman, and contains one of the finest Rococco interiors in the world, the highlight being the main staircase. Also in the grounds is the magnificent hunting Lodge of Falkenslust. Brühl can be easily reached by train in around 20 minutes from Cologne. The theme park of Phantasialand is also in Brühl.
- Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet) If you are interested in heavy industry this might be a worthwhile trip. It is located about 100 km north of Cologne. The region, which was the center of montan (coal and steel) industry in Germany is going through a structural transformation and presents their industrial heritage not without proud on the Industrial Heritage Trail .
- Zülpich is a small town southwest of Cologne dating from Roman times. It has a newly opened museum centered on Roman baths and bathing culture. It is also a gateway to the forested hills of the Eifel region.
Due to Cologne's proximity to the German/Belgian/Dutch border weekend trips to foreign destinations are easy to arrange. Thalys operates high speed trains to Paris and Brussels, and Deutsche Bahn to Amsterdam, making each city only a few hours away.
This page was last edited at 23:59, on 27 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Jim Nicholson, Christoph Wassenberg and Jani Patokallio, Wikitravel user(s) Jonboy and Episteme, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.