Originally founded by the Romans in 38 BC, Cologne has a long and fascinating history and an equally exciting present. With a huge yearly festival, an assortment of great museums and fewer tourists than Berlin and Munich, there are plenty of reasons to include Cologne on your travel bucket list.
Located in west Germany on the Rhine River, the city is best known for its historic architecture. The most famous site is the Cologne Cathedral, an impressive Gothic structure with twin Gargoyle-covered spires that dominate the skyline. If you can, it’s worth climbing the cathedral’s 386 steps to catch a standout glimpse of the city, railroad bridge and river below.
Visit Cologne in February to experience the city’s yearly Carnival, which takes place in the week leading up to Lent. This sees locals dressing up in costume and taking to the streets for a massive parade. You can also expect plenty of drinking, eating and merrymaking throughout the event, which locals refer to as the “crazy days”.
To experience the best of what Cologne has to offer, take a tour of the historic old town, visit a Brauhaus (brewery), and sip on a Kölsch (local beer). You’ll be a local in no time.