Cologne

Old buildings on the Rhine embankment in Cologne, Germany with Great St Martin church

Situated on the Rhine River in the centre of the Rhine-Rhur region, charming Cologne is the beating heart of the beautiful Rhineland. Originally founded over 2,000 years ago by the Ubii tribe, Cologne was once the largest city in the Holy Roman Empire and served as a major trade route throughout the Middle Ages. In recent years the city has been extensively rebuilt and restructured, and is now one of the most important historical and cultural centres in Europe.

With such a rich history and heritage, Cologne is a picture book of fascinating highlights and experiences. The city’s most iconic site is without doubt the magnificent UNESCO-listed Cathedral, which has long been considered Germany’s single most popular attraction. The soaring gothic spires of this incredible 13th century structure can be seen from all over the city, however visiting the cathedral is a must to marvel at its spectacular architecture up-close and uncover the treasures within.

The city’s many other must-visit sights and attractions include the impressive Hohenzollern Bridge, which spans the Rhine near the cathedral; a collection of 12 glorious Romanesque churches including St Kunibert, St Severin and St Andreas; the beautiful Forstbotanischer botanical garden; and several galleries and museums such as the Fragrance Museum and Museum Ludwig, which boasts one of the Europe’s finest Picasso collections. For a taste of the local culture – and of the local brew – be sure to stop by Altstadt district, where bustling pubs and beer halls serve the city’s famous sweet pale ale, Kölsch.

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