What I did and saw:
The Cologne Cathedral is one of the more impressive buildings I have ever been in. While I wouldn’t rank it above buildings like the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, I would put it in the same ballpark. It is impressive both in its size and in its detail. Also, it was free to enter when I went.
Christmas Market (Heunarkt)-
Countries like Germany and Belgium have some excellent Christmas markets, and Cologne is no exception. I was in Cologne after Christmas Day, so the main Christmas market in Cologne in front of its famous cathedral was closed when I was there. However there were still other Christmas markets open in the city. One of the open markets was in the Heunarkt area, and it was a great Christmas market in its own right, complete with some great food, drink, and even an ice skating rink.
Schokoladenmuseum Köln (Lindt Chocolate Museum)-
Set in what looks like an enormous boat on the coast of the Rhein river, the Lindt Chocolate Museum in Cologne is a very interesting place to visit. The museum explores the history of chocolate, the various ways it is processed, and other things such as the economic and political implications of chocolate. There is even a climate controlled room with actual chocolate plants that you can enter. The entry fee includes a few samples, and I would suggest allowing time for them to make your custom chocolate bar that is available upon entry.
Where I ate and drank:
Brauerei zur Malzmühle-
Cologne is famous for making Kolsch, and Brauerei zur Malzmühle is a great place to try it. After I was seated the first thing I was told by the waitress (without having actually ordered anything yet) was, “Your drink is on its way, what would you like to eat?” The glasses were relatively small, and if my drink was ever empty, the glass would be taken, and full one would be brought to me, and a tally mark would be made in my coaster. This ensured that my drink was always cold and fresh. Additionally, the food was incredibly tasty.
Delirium Cafe Koln-
The Delirium Cafe in Cologne was located in the vicinity of the Heunarkt Christmas market. They have a great selection of different brews, and it is a cool place to relax and have a good conversation.
The Coffee Gang-
Although it is located slightly outside the center of the city, The Coffee Gang is worth a visit when in Cologne. They serve some great craft coffee, and they also offer some tasty food options.
Where I stayed:
Hotel NH Köln Altstadt-
I was able to use points to stay at Hotel NH Köln Altstadt for free. It was a very nice, clean, and comfortable place to stay. It was located very close to the coast of the Rhein and the Lindt Chocolate Museum.
How I got around:
I used the train to get in and out of town from the airport, and I walked to get around the city and take in the sites.
My favorite thing:
Cologne is a beautiful city, the Christmas market was great, and the Brauerei zur Malzmühle was a fun, unique experience. However, my favorite thing in Cologne was the impressive cathedral.
My least favorite thing:
My least favorite thing about my time in Cologne was the cold, rainy weather. Also, many of the good coffee shops are located outside of the city center
For next time:
Next time in Cologne it would be nice to try more of the food and drink in the city. Also, if I am able to be there during the Christmas season, it would be nice to be there while the Christmas market in front of the cathedral is open.
Welcome to the Healthy Explorer Blog. If you like travel stories have a look around my blog and check out my podcast— maybe you'll find an extra spark for your own adventures.