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Cologne; the cultural capital of western Germany
Situated in the far west of the Germany, Cologne is known for its liberal and multicultural traits as well as being one of Germany’s most populous cities. Indeed Cologne’s popularity continues to increase as many visitors head there for its unique character and traditional neighbourhoods. The city also has a thriving arts scene and a significant student population, both of which help to feed the copious amounts of cafes, bars and restaurants that come in all shapes and sizes. Additionally, there are numerous festivals and events throughout the year, presenting further motives for visiting Cologne.
Cologne’s iconic architecture
Cologne’s most famous sight is its impressive gothic-looking cathedral, known as Kölner Dom. The cathedral has two giant distinctive towers which dominate the city’s skyline and provide a major focal point which is a convenient reference point for orientation. From here the city spreads outwards with winding streets linking dozens of smaller squares that are home to the city’s extensive and renowned Christmas Markets during each December. In and around this central historic area there are many of the smaller, independent hotels in Cologne, several of which are housed in attractive traditional buildings. Further examples of Cologne’s aesthetically pleasing architecture can be found with its array of historical religious buildings. This includes the remarkable Roonstrasse Synagogue, plus the twelve Romanesque churches scattered across the city. A more recent but equally as spectacular architectural must-see is the Hohenzollern Bridge; a rail and pedestrian bridge also known for the thousands of ‘love padlocks’ placed along its fence.
Discover the distinctive Kölsch culture
The city of Cologne is renowned across Germany for its unique culture and regional dialect, referred to as Kölsch. This is reflected across many spheres from arts and music to cuisine and drinking, indeed the local beer takes its name from the dialect and its logo has become a recognisable symbol of the city. Typical Rheinland cuisine can be found in the majority of the city’s traditional restaurants, with many of the dishes given a Kölsch twist that adds to the distinct character of the city. Cologne has such an abundance of these traditional restaurants that visitors find it impossible to miss, furthermore many of the larger Cologne hotels even have an inhouse dining option. In terms of shopping, Cologne has a long pedestrianised main street home to all of the international chains that any big German city possesses. However there are also many areas of smaller independent stores to be explored. The neighbourhoods of Agnesviertel and the Belgian Quarter are excellent examples of this, featuring an array of quirky boutiques, bohemian cafes and alternative bars, favoured by Cologne’s fashionable younger crowd. Accommodation in this area reflects this eccentric atmosphere offering travellers a chance to stay in a more characterful hotel in Cologne.
Along the Rhine
Another prominent feature of Cologne is the Rhine River which flows through the centre of the city. There are multiple things to do and see in the areas along the Rhine, plus it is also home to some of the more modern areas of the city. For instance, to the south of the city lies the harbour district of Rheinauhafen and it is a prime example of twenty-first century Cologne. It is a complete urban regeneration project which is now home to many large business and offices as well as numerous museums, including the German Sport and Olympia Museum and a museum solely dedicated to chocolate. There are also multiple hotels in this quarter of Cologne including several chains that are known across Germany. Following the river north, along the riverside there are a range of restaurants, bars and cafes where scores of people gather to enjoy views of the river. Walking alongside the river is indeed a wonderful way to see the city and in places there are parks and sections of greenery, most notably the Rheinpark to the north of Hohenzollern Bridge. There are further parks throughout the urban area of Cologne including a belt of parks that form a circle around the central region of the city; these offer a pleasant escape from the busy centre.
There is always a reason to visit Cologne
Any city the size of Cologne of course hosts many events and festivals, but Cologne’s calendar is busier than most. The Cologne Carnival is a series of events during the winter season culminating with the Rose Monday parade which attracts over a million people on the streets of Cologne. Gay Pride is another extremely popular event in the city with a multitude of live music, parties and political debates taking place for a week each summer. Guests come from all across Germany and further afield for these events, with the Pride festival being the largest of its kind in the country. In terms of local sport, like in any German city, football is an esteemed activity. 1. FC Köln are a very well supported club and their home stadium, the RheinEnergieStadion, is a frantic area on a match day. The stadium is part of a larger sporting complex home to several sports clubs located in a district to the south-west of the centre, an area which also encompasses many of the large and modern hotels Cologne has.
Price rangefrom £15to £989
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