Sunday, October 26, 2014

10 Reasons You Should Visit Cologne in Winter

Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany. It has a rich history and many sights and stories that warrant a visit. I had the chance to visit the city in Winter, and it's really one of those places that are just magical during that season. The best time period to visit is at the beginning of December, if you plan to go home for Christmas.

There are many reasons why you should visit Cologne this Winter, and I will list the top 10 reasons in my opinion.



1. Christmas Markets

There is nothing quite like it really. You have the main Christmas Market right next to the Cologne Cathedral, but that's not the only one. The main reason why you should visit Cologne this winter is the annual celebration of Christmas. The town lights up an transforms. Besides the main Christmas Market, you can find various other ones, spread out in the inner city. For a detailed look at the Cologne Christmas Market click here for my post from last year, that goes in depth.


2. The River Rhine

There is a river front that you can walk on, but crossing the various pedestrian bridges in the city, will also tell you why this is one of the reasons to visit Cologne. When you visit the riverside during sunset you will be rewarded with the most amazing cityscapes. At night the lights of the city reflect beautifully in the river.


3. Modern Cologne

There are a lot of old things and buildings to visit in Cologne, but the city will surprise you with it's modern architecture as well. The Mediapark, for example is a great spot in the city, where the modern aspects really shine through. Definitely worth a visit. Recomended: the Cinedom movie theater and cafe inside of it.


4. Cologne at Night

On of the reasons why I love Cologne, is that you don't have to spend a lot of money (in fact you can visit this city on a budget) in order to experience it. Winter nights can be very charming. From the amazing city lights to pubs and bars that offer a cozy place to rest, drink the obligatory Kölsch (beer) and get something to eat.


5. Getting Around

Transportation in Cologne is top notch! You can get a weekly ticket at any station (electronic machines or at a counter in the Bahnhof, the train station) and simply roam the city and get to every place. There are not many lines, and the ones that are there are nicely marked and get you everywhere.


6. Cologne Triangle

For a small admittance fee (3 Euro), you can go on top of this great viewpoint. Tip: Visit Cologne Triangle during Sunset, the sights are gorgeous. You get a full 360 degree view of the city. The top of the building, where you stand, is surrounded with glass, on which you can find small printed icons of the various sights, pointed in the direction, their real life counterparts stand in.


7. Phantasialand

In Brühl, a small town right next to Cologne, you will find one of the main reasons why you should visit Cologne. The Phantasialand is Germany's counterpart to Disneyland. You can find many attractions here, from thrilling rollercoasters to slow rides. Phantasialand has hotels, where you can sleep in, but a daily visit is the best option. It's open during December. During the Chrismas Season THIS is the place to be in. Tip: try the delicious Churros with chocolate sauce and take a ride on the Colorado roller coaster (but maybe not in that order).


8. Cologne Cathedral

It's quite amazing to read about this place, and how it has stood the test of time, wars and everything else. Entrance is free into the main Cathedral, and the feelings of contempt and solace are palpable. You can roam freely and explore the Church, take photos inside and rest. Tip: for a small entrance fee climb one of the two towers (not for the faint of heart, since the steps are very steep).


9. The Region

Why just stay in the city? One of the main reasons why you should visit Cologne is that you can easily visit the many towns and cities that surround it. Make a daily trip to rivalry Düsseldorf (the two cities have a love-hate relationship), or for a more romantic winter trip, visit the dreamy castle Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl.



10. Shopping on the Schildergasse

The heart of Cologne is definitely the Shildergasse. Here you will find shopping centers, fast food chains, restaurants, cafes and sweet shops. Tips: visit the Galeria Kaufhof and experience a classic German shopping center, and definitely try the delicious apple cake or 'Cologne Waffle' in the Cafe Riese.


Thank you all for visiting. I hope you'll have a great rest of the day.


What are your favorite cities or towns that you have visited during winter?



56 comments:

  1. It is a wonderful tour! An interesting concept also and one which gives an opportunity to highlight all the special aspects of a city. Great shots, too.

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    1. Thanks Kate. It's a new format I'm trying out. I hope people will enjoy it!

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  2. I've heard about Christmas Markets and they sound wonderful. The Phantasialand scene looks like it belongs on a Christmas Card. Many good reasons to visit, but sadly I won't be able to make it this year. Wonderful photos. Tom The Backroads Traveller

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  3. You have almost convinced me to visit.
    The Cathedral looks superb. I'm really glad it survived the war.

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  4. Now Mersad. are you working for the tourist board?? if not you should be. anyone reading this and looking at your wonderful shot could certainly want to visit this place. well done.

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    1. Thank you. I don't work for the board, but maybe I should send this to them. :)

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  5. Super Bilder und Zusammenfassung. Ich war noch nicht in Köln. LG

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    1. Dann musst Du aber umbedingt dahin, obwohl München natürlich auch eine Traumhafte Stadt im Winter ist.

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  6. Wunderbare Bilder, besonders der Weihnachtsmarkt von oben ist hübsch mit all den roten Dächern...
    Gern würde ich Köln besuchen.
    Ich kenne den Kölner Domplatz aus den Erzählungen vieler Berber (Obdachloser), welche dort ihren zentralen Treffpunkt haben - eine sicher etwas ungewöhnliche Sicht auf die Stadt -
    LG Mascha

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  7. you show it off very well.

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  8. Your photos are the next best thing to being there, Mersad! Cologne is indeed such a beautiful city! Thanks for sharing!! Hope you have a great new week!

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  9. My cousin tried the Christmas markets and came home sick with a cold.

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    1. That's too bad. Well, these regions are cold in winter, so you have to be properly dressed. Although sunny days are quite a few.

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  10. I visited Germany just once (sadly I didn't make it to Cologne) but would love to go back anytime! Thanks for the list of highlights. Love your first shot of the bridge.

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  11. The Phantasia and Cathedral pictures are world class! Love to be there!

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    1. To be honest I would love to visit again as well, even though I spent 7 days there.

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  12. Cologne with his Cathedral is really beautiful city... Great shots...

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    1. Thank you so much for your visit Viera.

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  13. double wow on Phantasialand... would love to see that. the first photo of the bridge and the church spires is so beautiful and I see that scene again from inside with your sister. my favorite photo today is the grils looking into the window. the lighting draws me into the photo and it makes me think of Christmas

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    1. The church in first shot is actually the Cologne Cathedral from Nr. 8 on the list. Thanks for your visit.

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  14. Although I've been to Germany a few times, Koln has eluded me. Sounds like next time we should make a stop there. :)

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  15. Loved the Christmas market when I visited. May come back soon. Thanks for reminding me!

    WWW.KEITHSRAMBLINGS. com

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  16. I have always wanted to go to the Christmas markets

    Mollyxxx

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  17. What a beautiful tour….I would love to visit the markets and all the different places you listed…So beautiful..

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  18. The first shot is amazing and I would love to be able to visit a place like this!

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  19. Somehow, I never made it to Koln. I visited Aachen many times (it was very close by) and Dusseldorf and Wiesbaden. Now I see what I missed :(

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  20. You make it sounds, and look, very appealing.

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  21. It indeed looks like a beautiful place to visit. love the image of the bridge.

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  22. Ach...eine meiner alten Heimaten^^ Ich bin ja gebürtig aus Köln und kann dir nur zustimmen. Köln ist auf jeden Fall sehenswert und all die Dinge die du zeigst habe ich immer geliebt, auch das Fantasialand das ich später auch vom Norden aus alle zweit Jahre besucht habe. War immer ein Muss für mich.

    Tolle Fotos und danke für meine Erinnerungen.

    Schönen Wochenstart und herzliche Grüsse

    N☼va

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  23. Such a fantastic list Mersad! I am now getting all nostalgic about Europe...I do hope I get to visit soon...

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  24. Real nice group of pictures from Cologne and excellent commentary to go with! Also I like this format you've chosen.

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  25. I would love to visit some day but at the moment it doesn't seem possible. But never say never. Thanks for sharing.

    Diana

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  26. Thanks for showing these pictures, Mersad. It is many years since I went to the Christmas Market, which was most enjoyable.

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  27. Hi Mersad,

    Please place a link to Blue Monday on your post so that others can find us. Then return to link in again with Mr. Linky. You can find the code when you click on the blue bird located in my sidebar.

    http://smilingsally.blogspot.com

    Sally

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    1. You will find the link back to Blue Monday at the end of this post under "Where I'm linking to". Thanks Sally for visiting.

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  28. I enjoyed this tour and would LOVE to visit Cologne!

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  29. I love that first image, with the sun painting the bridge gold!!

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  30. It looks like a wonderful city! Great photos. Love the shot of Fantasialand, and also the cathedral interior!

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  31. Love that first shot!

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  32. What a great place. I love Christmas so I could spend a lot of time in that market.
    The Amusement area would also be a fun stop I think.
    Lots to see and do there for sure.

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  33. Mersad, you have visited the most wonderful places! Most likely I'll never get to any of them, but I surely do enjoy your photos of them! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Thought I'd lost you. lol

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  34. Gorgeous glimpses into the rich heritage of a beautiful city!

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  35. Oh, how I'd love to visit! But this winter is out.

    Thanks you, Mersad, for your sweet comment.

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  36. Mersad, what a great tour and information.. Cologne looks like a beautiful city to visit.. Lovely series of photos. You should be a travel agent.. Have a happy week!

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  37. Mersad, I have been in Cologne a couple of times in recent years, once in the summer and a second time during the Christmas Markets. The Cathedral is special, and a "must see," and the best time to see Cologne (and many other German cities) is doing Christmas Markets. I loved it! And, I loved seeing your travelogue.

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  38. love Cologne, love walking near the river Rhine. has also a very beautiful cathedral.
    greetings

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  39. Hello. I am hoping around blogs this early morning. Beautiful shots of Cologne . I have been there three times. It is such a cosmopolitan city. It always amazes me how close the train station is to the cathedral.

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    1. That's a great feature of the city too. You get dropped of right in the center of the city with the train. Thanks Janey for visiting.

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  40. Wonderful variety of scenic areas in cologne. Love the pub night lights. Enchanting.

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  41. Magnificent images, Mersad. My parents visited the city during one of their trips back to Europe, and loved it.

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  42. I loved your tour of Cologne... You described in a very short way the highlights of the city with a lot of talent... Thanks for the visit !

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  43. Das nächste Mal wenn du da bist sagste aber Bescheid, ne? Dann mach ich ne exclusive Führung! Du mußt unbedingt auch mal ins belgische Viertel. Gechillter Lifestyle pur! Köln! Meine Heimatstadt! Und ich Düsseldorf leb ich inzwischen. Total verrückt bei der Beziehung der Städte. Ich finds aber toll! GlG Anne

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  44. nice bLog! its interesting. thank you for sharing....
    vendingworld.com

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  45. Good restaurants in Cologle where you can get warm and great food in winter.

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