City Guide Cologne
Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Vienna the Ferris Wheel and Berlin the Brandenburg Gate. And what does Cologne have? Cologne has its cathedral, the church Groß Sankt Martin and the historic city hall. The city also has a cable car across the Rhine, a distinct beer culture and a fifth season: carnival.
With Eurowings, there are direct flights from Klagenfurt to Cologne/Bonn several times a week.
Only an 80-minute flight from Klagenfurt away, the Rhine metropolis offers numerous opportunities for culture lovers: in addition to the world-famous architectural masterpieces already mentioned, the alleyways of the old town are also home to numerous museums, such as the "Roman-Germanic Museum", the "Museum Ludwig" and the "Farina Fragrance Museum", as well as many monuments and fountains, such as the "Tünnes und Schäl" or the "Heinzelmännchenbrunnen".
And then there's the beer. No matter which district you're in, the next pub where the Köbes will serve you a carton of Kölsch is never far away.
When it comes to Cologne Cathedral, the saying "good things take time" applies in two senses. On the one hand, because the construction of the imposing Gothic building took over 600 years, and on the other hand, because you should take plenty of time to visit it. From the cathedral treasury in the old vaults to the viewing platform on the south tower, there is plenty to marvel at. Among other things, the largest free-swinging church bell in the world.
Cologne offers beer enjoyment in Rhine culture. In numerous breweries throughout the city, but especially between the cathedral, the town hall and the Rhine promenade, the traditional top-fermented beer is brewed, which has achieved worldwide fame as "Kölsch". It is drunk in the typical "Kölsch-Stange", and often in large quantities. Our tip: drink some water in between and make sure you have a proper base. For example, with Halver Hahn.
In the Belgian Quarter around Brüssler Platz, Cologne shows its creative side and presents itself as young, urban and multicultural. Here, small boutiques and concept stores line up with hip scene restaurants and numerous galleries - and there is a cosy café to relax in on every corner. Perfect for strolling, especially if you have a thing for fashion and design.
Anyone who already finds the Villach carnival fun will certainly love the carnival, or "Fastelovend" as the people of Cologne call it. The season traditionally begins on 11 November at 11:11 a.m., but after the kick-off with the presentation of the new carnival regents, things get quiet for a while. The calm before a storm that takes over the whole city from Weiberfastnacht to Veilchendienstag (our Carnival Tuesday).
Cologne is bursting at the seams at this time, so booking early is probably the most important tip you can give for Carnival. Otherwise, it is quite sufficient to mask up properly and mingle with the people, drink a few Kölsch beers and never, but never, shout "Helau" instead of "Alaaf" so as not to earn any nasty looks from the local population. And please watch out for low-flying chocolates. They may taste good, but they can also hit the mark..
Must-Sees in Cologne
Rosenmontag - Rose Monday
The parade on Rose Monday is the highlight of the carnival season: around 10,000 participants parade through the city with more than 100 magnificent floats - admired by a million spectators. It can get crowded, especially in front of the cathedral and at the station forecourt. But there should always be a place in the Südstadt.
While the colourful traction corps, clowns and other fools parade during the day, witches, ghosts and all kinds of other dark figures gather for the Cologne Ghost Parade on Carnival Saturday evening. But they are not up to mischief; on the contrary, this procession, which has no carnival floats at all, is also a busy time of handing out Bützje. Incidentally, the ghost parade was founded in 1991 as an anti-war demonstration.
After the big kick-off of the street carnival on Wieverfastelovend - the Thursday before the carnival weekend - the whole of Cologne takes it easy on Friday. Only in the evening do carnival sessions take place again: the biggest and also most honest of these (hardly any politicians or other star guests are to be expected here) is the "Laughing Kölnarena", where you can celebrate informally with 10,000 Cologne residents.