Cologne – the Rhine metropolis and cathedral city20.08.2015
As one of the liveliest metropolises in western Germany and the biggest city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne can look back on a long history. The centre of Cologne comprises the largely reconstructed Old Town, with its narrow streets and small squares. Since few buildings survived the Second World War, many parts of the city had to be rebuilt. Thankfully, the city’s rustic charm could be restored. Both tourists and locals can be found strolling around, shopping or simply sitting on the banks of the river watching the flowing Rhine.
Culture and history
Cologne is ideal for day trips and short breaks. With more than 60 theatres and cabarets, not to mention countless other offers of entertainment, there’s something for everyone here – including high culture. The city is home to over 40 museums and more than 130 galleries. On the subject of high: the two towers of Cologne Cathedral rise 157 metres into the sky, defining the city’s characteristic silhouette. Built in Gothic style, the cathedral was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Amongst others, visitors can view the vault and climb the south tower in Cologne’s landmark. The tower’s almost 100-metre-high viewing platform offers a unique view of the entire city – a sight not to be missed.
An architectural highlight – the Rheinauhafen district
Cologne offers more architectural delights than just the cathedral. One such delight is most certainly the new Rheinauhafen district to the south of the Old Town, which was designed by Hamburg architects BRT Architekten. The centrepiece is a trio of 60-metre-high buildings called the ‘Kranhäuser’ (crane towers), built on a former port facility. These characteristic buildings create a vibrant architectural contrast to the elaborately restored old buildings. Rheinauhafen features a colourful mix of residential and office buildings, cafes, restaurants and numerous cultural establishments, offering something for everyone – and no doubt the reason why the new district has quickly become a popular promenade and is definitely worth a visit.
Crime Cologne – literary festival from 21 to 26 September
Lovers of crime are already looking forward to late September, when the popular literary festival Crime Cologne will be held for the fourth time in Cologne, offering fans a whole host of thriller readings. And to create the perfect atmosphere, many of the readings are being held in classic crime locations rather than in theatres, book stores and cafes. This year’s locations, for example, include police headquarters, a graveyard and even a funeral parlour. The line-up of authors is once again impressive, too: with readings by six-time winner of the German Crime Fiction Award (Deutscher Krimi Preis), Friedrich Ani, and Swedish crime writer Åke Edwardson.
Discover the political history of the Federal City of Bonn
As the name Cologne Bonn Airport suggests, the Federal City of Bonn is also near Cologne, some 16 kilometres south of the airport. The former German capital boasts numerous sights evoking the political history of the Federal Republic of Germany. For example, the former Plenary Chamber of the German Bundestag with the federal eagle – dubbed the ‘fat hen’ – or the Chancellor’s Bungalow (Kanzlerbungalow), which was used to receive political guests and house many a former chancellor. Helmut Kohl resided here for 17 years, between 1982 and 1999. Visitors are advised to check the opening times of the former federal buildings, as they are often relatively limited.
There and back
Cologne Bonn Airport is around 15 kilometres from Cologne city centre and is just a short ride from the city by S-Bahn or regional train. Thanks to airberlin and Germanwings, passengers are offered several flights per day from Berlin Tegel to the Rhine metropolis. Starting in autumn, Berlin Schönefeld Airport will also be operating several daily flights to Cologne Bonn Airport. Ryanair will be adding the connection to its flight schedule and offering five daily flights from 3 September. Germanwings will follow suit on 5 October with three flights per day. Excellent connections will thus be available from both Capital Airports to Cologne/Bonn.
Tickets and information are available at: