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Germany is a country with an extremely rich history and Cologne is the jewel in the crown.
It’s the largest city on the Rhine and home to more than 30 museums depicting its 2000-year-old history and art.
It also houses one of Europe’s oldest universities, the Technical University of Cologne, in addition to its 12 popular Romanesque churches.
Read my travel guide for Cologne if you are planning your trip to visit Cologne Germany.
With so many places of interest to devote your time to, it’s important that you stay close to the sights on your itinerary.
Or at least close to the train stations that are near to the sights you want to visit.
If you’re still undecided on what to see when in this city, you can check out my post that will help you plan the perfect Cologne getaway.
Here’s my compilation of the best places to stay in Cologne, listing the best neighbourhoods for first-time visitors.
I’ve included budget-friendly, mid-range, and luxury accommodations for every type of traveller.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN COLOGNE GERMANY
Best Area To Stay In Cologne, Germany For First Time Visitors – Old Town
If you’re wondering where to stay in Cologne, Germany, there’s no place better than the Old Town. Given it’s your first time in the city, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the popular tourist attractions.
Most of those are found in this rustic little part of the city, along with numerous pubs to give you a taste of how the locals live.
The major attractions in the area include the Romanesque church of the Great St. Martin, the iconic City Hall, and the famous Cologne Cathedral, also known as Kolner Dom. If art and history are what you’re after, you’ll find an array of museums to choose from.
Walking through the cobbled streets and narrow alleyways, you’ll come across archaeological remains, giving you a chance to delve into the city’s past. If you get tired of all the sightseeing, you can relax by the beautiful Heinzelmannchen fountain.
Best Hotels near Kolner Dom and the Central Train Station in Old Town
Relish the famous Kölsch beer in the laid back pubs before heading to one of these top hotels in the neighbourhood.
A hotel that features a contemporary design, Pullman Cologne is loved by travellers looking for luxury accommodation. It features world-class rooms with advanced amenities. Its in-house bar is inspired by all the different fragrances of the city and serves some of the most refreshing cocktails.
The hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Cologne Cathedral. It’s located a mere 400 metres from the Friesenplatz Underground Station and 140-metres from Cologne Central Station.
Located close to major tourist attractions and well-connected to the main train stations, Pullman Cologne is the ideal choice for you if budget is not a concern.
Hotel Drei Kronen
Located in the heart of the Old Town, Hotel Drei Kronen is the perfect mid-range accommodation option for you. It’s just a 7-minute walk from the Cologne Central Station, which is connected to every other part of the city.
The Cologne Cathedral and the River Rhine are just a few minutes away from this trendy hotel. If you’re someone who derives great pleasure from the art of music, the Philharmonie Concert Hall is located very close to the hotel.
If you’re okay shelling out a little extra for a comfortable stay, look no further than Hotel Drei Kronen.
The Penny Pincher Inn
The Penny Pincher Inn is a hostel that provides comfortable accommodation for travellers on a budget. It is located close to the Ludwig Museum, the Cologne Chocolate Museum, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, and the KölnTriangle.
The property features a shared lounge and a shared kitchen. It’s a great place to meet fellow travellers, where you can sip on the free coffee and chat away.
Preferred mostly by backpackers, The Penny Pincher Inn offers a chance to make the most amazing memories in Cologne without burning a hole in your pocket.
The Best Neighbourhood To Stay In Cologne On A Budget – Altstadt Süd
Altstadt Süd is a neighbourhood south of Cologne Old Town and is close to several Romanesque churches and the Chocolate Museum. It’s dotted with eateries, theatres, and music halls and people choose to stay here mainly for its pub culture.
Walking through the residual medieval city walls, you’ll come across the Rheinauhafen complex, which houses all the famous galleries and restaurants. It’s the go-to place for foodies looking to explore the local food culture.
Altstadt Süd also offers various accommodation options, luxury and budget. If you’re travelling with a tight pocket and still want to be close to all the action, this neighbourhood is the right choice for you.
Best Cologne Hotels – Altstadt Süd
If you want to avoid commuting after an evening of merrymaking in the most happening part of the city, it is advisable to put up in one of the hotels nearby.
Mercure Hotel Severinshof Köln City
Mercure Hotel Severinshof Köln City is a 4-star hotel in Altstadt Süd just a 15-minute walk from Cologne Old Town.
The main train station is a 12-minute walk away and the Severinstrasse Underground Station is just 10-metres away from the hotel.
The rooms at the property are spacious and bright and come equipped with a minibar and work desk. The spa treatment here is highly recommended to flush all the tiredness from walking around the city.
If you happen to be interested in sports, you can head to the RELAX – Food, Drinks and You Lounge at the hotel to watch major sporting events on a big screen.
Mercure Hotel Severinshof Köln City is perfect for a fun and chilled out stay in Cologne, although it’s a bit on the pricier side.
If you’re looking for a mid-range option in Altstadt Süd, Hotel Weber fits the bill perfectly. It’s located a 2-minute walk from the Zülpicher Platz Underground Station. Main attractions like the Cologne Cathedral and the Old Town are just 15-minutes away.
The hotel is run by a family and provides rooms with private and shared facilities, based on your preference and budget. The rooms are well furnished with free Wi-Fi, and include a complimentary rich breakfast spread every morning.
There are lots of eateries next to the hotel if you get tired of dining in-house. If you’re closely monitoring your spends, hotel Weber allows you to enjoy the posh locality of Altstadt Süd without being too heavy on your pocket.
Ibis Köln Centrum
Ibis is a well-known brand when it comes to budget accommodation, without compromising on the quality of service. Ibis Köln Centrum is a 2-star property with a parking garage available if you have rented a vehicle.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and a 24-hour bar, so you can kick back with a drink without having to worry about the time of day.
The Barbarossaplatz Underground Station is just a few steps away from the hotel and is well-connected to the other stations through lines U16 and U18. Major attractions of the Old Town are within walking distance, helping you save on train fare.
Ibis Köln Centrum is the best option in the area if you don’t want to deviate from the budget while enjoying all the benefits of a large hotel chain.
The Best Neighbourhood To Stay In Cologne For Families – Deutz
Deutz is mostly known for its administrative buildings and often overlooked by tourists. But it’s the best place in town for entertainment venues and public parks. The Rheinpark on the waterfront always has some or the other concert going on, featuring big artists at the Tanzbrunnen stage.
In the evenings, you can hop onto a cable car across the Rhine for a splendid view of the Old Town and Cologne Cathedral, as well as the lit-up skyscrapers.
If you’re travelling with kids, the little ones will love this neighbourhood. The trade grounds are home to numerous festivals and fairs throughout the year and the streets are always bustling with energy.
Best Hotels in Deutz near KölnMesse
Take your munchkins to the various different parks and restaurants during your stay at one of these hotels in the Deutz.
Radisson Blu Hotel Köln
Radisson Blu Hotel Köln is a luxury stay option that is a 5-minute walk from KölnMesse Exhibition Centre and Lanxess Arena. You can easily reach the Old Town from here as it’s just a 20-minute walk, or by taking a tram from Kölnmesse tram stop, which is just 100-metres away from the hotel.
The rooms here are spacious and chic and equipped with modern amenities. You might even get a room with a bathtub if you’re lucky. The terrace bar at the hotel flaunts a 15-metre high glass ceiling, which you can admire while sipping on your chilled Kölsch beer.
Radisson Blu Hotel Köln is a great option to travel with your family as it provides all the comfort and relaxation that is well-deserved on a vacation.
Hotel Alt Deutz City-Messe-Arena
A mid-range hotel in the centre of Deutz, this hotel is a 4-minute walk from the Lanxess Arena and the KölnMesse Exhibition Centre. The Köln-Deutz train station is just 900-metres from the hotel and 1 stop away from Cologne Old Town.
Management goes the extra mile in making you feel welcome by proving the option of making unlimited phone calls, although only to a German landline. While at the hotel, don’t forget to try out their scrumptious breakfast spread in the mornings.
Families love Hotel Alt Deutz City-Messe-Arena for their hospitality and ambiance. While it is difficult to stay in a hostel if you’re travelling with kids, this is the next best thing on a budget.
Privates Zimmer im Herzen von Deutz
If you’re looking for the comfort of home away from home, without spending millions, book your stay with Privates Zimmer im Herzen von Deutz. This apartment in the heart of Deutz offers a private room with complete privacy and a spacious common living room. There is also a cozy kitchen where you can cook if you get tired of eating out.
The host is super friendly and can be reached at any time if you have any queries. The Rhine is a 400-metre walk from the apartment, where you can head for an evening stroll.
Hotels are not always the most economical option in a foreign land. But thankfully, you have the option of picking an Airbnb for a hassle-free stay.
Check out the rates here | Airbnb
The Best Neighbourhood To Stay In Cologne For Shopping and Nightlife – Belgisches Viertel
Belgisches Viertel means Belgian Square. It’s one of the most happening neighbourhoods in all of Cologne and is flooded with millennials and Gen Z’ers. It’s situated to the west of Cologne Old Town and is flanked by pubs and cafes.
One of the busiest areas in the city, Belgisches Viertel displays graffiti from various local and budding artists. In addition to its young and vibrant energy, you can also experience architecture and culture here. The neo-Romanesque St. Michael’s Church, theatres, and galleries add to the charm of the locality.
If you’re looking to make a fashion statement, this is the place to shop till you drop. And once you’re done, what better way to end the night than to party in one of the many bars bustling with youngsters?
Best Hotels in Belgisches Viertel
Stay in one of the trendy hotels of Belgisches Viertel to experience the eclectic nightlife of the youngest neighbourhood in Cologne.
Chelsea Hotel is just a 10 minute walk from the main attractions in Cologne Old Town. If you’re an admirer of performing arts, the Cologne Opera House is just 1.5-kilometres from the hotel. You can also visit the Museum of East Asian Art, situated just 1-kilometre away.
This luxury hotel is in-sync with the vibrance of the neighbourhood, and this is reflected in its interiors. You can find contemporary art in every corner of the property, making it lively and welcoming. There are a number of boutiques and pubs near the hotel to indulge in shopping, followed by a pub crawl.
If you’re looking to let loose and have a good time on your trip, without having to worry about behaving responsibly, Chelsea Hotel is the perfect choice for you.
GZ Apartment-Hotel is a 2-minute walk from the Hans-Böckler-Platz U-Bahn station as well as the Bahnhof West train station. You can find direct trains from here to the Old Town.
The apartment-hotel is different from a hotel. It is more of an apartment, where you’ll find self-catering rooms. You can rent cutlery and utensils for a small fee if you wish to cook in the attached kitchenette.
A great mid-range choice for self-sufficient travellers, this hotel has multiple supermarkets nearby for all the supplies.
Check out the rates here | Booking.com
Little Palace In The Heart of Köln!
A private room in a cute apartment, located in a rustic old building with chandeliers and high ceilings, this accommodation option is a steal. It’s extremely budget-friendly and the host is a super-host with great reviews.
The apartment is two train stations away from the Old Town. The main attraction here is the Stadtgarten, a public park where you can relax if you need time off from sightseeing.
There are a few supermarkets nearby, as well as multiple cafes and pubs. You won’t have to venture out too far from your stay for an appetising meal.
A cat named Cleo lives on the property, so this option is not for you if you don’t like felines. But if you do, you’ll love her company and be thankful that you decided to stay here.
Check out the rates here | Airbnb
The Best Neighbourhood in Cologne for Christmas Markets – Ehrenfeld
For a long time, tourists would flock to Belgisches Viertel to experience the chill vibe of Cologne. Bur Ehrenfeld slowly crept its way up and has now taken over the former as the coolest neighbourhood in the city.
This coolness is reflected in the alternative Christmas markets in the area. They may not be the most sought after, but are definitely on par with the other markets in town. And the best part? You get to feel the christmas spirit without the overcrowding found in the other Christmas markets in the city.
Whether it’s Christmas or not, there are plenty of things to do. There are quirky shops and cafes all across the streets with attractive and colourful wall murals. Live gigs and dance parties in the evenings pull in a huge crowd and the happiness on the streets is infectious. This is the best neighbourhood to stay in Cologne if fun and excitement is your thing.
Best Hotels in Ehrenfeld
It’s always a good idea to crash where you’re partying. There are many hotels in Ehrenfeld that you can reach within minutes after an evening of treating yourself.
Joyn Cologne is a great luxury option for your stay in Ehrenfeld. It is situated just about 2.3-kilometres from Saint Gereon’s Basilica and 2.7-kilometres from Cologne Cathedral. You can also visit the National Socialism Documentation Centre, just 2.2-kilometres away.
The apartment hotel provides non-smoking rooms, so you’ll probably have to head out if you need a smoke. Each room comes equipped with a TV, dishwasher, and a private washroom.
With major train stations like Piusstrasse Underground Station and Körnerstrasse Station just 200-metres away, Joyn Cologne is a great pick if you’re not travelling on a tight budget.
Hotel Regina -Garni Köln
Hotel Regina -Garni Köln is a bed and breakfast that is located 700-metres from Leyendecker Strasse Underground Station. It provides connectivity to the Old Town in just under 10 minutes. It’s also just a kilometre away from the A57 motorway, providing direct connectivity to Dusseldorf in just 25 minutes.
A classy hotel with carpet flooring and wooden furniture, the property offers spacious and bright rooms and is decently priced. It also features a courtyard terrace where guests can gather for breakfast.
The assortment of pastries and fruits served in the mornings helps guests recover from all the exhaustion of partying the previous night.
A cool hotel in a cool neighbourhood, Hotel Regina is ideal for you if you’re not on a budget, but not looking to splurge.
A modern hostel with simple rooms, a private bathroom, lockers, and free Wi-Fi, what else does one want when travelling on a budget? That’s exactly what Weltempfänger Hostel offers. Along with a cheap breakfast buffet.
The hostel is just 12-minutes away from Cologne cathedral and 50-metres away from the Piusstraße underground station. The path to the Rhine river is a 20 minute walk, and makes for a good evening stroll. There are lots of places to eat in Cologne and supermarkets nearby to cater to your requirements during your stay here.
Weltempfänger Hostel is especially loved by couples looking to kick back and relax, and socialise with fellow travellers. It’s the perfect accommodation option that helps you explore the best of Cologne, without ripping you off.
Final Thoughts – Best Place To Stay In Cologne
Cologne has various neighbourhoods, each known for their own unique characteristics. With no dearth of options to choose from, you’ll be faced with a tough choice to pick your favourite.
If you want to experience the architecture, history, and culture of the city, it is advisable to stay close to the major tourist attractions, especially in the Old Town. These areas are always crowded with people looking to explore something new – tourists and locals alike.
This intellectual inclination of the city does not deter its inhabitants from letting their hair down and engage in drunken reverie. The number of pubs per person in this party city is the highest in Germany.
If you love your beer as much as the Germans do, pick a neighbourhood known for its nightlife and you’ll be hard pressed to find a reason to leave.
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