Wondering how many days to spend in Cologne, Germany? Here is a travel guide that’ll help you with deciding your trip’s length and planning your Cologne itinerary around this cool city.
Read my guide on visit Cologne for everything you need to know about visiting the Germany city.
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There are abounding attractions in Cologne. The city is a treasure trove of Romanesque churches, Roman remains, atmospheric bars, chic cafés, far-spanning bridge, and more.
It is this diversity in attractions that Köln makes an amazing tourist destination for all types of travellers.
But given the umpteen places to visit in Cologne, just how many days you need to spend in the city to be able to explore it all?
This is the pressing question that I’m going to answer in this guide. I will also list some unmissable Cologne attractions, top things to do in Cologne includes some hidden things to see in Cologne. Read on.
How Many Days in Cologne Germany?
Sprawled across 405.2 km² and host to a slew of fascinating attractions, Cologne is best explored in 3 days.
There are of course those who claim that a single day is enough. But when you’re in the city to breathe in its sweet mélange of ancient, medieval, and modern, there is no way you’ll be able to rush through it in a day.
You would want to take your time and enjoy every aspect of the city. Avoid skimming the surface lest you miss on the offbeat and hidden places.
A 3-day Cologne itinerary will also give you time to engage in the simple pleasures of buying souvenirs, sampling local beverages, and spending more time at certain stops guilt-free.
Plus, if there were to be any long queues (think Cologne Cathedral), the wait time won’t mess up your time management.
You might even consider staying longer to discover its unusual attractions like the Schwarze sculptures or those hidden away like the Chandelier Hall. If it seems like a possibility, you can extend your Cologne trip to 5 or even 7 days for more comprehensive expeditions.
Read on to get ideas about which places to visit in Cologne during your trip.
Best Places to See in Cologne Germany (in 2, 3, 5, and 6 Days)
It may not be Berlin or Munich, but there’s still a lot to see and do here. Here is a road-map of places to see in Koln that you can follow or use for inspiration to ensure a superlative holiday.
What to do in Cologne in 3 days?
“So, you’re telling me I can travel Cologne on an extended weekend?”
Just as I did, 3 days are enough to get the best of this quaint city. In this seemingly short visit, you will be able to explore the famous attractions in Koln.
The most important thing to do is to choose a hotel that’s strategically-located near a tourist hotspot. I would suggest you stay in the Old Town and consider accommodations like THE QVEST or Hopper Hotel.
Being within walking distance from major tourist places, multiple eateries, and hobnobbing spots can save you a lot of commute time, letting you cover more ground.
Here’s the big, glorious itinerary guide. No, it does not just include Roman Cathedrals, we can’t spend all our time in the Cathedrals, when there is beer and chocolate to be consumed.
These are just some of the top things to do with 3 days in Cologne.
The Historic Altstadt (Old Town) Tour
Perhaps, Altstadt is the most Instagrammable region in Cologne with oodles of historic sights and attractions.
Well, just make sure to wear comfy shoes when you hit the ground at the Old Town. The quaint district is best known for the Cologne Cathedral; however, you can also spend a day enjoying the Kölsch beer or trying a Halver Hahn sandwich here.
Tracing the Rhine, the place is dotted with several other priceless places to explore. Use the list below to decide which ones you want to visit or skip.
Romanesque Church Great St. Martin: An imposing edifice from the Middle Ages
Historic City Hall Tower: A Terrific Vantage Point
Romano-Germanic Museum: A collection of ancient Roman relics
Wallraf Richartz Museum: Art gallery displaying medieval Cologne paintings
Museum Ludwig: Exhibit of modern art, including Picasso’s work
Pixies’ Fountain: An architectural gem
Alter Markt: A bustling square for people watching while sampling local food
A Casual Riverside Day
Having spent time prowling for the historic treasures in charming Altstadt, it will only be fair to cut your legs some slack. So, why not enjoy some aimless saunters on the banks of Rhine?
Better yet, why not spend time close to nature and revitalise your energy for the next adventure?
Before squatting the idea as boring, hear me out about these alternative things to do in Cologne. You don’t just have to sit idle in a park or stand on a bridge.
You can cross the Rhine in a rickety old boat at the golden hour. Stay a while longer and you will witness thousands of cargo ships cruising around you.
Later you can head to the iconic Hohenzollern Bridge for some more aesthetic pictures of the city. From the bridge, admire the sublime views of the Cologne Cathedral, Media Harbor, Rheinuferpromenade, and Königsallee shopping Blvd.
A great place to head after the bridge would be the scenic Rheinpark. This expansive green oasis is home to the Cologne Rhine Cable Car, which offers panoramic views of the river.
If you visit the park during winter, you’ll also find an ice-skating rink, soothing thermal spas, and other wellness treatments here.
A Satiating Gastronomical Tour
Cologne boasts an eclectic food scene with its long list of al-fresco cafés, rooftop eateries, and fine-dining restaurants.
Here’s a list of the Cologne restaurants near Cathedral to make your gastronomical experience in the city unforgettable.
Hanse Stube: Chic café tucked next to the Cologne Cathedral serving French Cuisine
Le Moissonnier: Two Michelin Star restaurant with vintage wines
FRÜH am Dom: Romanesque-style brewery overlooking Cologne Cathedral
Gaststätte Lommerzheim: A cult bar with a beer garden
Peters Brauhaus: An unusual restaurant serving authentic German cuisine
See! Told you. Even an extended weekend can be enough to create an indelible Cologne tour.
This Cologne 3 day itinerary won’t be too overwhelming as you’ll be able to view these sites at your own pace.
What is There to Do in Cologne for 5 Days?
Can’t have enough of the charming city? Here are some more, dare I say, some even better places to visit that are overshadowed by the famous tourist spots.
These hidden gems in Cologne will unveil a non-traditional, quirky side of the city.
Belgian Quarter | Trendiest neighbourhood famous for Belgian waffles, street art, Scotia Spirit, Hommage Café, and effervescent nightlife.
Ossuary in the Church of St. Ursula | A sacred place with Golden Chamber filled with bones of 11,000 virgins.
Farina Fragrance Museum | When in Cologne, smell three-centuries-worth of cologne at this museum.
St. Petersglocke | Get a selfie with the world’s largest bell in the background.
Claudius Therme | A place to unwind, sample healthy food, and get beauty treatments.
Segway Tour of Cologne | The coolest way to tour 20 locations and attractions in just 3 hours.
You can try to fit (some of) these locations in the 3-day tour, but it’s better to extend the sojourn altogether.
Cologne Trip Planner for 6 Day Vacation
There is so much to discover in a small city! Even 6 days will pass by in a jiffy and you will wonder if even these were enough. Why? Because here’s what else you can see in Cologne.
Views from Köln Triangle
Graffiti Art on a Street Art Bike Tour
White powdery sand on Sonnenschein Etage, the highest beach in Cologne
Ten thousand varieties of plant species at Flora and Botanical Garden
WWII bomb bunkers
The unlikely Chandelier Hall in sewage tunnels
Cologne Travel Tips | Things to Consider When Planning Your Cologne Trip
When visiting this architectural masterpieces, consider the length of your holiday, budget, and interests to decide where you’d stay and travel in the city.
I have answered the most pressing questions with my best options for inspiration.
Where to Stay in Cologne?
Keeping in mind all kinds of travellers, here are 6 best places to stay in Cologne.
Best for nightlife: Rudolf Platz – Hotel of choice | Steigenberger Hotel
Best for authentic experience: Altstadt-Nord – Hotel of choice | Löwenbräu Hotel
Best for first-timers: Old Town – Hotel of Choice | Hotel Engelbertz
Best for sightseeing: Old Town – Hotel of Choice | THE QVEST
Best for shoestring travellers: Altstadt-Süd – Hotel of Choice | Hotel Weber Cologne
Best for jetsetters: North-Rhein Westphalia – Hotel of Choice | Excelsior Hotel Ernst
Check out Airbnb if you plan on staying in Cologne for 3 days or longer.
What is the Best Time to Visit Cologne?
Weather-wise, fall (September – October) is the best time to visit Cologne. Hotel prices are also cheapest during these months.
However, to experience the ebullient side of Cologne, visit in November when the carnival season kicks in and winter paves way for ice-skating and hot baths.
Getting Around Cologne
Cologne offers several inexpensive commute options ranging from public transport to bicycles.
The city also offers KölnCard that lets you discover its attractions at even cheaper rates.
Last Words on How Long to Spend in Cologne
Even if you stay for 3 weeks, Cologne will ensure you have a blast. Being a melting pot for edifices, museums, delicious food, green areas, vibrant nightlife, carnivals, and street art, it guarantees that you’ll never get bored.
Yet, if you make every second count, you should be able to experience the best of Cologne in just 3 days.
I hope this well-curated guide helps you decide how many days to spend in Cologne while giving an idea of how to spend them.
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