Things to do in Cologne

From the iconic cathedral to Gothic architecture and a charming old town, this German riverside city awaits.

Our most recommended things to do in Cologne

Cologne: Winter Cruise with Live Music and Mulled Wine

1. Cologne: Winter Cruise with Live Music and Mulled Wine

Enjoy a festive and romantic winter cruise along the Rhine River with live music and a hot beverage of your choice. Get great views from the panorama boat of Cologne’s skyline, which is beautifully decorated during the holiday season. See some of Cologne's most iconic sites like the famous church "Groß St. Martin", the former Rheinau Harbour with the three crane houses and, of course, Cologne Cathedral. Listen to musicians play festive music and sip on a cup of "Glühwein" (hot wine punch), coffee, or hot chocolate.

Cologne: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

2. Cologne: Chocolate Museum Entrance Ticket

Awaiting the visitors is a walk-in tropical house, natural history information on cocoa, exhibits from the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America, an important porcelain and silver collection from the Baroque period, as well as numerous old machines from the time of industrialisation. In a glass chocolate factory and in the chocolate atelier, visitors can experience how chocolate products are made industrially, but also individually by hand. And: there is a 3-meter-high chocolate fountain in which 200 kg of delicious chocolate constantly bubble up for tasting. Tasting is expressly encouraged!

Cologne: Advent River Cruise on the Rhine

3. Cologne: Advent River Cruise on the Rhine

Get out of the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a holiday cruise on Cologne’s Rhine River. Hop on a festively decorated ship and explore the water with Santa on board. Celebrate the Advent season with live music and sweet treats. For the little ones, Santa will bring gifts. While the city center of Cologne sinks into the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle, you can enjoy the quieter side of the Advent season on the ship: colorful lights on the banks, festive live music, and sweets. Embrace the Christmas spirit as you take in the beautiful view of the city panorama. Look forward to a real Christmas wonderland on board during this elaborately decorated event. Thousands of lights, huge Christmas balls, and snow-white garlands create a unique, festive atmosphere. Bring little ones to join in on the holiday fun and receive a surprise from Santa. 

Cologne: 'Himmel and Kölle' Musical Tickets

4. Cologne: 'Himmel and Kölle' Musical Tickets

Experience an unforgettable evening with a ticket to the award-winning "Himmel and Kölle" show at the Volksbühne, Cologne's oldest surviving theater. The top-class cast with German musical stars is looking forward to your visit.  Heavenly, sexy, and truly Cologne: The young priest Elmar is transferred from the Swabian province to Cologne. On one wild night, the Catholic model pupil forgets all the commandments.  After a sinful trip through shisha bars and breweries, Elmar has to realize: Against a Saturday night in Brussels Square, Sodom and Gomorrah was an oasis of calm. "A rousing, funny good-mood piece," wrote the World on Sunday about Himmel und Kölle, "A mega show", says Eko Fresh. 2022 Cologne voted Himmel und Kölle "Cultural Event of the Year" at the 2021 German Musical and Theatre Awards.  The musical was awarded in 4 categories: Best Ensemble Performance, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Producer.

Cologne: The Melaten Cemetery, Life, Love and Death Tour

5. Cologne: The Melaten Cemetery, Life, Love and Death Tour

Wander through Melaten Cemetery in Cologne and see the tombs of the city's most prominent personalities on a walking tour. Immerse yourself in the tranquility and rich history of the large park with a guide. Discover a place of silence embedded in a beautiful park with incomparable flora and fauna in the middle of Cologne. Visit the Melaten cemetery and stroll through the complex, which has an area of over four hundred thousand square meters and around 55,000 gravesites. Enjoy moments of peace and quiet during the guided tour and experience how close love, death, and suffering as well as art culture are to each other. Learn interesting facts and curiosities about historical personalities and impressive tombs and monuments and visit the former "Leprosenanstalt".

Cologne: Brewery Tour with Three "Kölsch" Tastings

6. Cologne: Brewery Tour with Three "Kölsch" Tastings

Explore the beautiful city and history of Cologne in a fun and interactive way. Visit the famous breweries and taste 3 Kölsch beers during the tour. You can choose from a private or group tour and soak in the brewing culture of the city. Take part in a tour where the guides have the freedom to choose which breweries to take you to. Allow these Kölsch connoisseurs to make decisions based on the group dynamic, ensuring that everyone is entertained and satisfied Begin your experience near the cathedral's grand entrance by the Kreuzblumen monument. Start the thirst-quenching journey to 3 different breweries, where you will taste 3 delicious local beers to find the one that best suits you. Learn about the breweries and the local brewing culture as well as taste hundreds of years worth of brewing experience. Visit traditional breweries such as the 700-year-old Brauhaus Sion, as well as younger upstarts like Früh am Dom, Cologne's largest.

Cologne: Guided Tour of Melatenfriedhof

7. Cologne: Guided Tour of Melatenfriedhof

Take a trip through the history of Cologne on a guided tour of Melatenfriedhof, the central cemetery of the city. Before it became a cemetery, it was already an execution site and leprosy ward far outside the city walls. Follow your guide around the 5500 graves. Listen to stories about the history of the city, and the celebrities who have been laid to rest in this historical graveyard.

Cologne: Top Sights Rhine River Cruise

8. Cologne: Top Sights Rhine River Cruise

See Cologne's top sights from the water on a city cruise. Spot the world-famous Cologne Cathedral, cruise under 5 bridges, and take in the running commentary from the ship's speakers. Start your Rhine cruise with the ship MS Rheinperle, MS Rheinland, or MS Rheintreue. After taking in a view of the iconic Cologne Cathedral and Old Town, cruise to the Rheinauhafen, where you can spot its distinctive crane houses. Pass under 5 bridges to reach Rodenkirchen in the south. The cruise will then take you to the main sights of the city north of the Dome, such as the Zoobrücke bridge. During the cruise, discover more about the sights of Cologne with on-board commentary and English and German. If you want, relax with a local Kölsch beer or a strong coffee and a piece of cake.

Cologne: Rhine River Sightseeing Cruise with Beverage

9. Cologne: Rhine River Sightseeing Cruise with Beverage

Enjoy the charming sights of Cologne from a heated boat on the Rhine River. Sip on a glass of Kölsch or a hot beverage as you take in the atmosphere.  View some of Cologne's most spectacular architecture, like the Groß St. Martin Church, the former Rheinau harbour with the three crane houses and, of course, Cologne Cathedral.  Listen to a musician play both traditional and modern tunes live. Drink some cold local beer, tea, or coffee.

Cologne: Melaten Cemetery Celebrities and Curiosities

10. Cologne: Melaten Cemetery Celebrities and Curiosities

Melaten Cemetery, which is over two centuries old, is an oasis of peace and quiet in the midst of this vibrant metropolis. Start the tour at its old main entrance. Your local guide will give you a short history of the area, how it was a village for the leppers, a place of execution, and finally how it became a central cemetery. Then, get ready to explore the area. Marvel at its parklike design and find numerous impressive monuments and objects of traditional and contemporary art. Admire Classicist to Neo-Gothic and Neo-Baroque grave monuments, symbols and sculptures. Melaten Cemetery has about 55,000 graves. Walk along the main paths reserved for the wealthy known as the "Millionaires Alley". Discover curious stories about the prominent Cologne citizens buried here. The tour will end at the tomb of the architect of the graveyard.

Frequently asked questions about Cologne

What top attractions are a must-see in Cologne?

Other Sightseeing Options in Cologne

Want to discover all there is to do in Cologne? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cologne

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 12,763 reviews

This was a very relaxed river cruise which we enjoyed immensely. I would suggest a simple pictorial map showing the different important buildings along the way. This will obviously include the Dom, Radhuis, Bastei, names of bridges, some names of churches on the shore line. There is a house called Villa Malta which would have been quite interesting for the thirty or so visitors from Malta whom we accidentally met on the ferry. This map is quite easy to produce, and distribute as an advert similar to the one provided by Batobus on the Seine in Paris. Thanks.

It was really cool to walk around and see chocolate being made! The staff were friendly and there’s lots of opportunities to get some chocolate!

not only a beer tour, but a veritable city centre tour, filled with interesting information and fun facts

smooth ride with good mulled wine and decent food (not included in the price)

Sascha was a very good and very funny guide for our tour of Old Town cologne