Spotlight on Cologne

March 16, 2017

Cologne is one of Europe’s most eclectic cities. Dating back 2000 years, it is a rarity to find a place with such rich heritage, but which is also self-aware and often at the forefront of social, political and artistic movements. Young fashion designers flock here for the addictive modernist culture, minorities find safe haven amongst accepting and progressive locals, political discourse is rife in centuries old cafes hidden in the old town. In total, prepare to find yourself entirely enraptured by Cologne.

 

Things to do

  • The Cathedral, with its imposing twin spires and Gothic structure, stands tall and blackened, rivalling Paris’s Notre Dame for the awe it inspires. Even more impressive when lit up at night, everything beneath becomes subject to darkness as it dominates Cologne’s skyline.
  • Transport yourself to a wonderland of days passed as you wander into Cologne’s old town. Stacked tight, the brightly coloured, gabled buildings stand tall, encircling cobbled squares and lining the Rhine. The serenity of this peaceful quarter is deeply meditative.
  • Get your history hit with copious museums. From biblical sepulchres containing the Three Wise Men, to the Romano-Germanic museum, holding artefacts from millennia past, to abstract and surrealist modern art at the Ludwig museum.
  • Cologne’s Belgian Quarter exudes anti-establishment cool. Drink with friends and strangers alike in the open air of Brussel Square. Rich with aspiring designers, the discreet independent boutiques here have amazing individual items you couldn’t find elsewhere.
  • From luxury designers to high street favourites, Hohe Strasse is perfect for much needed retail therapy.
  • Cologne’s Chocolate Museum teaches you all about the roots of chocolate, from Central America to European advertisements. Particular exhibitions are sure to make your stomach rumble. Don’t fret, however, after your tour you can indulge in the café or chocolate shop.

Where to eat

  • For classic German cuisine look no further than Walfisch. They have all the specialities you may look for such as fried blood sausage or pork knuckles (a favourite in Cologne).
  • Germany are also proud of their sweet treats, and Merzenich is the perfect place to indulge. Though natively from Berlin, this bakery produces some of the fluffiest Berliners you could sink your teeth into. Don’t forget to try a fresh pretzel, too!
  • Dine with the stars in Alfredo, a Michelin-starred, authentic Italian restaurant in the heart of the city. The owner, not only accredited in the field of cuisine, is also an outstanding singer. Expect baritone performances alongside live piano. The monochrome and minimalist décor add a layer of cool to this inviting, family-owned eatery.
  • A fundamental dining choice when in Germany is bratwurst from a food truck. The Wurst Case Szenario truck takes fast food to another level. Not only full of fantastic puns, they’re clearly passionate about food, as you can see from the amazing hotdogs you’re presented with.

Where to drink

  • Of course, you can’t visit Cologne without sipping on a smooth glass of Kölsch. This beer is made in local breweries and served in small, thing glasses, rather than steins. Find your nearest Brauhaus for the most authentic Kölsch.
  • If you’re heading to Cologne for the party, Zülpicher Strasse – aptly named the party mile – is stacked with clubs and cocktail bars open until the early hours.
  • At The Coffee Gang, coffee is almost an art, an aesthetic, they call it ‘slow coffee’, and its popularity confirms its delicious taste. The counter looks like a chemistry experiment, with glass bulbs under open flame. Incredibly modern, the grey theme and angular woodwork contrast the bold green of the flowers that colour the shop from floor to ceiling.

How to get there

Just 3 hours from our port in Amsterdam, Cologne is easily accessible. Hop on a ferry from Amsterdam and be there in no time. Alternatively, travel from Dover, choosing from our Dunkirk or Calais ports and arrive in Cologne in 4 hours.

 

Photo credit: Sergei Gussev

 

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