Germany Day Trips: Cologne

by Shereece Spain
Stripes Europe

Topping most “must-see” lists is the iconic city of Köln (Cologne). In addition to its historical beauty and local charm, February is a great time to visit if you want to be a part of the ultimate Fasching experience! 

Local Highlights 

The Cologne Cathedral - This church commands the city’s skyline making it difficult to miss! With its Gothic architecture, the tower spires and detailed stained-glass windows, you will be left breathless. You can take a journey to the top of the cathedral. However, it is only by stairs. Bring your good shoes if you’re up for taking the journey! 

Hohenzollern Bridge - This arched bridge spreads over the Rhine River. It was mostly destroyed during World War II, but has since been restored to its original beauty. Don’t forget to bring a padlock with you. As you walk across, you can add yours to the other “love locks” (symbols of a couple’s commitment to one another) along the rail. 

Kölnisch Wasser - While we’re on the topic of love… treat your sweetheart (or yourself ) to the original fragrance of Eau de Cologne, No. 4711. Kölnisch Wasser (Cologne water) was created over 225 years ago. The light and fresh scent of the original can be worn by men and women. If the original is not to your liking, there are other fragrances in the Acqua Colonia line (e.g. white peach and coriander). The Fragrance Museum is the oldest intact perfume factory in the world. Johann Maria Farina’s invention stepped up the city’s reputation. The 45-minute guided tour is the perfect length for your day in the city. 

Rhine River Cruises - Experience the city from a different viewpoint on the water! You can enjoy the hour-long panoramic tour of the city to get a wide-angle view of the city’s skyline and the Hohenzollern Bridge. Köln-Düsseldorf cruises offers many departure times to accommodate your schedule. I especially recommend a river cruise at night to take in the shimmer and sparkle of the city lights. Bundle up for the upper deck. They’re the best seats! 

Lindt Schokoladenmuseum - Through the glass-walled factory you’ll be drooling over the stream of chocolate as it travels through the production process. The group tour is an additional 3.50 euros over the entrance fee. The museum offers various events with the opportunity to sample melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and a magnificent chocolate fountain that is hard to pass up. 

Fasching Festivities 

This year, Fasching is celebrated Feb. 28-March 6. It’s a time for foolish malarkey and over-the-top shenanigans. You will hardly be able to go anywhere in the city without being able to feel and experience the festivities. There are parades daily and different parties across the city during this six-day party. The Rosenmontagszug (Rose Monday Train) is the place to be or thing to watch during this foolishly festive season. It’s comparable to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for Americans. 

If you enjoy beer (and maybe need a little help to bring out your inner fool), grab a Kölsch, a locally brewed style of beer. It may be served in an oversized shot glass, but it is big on flavor. 

Have fun with it on your trip and go in costume. It’s one way to get multiple uses out of that Halloween costume you purchased last year. 

If Cologne is on your bucket list, now is the perfect time to go! 

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