Five must-see attractions in Cologne

Capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne is a city that surprises the visitor with its almost Latin vibe. This is clearly in addition to its iconic attractions, which include its cathedral, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. There is no shortage of reasons to visit Cologne. Here are the five attractions you really should see.

Cologne Cathedral

As well as being one of the tallest churches in the world, Cologne Cathedral is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Dedicated to Saint Peter and to Saint Mary, it is no surprise it is Germany’s most visited monument and a must-see attraction while in Cologne. This majestic cathedral is truly spectacular, and dominates the urban landscape of North Rhine-Westphalia’s capital. No matter where you look, there it is in all its glory.

Once inside, be sure to view the stained-glass windows and the carvings in the cathedral’s choir stalls. Entry is free, but get there early to avoid the crowds.

Ludwig Museum

The Ludwig Museum is Cologne’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Located close to the cathedral it contains an interesting collection of modern art, which includes works by such well-known artists as Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, René Magritte and Andy Warhol – reason enough for it to be on your list of things to do during your short stay in Cologne.

While Pop Art is the museum’s focus, it has much more than just Warhol to offer!

Augustusburg Palace

The Augustusburg Palace is a magnificent example of the excesses of European Rococo architecture. Located in the small town of Brühl, just a few miles from Cologne, it is certainly a highlight of any visit to the region.

It is worth getting to the Augustusburg Palace early to see it when there are fewer visitors. All visits are accompanied by a German-speaking guide, but palace staff will happily provide audio guides in other languages to enable you to enjoy this building constructed on the orders of Clemens August of Bavaria.

Farina Fragrance Museum

The famous Eau de Cologne is named after this German city. The most famous of all the cologne manufacturers is the Farina-Haus. Its original fragrance, created by the Italian perfumer Giovanni Maria Farina,  remains in production to this day.

A visit to the Cologne Perfume Museum is a peaceful and pleasant way to discover more about an important aspect of the city’s history. Tours, which are always accompanied by a guide, last around an hour, and while it can be missed out if time is short, it is worth making the time to go there.

Drink a Kölsch beer

Cologne is very serious about traditional beer. At the Päffgen Brewery, for example, the beer is never bottled because they believe it ruins the taste. It is brewed every day on site and poured straight from the barrel into glasses the waitresses carry on round trays with holes cut in them to secure them. Since 1883. Here was where I had my first opportunity to drink a glass of Kölsch beer in Cologne.

Don’t forget to visit one of Cologne’s best traditional breweries. The brewery Päffgen-Kölsch is in the Friensenstrasse district, one of the most famous parts of the city.

By Filipe Morato Gomes / Alma de Viajante