Why you should go to Cologne !

Once an overlooked, industrial town along the Rhine, the cathedral city has grown into a vibrant center of subculture - strong on art and design, rich in gay life and one of the more important capitals of cultural production in Europe.

It has established a balance between modesty in its outward appearance and an exuberance tucked into its folds. Though the queer scene is not as pervasive here as it is in Berlin, visitors may head to Schaafenstraße, also known as the Bermuda Triangle, and get lost for hours among the LGBTQ clubs and bars. True believers claim Cologne as the gay capital of Germany and often tout the popular statistic that one in 10 of its inhabitants is gay.

With so much attention focused on the gargoyle-spangled behemoth at its center, the city has grown slowly and strangely behind the scenes with little post-war exploitation from outsiders. An exhaustive selection of household boutiques, vintage shops, furniture stores and small fashion labels force themselves up like adamant flowers out of the post-war bricolage that characterizes the rest of the city's architecture.

The relationship between the touristy city center and the rest of the town can be incoherent, but if the traveler can brave this uncanniness long enough to have a Kölsch somewhere outside of the Old City, Cologne's hidden charm will come through.

Be inspired

View itineraries for a sample day out in Cologne

Brüßler Platz

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Cultural tax

Business travelers who want to get that full refund for their overnight stay should keep an eye out for the cultural tax,...

Drinking on a budget

Because of liberal outdoor drinking laws, there are plenty of non-bar options for the budget traveler, especially during...

General impression
Excellent
LGBT-friendly
Good
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Awsome city with many touristic places and a lot to see. I enjoyed taking a S-Bahn and manking a little tour.

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I live very close to Cologne (10 Minutes by car).

Cologne is probably the gay capital of Germany. A great nightlife, prides, even a gay christmas market:D:D:D

I totally can recommend it

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Getting around

Cologne is well serviced by an extensive tram system. Tourists who are only "stopping through" would do well to purchase the 24-hour Welcome Card, which provides a day of limitless travel and discounts for various attractions in the city. Group day-tickets are also available. But, as always, the cheapest option is traveling by bike, and Cologne's size is manageable enough on two wheels.

There is no cheaper or more ideal way to see the city than by bike. Germans are always very good about marking bike lanes and often having them on the sidewalk, out of the automobile traffic. There are countless rental options all around town (such as Colonia Aktiv), and hotels and hostels often have bike-rental services though often pricey. There is also the old Deutsche Bahn Call-A-Bike standby, which requires online registration for free access, though with time-limits, to bikes stationed around the city.

Though it's technically not a metro, Cologne's tram system nonetheless goes underground and is just as extensive a subway system. East and West of the Rhine is solidly covered, and the ticket prices are not too steep. For tourists, lines 3 and 4 (North-South), 15 and 16 (West-East) will come in handy for trips into the Altstadt and Ehrenfeld. Protect yourself from high fines by not attempting to ride illegally ("Schwarzfahren"), and make sure to validate the ticket in the "punchers" either in the station or on the tram.

Cologne has a decent bus system that reaches some areas that the tram system doesn't, but for travelers who are only in the city for a short period of time, it might be best to ignore this option and focus on learning the none-too-intuitive tram system. The special Welcome Cards and day-cards also can be used on bus transport.

Taxis and Uber rides are always on hand, with drivers who almost always speak very good English, for those who want to expend less energy on navigating the city on their own.