Why you should go to Cologne !

Once a dreary post-WWII industrial town along the Rhine, the cathedral city today is 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 the uncanny long enough to have a Kölsch somewhere outside the inner city, Cologne's hidden charm will come through.

Be inspired

View itineraries for a sample day out in Cologne

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