Flight and hotel Cologne
Set in western Germany, Cologne is the largest city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, straddling the great Rhine River and sitting close to the Dutch and Belgian borders. The city is well known for its iconic and magnificent twin-spire cathedral, one of the world’s best Christmas markets and a particularly progressive, modern and welcoming atmosphere. A temperate climate year round and a huge range of historical and artistic entertainment options make city breaks in Cologne among the best in Europe.
What to know before visiting Cologne
Many flights to the area will arrive at Cologne Bonn Airport, which is just a 15-minute drive from the centre of town. Flights to Cologne from London and Manchester are quick and frequent. EU citizens won’t need a visa, the currency is the euro and the time is one hour ahead of the UK's. While the local language is, of course, German, you’ll find the vast majority of service workers have a good grasp of English.
A Cologne flight and hotel package is the ideal way to see the city easily, and a weekend in Cologne can include a huge range of activities and sightseeing.
When is the best time to visit Cologne?
A flight and hotel package in Cologne can be enjoyed at any time of year. With a climate comparable to that of London, Cologne has mild winters and summers that are very rarely hot. The city is particularly proud of its excellently presented green spaces, including the Rheinpark and Hiroshima-Nagasaki Park. A stroll along the river in summer before checking out the trendy cafés, shops and galleries is a delightful way to spend a Cologne weekend.
That said, the city's Christmas markets in December are worth visiting as well. Pick up locally crafted gifts or indulge in delicious glühwein (mulled wine) or ginger biscuits at the foot of the cathedral. Cologne package holidays are delightful year round. Non-food goodies such as clothing, including festive socks and stockings, are also some of the treasures you'll discover in the markets.
What to do in Cologne
Some great activities travellers to Cologne can experience:
- Phantasialand, a theme park with different zones ranging from China Town and Deep in Africa, excellent for trying out different foods and rides.
- Schildergasse, Cologne's main shopping thoroughfare.
- For excellent nightlife, visit the west bank of the Rhine and the long stretch up Hohenzollernring in the city centre, which feature jazz bars, hipster hangouts, techno clubs and popular restaurants.
Places to visit in Cologne
Some of the many sights to visit in the city:
- Pop art haven Museum Ludwig, or the Romano-Germanic Museum to learn more about the country's fascinating past.
- Imhoff Chocolate Museum overlooking the Rhine, where you’ll discover an eye-popping selection of sweet treats, with every flavour imaginable.
- The Cologne Cathedral, featuring two spires that act as a waypoint for travellers.
What is there to eat in Cologne?
Germany is well known for its hearty meat dishes, not least in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the majestic forests offer their bounty to city dwellers and visitors. Visit a tavern and enjoy a traditional meal such as pot roast with dumplings and potatoes, or pick up some pumpernickel bread at the bakery for a quick and tasty snack. Beer lovers should taste the city’s signature brew, Kölsch.
To go with the tasty brews you'll be tasting in Cologne, try the signature 'Heaven and Earth' dish, which consists of apples (signifying heaven, in reference to the Garden of Eden), and potatoes (signifying earth). The mix of savoury and sweet is wonderful and a delicious treat for visitors to the city. Another favourite is schnitzel, a battered meat dish served with fries. Choose from chicken, pork or tender veal to savour on Cologne city breaks.
What to bring home from Cologne
On Cologne package holidays in December, you’ll have no problem finding fantastic gifts from the many stalls in the market. Perhaps some Christmas stollen cookies or a wooden toy will delight one of your loved ones back home? Alternatively, gifts featuring the iconic cathedral are always popular, and a bottle of local ice wine is another interesting present to bring back. Perhaps you'll also find some special handcrafted decorations to adorn your tree.
For beer lovers, a bottle of Kölsch is sure to be a hit. Alternatively, check out some of the locally crafted liqueurs such as Kettenfett, with which has a distinct liquorice taste. German mustard and jams made of local fruits and berries are also safe bets for delicious gifts at any time of year.