As the largest city on Germany’s river Rhine, there’s plenty of historic exploring, museum perusing and bar hopping to be done in the cultural capital of Cologne. 

Once hailed as the capital of Germania’, Cologne has a rich and varied heritage that can be traced back to the invading Romans. Since then, the city has survived everything from Napoleonic colonisation to the utter destruction of two World Wars – and it boasts all of the cultural trappings and historic landmarks to prove it.

With hundreds of galleries, over 30 world-class museums, scores of ancient, awe-inspiring buildings and bars galore lining its streets, one thing’s for certain: you’re not going to be short of things to do.

If you’re travelling solo, all the better. Cologne is big, but not overwhelmingly so. You’ll find it easy to get around and it’s well worth exploring some of the city’s edgier nooks and crannies.

Here are our top tips to make the most of your trip.

Kolsch at Cologne

Where to socialise in Cologne

Belgian Quarter (Belgisches Viertel): Attracting artsy hipsters and edgy fashionistas, this area is known for its bustling party atmosphere and sociable soul. Grab a couple of beers in the Brüsseler Platz – where you’re sure to make some new friends – before taking to the dancefloor at Sixpack, one of the city’s must-visit late-night venues.

Ehrenfeld: Located a 10-minute tram ride out of the centre, this neighbourhood is known for its vibrant street art murals and houses some of the best art studios, cafés, theatres and clubs in town. 

Biergarten Kolsch

Old Town: In the shadows of the city’s most historic buildings sit some of the best beer halls, restaurants and bars, buzzing with Rhinelander spirit and brimming with tourists and locals alike.

Rudolfplatz: Nestled in the Belgian Quarter, Rudolfplatz is characterised by its laid-back speakeasies, rustic dive bars and classy cocktail lounges.

Old town cologne

What to see in Cologne on a solo trip

Famed for its colourful buildings and riverside setting, take some time to wander aimlessly and alone through Cologne’s cobbled Old Town. You’ll come across a myriad of magnificent sights – from the city’s stunning Cathedral to the famous Heinzelmännchenbrunnen fountain.

Cologne cathedral

If you’re searching for a hefty dose of European culture, head to Museum Ludwig for your Picassos and Warhols; Domschatzkammer for valuable Medieval relics; and the Schokoladenmuseum (chocolate museum) to satiate your sweet tooth.

Our top tip for solo travellers in Cologne? Embrace the friendly and open Rhinelander spirit and you’ll find yourself making friends (and beer-fuelled memories) that will last a lifetime.

Museum roof cologne

Interested in exploring more of the country? We’ve got you covered. Check out our comprehensive travel guides to Germany.

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