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Viva Colonia

by Yannick BURROWS

IN GERMANY’S FOURTH LARGEST CITY, EVERYTHING IS IN PLACE FOR A SUCCESSFUL VISIT, FROM “A” FOR ARCHITECTURE, TO “B” FOR BREWING, TO “S” FOR SHOPPING (AND “Z” FOR ZÜLPICH). AS THE LOCAL MOTTO “DRINKS DE EINE MET” (COME AND HAVE A DRINK) SUGGESTS, THE ATMOSPHERE IS ALWAYS FRIENDLY.

MORE THAN CARNIVAL

Famous beyond national borders for Germany’s largest carnival and its own heritage of songs, Cologne is in all seasons a welcoming and lively city with a vibrant nightlife. The Rhine metropolis will delight art lovers as well as architecture lovers, epicureans and fashionistas. In recent years, in addition to the lively and colourful city centre, districts such as the Belgisches Viertel (Belgian district) have become essential and enrich daily life and occasional visits.

  1. KÖLNER DOM : Built between 1248 and 1880, it is one of the largest Gothic cathedrals, which adorns the urban landscape like no other building. One of its features is the stained glass window of the southern transept designed by Gerhard Richteret, which was inaugurated in 2007. www.koelner-dom.de
  2. MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES : Cologne’s museum landscape is diverse: for example, you can embark on a journey through the city’s history at the Roman-German Museum. At the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, you can admire works by masters from Rubens to Rothko. The collection of the Ludwig Museum focuses on German Expressionism, Pop Art and Picasso (the third largest collection in the world). The list of galleries is also spectacular, with the Buchholz Gallery for Contemporary Art, which has branches in Berlin and New York. www.koelngalerien.de & www.museenkoeln.de
  3. AACHENER STRASSE : Aachener Straße is not necessarily worth a visit for its aesthetics, but it recommended for its culinary scene. From the Salon to the Metzgerei, via the Bar, the Schmitz Empire offers a wide range of gourmet delicacies through its many establishments. The artisanal Schmitz-Eis ice cream parlour is not only a disaster, but also as famous as its customers. Discos such as Roxy and Reineke Fuchs are the highlights of nightlife in Cologne. www.salonschmitz.com & www.koeln.de
  4. VIRTUAL BELGIUM : This is perhaps the most charming part of the “city of the Dom” which, like the Ehrenstraße, has transformed into one of the most popular shopping destinations. Restaurants and cafés invite you to stroll around: Miss Päpki spoils her customers with homemade pastries, while Café Spatz offers buddha bowls and Hallmacken- reuther, on Brüsseler Platz, Kölsch beer and other specialities in a 70s style.
  5. SHOPPING : The Belgique Boutique (29 Brabanter Straße) is famous well beyond the city of Cologne. Entrepreneur and influencer Lena Terlutter offers the most trendy clothes and accessories for fashionistas. The Apropos luxury concept store, located at 12 Mittelstraße, is moving towards a more upscale sector. Oscar restaurant is worth a visit for its excellent Sunday brunch. www.boutique-belgique.de & www.apropos-store.com
  6. KÖLNER ZOO : Entertainment for the whole family, 365 days a year: The Cologne Zoo opened its doors in 1860 and is still an institution today. More than 10,000 animals delight both young and old. The historic aviary and the virgin forest wing are just two of the many sights on offer in the wildlife park. www.koelnerzoo.de
  7. TIME TO RELAX : What could be better than a break in one of Cologne’s thermal baths and its region to enjoy the excitement of the city? The Claudius Spa offers an oasis of well-being with a view of the cathedral, while the Mediterana sauna and spa offers a moment of relaxation in the oriental style in Bergisch Gladbach, 20 minutes from Cologne. www.claudius-therme.de & www.mediterana.de
  8. SLEEP WITH CLASS : The hotel landscape is quite limited, at least for travellers who wish to avoid the usual chains. Demanding guests will get their money’s worth at Hotel Qvest, a designer establishment with individually decorated rooms and a historical atmosphere (from 150 euros). Hotel im Wasserturm is a good alternative (from 100 euros). www.qvest-hotel.com & www.hotel-im-wasserturm.de

Author: JESSIKA MARIA RAUCH

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