Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge © Klein/DAAD
Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge© Klein/DAAD Open fig caption

Cologne is world-famous for its cathedral and Carnival. In addition to a vibrant media sector, the city is a centre of the automobile manufacturing industry. It’s also where many different people and cultures meet. Life in Cologne has a very special feel. Despite its size, you never feel like a number.


Cologne is over 2,000 years old. The city’s landmark is the world-famous Cologne Cathedral which is said to contain the remains of the “Three Kings”, the Holy Magi. Built in the Gothic style, the cathedral is over 700 years old and is the third tallest church in the world! If you make it up the 533 steps to the top spire, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of Cologne and the Rhine River.

The love locks on the Hohenzollern Bridge in front of the main train station have also become quite famous. Couples in love attach padlocks to the railing of the bridge as a symbol of their love. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of colourful locks adorn the bridge!

Cologne is situated in the Rhineland – a region along the Rhine River. Rhinelanders are known for their especially open-minded and friendly manner. The locals absolutely love their city – be it for its beer (called “Kölsch”) or football club, the 1. FC Köln. There are countless songs about Cologne which the locals endearingly call “Kölle”.

The atmosphere in town comes to a boil at Carnival, the so-called fifth season of the year. The season begins on 11 November at 11:11 am every year with a large programme in the city. The crowning conclusion takes place in February on Rose Monday when Cologne hosts the world-famous Carnival street parade. Young and old party together, dressed up in the craziest costumes you could imagine, yelling at the top of their voices “Kölle Alaaf” (Cologne is the best!) and “Lang lebe Köln” (Long live Cologne!).


Cologne is an important venue of the fine arts. There are many and numerous galleries which exhibit art by both prominent artists of the past and up-and-coming artists of today.


If you want to go out, you should meet at Zülpicher Strasse, where you’ll find one bar after another, and the “Belgian Quarter“. The Belgian Quarter has become Cologne’s trendy district thanks in part to its small and extraordinary designer shops. It’s also a popular meeting place for night owls. On Brüsseler Platz you’ll find many students sitting outside. Aachener Strasse, about five minutes away, is also filled with popular student bars in which you can enjoy a drink and have a relaxing evening, playing table tennis or simply listening to music dished up by various DJs.

There are places to party all around Aachener Strasse and the Belgian Quarter. If you’re not in the mood for swanky clubs, then Ehrenfeld is the place to go – Cologne’s more alternative, hip quarter.