Given a choice, I would’ve opted to spend a lot more time in this gorgeous city, however, circumstances being very much out of my control, all the travel gods granted me were 5 hours, a phone battery that was on its last legs and a very cramp-y stomach. The only silver lining? I learnt to make the most out of the limited time I had in Cologne and, if you’d like to do the same, read on!

Cologne is a study in contrasts, striking the perfect balance between history and modernity. It was only apt, therefore, that my activities gave me a taste of both ends of the spectrum.

First stop: the Cologne Cathedral. This majestic specimen of Gothic architecture is one of the most visited landmarks in all of Germany and when you see it in all its glory, you will understand why. The blackened walls speak of the time in World War II when it was bombed numerous times, yet remained standing in a city that was otherwise destroyed. The very first brick for the Cathedral was laid in the year 1248 – just picturing everything the building must have gone through over thousands of years leaves you with a sense of awe. Upon entering, there’s a certain peaceful quality in the air (perhaps this exists in all religious buildings), that automatically makes you want to speak in lower, hushed tones. You don’t really need a guided tour to enjoy everything the Cathedral has to offer. Do make sure you’re well hydrated if you’re planning to climb the steps up one of the spires.

Cologne Cathedral Selfie
A selfie with the Cathedral, attempting not to look like I’m in pain. Stomach did it’s best to not let me smile but in the end I triumphed! Kind of. Also, I was photobombed.
Inside Cologne Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral

Once our self-guided tour of the cathedral came to a close, the spirit of adventure demanded that our next stop be chosen by the city itself. No amount of planning could have given that carefree feeling that accompanied the decision to ‘just wing it’. We followed the path at the foot of the cathedral and ended up making our way through Hohe Straße into Schildergasse (two of Cologne’s best known shopping streets). The most amount of shopping I got done on my Euro Trip was during the next hour and a half that we spent exploring the shops here though, to be honest, it was no shopping spree.

Yes you guessed it, the pure, unadulterated joy on our faces is thanks to the ice cream.

Apart from well-known brands like TK Maxx, H&M, Mango and Primark, there are numerous souvenir and other shops which are full of interesting little tidbits that you’re hard pressed not to buy. Ice cream cone in hand, the cool wind gently playing with our hair, we could have spent endless hours strolling down those streets and discovering everything they had to offer but there were meeting points to reach and buses to catch and so our time in Cologne drew to a close.

21 thoughts on “A Few Hours in Cologne – Things To Do”

  1. At least you made the best of your time! I hope you’re able to go back and visit sometime in the near future. The church looks lovely and I can’t even tell you’re in pain!

  2. Cologne seems very different from most places I have visited. I have never been to Germany before but when I go, this will be on my list. Thanks for the lovely blog post ! I love the Gothic architecture!

    1. I really wasn’t expecting much from Germany on my Euro Trip but it actually became one of my favourite countries! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, thanks so much 🙂

  3. I haven’t been to Cologne but it looks like a nice city to visit. The cathedral looks stunning from the outside and even more impressive from the inside. I always seem to visit a lot of cathedrals on my travels as the architecture can be stunning. Hopefully I will get to visit this city soon 🙂

    1. I agree! I’m fascinated by them too. I wish had taken more pictures but I was too busy absorbing the beauty in real life. I hope you get to visit soon! 🙂

  4. Very nice we lived in Bonn for a few years (about 20 mins from Cologne) great city and great ideas for just a few hours to explore! The Cathedral is awesome – and yes the shopping is pretty good!

  5. Thank you for posting this! I’m based in Berlin and looking to get out and see more of Germany. I’ve heard that Cologne doesn’t have that much to do but your post totally proves those people wrong 🙂 I’m adding it to my list of travel destinations this year.

  6. But why you spend there only few hours? Did you went to cathedral from airport, train/bus station? 🙂 Just curious to know if I would need to go there too 🙂

    1. I was attending a seminar in Germany and this was part of the itinerary so we had to meet the rest of the group back at the bus after a few hours 🙂

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