Only 2 hours from Brussels, Cologne seemed like an ideal destination for an improvised Easter week-end for two. Panoramic views, modern art, Croatian food and a fun fair were some of the highlights of our trip!
Sightseeing in Cologne
Of course, we roamed Cologne’s charming old town (the impressive Cologne City Hall, Groß Sankt Martin and its small gardens, Alter Markt and its colourful façades…) and visited the breathtaking gothic (and free!) cathedral which is surprisingly the most visited landmark in Germany.
What else can’t be missed in Cologne? We walked down from the Cathedral to the Hohenzollern bridge crossing the Rhine to admire the enormous amount of love padlocks covering the barriers separating walkers from the railways. A few minutes later we reached the KölnTriangle where we enjoyed panoramic views of the whole city for only 3€.
We crossed the river and strolled along the water in the Rheingarten. We got to the Ludwig Museum just in time for the ‘happy hour’ (9€ after 5.00pm, 14€ during normal hours). We had to rush a bit to admire all the paintings and sculptures of prestigious artists: Kandinsky, Picasso, Magritte, Roy Liechtenstein and many more… but it was worth it! If you’re looking for Andy Warhol, head down directly to the lower floor.
Sleeping & Eating in Cologne
I can recommend the 4-star Mercure Hotel Severinshof Köln City situated 15 minutes away from the old town. We booked a room with a king-size bed the night before leaving for only 84€. Both the bedroom and the bathroom were very modern and spacious.
Two restaurants to put forward:
- the Funk Haus: a good, cheap and original food in a classy setting only a few minutes from the Cathedral
- Slavia: a nice – but maybe slightly touristic – Croatian restaurant along the Rhine
Coming from a deprived country such as Belgium? Whooper and donuts lovers will rush to Burger King and Dunkin Donuts.
Easter Monday walk in Cologne
I would not recommend going during Easter as all the shops – and there is a fair amount of them – were unfortunately closed. Unable to buy minifigurines at the Lego Store or shop at Galeria Kaufhof or Primark, we decided to explore the city a bit further with no map (you get lost and you don’t know where you are? Just look out for the Cathedral!):
A. Departure from the hotel
B. Antoniterkirche: an evangelic and gothic church just by the shopping streets
C. Basilika St. Aposteln: a Romanesque –and I must admit quite impressive- church close to Neumark
D. Just a small park along a busy road (seems like it’s the clubbing area!) to rest a bit and look at the ducks!
E. We crossed a romantic bridge to reach the MediaPark and its KölnTurm and cinema
F. A bit further, we walked through the Klingelpützpark to take a last look at the Cathedral
G. A stop in Heumarkt for a late lunch at La Tagliatella, an Italian restaurant with quite a busy decor and filling dishes of pasta
H. Time to digest a bit and we arrived to the Volksfest, a fun fair that takes place on the river bank during the Easter holiday: lots of gingerbread, loud music and screaming teenagers! (yeah maybe I screamed once or twice too…)
I. Back to adulthood… with the visit of the flea market in Rheinauhafen just next to the Schokoladenmuseum (nope as a Belgian, there was no way I was going to put a step in a chocolate museum in Germany! Even sponsored by Lindt!)
J. End of a nice week-end in a very charming city! Time to back the bags and go back to real life!
Oh and one last thing: if someone wants to offer me a flat on the edge of one of the Kranhausen, please feel more than welcome!