Unravel the secrets of Cologne's Old Town (Altstadt), located at the very heart of the city. Taking a stroll through this historic district is the perfect way to while away a day of your vacation in Germany. Some of Cologne's most popular attractions can be found within this picturesque area, including the city's famous cathedral. Known for its lively hustle and bustle, the streets of Old Town are often crowded with visitors ducking in and out of local bars, pubs, and restaurants.
Attractions in the center of Cologne
Old Town is situated on the banks of the Rhine in the middle of Cologne. Over 70 percent of Old Town was destroyed during World War II, but there are still many things to see and do in the city's fascinating historic quarters. The quaint yet impressive houses are quintessentially German and beg to be explored. Must-see attractions include the Gothic-style cathedral, the 16th-century Town Hall, and the Romanesque Groß St. Martin Church. The area's museums include the Roman-Germanic Museum and the Museum Ludwig. Historical sites such as the Archeological Zone, the Old St. Alban Memorial, and the Stapelhaus offer an exciting journey of discovery into the city's past. Stroll through the picturesque streets and alleyways to see brightly colored buildings, or relax with a coffee in one of the cafés lining the area's famous squares. Alternatively, take a tour of one of the breweries and sample a glass or two of Kölsch. Kölsch is a local brew, and one of the few traditional German ales. It's worth the taste and can be found in abundance in the Altstadt.
Rivers and retail
Steeply gabled houses line the Rhine promenade, the perfect place to start your river tour. For a romantic experience like no other, spend an evening gazing out upon the Old Town and churches as you relax to live music on the river. Incredible photo opportunities present themselves when floating along the water, in a fantastic and relaxing atmosphere. There are also many monuments and fountains in Cologne's Old Town, including the figures of Tünnes and Schäl, and the Heinzelmännchen (Cologne elves) fountain. Like a bit of retail therapy? As the center of Cologne's old neighborhood of handicrafts and trade, Alter Markt and Heumarkt are major attractions for Cologne residents and visitors. As well as restaurants and cafes, these areas host Christmas markets, while the main shopping strip is lined with global flagship stores. In short, Cologne's Altstadt has something to explore for every taste, whether you're a historical enthusiast, a casual tourist, a big shopper, or a lover of fine food and drink.