The Best Free Walking Tours to Take in Cologne, Germany

The Heinzelmännchen at the Cologne Christmas market
The Heinzelmännchen at the Cologne Christmas market | ©Pixel2013/Pixabax
Evelyn Smallwood

Cologne is a great city to see on foot, but not everything you walk by shouts out its history. An experienced guide can make the sights around the town, famous or not, come alive. Here are our favourite free walking tours in Cologne.

Freewalk Cologne

Everyday at 12:11 and 16:11, meet at the Eigelstein Tor, about a 5 minute walk from the main train station for an intimate and entertaining tour of the city. The tour takes 2.5 hours and you’ll hear about gangsters, the narrowest house of Cologne, St. Ursula’s bone chamber, the Heinzelmännchen Fountain and Tünnes and Schäl.

The new Kölner Mosque

Can You Handle It Free Tour of Cologne

Gay & Friends Tour of Cologne

Cologne is one of the most gay and lesbian friendly cities in Germany and there is plenty here to discover. Not all the good places are easily findable though. To get the lowdown on the scene and where to go, take a tour of the cafés, bars, fetish and gay-interest shops, saunas, theaters and nightclubs in the city centre. The tour must be booked in advance.

Hohenzollern bridge in Cologne during sunset

Self-guided tours

The old part of Cologne is very small, and most of the major tourist highlights are easily reached on foot in less than three hours. Thanks to podcasts and apps, there are plenty of places where you can download a free and comprehensive audio guide to all the Altstadt highlights.

Rick Steves’ Audio Tour

The European tour master has created a whole series of audio guides for cities all around Europe, giving detailed information about the most popular tourist spots.

View of Cologne’s Kranhäuser

IZI Tour App

This clearly laid out audio guide and map can be downloaded for all mobile platforms including Windows phones. You’ll start at the train station and end up at the Hofbräuhaus by way of Munich’s first art gallery and 16 other points of interest.

iAudioGuide on Spotify

This is another excellent free resource on a platform-neutral service. Spotify will work on your mobile device or tablet if you pay the monthly fee for the service, or will work for free on your laptop. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth walking around the city with your laptop open to save €9.99. There are 30 stops on the tour.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

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