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.
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.
Can You Handle It Free Tour of Cologne
This tour is aimed for young travellers and those who feel young at heart. The tour will cover the Cologne Cathedral, Köln Triangle, Hohenzollern Bridge, Alter Markt and the Historic Town Hall, as well as giving you tips about the best places to eat and go out at night. Meet at the McDonald’s in Rudolfplatz and see where the day takes you.
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.
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.
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.