On the cultural side, Cologne scores with beautiful churches, monuments and museums. But the city has some fantastic outdoor activities in store as well. Free basketball courts, football fields and table tennis are available throughout the city, but that’s far from it. Here are seven outdoor activities you can try in Cologne.
Cologne has an excellent network of cycling routes that take you along the river, through forested areas, and to the leafy suburbs. Themed guided tours often include a rental bike and show you the best street art, Roman monuments or best riverside spots. If you prefer to explore on your own, you can rent a bike at several stations in the city.
Radstation Köln, Breslauer Platz, Cologne, Germany, +49 221 139 7190
Skateboard and BMX
Cologne has a handful of outdoor skateparks with halfpipes, ramps, handrails and curbs. The KAP 686 opened in 2010 and has become increasingly popular in the street skateboarding scene. On 2,000 square metres along the Rhine, skaters can work on their tricks, and the best part is it’s completely free.
Kap 686 Skateplaza, Agrippinaufer, Cologne, Germany, +49 157 7239 3975
Bs Tailslide from yesterday's @kap686 Team-Contest with team G-Squad @michasp @kalle_chillino 📷: @flowment @tsch9na @made_in_official #kap #kap686 #teamcontest #köln #cologne #goodtimes #sunset #shittyrainyweather #teamgsquad #grizzlygang #urbansupplies #osirisshoes #tituswiesbaden #blindskateboards #gude #lifetimelaces #footprintinsoles #damnitfeelsgoodtobeaskater @blindskate @grizzlygriptape @urbansupplies @osirisshoes @tituswiesbaden @gudestoff @lifetimelaces @fpinsoleseurope
Several Cologne rowing clubs offer training courses and memberships to those who want to get out on the Rhine river or one of the city’s lakes. It’s best to book classes in advance as they do tend to book out beforehand. The Mühlheimer watersports club and the Rodenkirchen rowing club both teach the basic techniques in a six-week-long course.
Waterskiing and wakeboarding
A few kilometres south of Cologne near Brühl, the Bleibtreusee offers all kinds of watersports fun between April and October. Swimming, windsurfing, and scuba diving are popular, but the highlight is a waterski and wakeboard cable park. In the season, beginner courses are available weekly. Alternatively, you can join a group or rent one of the two cableways for a group of friends.
Bleibtreusee, Bleibtreuseeweg 1, Brühl, Germany, +49 22 322 2681
The Fühlinger See, a lake in Cologne’s north and location for the popular Summer Jam reggae festival each year, offers more than picturesque spots to sunbathe and swim. Beside a 2,300-metre-long regatta course, the lake features several dive sites. The onsite Blue Marlin scuba diving centre offers courses and guided dives all year round.
Blue Marlin, Stallagsbergweg 1, Cologne, Germany, +49 177 306 8657
Over the summer months, the Playa beach bar has five beach courts that can be rented by the hour or as a regular subscription for beach volleyball, football, or handball. In mid-October, the fields are being converted into an ice rink for more outdoor fun. The bar is open year-round and serves cocktails or mulled wine, depending on the season.