Cologne is a multi-faceted city with so much to see that it would take weeks to do it all. Walking tours are generally an excellent way of getting to know a place, so we’ve had a look at what Cologne has to offer and cherry-picked the most interesting guided tours that will help you to get acquainted with the city.
If you only do one thing in Cologne, it should be visiting the Cathedral. Even though you can enter the church daily and free of charge, a guided tour is money well spent if you’re even just a little bit interested in history and architecture. There are a number of options to choose from with varying prices, some of which include a climb up to the observation deck, others take you into the crypt and the cathedral treasury or focus on the stained glass windows and other individual artworks.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
The Melaten Cemetery is to Cologne what Père Lachaise is to Paris. The cemetery encompasses an area of 435,000 square metres and with its parks and tree-lined walking paths creates a peaceful atmosphere that locals believe is not only a place for grief and remembrance but also a spot to recover and feel alive. Guided tours tell of the cemetery history and individual tombs and mausoleums, and share insight into the interesting lives that some of Cologne’s most famous citizens led before they found their final resting place here. Tours are organised by various operators and follow different themes; prices start at around €11 per person.
Behind Cologne Cathedral, the cobbled alleys and plazas of the Old Town have a few stories to tell as well. Walking tours are a fun way to learn about the 200 years of history Cologne has under its belt. You’ll see and hear about the pillars of Cologne’s identity – from the historical town hall, the pastel-coloured houses at the fish market and the traditional brew houses to fascinating anecdotes from the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages and some insider’s knowledge of the local Carnival customs. Prices start at €10 per person.
It won’t take you long to realise that Cologners are obsessed with their local beer variety, called Kölsch. Twelve traditional brewhouses across the city still produce a variety of beers which are all served in long and thing 200-millilitre glasses. Countless operators organise tours around the most popular breweries in Cologne’s Old Town, beer, snacks and schnapps included. Foreign languages are offered by almost all, but if you speak German, you might want to consider going with a guide who tells all the fun anecdotes of Cologne and beer-making in the local dialect.
Cologne developed from a 50-AD Roman settlement. Remnants of the time are scattered across the city, but some are hidden underground. Guided tours take you beneath the surface of today’s and past the old city walls, into the remains of the 2000-year old Roman Praetorium, the palace of a former Roman governor, and an ancient sewage system. Other highlights include an early Christian baptismal font and the mysterious Ubier stone monument.
More than 300 church towers punctuate the sky above Cologne, and while virtually everyone visiting will stop at the jaw-dropping Gothic Cathedral, many don’t know that the city is also home to twelve Romanesque churches. They were all built between 1150 and 1250 and form in a semi-circle within the ancient city boundaries. Each and every one of them tells their own story, and guided tours explore what’s behind the historic walls, usually picking two out of the twelve for a three-hour-long tour. Prices are available upon request.
Cologne’s established art galleries aside, the city boasts a ton of urban spots that feature some incredible street art. The neighbourhoods of Ehrenfeld, Nippes, Mülheim and the Belgian Quarter are particularly interesting, and guided walking tours take you past the most impressive large-scale murals, graffiti, tiny stickers, yarn-bombed lampposts and stencils. CityLeaks tours usually run €7.50 per person; ongoing dates and meeting points are listed on their website.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.