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Cologne’s vicinity to the Dutch and Belgian border make it a great hub to explore the neighbouring countries from, as well as some of western Germany’s landscapes. Here are some ideas for the perfect weekend getaways when you’re in the area and grow tired of Cologne’s buzzing centre.
A weekend trip to the Eifel region makes for the perfect refuge to detox from the hustle and bustle of Cologne’s city centre. The vast area has lots to offer whether you look for a spa and wellness retreat, charming historic villages such as Monschau, or pristine nature. Parts of the Eifel were declared a national park a few years ago, which is interspersed with romantic streams, fields and beech forests, all of which can be explored on the hiking trails that cross the landscape.
A weekend in Amsterdam is always a good idea, especially if you’re looking for a couple of days of shopping, culture and nightlife shenanigans. Direct trains from Cologne take you to the Dutch capital in under three hours and drop you off at the city centre. Two days in the city will give you the opportunity to stroll along the canals that are lined by the typical narrow townhouses, visit a couple of the iconic museums and dive into the crazy nightlife Amsterdam is known for.
Cologne’s vicinity to the Dutch and Belgian border make it a great hub to explore the neighbouring countries from. The Hague and the nearby Scheveningen beach are popular destinations among Germans, particularly in the summer months. The Netherlands’ third-largest city will fill your weekend with exploring architectural gems, cultural sights, and fun beach and watersports activities.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, look southwest towards the Moselle Valley. Westwards of Koblenz, the Moselle river cuts through the rolling hills and creates a spectacular landscape which is lined with picturesque river promenades, covered in terraced vineyards, and dotted with the remains of medieval castles. Small villages along the river spread their charm with half-timbered houses, beautiful wine estates, and fantastic food.
A historic old town, stunning river views and a 13th-century castle – Heidelberg has it all. The city is a mere two-hour drive or train ride south of Cologne and an excellent option for the romantically spirited. It’s the city of long romantic walks and literary figures. Stroll along the Philosopher’s Path up to the ancient castle or even take it further to the Königsstuhl for jaw-dropping views over the city that have been enjoyed by the likes of Goethe and Joseph Eichendorff before.
Bruges is synonymous with postcard-perfect motifs of brick Gothic architecture, meandering canals, and picturesque town squares. You can reach the quaint Belgian city within three hours from Cologne either via train or car. Spend your days exploring the historic sights, sip some famed Belgian beers in one of the vaulted beer cellars and shop around the cobble-stoned alley for local handicrafts.
In the midst of the stunning scenery of the Moselle wine region, one of Germany’s oldest cities lures with historic sites dating back to the Roman times. On a trip to Trier, you can travel through time and explore Roman monuments such as the Porta Nigra gate, imperial baths, and an amphitheatre that once hosted epic gladiator battles, as well as ostentatious Rococo palaces scattered across the town.