The Most Beautiful Buildings in Cologne

Ebertplatz, Cologne in 1910, via Wikimedia Commons
Ebertplatz, Cologne in 1910, via Wikimedia Commons
Evelyn Smallwood

Around 75% of Cologne was destroyed by Allied bombs during the Second World War, largely because it was close enough to mainland England, so planes wouldn’t have to refuel for the return journey. In places such as Rotterdam, city planners gave architects permission to build whatever crazy buildings they wanted. In Cologne, the plan was mainly to get something, anything, up as quickly and cheaply as possible. 80 years later, the city is still not the prettiest, but it has enough notable buildings to keep things interesting.

Roonstr Synagogue

Before the Kristalnacht in 1938, there were five synagogues in Cologne. The neo-Romanesque synagogue on Roonstr, in the centre of town, was rebuilt along with the rest of the city in the 1950s. The building has three arched doors and gabled façade with a central rose window, but its best feature is the blue dome inside. It is possible to tour the synagogue and have lunch at the kosher café onsite, but reservations must be made first by email or phone.

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GORGEOUS GUATEMALA

Gorgeous Guatemala

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1. Guatemala

An 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.

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CentralAmerica

BEACHY BELIZE

Beachy Belize

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2. Belize

A 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.
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CentralAmerica

COLONIAL MEXICO

Colonial Mexico

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An 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.
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ADVENTUROUS ECUADOR

Adventurous Ecuador

8 days . Epic
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1. Ecuador

A 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.

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SouthAmerica

ANCIENT PERU

Ancient Peru

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2. Peru

An 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.
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Europe

SEDUCTIVE SOUTHERN ITALY

Seductive Southern Italy

10 days . Epic
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The 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.

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Europe

EDINBURGH AND THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS BY TRAIN

Edinburgh And The Scottish Highlands By Train

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2. Scotland

Embark 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.
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Europe

COMPLETE PORTUGAL BY TRAIN

Complete Portugal By Train

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A 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.
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Asia

SOULFUL SOUTH KOREA

Soulful South Korea

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1. South Korea

Discover 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.

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Asia

THAILAND, CAMBODIA & VIETNAM

Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam

11 days . Epic
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2. Thailand

From 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.
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SECRETS OF SRI LANKA BY TRAIN

Secrets Of Sri Lanka By Train

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3. Sri Lanka

A 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
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Africa

EPIC MOROCCO

Epic Morocco

11 days . Epic
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An 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!

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Africa

ULTIMATE EGYPT

Ultimate Egypt

9 days . Epic
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2. Egypt

From 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.
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IMMERSIVE KENYA

Immersive Kenya

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An immersive blend of culture and wildlife for first time travelers to Africa. Learn about Nairobi, sample local coffee in the Aberdares and finish up with a fantastic safari stay in the Masai Mara.
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12 Romanesque Churches

Kunibert, Ursula, Gereon, Andreas, Groß St, Martin, Aposteln, Cäcelien, Maria im Kapitol, Maria in Lyskirchen, Georg, Pantaleon and Severin – the 12 Romanesque Churches in central Cologne. For 1000 years, the city has been a centre of pilgrimage, with the number of churches reaching 600 at one point. These days, there are just 250, about 65% of which are Catholic. After the war, it took 40 years for the final church in the group to be fully reconstructed. Each one is its own combination of old and new.

Altstadt

Take a guided tour or just have a wander round on your own. The pastel-coloured buildings next to the Rhine give a small glimpse at what the Medieval city would have looked like when the Rathause (City Hall) was the real seat of power in town. The 200 year old Hänneschen puppet theatre is a great spot to stop by for a mid-afternoon rest and a laugh or any one of the breweries or cafés from Heumarkt to Eigelstein and back down to the river.

Cologne Mosque

Finally opening in June of 2017 after years of construction delays and disagreements, the DITIB Mosque in Ehrenfeld is determined to be a place for all Kölners. The architect, Paul Böhm is the son of the church-building architect Gottfried Böhm. Visitors are encouraged, head scarves are not required but – like cathedrals – it is respectful to cover legs and shoulders.

Go for a walk

Most of Cologne’s most beautiful buildings are private houses and little pockets of various neighbourhoods that survived the bombing relatively intact. The best way to see what the city used to look like is to take a walk. Here are three short ones that will give you a taste.

Leipzigerplatz to Florastrasse

Leipzigerplatz is about 300m from Ubahnstation Florastr in the northern Cologne neighbourhood of Nippes. Practically untouched, this leafy square and the neighbouring streets on the way to the Botanical Gardens are full of architectural gems from many periods in history.

Südstadt

One of the grander neighbourhoods in the city, Südstadt centres around the Ubahn station Chlodwigplatz, reachable from the town centre on the 12 and 15 lines. A nice wander through the side streets from the Rhine to the Volksgarten and back, with a stop at Die Fette Kuh for lunch, is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Spicherstr to Mediapark

Start just a few hundred metres west of Friesenplatz at the corner of Venloer and Spicherstr just at the edge of Stadtgarten. Walk north past many handsome houses old and new and end up in Mediapark, the ultra modern office tower complex in front of a massive park.

Kolumba Museum

In 2007, the Kolumba Museum, one of the oldest in the city, moved into its new home designed by architect Peter Zumthor. Unusually for a museum, the building is made from highly tactile materials like clay plaster, Jura limestone, wood, and leather and silk textiles, making it as much a pleasure to touch as to look at. In addition to the small but fine art collection, the building encases the Gothic ruins of the Romanesque Church of St Columba and the 1950 replacement build by Gottfried Böhm. Loads of daylight and expansive rooms make the building a delight, even if religious icons and decorative art aren’t really your thing.

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