Both Cologne’s mild winters and the warmer summers are streaked with rainy days. But the city has tons of indoor activities to choose from. Whether you’re looking for cultural, culinary or active pastimes for a soppy day, our guide has got you covered.
Learn new things at a museum
Cologne has a vast array of interesting museums for a culture-packed day. If you’re into art, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and Museum Ludwig should go on your list. The two houses display a comprehensive collection of Impressionist and contemporary art, respectively. The artefacts at the Romano-Germanic Museum tell of the fascinating Roman history of Cologne, and the Chocolate Museum lures visitors with a look behind the scenes of chocolate-making and the chance to sample fresh chocolate from a 10-foot fountain.
And by local cuisine, we mean the local beer, Kölsch. Brewhouses have a long tradition in Cologne, and most of them only produce Kölsch. From the once 100 breweries, just over 20 still exist, but a handful of new ones have opened in recent years. A brewhouse tour takes you to some of the best, tells you about their history and the properties of each Kölsch brand – free beers included. If you’re feeling a bit peckish, local specialities such as Halve Hahn or Mettbrütche go well with a glass of Kölsch.
Take an underground tour of Cologne
What better escape from the miserable weather than going underground. Guided tours take you below the street levels of Cologne and transport you to the historical past of the city. Highlights of the tour include the 2000-year-old remains of the Roman Praetorium, the former Governor’s Palace, and an original aqueduct. Those interested in history will love the excavation site and learning about Cologne during Roman times. It’s a catacomb-like experience, so be aware of that if you’re uncomfortable in tight spaces.
The beautiful wellness centre in Ehrenfeld is the perfect spot to escape from a harsh and rainy winter day. Over an area of 16,400 square feet, Neptunbad offers everything you need to warm up and relax. A day pass costs approximately €34 and buys you access to the sauna and pool area. Massages and beauty treatments can be booked additionally.
In Cologne’s hip Ehrenfeld quarter, you can level up your mini golf skills. For nine euros you can book a slot at Glowing Rooms, an indoor minigolf course that will make your head spin. At the entrance you get 3D glasses, pass through thick black curtains and enter a surreal world of neon-painted walls and floors illuminated by black light. Once you put on the glasses, the colourful murals of coral reefs and outer space will come to life.
Mural at the Glowing Rooms mini golf venue in Cologne | Courtesy of Glowing Rooms
Make your own perfume
Every Thursday, the 4711 Perfume House offers one-hour-long workshops on how to create a fragrance. After a bit of theory, you get to sample dozens of ingredients before starting to select your favourites and mixing them to create your signature scent. Classes are usually held in German, but it’s possible to book a private session in English.
Jump House only opened in 2016 and has become popular with people of all ages. A pass buys you entry into a 12,470-square-feet hall floored with 120 trampolines and several ‘action zones’ where you can play basketball and dodgeball. Or you can channel your inner Ninja Warrior and head straight to the obstacle parkour, if you like more of a challenge. What looks like childish fun at first will leave you sweating and possibly with sore muscles.