Cologne is a truly beautiful city sat on the banks of the river Rhine – the famous Gothic cathedral stands firm in the middle of the city – when I visited in July of 2014 it was swamped with tourists as the start of the summer holidays hit. I personally think it is overlooked – it is one of the most welcoming and interesting cities I have been too, much like a lot of German towns and cities we have these preconceived ideas that Germans are unwelcoming, in my personal experience this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes sometimes they appear a little stern but a friendly attitude will often diffuse this but more often than not you will find friendly welcoming and generous people willing to help in anyway they can (more than can be said for some in the UK).
The city itself is not large which makes it easy to explore, the train station is right in the centre meaning that you can walk to most of the central hotels without requiring a taxi.
There are plenty of restaurants and shopping opportunities as well as museums to explore, there was even live music on the bank of the Rhine near my hotel.
As with all cities you can set your own budget for food, accommodation and entertainment. Hotels start from around £50 for a B&B in the city centre getting cheaper the closer you are to the airport. The hotel I stayed at had a clean and comfortable room with a powerful shower, useful after a long sweaty day of travelling and the cutest turn down service – some tiny Haribo sheep! Whilst I cant guarantee that you will receive sleepy sheep everywhere you stay its nice to see that these traditions are still observed.
As regards to food – there are plenty of options – a variety of German restaurants interspersed with fast food and some international influences. As for plant based – as I have previously said I was not at the time on the look out but again happy cow will most definitely be able to assist with some suggestions, a quick search tells me there’s even a vegan buffet! The rise of plant based restaurants means that it is becoming even easier for those of us who do not eat meat.
One thing I will say is that due to the pandemic Germany has made a rule which means you either have to produce a negative test or proof of your vaccinations in order to dine indoors – so if you are planning to go out of season this is something that you will need to consider.
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