Cologne (or Köln) is one of the largest cities in Germany, and a bustling hub of media and business on the Rhine. The dramatic Kölner Dom can be seen from miles away, and a number of other beautiful Gothic and Romanesque churches dot the city. There are also museums dedicated to Roman history, modern and religious art, ethnology, sports, and even chocolate.
Cologne by night © Michael Rastetter
There are two lovely, massive green lungs in the city containing a number of distinct parks and recreational areas and several beer gardens. In warm weather there is a fun outdoor culture in Cologne and thousands of people gather in these areas for picnics, sports and socialising. The two pedestrian strips of Hohe Strasse and Schildergasse offer great shops, cafes and street music.
Cologne is well known for its Veedel or traditional neighbourhoods. One of the most interesting districts for tourists is the bohemian Agnesviertel neighbourhood where visitors can find local fashion designers, bookshops, bars, and art galleries.
Cologne has a vibrant and colourful cultural life. Visitors can sample locally-brewed Kölsch beer and other gastronomic specialties. The city is also known as the gay capital of Germany with a large Gay Pride event held every year. The local inhabitants are known to be very friendly, sociable and liberal, making Cologne one of the best German cities in which to meet people and make friends.