Cultural Cologne

With a new direct flight from London-Heathrow with British Airways, now is the ideal time to sell the small city charms of Cologne, Germany

Airport Koln

Why sell it

Cologne bridge
Hohenzollern bridge and Cologne Cathedral, image by Dieter Jacobi

Considered the cultural hub of the region, Cologne is a 2,000-year-old city on the banks of the Rhine River. Famed for its Gothic architecture, reconstructed old town and its UNESCO World Heritage cathedral, Cologne is the perfect option for travellers seeking history and culture.

Now that British Airways is running daily services between Cologne and London-Heathrow, the city is easily accessible within one-and-a-half hours’ flight time via Cologne Bonn Airport – with only a 12-minute train ride to the city centre.

This summer, from June to July, Cologne will be one of 10 host cities of the UEFA Euros 2024 and the sporting event presents an opportunity for the city to showcase its diverse and colourful cultural scene.

Who to sell to

Cologne marina
Marina Rheinauhafen Zollhaus, image by Tobias Vollmer

Cologne is targeting two distinct groups which it is referring to as the ‘Expeditive Milieu’ and ‘Post-Materialist Milieu’. The Expeditive Milieu are a digital-first group searching for unconventional and local experiences, so will enjoy the tolerant, sociable lifestyle and urban art scene.

The Post-Materialist Milieu are big advocates for sustainability, inclusion and diversity and will appreciate the city’s cultural offering including its museums and galleries plus its festivals and Carnival.
With a focus on diversity, Cologne prides itself on celebrating individuality and inclusivity and is welcoming to all. The annual Cologne Pride in July features a programme that is spread out over two weeks, with a three-day Christopher Street Day street fair at the heart. It is the biggest Pride parade in Europe.

There’s plenty for families too, such as the Chocolate Museum or the city zoo, while foodies will delight in over 3,000 different restaurants – of which 12 are Michelin star-rated – from home-style cooking and vegan cafes to cuisine ranging from Italian to Ethiopian to Vietnamese. High-quality food markets as well as food-themed museums celebrating mustard and chocolate round off the culinary offer of Cologne.

Couples, or friends, can create a lasting memory at the southern railing of Hohenzollern Bridge, where more than 300,000 ‘love locks’ have been attached with engraved names. Afterwards, throw the key into the Rhine as a sign of eternal love.

Sports fans will decend on Cologne’s RheinEnergieStadion for the UEFA Euro 2024 games, with matches played from June 15-June 30. A ‘Fan Zone Heumarkt’ in the Old Town will broadcast the games and a ‘Football Experience’ will encourage children to participate in friendly tournaments.

What to book

Cologne museum
Museum of Applied Art, image by Chris Weiher

There are plenty of attractions unique to the city, such as the Chocolate Museum, Cologne Cable Car, and the Michael Schumacher Private Collection. Fans of the German Formula 1 champion can peruse exhibits from his personal collection such as original helmets and racing overalls, plus seven racing cars in which he became World Champion, as well as his trophies.

Or sample the world-famous Cologne fragrance brand 4711 at the flagship store with the chance to splash yourself at a fragrance fountain with ́’Real Cologne Water’. Create your own fragrance, take museum tours about the history of fragrance or experience the scent menu- a special four-course dinner with corresponding scented oils.

Museum Ludwig is a highlight for art buffs, with the biggest Pop Art collection outside the USA and the world’s third-largest Picasso collection. It also houses an extensive collection of Russian Avant Garde paintings. Or those who prefer street art can head to the Ehrenfeld and the Belgian Quarter. A helpful Urban Art Map provides a digital overview of all murals and other urban art in the individual city districts.

When to sell

Cologne park
Cologne Grüngürtel image by Dieter Jacobi

As with many European cities, Cologne is considered a year-round destination due to its temperate climate. Temperatures average lows of one degree in the winter and highs of 24 degrees in the summer.

In the colder months the city’s festive Christmas markets draw in crowds looking for traditional stalls, twinkling lights and warming food and drink. Visitors flock to the Christmas market around the Cathedral, the Market of Hearts, and the Christmas Ferris wheel at the Chocolate Museum for festive fun, plus there’s nativity scenes, ice skating and Santa’s grotto.

In summer, take a boat trip along the Rhine with dinner, brunch and parties also offered onboard some sailings. The seasonal highlight is the naturstrom open-air summer cinema, a film screening on the marina steps in the Rheinauhafen district. Movies start as the sun goes down.

How to sell

Cologne church
St Pantaleon church, image by KölnTourismus GmbH

With its pedestrianised shopping district, stretching riverside pathways, and easily walkable districts, Cologne is great for a short city break over a long weekend of sightseeing. Highlight that there’s plenty to explore, with a repertoire of events throughout the entire year.

Cologne is also a popular stop on a Rhine river cruise with some sailings incorporating annual celebrations such as ART COLOGNE, the Cologne Carnival, or the famous Cologne Christmas markets.

Book it with… British Airways

BA offers a two-night flight and accommodation package from £179pp in January 2025. This includes staying at the four-star Mercure Koln West and return flights to Heathrow with checked baggage.

Cologne airport
Cologne logo

Main image by TOBIAS VOLLMER