1 day in Cologne

What to see in Cologne in one day

Are 24 hours in Cologne enough to see the city? How to spend this 1 day in Cologne in the best possible way?

During my first trip to Germany, I spared one day and a half for Cologne. I wished I had more time because I didn’t manage to see all the things that I had planned.

Overall one day is enough to get a good idea of the city. Yet, I would recommend you to spend two or three days. There are some nice museums that are not to be missed.

 What to see in Cologne in one day itinerary – map



08:00 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the itinerary 1 day in Cologne with a breakfast at Kaffeesapiens.

09:00 AM – 09:15 AM
Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke)
Cross the Hohenzollern Bridge. The views of the famous Cologne Cathedral from there are amazing. Hohenzollern Bridge is covered with thousands of love padlocks. So if you want to lock your love this is the place.

Hohenzollern Bridge
Hohenzollern Bridge

09:30 AM – 10:30 AM
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
You can’t miss the Cologne Cathedral. Even if you want to skip it on purpose, you won’t be able to do that. Its two 157m towers make the cathedral visible from almost everywhere. And the location is more than perfect – just outside the Central train station.

Cologne Cathedral is one of the masterpieces of the Gothic architecture. You can climb the tower or visit the treasury. The entrances to the both are outside the cathedral.

Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Heinzelmännchenbrunnen is a little fountain next to the cathedral. It tells the legend about the house gnomes (Heinzelmännchen) and the tailor’s wife. The gnomes were helping the citizens of Cologne with the housework at night. One day a tailor’s wife tricked them and was able to see these creatures. The gnomes got angry and stopped helping the people.

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Cologne City Hall (Rathaus)
Every city in Germany has a rat house. Wait, what? No, I am just kidding. But every time I read the word city hall in German (Rathaus) I am imaging this. In fact the word “Rat” in German means council, and “Haus” – house. The Cologne City Hall is the oldest in Germany with a history over 900 years.

Cologne City Hall
Cologne City Hall

11:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Great St. Martin Church (Gross Sankt Martin)
Great St. Martin Church is one of the twelve Romanesque churches in Cologne. It is the most beautiful one of them.

Great St. Martin Church
Great St. Martin Church

12:00 PM – 02:00 PM
Try the delicious German cuisine at Peters Brauhaus. If you are not too hungry grab a sandwich from Merzenich Bäckereien.


02:00 PM – 02:30 PM
House of Fragrances 4711
House of Fragrances 4711 is the place where it all started. This is the birthplace of Eau de Cologne, which in French means water from Cologne. There is even a fountain filled with perfume in the shop.

02:45 PM – 03:15 PM
Basilica of the Holy Apostles (Basilika St. Aposteln)
Basilica of the Holy Apostles is one of the twelve Romanesque churches. It dates from the 11th century.

Basilica of the Holy Apostles
Basilica of the Holy Apostles

03:30 PM – 03:45 PM
Hahnen Gate (Hahnentorburg)
Once Hahnen Gate belonged to the medieval city walls of Cologne. The gate was built in the 13th century to secure the western entrance of the city.

Hahnen Gate
Hahnen Gate

04:00 PM – 04:15 PM
Roonstrasse Synagogue (Synagogue Roonstraße)
Roonstrasse Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Cologne. It is built in Neo-Romanesque style in 1899.

Roonstrasse Synagogue
Roonstrasse Synagogue

04:30 PM – 05:30 PM
Hiroshima-Nagasaki Park or Melaten Cemetery (Melaten-Friedhof)
You probably won’t have time to visit both of them and let’s face it  – visiting a cemetery is not for everyone.

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Park is the ideal place for a rest after a long day of sightseeing. It is named like that to commemorate the atomic bomb victims of 1945.

Melaten cemetery is the central cemetery of the city. The ground on which the cemetery stands nowadays once was an execution site. They even executed witches on this place. Earlier during the 12th century, there was a home for lepers.

Find out more about the history of the cemetery on this guided tour (only in German).
Melaten Cemetery
Melaten Cemetery

Finish your one day in Cologne with some traditional German meals at Brauhaus Pütz or Brauerei Päffgen. End your evening with a pub crawl tour.

How to save money?


KölnCard costs only 9 EUR (~11 USD, ~8GBP) and it includes:

  • free access to public transport for 24 or 48 hours
  • up to 50% discounts from numerous museums, restaurants and shops

What else to see

Take a panorama boat cruise through Cologne.

Check out 2 days in Cologne for more things to do in the city.

Explore some castles near Cologne or take a boat cruise through the spectacular Siebengebirge.

I recommend these tours

Tours in German

Where to stay in Cologne

Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom – this luxury hotel is located directly opposite the Cologne Cathedral. You’ll need only 2 minutes to reach the Central train station.

Stern am Rathaus – is located right in the heart of the Old Town of Cologne, 300m away from the cathedral.

Have you been to the city? What else is a must see if you have only 1 day in Cologne (24 hours in Cologne)?

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1 day in Cologne itinerary - What to see in Cologne in one day

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About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

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One Reply to “1 day in Cologne”

  1. I was a little shocked about the rat house until you explained.

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