Why and how to climb the Cologne Cathedral tower

Cologne cathedral tower and Cologne cathedral treasury

If you are headed to Cologne, the Cologne cathedral (Kölner Dom) is probably on your must see list. This was the reason for me in first place to decide to visit the city. To climb the Cologne cathedral tower is one of the must things to do in Cologne.


History of the cathedral

Cologne cathedral is one of the most superb achievements of the Gothic architecture. And how it could not be, as its construction took more than six centuries to be completed.


The building of the cathedral started in 1248. There were few long interruptions in the construction due to the lack of money or interest. After its completion in 1880, the Cologne cathedral was one of the highest structures in the world. In 1884 it lost the title due to the Washington Monument, but it still has the world’s largest church facade.

inside the cathedral

The large stained glass windows are remarkable, so choose a sunny day for your visit to see their real beauty.

stained glass windows

World War II not only flattened the city of Cologne, but it also didn’t spare the cathedral. The latter was hit by 14 large aerial bombs that caused severe damages. Luckily they didn’t turn it down. In the post-war years, the cathedral was reconstructed.


Cologne cathedral treasury

The Treasure Chamber is outside of the cathedral, on the left side of the main entrance. It houses a rich collection of church relics dating from the Middle Ages.

The Cologne cathedral treasury keeps the Shrine of the Three Kings. It represents a golden sarcophagus that holds the crowned skulls and clothes of the Three Wise Men. This relic was taken from Milan by Holy Roman Emperor Fredrick Barbarossa and given to the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald von Dassel in 1164.

Other notable treasure is the Gero Cross (Gero Kreuz), carved in 976. It is the oldest crucifix north of the Alp survived till present time.


Climbing the Cologne cathedral tower

Standing in front of its two 157m towers, you can feel yourself small and insignificant. You can imagine the magnificent panoramic view over the river Rhine from the top of the towers.

front view of the cathedral

There is no admission for visiting the cathedral, but you have to pay if you want to climb the Cologne cathedral towers. You can climb the south tower and there are 509 steps to the top of it. There is no elevator, so be prepared for a long climb.

one of the towers

During the climbing of the Cologne cathedral tower, you will pass along eight bells. One of them is the 24 tons heavy St. Peter’s Bell (Petersglocke).

one of the towers

The entrance to the tower is outside of the cathedral, on the right side of the main entrance.

Useful information
Address: Domkloster 4, 50667 Köln
Access: Metro station Dom/Hbf – lines 5, 16, 18
Opening hours: Every day
From November to April: 06:00 AM – 07:30 PM
From May to October: 06:00 AM – 09:00 PM
Cathedral: Free
Towers and Treasure chamber: More information
Web site: info

There are free organ concerts every Tuesday at 08:00 PM in the cathedral.

Have you visited the Cologne cathedral treasury or climb the south tower of the cathedral?

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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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