Wondering where to stay in Cologne, Germany? This guide will help you with the decision, showing you the best area and places to stay in Cologne (including recommended hotels and apartments).
Cologne is located on the banks of Rhine river in North Rhine-Westphalia. With its stunning Gothic cathedral and a history that dates back to the Roman Empire, the city absolutely deserves to be on your German itinerary.
The city is also a great base to explore the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany, including Bonn, Aachen, Essen.
Where to stay in Cologne, Germany (for first-time visitors)
- near Kölner Dom – for sightseeing
- Old City (Altstadt) – for Christmas markets
- Cologne Central station – for one night
- Friesenplatz and Rudolfplatz – for nightlife
- Koelnmesse – for events and exhibitions
During my first trip to Germany, I had only 2 nights in Cologne. Thus, I looked for an area that is at a walking distance to the major tourist sites. In addition, I wanted to be close to the central train station, as I was arriving by train from Dortmund. The Historic City centre and especially the area around the Kölner Dom fit my needs perfectly.
If you’re visiting the city for sightseeing or you’re short on time, I strongly recommend booking accommodation in the Historic City centre. It is the most convenient area to stay.
Most popular hotel in Cologne
In a hurry? Looking for a great hotel with a convenient location?
Then check out CityClass Hotel Europa am Dom – it’s one of the most popular hotels due to its fantastic location.
A modern 4-star hotel situated right in front of the magnificent cathedral. A great location, close to restaurants, attractions and Christmas markets. Comfy rooms, stunning views of the cathedral and a fantastic breakfast.
Why book – next to Kölner Dom and the train station, delicious breakfast with lots of choices
Altstadt – the best area to stay in Cologne, Germany
What is the best area to stay in Cologne, Germany?
The Rhine river cuts the city into two halves that are connected by four bridges. The Old City (Altstadt) lies on the west bank, right in the city centre. This is the best place to stay in Cologne, especially the area south of Kölner Dom. The cathedral is the heart of the Historic Old Town. Everything you need (restaurants and attractions) is conveniently packed in one place.
Here are also most of the attractions, bars and restaurants, including the Central Railway station (Köln Hauptbahnhof). Actually, the Old Town is the best area to stay in Cologne not only for sightseeing but also for shopping.
Benefits of staying around Kölner Dom
- The best area to stay in Cologne for sightseeing or to be close to transport links.
- The Central train station conveniently connects you to the rest of Germany.
- The city is walkable, but if you need to use public transport, just take the metro from Dom/Hbf station.
- To save money use KölnCard. It includes free access to public transport and many discounts at museums and shops.
- Visit the famous cathedral and climb the south tower for stunning views.
- Take a panorama boat cruise.
- Don’t miss the City Hall, Great St. Martin Church and the views from Hohenzollern Bridge.
Best hotels near Kölner Dom
If you’re looking for the best central place to stay in Cologne, choose a hotel near Kölner Dom. You’ll be at walking distance from the most famous attractions and close to the best restaurants. Moreover, most of the good hotels in the city are located in this area.
Hotels near Kölner Dom (Best for couples)
CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom is located at the main square in the Old Town, only 300m away from the cathedral. The beautifully designed cosy rooms are ideal not only for tourists but also for business travellers.
Why book – 300m from the cathedral, public parking nearby, cathedral view, great breakfast
Lindner Hotel is at the beating heart of the city, close to the main attractions, shopping streets and the Central train station. The spacious rooms are soundproof for maximum privacy and comfort. In addition, the hotel features a Mediterranian restaurant and a swimming pool.
Why book – 350m from the cathedral, swimming pool, restaurant, private parking, nice breakfast with a huge variety
Hotels near Kölner Dom (Best for families)
Located directly opposite the Kölner Dom, this is one of the best family hotels. The included breakfast has a good variety of products for all tastes. It’s a great base not only to explore the city but also the rest of Germany.
Why book – 100m from the cathedral, outdoor terrace, public parking nearby, room views
Stern am Rathaus is a small 3-star boutique hotel located in the centre of the Old Town, near the City Hall. The Central train station is 5min away. It’s a great base to explore the city on foot. Yet, if you need to use public transport, the underground is just around the corner. The outstanding buffet breakfast features regional products from farmers of the surrounding countryside.
Why book – 300m from the cathedral, private parking nearby, room safe, coffee and tea making facilities, awesome breakfast
Luxury hotels in the Historic Centre
Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom is one of the best luxury hotels in Cologne, Germany near the cathedral. This grand hotel, family-owned since 1863, has an unbeatable location. It overlooks directly at the Cologne Cathedral. The hotel features a piano bar, French and Asian restaurants, a 24-hour room service and a free minibar. It’s the perfect base for a luxurious getaway.
Why book – location next to the cathedral, piano bar, French and Asian restaurants, wellness centre, comfortable rooms
This stylish hotel is only a short walk from the cathedral. Marriott Hotel offers spacious rooms, a private parking and a French-Asian fusion restaurant. It’s a great place to stay for business or leisure.
Why book – 350m from the cathedral, restaurant, private parking, great facilities
Apartments near Kölner Dom
This residence style hotel features a garden, a sun terrace and parking. The apartments are perfectly located, only 200m away from the cathedral. They are spacious, with separate lounge and bedroom and the kitchen part has everything you need. A coffee shop and a restaurant are available on site.
Why book – 200m from the cathedral, 24-hour reception, free laundry room, spacious apartments
If you look for a comfy and quiet apartment just a stone’s throw away from Kölner Dom, Haus am Dom is the place. The apartments are bright, modern and well equipped.
Why book – 450m from the cathedral, private parking nearby, quiet apartments, easy check-in
Hotels near Cologne Central station
The Central train station is located in the city centre, right next to the cathedral. So both locations (near the station or the cathedral) are ideal for sightseeing or exploring this region of Germany by train. However, if your itinerary includes a lot of day trips, check out these hotels, that are right next to the Cologne Railway station.
Savoy Hotel is one of the best-rated hotels near the Central station (Hauptbahnhof). It’s well-positioned both for sightseeing and day trips, being only 200m away from the railway station. This 4-star boutique hotel features a wellness centre, a modern German cuisine restaurant and a rooftop terrace with a panoramic view.
Why book – 200m from the railway station, iPod dock station, German restaurant, roof terrace, stylish rooms and great spa
A modern hotel located 250m away from the Central Railway station and the cathedral. The Old Town and many cultural attractions are within a walking distance. The included breakfast is stupendous with a wide range of options.
Why book – superb location, 250m from the railway station, traditional restaurant, public parking nearby
Where to stay in Cologne for nightlife
If not sightseeing, but nightlife is your priority, don’t stay near the cathedral or in the Old Town. The best area to stay in Cologne for nightlife is between Friesenplatz and Rudolfplatz. There are plenty of trendy cocktail bars and nightclubs to choose from. Yet, you’d still be close to the main attractions, no more than 1km away.
Another option is Zülpischer Platz, a popular nightlife spot for students (with lower prices). However, the only disadvantage is that it’s not so close to the Old Town as Rudolfplatz for example. Thus if you want to combine sightseeing with nightlife, Rudolfplatz or Friesenplatz is the better option for you.
Where to stay in Cologne for nightlife
- Friesenplatz and Rudolfplatz – the best area for nightlife, close to the main tourist attractions
- Zülpischer Platz – a great area for students with a lot of bars and pubs (but a little bit further from the Old Town)
The hotel has a perfect location, on Rudolfplatz Square, right next to the subway. It’s a prime area for shopping, restaurants and bars.
Why book – located on Rudolfplatz, restaurant and awesome bar, comfy rooms
If you look for a nice Spa hotel with bar and restaurants on site, then Pullman is the best option. The hotel features a great restaurant with a summer terrace and a unique rooftop bar.
Why book – 300m from Friesenplatz, luxury spa centre, restaurant with a summer terrace, comfy bed and pillows, room views
Where to stay in Cologne for Christmas markets
There are several Christmas markets and the most famous ones are at the cathedral, in front of the Old Town Hall and at Neumarkt. The markets are scattered around the city, so it’s difficult to choose a hotel that is close to every one of them.
Yet, if the markets are the main reason for your trip, book a hotel in Old Town. This is the best area to stay in Cologne for Christmas markets (the main market is located around the cathedral).
Benefits of staying in the Old Town
- you’ll be at a walking distance to the three biggest Christmas markets in the city
- close to most of the tourist attractions and museums
- the central train station is just a short walk (easy access to the rest of Germany and the airport)
Located between two of the biggest Christmas markets, the hotel is a perfect place to stay for a Christmas break. This modern hotel offers spacious rooms with good facilities including a mini bar. Although it’s right in the middle of the touristic and shopping area, the hotel is on a quiet street.
Why book – 300m from the cathedral, public parking nearby, cathedral view, great breakfast
Located directly opposite the Kölner Dom, this is the nearest hotel to the main Christmas market. The included breakfast has a good variety of products for all tastes. It’s a great base not only for the Christmas markets but also to explore the city.
Why book – excellent location, 100m from the cathedral, public parking nearby, room views
Hotels near Koelnmesse
While the west bank is great for sightseeing and nightlife, the east bank is a better option if you’re visiting the city for an event or exhibition. Plus the views of Kölner Dom from the east bank are remarkable.
If you need accommodation near the Congress-Centrum Koelnmesse or Lanxess Arena, check out these three hotels.
Dorint An der Messe Köln is the nearest hotel to Congress-Centrum Koelnmesse and Lanxess Arena. It’s a great business hotel located opposite the Congress-Centrum Koelnmesse. You can easily reach the Cologne exhibition grounds. In addition, the Lanxess Arena is less than 500m away. The hotel features soundproofed rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, safety deposit boxes and a spa area. The breakfast is outstanding with a delicious hot and cold selection.
Why book – opposite Congress-Centrum Koelnmesse, WiFi, wellness centre, delicious breakfast, great spa facilities
Hyatt Regency has the ideal location both for business and sightseeing. It’s situated less than 1km away from Congress-Centrum Koelnmesse, Lanxess Arena and the Cologne Cathedral. The rooms offer marvellous views of the cathedral and the city’s skyline. This 5-star luxury hotel features an excellent spa area and a winter garden restaurant.
Why book – 600m from Congress-Centrum Koelnmesse, WiFi, private parking, airport shuttle, stunning room views
Castle hotels near Cologne, Germany
Staying in a castle or a palace is a unique and unforgettable experience. And the best part is that the price is the same as the price of a hotel room in Cologne. So if you need a place for a romantic escape or to explore the beautiful region around the city, check out these two great castle hotels near Cologne, Germany.
This castle hotel is located in Bergisch Gladbach, a city only 16km away from the city (a 30min journey with a car or a train). This is the most luxurious castle hotel near Cologne. Prince-Elector Johann Wilhelm II of Duesseldorf commissioned the construction of Schloss Bensberg in the 18th century. This 5-star sumptuous hotel features an amazing 1,000 square meter spa area and a library with a vast selection of old and new works. It’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway.
Why book – 20km from the city, 1000m² spa with pool, gourmet restaurant, private parking, excellent breakfast menu
This palace hotel is in Lohmar, less than 30km away from the city (a 30min journey with a car). Hotel Schloss Auel is housed in a converted 14th-century water castle and it’s a fantastic place for golf lovers.
Why book – 30km from the city, 27-hole golf course with driving range, public parking, great restaurant