Cruising through Cologne
The German city of Cologne is home to just under 1 million citizens. Located along both sides of the spectacular Rhine river, it is also one of the oldest cities in Germany, having first been settled around 38 BC.
Before the outbreak of World War I, Cologne had grown into a major center for trade and commerce and encompassed roughly 700,000 citizens. After the Second World War, Cologne was in ruins and almost all of its former population had either fled or been victims of the air raids.
Like many European cities decimated by World War II, Cologne rose once again from the ashes. Work on rebuilding and restoring the city continued well into the 1990s, and by 1960 the town had reached its pre-war population again.
Today, Cologne is a modern city that plays host to the headquarters of many prestigious organizations, notably art-book publisher Taschen, automotive manufacturer Ford Europe and national German airline Lufthansa and its subsidiary, Lufthansa CityLine.
Your River Cruise Ship Docks…
River cruise ships in Cologne dock right in the heart of Cologne. This beautiful city is just steps away, and areas further out are easily accessible by public transportation.
When in Cologne…
Cologne offers a pleasant array of notable sights, rich history and unique experiences. Many major attractions are located in the city centre and are easily within walking distance of each other.
Among the best ways to spend your day:
- River cruisers staying late in the evening may wish to take part in one of the most fascinating dining experiences you’re likely to have. At Unsichtbar (Invisible), diners choose their meals from a gallery beforehand and are then led into a completely darkened dining room by a personal butler, who is blind. Your butler will assist you in everything, from pouring wine to locating your food – all in total darkness. Rather than being a negative, the focus here is on textures, tastes and smells and arguably heightens the culinary experience, while at the same time giving recognition to the world that the visually impaired live in every day. It’s also incredibly popular – those wishing to dine here on weekends usually have to make reservations between two and three months in advance.
- In keeping with German culture, Spa and Sauna experiences are an incredibly popular way to relax and unwind. One of the largest is the popular Claudius Theme, which includes several saunas, cold plunge pools, and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. North American cruisers should note that most saunas are co-ed, and bathing suits are banned for hygienic reasons.
- Kölner Dom is easily one of the city’s most recognizable sights. Admission to this imposing cathedral is by donation, and for an extra €2.50 you can gain entry to the cathedral’s 509-stair south tower. Definitely plan to be in good shape if you intend to climb the tower; the view however is worth the effort.
- Cologne is known for its beer, called Kölsch. If you’re a fan of the pint, it’s tough to go wrong with a lunchtime visit to a traditional pub, many of which offer up local specialties as well as time-tested favorites. The city center is littered with unique pubs and restaurants and accordingly, you’re sure to find something that fits the bill.
- Schokoladenmuseum Köln GmbH: if you know a bit of German, you read that correctly – it’s a Chocolate museum. Worth checking out if you have the time.
River Cruisers Should Know!
- German and English are widely spoken throughout Cologne. For English-speaking tourists, it still pays to know some basic German phrases. The locals will appreciate your efforts!
- Announcements and notices in many places, like Cologne’s main train station, are made in German, English and French.
- River cruisers venturing into the city center of Cologne shouldn’t encounter any problems crime-wise, but it still pays to exercise the normal level of alertness you would in any major city.
The title of this article is stupidly misleading. I want to know EXACTLY WHERE the Viking Cruise ships dock. “The Heart of Cologne” is not helpful.
The Viking cruise I am on right now docked a one hour coach ride away. Wastes a lot of time. Docked nowhere near the city. Next trip fir me will be on my own. Riding on a coach bus for hours is not my idea of a holiday and certainly NOT a cultural experience
Lise Lieder says
We will be on Amadeus Cruise the Heart of Europe on Day 4 in Cologne. I want to go to BOTH Kolner Dom & SchokoladenMuseum but need to know where the Cruise Ship will dock in relation to Kolner Dom as it is one of the walking tours. If need be, I’ll leave the Dom & taxi to the Schokolade Museum before returning to ship.