Dominated by the twin spires of Northern Europe’s largest Gothic church is Cologne’s Innenstadt borough. It sprawls on both banks of the Rhine River in the heart of the city, with outstanding art galleries, cultural museums and modern monuments among its attractions.
Things to do in Innenstadt
Built to house the remains of the Three Wise Men is the Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO-listed Gothic monument topped by two soaring spires. Its cornerstone was laid in 1248 and it now stands as the second-tallest structure in the city. Marvel at the stained-glass windows and see the largest swinging bell in the world before getting up close to precious artwork and relics in the treasury museum.
A short stroll from the Cologne Cathedral is the Museum Ludwig, where you’ll find one of Europe’s largest collections of works by Pablo Picasso. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Marc Chagall are also represented at the museum while the Kölner Philharmonie performs in the adjacent concert hall. Artwork dating from the medieval period to the early 20th century are exhibited at the Innerstadt’s Wallraf–Richartz Museum.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t miss a visit to the Imhoff Chocolate Museum, which was established by the German chocolate maker Hans Imhoff in 1993. It showcases the entire history of chocolate production, from the Olmec civilisation to the modern-day, while it also features a tropicarium planted with cacao trees. A highlight is the three-metre-tall chocolate fountain where dipped wafers are distributed to visitors.
Getting around Innenstadt
Innenstadt is around 15 minutes’ drive from Cologne Bonn Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. Trains connect from cities across Germany to the Cologne railway station while trams and buses travel throughout Innenstadt. Cologne’s Old Town is ideally explored on foot.