Cologne is not only a popular tourist destination but also a centre for media and businesses. The city is famous for, Eau de Cologne, a type of fragrance now used the world over, which was first produced here in 1709. The city is also well known to be one of the most liberal cities in Germany.

Probably the most popular tourist attraction in Cologne is the picturesque Old Town, which although being almost completely reduced to rubble during World War II, was painstakingly rebuilt to retain its original character. The historical centre, where you’ll find the famed Alter Markt (Old Market), has been painstakingly rebuilt according to its pre-war style, with its famous most famous building, Cologne Cathedral, receiving a particularly careful restoration. A more modern attraction, but still one of the oldest examples in Germany, is the Cologne Zoo.

Cologne has become a major cultural centre known for its carnival, celebrated in February. Throughout the year there is plenty to do in the city thanks to the lively art scene, countless galleries and over 30 museums and galleries. The Schnütgen Museum has an extensive collection of medieval art, housed in a Romanesque church from the 11th century. The Museum für Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts) is home to thousands of design objects, from a chair by Mies van der Rohe to a simple retro vacuum cleaner.

If you want to practice German, then Cologne is the ideal place. The local population is known for its hospitality. Many people speak English, especially young people, and there are plenty of guided tours in English.

It’s easy to get around in Cologne thanks to the efficient and affordable public transport network, consisting of trams, buses and trains and the ticket machines have an option for English. Another great way to explore the city is by bike, which can be rented on the north side of the main train station.

Guide to Exploring Cologne

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