Cologne for the weekend is a GREAT idea. Stuttgart, Germany is just a few hours away from many major cities around Europe including Cologne. I have visited this city several times over the past few years, so felt really comfortable about booking our short visit to this two-thousand-year-old town. Cologne, Germany was one of Rome’s largest colonies outside of Rome. (Colony/Cologne/Köln) was a critically important political and religious town on the Rhein (Rhine) river for the early Roman Empire.
So much history in one place and fun things to do!
Getting there by FAST TRAIN ~
We decided to take the fast train to Cologne and it was a lot of fun. In Germany while taking the train, you need to know before you go. It was only €120 round trip from Stuttgart to Cologne for the weekend. I think that is a GREAT deal!
- Make seat reservations in both directions
- Check the schedule online before booking the tickets
- Pack light
Enjoy the view! This particular train ride skirts the Rhine river the entire way up to Cologne and was incredible journey dotted with castles and little hamlet towns along the river the whole way.
Where we stayed!
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Jon and I were heading to Cologne for a weekend to see comedian Jim Gaffigan and we are also BIG Marriott fans. We have a Vacation Club Timeshare we bought 17 years ago and when we travel just the two of us, we like to stay here. Mostly because we know what to expect and we both like having amenities to work-out, be close to the sites and use our points. American Express will also let you transfer your points to Marriott although we found it isn’t that great of exchange so we typically.
Very nice rooms and our location was perfect, would absolutely stay again!
Funk Haus ~ Funkhaus Gastronomie GmbH
Wonderful breakfast and close to the old town area.
Oma’s Kuche ~ Grandma’s Kitchen, Große Budengasse 2 b, 50667 Cologne
Simple, German affordable breakfast in a very busy town. Homecooked breakfast in the heart of Cologne and very close to the city center.
Haxenhaus Rheingarten – Frankenwerft 19, 50667 Cologne
Really fun Biergarten and Brewhouse – not too far from the old town district. Enjoy this old-timey bar and restaurant with a full German restaurant.
Building began in 1248 and the spires to this cathedral are still so impressive and massive I can’t even imagine what people must have thought in the middle ages before skyscrapers. WOW! Definitely the most photographed cathedral in Germany it stands majestic over all the city.
The shrine of the Magi (3 Kings) of Christ is here and it is just a magnificent museum and historical building as well as a church. A focal point for the city you can see why it would draw so many visitors every year.
Located just beneath the church are public restrooms (there is a fee, I think .50 at the time of this writing.)You may want to take a formal tour of the cathedral which I would recommend. It was inexpensive to book a local tour. I like to use Tours by Locals. They are generally very passionate about their city, history and eager to share. Like me!
Also, the entrance to the Hauptbahnhof (City Train Station) is on the second level, so again, the location is perfect for a visit by train.
The Archeological Museum in Cologne is fantastic. It is filled with historic and archeological information from before the Roman occupation. Jon and I thought this museum was very interesting, inexpensive and taught us a lot about the history of not just Cologne but the early beginnings of Europe.
Cologne HAS Christmas Markets!! Probably the only city in Germany that has multiple Christmas markets ALL AT ONE TIME and most within walking distance. Cologne makes for a great weekend trip in December too. Check it out. They even have a gnome market, chocolate market, old-town market, family market and more! Yup, definitely a Christmas Market town.
One area in Cologne I love to walk along is the promenade from the Hohenzollern Bridge to the Rheinhausen area. During Christmastime, this is where you will find two Christmas markets, the Chocolate market, and the Marina Christmas market. I also love this area because you can catch a night dinner cruise along the Rhine or a boat ride or just walk through the park and enjoy nature.
Cologne at night
Cologne takes on a whole different personality at night. One of the most packed love lock bridges in Germany you will be amazed at this display. If you love night time photography I would encourage you to walk the streets (in safety) for some really cool shots.
Traveling around Europe and especially Germany has never been easier and you don’t have to travel to far to see some incredible places. Cologne, for instance, has so much to see, eat and do! Maybe you’ll want to see a concert for the weekend or just have a quick getaway. I hope you have enjoyed my highlighted tour of Cologne and you are inspired to have an adventure yourself.