Cologne, Germany in May (Weather, Temperature and What do Do)

Updated on November 8, 2023  


As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Why You Should Visit Cologne In May

Cologne, Germany transforms into a vibrant and lively destination in May, as the city comes alive with warmer temperatures and blooming landscapes.

This picturesque setting provides the perfect backdrop for exploring Cologne's rich culture, historical landmarks, and mouthwatering food scene.

May is an excellent time to delve into Cologne's unique charm while taking advantage of its various festivals that showcase local music, art, and entertainment.

cologne-cathedral-in may

As one of the most popular cities in Germany, Cologne draws visitors from around the world to appreciate its stunning cathedral - a must-see landmark with centuries-old architectural beauty - as well as several globally renowned museums like those dedicated to chocolate or perfumes.

In addition to its magnificent sights and events, your experience in Cologne wouldn't be complete without indulging in authentic German cuisine at local breweries or Biergartens dotted throughout the city.

Allow yourself some time for leisurely strolls along the enchanting Rhine River or wandering through Old Town's alluring cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings.

Weather And Climate In Cologne In May

Average Temperature And Precipitation

Experiencing Cologne in May offers travelers a comfortable climate, with average high temperatures reaching 65°F (18°C) and cooler evenings at around 45°F (7°C).

This makes it an optimal time to explore the city's charming streets and stunning architecture without being overwhelmed by extreme heat or chill.

However, visitors should also be prepared for some rainfall during their stay - throughout May, Cologne accumulates an average of 72mm (2.83") of precipitation.

Despite the moderate chance of rain (48%), the temperate conditions combined with seasonal variations make May one of the most desirable months for experiencing Cologne's charm.

Whether you're strolling along the picturesque Rhine River or indulging in delectable local cuisine at a Biergarten, pleasant temperatures enhance your outdoor adventures while brief showers add an atmospheric touch to your explorations.

Dressing For The Weather

As you prepare for your visit to Cologne in May, it's important to pack appropriate clothing that will keep you comfortable throughout various weather conditions.

With average high temperatures ranging from 63°F to 69°F (17°C-21°C) and evenings being mild, layers are your best friend for adapting to temperature changes during the day.

Start with lightweight base layers such as t-shirts or tank tops, followed by a long-sleeve shirt or sweater for added warmth. 

Also remember essential items like scarves, hats and gloves - these accessories are not only useful for keeping warm but can also elevate any outfit's style quotient while exploring the picturesque streets of Cologne.

Cologne May Holidays And Events

Mother’s Day

May is a special month to visit Cologne as it hosts many exciting holidays and events, including Mother’s Day. Celebrated on the second Sunday of May in Germany, this day is an opportunity to honor and show appreciation for mothers and mother figures.

The tradition dates back to the Middle Ages when people in Thuringia celebrated it by gathering wildflowers and presenting them to their mothers. Today, Germans celebrate with colorful costumes, family gatherings, gift-giving, and flowers.

It's a lovely time of year to enjoy Cologne's cultural traditions and festivities while also exploring all that the city has to offer.

Whether you're visiting Cologne with your family or friends, Mother’s Day in May adds another layer of excitement during your trip.

Take a stroll along the Rhine River or explore the Old Town's charming streets before surprising your mom with a bouquet of flowers or treating her at one of the local cafes or restaurants in town.

Labour Day

Visiting Cologne in May offers not only pleasant weather but also the opportunity to partake in Labour Day festivities, a public holiday celebrated across Germany on May 1st. [1]

Commemorating the achievements of the labour movement and workers' rights, this day is filled with various celebrations that travelers can enjoy.

Keep in mind that many businesses close their doors for Labour Day; however, tourist areas typically keep shops open to cater to visitors.

Ascension Day

One of the major holidays and events celebrated in Cologne during May is Ascension Day, known as "Christi Himmelfahrt" in Germany. [2] This public holiday falls on the 40th day of Easter, commemorating Jesus' ascension to heaven.

It is a religious observance that symbolizes the resurrection and ascension of Christ. On this day, many Germans go to church to attend special services or participate in processions.

However, it's also customary for locals to celebrate by getting together with family and friends, drinking beer, and enjoying traditional foods such as roasted chicken or pork knuckles at Biergartens throughout the city.

Top Things To Do In Cologne During May

Visit The Cologne Cathedral

A visit to the Cologne Cathedral should be at the top of any traveler's itinerary when visiting Cologne in May. This iconic landmark dominates the city skyline and is revered for its Gothic architecture.


It took more than 600 years to build this magnificent work of art, similar to other famous European churches. The cathedral is not only a masterpiece of German Catholicism but was also declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 due to its historical significance. [3]

Take A Stroll Along The Rhine River

One of the most popular activities to do in Cologne, Germany in May is taking a leisurely stroll along the Rhine River. It's a perfect way to enjoy the city's beautiful waterfront and take some stunning photos of its skyline.

At sunset, you can witness how the city transforms from a bustling metropolis into a romantic landscape lit up by warm oranges and deep reds.

rhine-river-cruise in may

Not only is it an excellent spot for sightseeing but also for experiencing local cuisine as there are plenty of restaurants and bars lining its banks where you can try authentic German dishes or sip on Kölsch beer while enjoying panoramic views of Cologne cityscape.

Explore The Old Town

One of the top things to do in Cologne during May is exploring the charming Old Town. This neighborhood boasts a rich cultural heritage, with stunning Gothic architecture and historical exhibits for visitors to admire.

cologne-old-town-Altstadt in may

In particular, you must visit Kölner Dom, one of Germany's most iconic landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through public squares like Alter Markt and Heumarkt, both beautifully restored and popular attractions for locals and tourists alike.

Afterward, take a stroll along the riverfront promenade Rheinpromenade - where you can watch the sunset with the spectacular view of Kölner Dom in the background.

Another highlight of this area is discovering Cologne's cultural past by visiting city museums like Fragrance Museum or Chocolate Museum which are perfect stops for sampling local sweets after an educational experience.

Enjoy Local Cuisine At A Biergarten

One of the best things to do in Cologne during May is to enjoy some local cuisine at a Biergarten.

These traditional German outdoor restaurants offer a variety of foods, including sausages, pretzels, and Halve Hahn - a unique dish made with rye bread and cheese.

beer-house-germany in may

But let's not forget about the beer! Biergartens serve an array of local brews like Kölsch, which is served in small glasses called "Stangen."

Dining outside while sipping on cold beer and munching on tasty treats is an authentic way to experience German culture.

Cologne's famous food markets are also worth exploring if you want to try different types of cuisine.

In particular, the Neumarkt food market offers freshly made street food from around the world such as tacos, falafel sandwiches and currywurst which can be enjoyed right under open skies at one of their picnic tables.

Smell The Perfumes At The Fragrance Museum

One of the top things to do in Cologne during May is visiting the Fragrance Museum, also known as Farina-House.

This unique museum takes visitors on a journey through the history of aromas and offers a chance to experience various essences and scents.

The museum is home to Eau de Cologne, which has remained unchanged since its creation in the 18th century. [4]

If you're interested in smelling some fragrances during your trip to Cologne, the Fragrance Museum is definitely worth a visit.

Visit The Cologne Chocolate Museum

No trip to Cologne in May is complete without a visit to the Chocolate Museum. This museum takes visitors on an exciting and educational journey through the cultural history of chocolate, from its origins with the Aztecs to modern-day production methods.


Covering 4,000 square meters of exhibition space, the museum even has a tropical greenhouse where visitors can see cacao trees up close. 

If you're driving there's a parking area available for visitors who wish to drive themselves.

Practical Tips For Traveling To Cologne In May

Book Accommodations And Attractions In Advance

To make the most of your trip to Cologne in May, it's important to book accommodations and attractions in advance. With the city being a popular tourist destination during this time, hotels and attractions can fill up quickly.

Booking ahead also allows you to explore off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods that may offer unique experiences without breaking the bank. Researching budget travel guides before heading out can help maximize your fun activities while staying within your means.

Saving Money With The Cologne Card

The Cologne Card is a must-have for budget-conscious travelers visiting Cologne in May. This card offers free public transportation within the city and up to 50% off on attractions, art, culture, and gastronomy.

It's available in 24 or 48-hour versions making it an inexpensive way to explore the city and save money during a weekend trip.

Check Out The City's Public Transportation Options

Traveling around a new city can be intimidating, but in Cologne, the various public transportation options make getting around a breeze.

With a network of train, tram, and bus lines that run every 5-10 minutes, you'll always have convenient options for commuting to your next destination.


The KVB website and app are also available in English which means non-German speakers can navigate the system with ease. [5]

Whether you prefer city buses or tram networks, traveling via public transportation is safe and easy to use. Ticket machines are available at each station so you don't need cash on hand when using these methods of transportation.

Exploring Off-the-Beaten-Path Neighborhoods

While Cologne has plenty of well-known and touristy areas to explore, there are also several lesser-known neighborhoods that offer a unique perspective on the city.

For example, the Belgian Quarter is full of trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants that attract a more alternative crowd.


For those interested in history and culture, Nippes offers an authentic glimpse into traditional German life with its charming half-timbered houses and local markets.

No matter where you decide to go off the beaten path in Cologne this May, don't forget to bring your camera - there's always something unexpected waiting around every corner!

Planning Your Next Visit

When planning your next visit to Cologne, Germany, it's important to consider the best time of year to go. May is an ideal month for many travelers due to pleasant weather and numerous outdoor events and festivals.

Consider booking accommodations and attractions in advance as this month tends to be busy with tourists. It's also a good idea to save money by purchasing the Cologne Card which provides free public transportation and discounts on several tourist attractions.

When exploring the city, don't forget about off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods that offer unique cultural experiences beyond the typical tourist traps.

Weather In Cologne In May: FAQs

Does it rain in Cologne in May?

Rain is a possibility, but typically the amount of precipitation decreases as the month goes on.

What’s the best time of year to visit Cologne?

Does It Rain In Cologne In May?

May is a great month to visit Cologne, but travelers should be prepared for some rain during their stay. The average rainfall in Cologne during May is around 64mm (2.5 inches) with approximately 14 rainy days throughout the month.

However, it's important to note that the precipitation amounts and patterns can vary from year to year, so it's always a good idea to check the weather forecast before your trip.

Despite the occasional rain shower, May temperatures in Cologne still offer pleasant springtime climate averaging at around 13°C (55°F).

What’s The Best Time Of Year To Visit Cologne?

The best time to visit Cologne is during the months of May to September. These months offer warm and pleasant weather, perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

June-July is considered the ideal time to visit because of its sunny days and vibrant festivals like the Cologne Carnival, which attracts a large crowd from all over Europe.

However, if you prefer smaller crowds and more affordable accommodations, visiting in May or September might be a better option.

It's important to note that January is not advisable as it tends to be cold and gloomy with chilly winds blowing off the Rhine River making day trips less enjoyable.

When Is The Shoulder Season In Cologne?

May falls under the shoulder season for tourism in Cologne, Germany. While it's busier compared to its previous months of March and April, you can still enjoy fewer crowds than during the peak tourist season.

The mild temperatures and pleasant atmosphere make it a good time to visit before summer sets in. If you're looking for a budget-friendly trip, traveling during the shoulder season offers better rates on accommodations and attractions compared to peak season prices.

How Cold Is It In Cologne In May?

If you're planning a trip to Cologne in May, you'll be happy to know that the weather is generally mild and pleasant. While it may not be warm enough for shorts and sandals, average temperatures range from 45°F (7°C) at night to 65°F (18°C) during the day.

So make sure to pack some light layers like a scarf or jacket that you can take on or off as needed. It's also important to note that while May can bring some rain showers, it's still relatively dry compared to other months.

Is It Sunny In Cologne In May?

While May is a beautiful time to visit Cologne, it's not necessarily the sunniest month. The average sunshine duration in May in Cologne is around 5.9 hours per day, which means you can expect some overcast days during your trip.

However, that doesn't mean you won't get any sunlight at all - there will still be plenty of opportunities for sightseeing and exploration. It's important to keep in mind that Cologne does not get a lot of sun throughout the year, especially from November to February when the sun rarely shines.

What Is The Average Temperature In Cologne In May?

If you're planning a trip to Cologne in May, you can expect pleasant weather with average high temperatures of 19.3°C (66.7°F) and moderate rainfall throughout the month.

Temperatures begin to warm up as spring transitions into summer, so be sure to pack comfortable clothing for daytime activities and a light jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.

In recent years, temperature records have been broken with highs reaching up to 34.4°C (93.9°F) in May 2017, making it important to check the weather forecast before heading out for the day.

Should I Go To Cologne In May?

Absolutely! May is an excellent month to visit Cologne, Germany. The weather is mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging between 46.6°F (8.1°C) and 66.7°F (19.3°C).

It's a great time to explore the city without having to worry about extreme heat or cold temperatures interfering with your sightseeing plans.

There are plenty of things to do in Cologne in May as well. You can visit iconic landmarks such as the Cologne Cathedral or walk along the beautiful Rhine River while enjoying local cuisine at a Biergarten.

Can You Go To Cologne In May?

Yes, you can definitely go to Cologne in May! While the weather can be a bit unpredictable with some rainy days, it is still a great time to visit and experience everything this vibrant city has to offer.

From exploring the historical landmarks like the iconic Cologne Cathedral and strolling along the picturesque Rhine River to sampling local cuisine at Biergartens and visiting unique museums such as Fragrance Museum or Cologne Chocolate Museum, there is no shortage of activities for travelers during this time of year.

Are There Any Major Cologne Holidays In May?

While there are no specific major holidays in Cologne, Germany during May, there are still plenty of opportunities to celebrate. The first day of May is Labor Day in Germany, and many locals take the chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

Additionally, Mother's Day falls on the second Sunday in May, providing a great opportunity to show appreciation for mothers everywhere.

Finally, Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt) is usually observed at the end of May or beginning of June, with some churches holding special services and many people taking advantage of the long weekend by traveling or enjoying outdoor activities.

Are There Mosquitoes In Cologne In May?

Yes, there are mosquitoes in Cologne in May. Mosquito season usually starts in May due to the warm and wet weather, creating ideal breeding conditions for these pesky insects.

Visitors to Germany should be mindful of minimizing exposure to insects and using mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in partially enclosed buildings.

Additionally, a species of mosquito with vector potential has been found in Cologne called Aedes japonicus japonicus.

Measures have been taken to prevent the drainage of water where this species can lay eggs.

Conclusion: Cologne in May

In conclusion, May is a great time to visit Cologne, Germany. With pleasant weather and exciting events like Labour Day and Mother's Day, there is something for everyone.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cologne, Germany is a city that has something to offer all year round, but May is an especially wonderful time to visit. With average temperatures of around 16°C and minimal rainfall, it's the perfect weather for exploring the city's Gothic architecture and landmark attractions.
  • One of these landmarks is the Cologne Cathedral, which attracts over six million visitors a year and is a must-see when visiting Cologne in May.
  • May in Cologne also means holiday celebrations such as Labor Day and Mother’s Day. During these times, visitors can expect to see parades and festivals throughout the city center.
  • Additionally, beer lovers will not want to miss out on attending one of Europe’s largest beer festivals called “Beer Festival” where they can sample various local brews during their stay.
  • To fully make the most of your trip to Cologne in May; travelers should plan their accommodations early since it's peak tourism season between April through September every year, and save money with the Cologne Card.
  • Consider booking accommodations and attractions in advance to avoid crowds.


1: EXPLAINED: Why is May 1st significant in Germany? - The Local, retrieved from
2: Germans observe Ascension Day, Father’s Day Thursday, retrieved from
3: Cologne Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Centre, retrieved from
4: Johann Maria Farina, since 1709... | Perfumería Benegas, retrieved from
5: Kolnner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG, retrived from

About the Author

Stephan Drescher, founder of, is a German travel expert and insider, providing trusted tips and advice for a perfect trip to Germany. Born & bred German.