8 Best Cologne City Tours

Updated on October 31, 2023  


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Figuring out the best city tours in Cologne can be quite daunting. I live near to Cologne, so I've been here many times and recommended tours to several friends.

At A Glance: Our Top Picks for the Best Cologne City Tours

This blog post is packed with information to help you discover top-rated Cologne city tours that won't break the bank. are very professional and have my stamp of approval.

So let's dive in now!

Our Top 3 Picks: City Tours in Cologne


Private Walking Tour of City Center

  • #1 Best City Tour Overall
  • Hotel pick-up


City Highlights Segway Tour

  • Best City Tour on Segway
  • Skip the crowds and traffic


Top Sights Rhine River Cruise

  • Best City River Cruise
  • See Cologne from a unique perspective

Top City Tours in Cologne, Germany

1. Private Walking Tour of City Center

Personalize your exploration of Cologne.

If you're the kind of traveler who has a lot of questions for your tour guide, this private walking tour is your ticket to a personalized experience. You get to explore Cologne at your own pace, with a local guide who's all ears for you.

Or if you're traveling with a family or a larger group, this is definitely good value for your money. Split the cost and enjoy a more intimate experience together. Stop to take photos at the Hohenzollern Bridge, linger at the Cologne Cathedral, or spend more time shopping at Hohe Street. No worries about annoying other guests or feeling rushed. 


What's great is with this private tour in Cologne, you're in control. There's a long list of attractions to see, and many tours try to hit them all, so there's barely enough time to take a selfie. With this private tour, our guide was more than happy to spontaneously change routes, and even recommend food places around the city!

"Even though I have lived here for over 30 years, there was a lot that I learned. Aylin is a great guide who made old Cologne come to life and gave our guests from the US and UK a great afternoon."

- Oonagh (see more reviews)

The best part is it can be more affordable per person than a group tour, if you have a sizeable number of people. So I highly recommend checking out a private tour if you're in Cologne!


  • Freedom to enjoy your tour without other unfamiliar guests around
  • Flexible cancellation (24 hours before the tour)
  • Reserve now & pay later
  • Language options in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Chinese
  • Hotel pick-up around the city center


  • Slots sell out fast, especially during peak tourist seasons.

2. City Highlights Segway Tour

Zip around Cologne on a thrilling Segway ride.

When my in-laws came to visit, I booked this Segway tour for them and they absolutely loved. This tour is a fantastic way to see both the old and modern landmarks of Cologne, all without the need to walk. And you have more freedom to move around compared to a bus or boat tour!

The comfortable Segway ride offers a comfy way to get a special view of the city's culture and history. You'll glide by cool spots like Rheinpark and Rheinauhafen with a nice guide by your side.

They say you don't need any Segway skills beforehand, and it's true. My mother-in-law got a speedy lesson at the beginning of the tour, and before you knew it, she was happily cruising around on her own.


They said the highlight of their trip was undoubtedly crossing the Hohenzollern Bridge, and taking in the magnificent sights of River Rhine.

This Segway tour offers free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance alongside flexible payment options – something truly beneficial for those (like me) who prefer keeping their travel plans adaptable in these uncertain times.

However, they do have certain restrictions regarding participant weight limits and health conditions so make sure you consider these before booking your spot! Overall, I highly recommend experiencing Cologne with this exceptional Segway tour.


  • Convenient and enjoyable way to explore Cologne's landmarks
  • Skip the crowds and traffic by taking a Segway ride
  • No upfront payment required; pay on the day of the tour
  • Explore the city's highlights in just 2 hours
  • Small group size for a more personalized experience


  • Potential risk of accidents or injuries while riding a Segway.
  • Not suitable for those with mobility issues or difficulties balancing on a Segway.
  • Limited interaction with locals and the opportunity to experience local culture compared to other tour options.

This Cologne City Highlights Segway Tour is perfect for adventurous travelers who want to explore and experience the city in a unique, fun and convenient way.

3. Guided Walking Tour for Children

Engaging and educational walking tour for families in Cologne.

If you've ever traveled with young children, you'll know how easily they get bored on tours designed for adults. For a fun family-friendly tour of Cologne history that engages both children and adults, this is the one

This special tour, tailored for 8-12 year olds, takes them on a journey through Cologne's oldest areas brimming with stories that stretched back 2000 years. And don't worry, the guides are great with keeping the attention of little ones with shorter focus spans.


The guides do a great job engaging young children as they tell stories about magical creatures like Heinzelmännchen and how the devil helped build the cathedral. These stories paint an exciting picture of old Cologne that keeps kids captivated. [1

"My kids (12, 10 and 10) really liked it. They learned a lot and enthusiastically told friends and acquaintances about the tour. Big praise!"

- Claudia (see more reviews)

Affordable, and with overwhelmingly positive feedback, it's no wonder this walking tour is one of the top tours in Cologne!


  • Get your kids excited about learning Cologne history
  • Tour designed to involve children aged 8 - 12
  • Free cancellation up to 24 hours!
  • Live child-friendly tour guide


  • Limited availability of starting times may not accommodate all schedules.
  • The tour is only available in English and German, limiting accessibility for non-English or non-German speaking children.

4. The Dark Side of the City Walking Tour

Uncover a Sinister Side of Cologne

Looking to discover the dark, fascinating crime history of Cologne? This unconventional tour is an excellent choice for mystery seekers.

You get an exhilarating 1.5 hours of stories on rogues, kidnappers and other nefarious characters who have left their mark on this city from Middle Ages to present day!


Your expert guide will take you walking through the streets, to the Cologne Cathedral, St. Andrew's Church, and more, while learning about history you can't get easily anywhere else.

I'm not the only one who thinks so. This traveler says, "Lots of anecdotes, stories and information about the individual places and events and about the people of Cologne and their mentality. I can only recommend!!"


  • Enjoy a tour that is unlike the usual city tour of Cologne
  • Explore the hidden history of Cologne's dark side
  • Discover lesser-known history about Cologne


  • May not be suitable for those who are easily disturbed by dark or violent historical events
  • Only available in German

5. Old City Guided Walking Tour

 Walk The Old City & Discover Cologne's History and Beer Culture.

At a really affordable price, for those who really love old history and culture, this private tour, with an expert guide, is a must. It's a concise 1.5-hour walk, perfect for those with limited time.

Beginning at the breathtaking Cologne Cathedral, you'll learn the history of its gothic architecture. Then, you'll stroll through lively streets filled with locals and street musicians, making your way to the renowned Dionysus mosaic and Germany's oldest city hall.


You'll also have the chance to learn about Cologne's quirky, centuries-old brewing traditions, with time to taste a sample of their local beer. Then explored the home where cologne (the perfume) was invented – quite an intriguing one and a half hours!

Other travelers also spoke highly of their guides, with one commenting, "my American friends were full of praise for the excellent tour."


  • Private group tour of maximum 5 so you won't be lost in a crowd
  • Affordable price and great value for groups/families
  • Access to an expert guide who has in-depth knowledge of Cologne history and culture
  • Available in German and English
  • Sample the local beer!


  • The shorter duration (1.5 hours) means limited time for each stop

6. 3-Hour Guided City Bike Tour

See more of Cologne on a scenic bike tour.

I've had the absolute pleasure of experiencing the 3-Hour Guided Bike Tour in Cologne recently and I have to say, it was an incredible (and heart-pumping) way to relive history!

We got to see places that you wouldn't be able to on foot (simply because they're too far). The tour showcases the richness of Germany's oldest city from Roman times to modern age. Thanks to our guide, this is perfectly combined with enchanting anecdotes that bring each landmark alive.

The actual biking trip covers a total distance of around 15 kilometers - which might seem daunting initially but surprisingly isn't due to the excellent pacing.


A huge plus for me was getting to access some secret spots off the typical tourist track. Our guide led us past fascinating landmarks like Eigelsteintor, Fort X, Zoo Bridge and many more lesser-known gems, giving us insider knowledge at every turn.

"Absolutely fabulous tour !! Me & my 2 young adult daughters loved this tour - we saw a lot, we learned a lot and it was great getting out into the fresh air !"

- Fiona, Australia (see more reviews)

For a very reasonable price including bike rental, helmet and even rain poncho included – this tour is great value for money!


  • Enjoy beautiful views of Cologne while biking along the river
  • Visit off-the-beaten path spots that walking tours don't provide
  • 3 - hour guided bike tour of Cologne
  • Live tour guide in English and German
  • Option for a private group tour


  • You do need some level of stamina to keep up.
  • Some difficulty in navigating crowded bike paths or streets
  • Weather conditions may affect the overall experience

7. Top Sights Rhine River Cruise

See the most beautiful side of Cologne from a romantic river cruise

In my opinion, one of the best ways to see beautiful Cologne in all its glory is from the water. The Top Sights Rhine River Cruise is my top pick, which hits all the key sights - our iconic cathedral, the old town, and Rheinauhafen's L-shaped crane houses.

During the day tours, there's running commentary (through loudspeakers) in both English and German, so you know which of this historic city's landmarks you're cruising by.

However, what I recommend is just to sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning Rhine panorama.


What truly sets this cruise apart for me are its friendly staff (unlike some other cruises I've been on) and the boat ride is 1.5 hours long; just long enough to really soak in the views, but not too long that you're bored and hoping for the tour to end.

There's also a nice little onboard bar where you can order a local Kölsch beer or coffee along with cake as you drink in the scenic vistas all around.

I highly recommend getting your ticket online, because you'll get to bypass ticket lines - a massive boon during peak tourism season.

Free cancellation up until 24 hours prior encourages flexibility making this ideal regardless if your plans change last minute, or if you decide on a spontaneous cruise. 


  • Explore the beauty of Cologne from a unique perspective
  • Indulge in local treats like Kölsch beer, as well as cake and coffee during the cruise
  • Flexible booking: You can reserve your spot now and pay later, giving you the freedom to adjust your travel plans.
  • Hassle-free cancellation: You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance and receive a full refund.
  • Skip the ticket line: No need to wait in line.


  • Limited seating capacity may result in crowded conditions on the boat
  • Some people say they can't hear the recorded commentary well when other guests are noisy,  but that's usually up to your luck.
  • Optional food and drinks onboard can be expensive
  • They allow guests using wheelchairs or walkers, but actually toilets and the open deck require using the stairs.

8. Jewish Quarter History Walking Tour in Cologne’s Old Town

Explore Cologne's Jewish heritage with a 5-star tour guide.

Jewish people have been a part of Cologne history for a very long time, since 321 AD. So the "Jewish Quarter History Walking Tour in Cologne’s Old Town" is a great way to understand the city's past, that's not found in regular tours.

We were guided through the medieval Jewish Quarter by a highly knowledgeable 5-star licensed guide, and several historical sites; including the poignant Holocaust memorials, and the iconic Roonstrasse Synagogue (which survived the infamous Kristallnacht in 1938).

Another emotional stop was the EL-DE Haus, also known as the NS Documentation Centre, which used to be the headquarters of the Gestapo.

Here, we gained insights into Cologne's involvement in the rise of National Socialism and got to understand how prisoners had to live. This museum is arguably the most important one to visit in Cologne; you shouldn't miss it.

jewish man

As someone who loves exploring at my own pace, I highly recommend going for the half-day (6 hour) option, simply because you don't want to be rushing and missing out on important historical points.

It also includes round-trip transport, which is a plus. Nevertheless, you have the choice to choose between short or extended touring options, to give you control over just how much depth you want from your learning journey.

But from personal opinion: if you're truly invested in absorbing as much as you can about Cologne’s rich Jewish heritage- go for the longest version; it's worth every minute!


  • Gain a deep understanding of Jewish history with a highly knowledgeable 5 - Star Licensed Guide
  • Depending on the selected tour option, enjoy convenient round-trip transfer from your accommodation.
  • Available in multiple languages for a personalized experience
  • Convenient pickup from your accommodation in Cologne
  • Enjoy a private group tour, perfect for families or small groups


  • Potential lack of flexibility in tour duration due to transportation requirement for round - trip transfer option
  • Possible limitations in accessibility or physical demands of the walking tour for individuals with mobility issues.

Highlights of Cologne In a City Tour

Cologne Cathedral

Standing majestically as the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe, the Cologne Cathedral is a sight to behold. Its intricate designs and towering spires are a testament to age-old craftsmanship that continues to captivate tourists from around the world.


The cathedral boasts of having been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, and is possible the most iconic structure in Cologne. [2]

As one of Germany's most frequented tourist destinations, it manages to draw crowds year after-year. Taking a photo here is a must for any visitor to Cologne!

Old Town (Altstadt)

Stepping into the Old Town feels like stepping back in time. As you wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, each turn reveals more vintage houses, each with its own unique story to tell.

You'll encounter quaint shops, traditional taverns, and bustling market squares as the smell of freshly baked bread (us Germans love our bread) waft from centuries-old bakeries. With a bit of imagination, it's a place where historic Cologne comes to life.

cologne city tour

Make sure to visit the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, which is the oldest museum in Cologne. Inside, you'll find a massive collection of ancient classic art. Even if you spend three hours there, it might not be enough to see everything!

To ensure not to miss any hidden gems in Cologne's Altstadt, there are private walking tours and archaeological exploration opportunities to discover even more about this awesome part of the city.

Hohenzollern Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge is a striking feature of Cologne, as famous as the cathedral, especially when lit up at night. It elegantly spans across the famous Rhine River, showcasing three imposing side-by-side truss arch bridges.

One of the most memorable aspects of this bridge is the multitude of locks (over 600,000!) adorning its railings. These "love locks" are attached by couples, and then they toss the keys into the river as a symbol of their enduring love.

A visit to Cologne wouldn't be complete without adding your very own padlock to the Hohenzollern Bridge. 

best cologne city tours

And the view from here is simply breathtaking! One gaze draws your attention to Altstadt and the majestic Cologne Cathedral. It's a scene that leaves you in awe, and you can't help but marvel at its beauty, making this landmark a must-visit tourist attraction.

Chocolate Museum

Located just a short walk from the famous cathedral, this museum provides a fun and mouthwatering adventure through the cultural history of chocolate.

I have to confess that I didn't anticipate being impressed by a chocolate museum, but to my surprise, I had a genuinely enjoyable time exploring it with my kids.


We learned about the 3,000 years of history behind this treat, and how its made.

For the kids, there's an engaging quiz competition with prizes to keep them entertained, and to top it all off, the museum wraps up the experience on a sweet note - with a tasting of freshly-made chocolate!

The Chocolate Museum is undoubtedly one of Cologne's standout attractions that you shouldn't skip. However, it has notoriously long queues, so I'd recommend purchasing tickets in advance here.

Guided City Tours

Walking Tours

Walking tours in Cologne offer a versatile and affordable way to explore the city. Whether you prefer a guided tour or a self-guided experience, there are plenty of options to choose from.

With some pay-what-you-like walking tours and free English, German, and Spanish language options available, you can easily customize your exploration of Cologne at your own pace.

Bike Tours

I absolutely love exploring a new city on bike, and Cologne is no exception. Bike tours in Cologne are a fantastic way to explore the city and its scenic areas, and cover more ground too. Whether you're a cycling enthusiast or just looking for a fun outdoor activity, bike tours offer a unique and enjoyable experience.


These tours usually last around 3 hours and provide an opportunity to discover key landmarks.

One popular option is the The 3-Hour Guided Bike Tour, which takes you through the city, Rheinpark, across the famous Hohenzollern Bridge and along the Rhine, allowing you to visit all the top spots in Cologne. 

So grab your helmet and get ready for an adventure through this beautiful city!

Segway Tours

Segway Tours in Cologne offer a thrilling and unique way to explore the city's top landmarks and attractions.

Gliding through the streets on a Segway allows you to cover more ground and see more sights in less time. And it's a fun and convenient mode of transportation that is loved by travelers.

During this guided tour, you'll have the opportunity to discover popular sites such as Cologne Cathedral, the Hohenzollern Bridge and the banks of the Rhine River.

The tours typically last for about two hours, providing ample time to take in panoramic views of the city's iconic landmarks.

River Cruises

River cruises in Cologne are a fantastic way to explore the city and its top attractions. Passengers can easily dock in the heart of Cologne, allowing for convenient access to all the sights.

These river cruises often include guided walking tours led by knowledgeable local guides, providing travelers with fascinating insights into the history and culture of Cologne.


From the famous Cologne Cathedral to panoramic views of the city and surrounding area, river cruises in Cologne provide a unique perspective on this vibrant city.

Hop-on Hop-off Buses

Hop-on hop-off buses in Cologne are a fantastic option for travelers who want to make the most out of their short stay. You can decide when and where you want to get off the bus to explore specific attractions.

These sightseeing buses offer a convenient and flexible way to visit all of Cologne's top landmarks, including the famous cathedral and charming Old Town.

With informative commentary available in multiple languages, you can learn about the city's history while enjoying the ride.

Audio Guides

I love exploring new cities on my own terms, and audio guides are the perfect way to do just that. In Cologne, Germany, there is a wide range of self-guided audio tours available for visitors who don't want to be rushed around in a group.

These tours give you the freedom to explore at your own pace, while still getting valuable historical and cultural narration through a portable audio guide.

What makes these audio guides special is that they are usually created by local storytellers who have a deep knowledge and passion for their city.


Whether you're strolling through the charming Altstadt, marveling at the impressive Cologne Cathedral, or walking across Hohenzollern Bridge, you can simply plug in your headphones and let the audio guide guide you along the journey.

It's like having a personal tour guide right in your pocket! And with tourist reviews easily accessible online, you can choose the best audio guides based on others' experiences.

Conclusion: City Tours in Cologne

Discover the best city tours in Cologne, Germany and embark on an unforgettable adventure through this vibrant city.

Whether you prefer a private walking tour of the city center or a thrilling Segway tour to explore the famous landmarks, there is something for everyone.

Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Cologne with these top-rated tours and create lasting memories. 

Still undecided? I recommend this Private Walking Tour of Cologne City Center. It's the most complete tour.


1. What are the best city tours to explore Cologne, Germany?

Some of the best city tours in Cologne, Germany include guided walking tours, hop-on-hop-off bus tours, boat cruises on the Rhine River, bike tours, and segway tours.

2. How long do city tours in Cologne typically last?

The duration of city tours in Cologne can vary depending on the type of tour and what attractions are included. On average, most city tours last between 1 to 4 hours.

3. Are English-speaking guides available for city tours in Cologne?

Yes, many tour operators provide English-speaking guides for their city tours in Cologne to cater to international visitors.

4. Can I customize a city tour based on my interests and preferences?

Some tour operators offer customizable options where you can tailor your experience by choosing specific attractions or themes that align with your interests and preferences.

5. Do I need to book a city tour in advance or can I join one on the day?

It's recommended to book your preferred city tour in advance as popular ones may fill up quickly during peak tourist seasons. However, some operators do allow walk-in bookings depending on availability.


1: Heinzelmännchen by Definition - by Ginger Gehres, retrieved from http://stein-collectors.org/library/articles/heinzel/definitn.html
2: Cologne Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Centre, retrieved from https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/292/

About the Author

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