As a bustling metropolis steeped in history, Cologne, Germany attracts countless travelers every year. But with its growing popularity comes the question: is Cologne safe?
Rest assured, this beautiful city boasts low crime rates and takes measures to ensure the safety of its residents and tourists alike.
However, it's still important for you to be aware of potential dangers and precautions necessary for your safety while in Cologne.
Safety In Cologne, Germany
Low Crime Rates
Cologne boasts a reputation for its low crime rates, making it an appealing destination for travelers who prioritize safety.
As of September 2023, according to Numbeo, when assessing the "perception of safety" while walking alone during the day, Cologne boasts a safety index of 74.90, showing a high level of safety. However, during nighttime, this figure slightly dips to 48.97, a moderate level of safety.
In short: These safety ratings in Cologne align closely with the overall safety standards in Germany.
But as with any popular tourist destination, there are always potential risks. For example, high traffic areas in Cologne are known for pickpocketing.
So always stay alert and follow the basic precautions below when touring Cologne's iconic landmarks. Such as the stunning Cathedral or while wandering through bustling areas like the Altstadt (Old Town). 
Common Dangers And Areas To Avoid
Theft and pickpocketing poses the most risk to travelers in Cologne. This happens mostly in crowded spaces - popular attractions like the Cologne Cathedral, shopping areas popular with tourists like Schildergasse, and main train stations such as Cologne Central Station.
If you leave your valuables lying around out of your sight for a long time, be it your wallet or bicycle, be prepared that it might be taken. Have a hand on your bag whenever you walk around.
There are also certain parts of Cologne known for higher crime rates where it would be best not to venture after dark:
For example, the neighborhoods around Ebertplatz, Kalk, Ostheim, Ossendorf, Chorweiler, and Kölner Ringe have been reported as unsafe at night by locals and tourists alike.
Measures Taken To Ensure Safety
If you witness a crime, or are in danger of a crime, during your time in Cologne you can call the German police. The general number for police in Germany is 110 and the operator usually speaks German and English.
You can also contact the regional police, the Cologne District Police Authority:
Address: Walter-Pauli-Ring 2-6, 51103 Cologne
Telephone: 0221 229-0
Travelers can also appreciate the robust infrastructure designed to keep them safe during their stay. Train stations and many businesses have installed CCTV cameras, while well-lit streets make walking around at night much more secure.
Additionally, awareness campaigns on pickpocketing are often promoted by the authorities to remind travelers of potential risks in crowded places like public transportation or popular markets.
Solo Female Travelers' Safety In Cologne
Women's Safety In Cologne
Like Germany, Cologne is said to be generally safe for female travelers. In fact, many locals and expats living here will agree with this too.
However, a 2020 survey by a children's rights organization said that 1 in 4 women reported feeling unsafe in major German cities, including Cologne. While this isn't an official survey by any means, it does raise some concerns.
In Germany, 43% of women have reportedly experienced sexual harassment at least once, in the form of improper touching and inappropriate remarks. 
Therefore while most female travelers don't experience any issues in Cologne, it's worth taking precautions and not be complacent with taking charge of your own safety.
To stay safe while traveling solo in Cologne, avoid walking alone at night and use well-lit and busy streets when possible.
It's essential also not to accept drinks or food from strangers or leave your drink unattended.
Remember that common sense goes a long way in ensuring your safety while you're here, so keep your wits about you and trust your instincts if you don't feel entirely comfortable with a situation!
Precautions And Tips For Safe Solo Travel
Traveling solo can be an exciting and liberating experience, but safety should always remain a top priority.
When traveling to Cologne, it's important to take standard precautions such as staying aware of your surroundings and securing your belongings.
Be cautious of strangers who approach you asking for money.
Only use official ATMs by legitimate banks.
Women's safety is taken seriously in Cologne, but it's still important to never leave your drink unattended at the bar or walk alone late at night in secluded areas.
Consider traveling in groups or with a reputable tour company for added security.
Tips For Safe Travel In Cologne
Stay Aware Of Surroundings
When traveling to Cologne, it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and exercise vigilance at all times.
Some tourists complain about getting pickpocketed at busy places, because they were careless about their valuables.
Be wary of anyone who tries to get too close to you. Sometimes pickpocket gangs may work in pairs - one tries to distract the victim (usually asking questions or causing a diversion) while the other works on getting your wallet or purse.
Although the city is generally considered safe with low mugging and kidnapping risks, travelers should still be cautious when visiting tourist locations and crowded public venues. 
It's also recommended to avoid isolated areas at night, especially for solo female travelers. Stick to well-lit streets where other people are present.
If you're out late, consider using reputable transportation options like taxis or ride-sharing services rather than walking alone.
When traveling to Cologne, it is essential to keep personal belongings secure at all times.
It is recommended to use a cross-body bag or backpack that can be worn securely on the front of the body for added safety.
Avoiding leaving bags unattended in public places.
Travelers who hail from countries with high levels of safety may make the mistake of leaving their belongings on the table unsecured, thinking they will be safe - it's generally good to be more cautious instead.
Additionally, when using public transportation such as trains and buses, ensure that luggage is kept close and not left unattended.
Intercity train travel around Germany is generally safe but keep an eye on your belongings during the journey. If it's a long ride and you have to sleep on the train, make sure your belongings are secured, or get your travel partner to watch your things (and take turns sleeping).
Use Trustworthy Transportation
When traveling in Cologne, it is important to use trustworthy transportation to avoid any potential safety risks.
The public transportation network in the city is safe and convenient, with trains, trams, and buses running every 5-10 minutes.
While using taxis in Cologne is generally safe, it’s better to use licensed taxi services, or ordering from the mytaxi app, and never accept rides from unlicensed drivers.
In general, every taxi operates with a meter system. It begins with a base fee of €3.50 and includes a charge of €1.90 for the first seven kilometers, followed by €1.70 for each additional kilometer. Additional fees might be applicable as well.
When traveling via train or bus, keep personal belongings close at hand and never leave wallets or purses unattended in public areas.
Consider Cultural Differences
As with any foreign country, there may be certain customs and practices that differ from what you are used to. Being aware of cultural differences can help you get along better with locals, and avoid unintended misunderstandings.
For example, Germans tend to be more reserved and private than Americans or other Western cultures.
That doesn't mean they are unfriendly! Compared to the rest of Germany, people in Cologne are known for their hospitality, open-mindedness and being very laid-back. It's not uncommon to drop into a pub and meet complete strangers to have a drink and chat with.
In addition, Germans value punctuality and efficiency, so it is important to arrive on time for appointments or meetings.
Refraining from loud or disruptive behavior in public spaces should also be a priority as it is considered impolite.
Travel In Groups
Traveling in a group is one of the best ways to ensure your safety while exploring Cologne.
Not only does it deter potential crime, but it also gives you peace of mind knowing that you have others looking out for you.
Additionally, traveling in groups allows for cost-sharing on transportation and other expenses. This is especially helpful if you're on a budget and want to make the most out of your trip.
Plus, exploring Cologne with a group can be more fun and enjoyable as you'll get to share experiences with like-minded individuals.
Conclusion: Is Cologne Safe For Travelers?
Yes, Cologne is safe for travelers. Crime rates are relatively low, and the city takes measures to ensure the security of its visitors.
Solo female travelers need not be overly concerned about their safety in Cologne or Germany in general.
Still, to stay safe in Cologne, it's essential to stay aware of your surroundings and take common-sense precautions like securing your belongings and using trustworthy transportation options.
Click here to find out about tap water safety in Cologne.
- Cologne, Germany is generally safe for travelers with low crime rates and measures taken to ensure security.
- Visitors should be cautious of potential dangers such as theft in crowded spaces or certain neighborhoods known for higher crime rates at night.
- Solo female travelers should take additional precautions like avoiding walking alone at night in secluded areas, not leaving drinks unattended, and considering traveling in groups.
- Taking standard safety precautions such as staying aware of surroundings, securing personal belongings, using trustworthy transportation options, and being mindful of cultural differences can help ensure a safe trip to Cologne.
1. Is Cologne a safe place to visit?
Yes, Cologne is generally considered a safe city for tourists and locals alike with low crime rates and efficient law enforcement efforts in place. However, it's always important to exercise caution and follow common sense safety tips such as staying aware of your surroundings and not leaving valuables unattended.
2. What areas should I avoid when visiting Cologne?
While there are no specific areas that should be avoided in Cologne, it's worth noting that certain neighborhoods like Chorweiler or Kalk may have lower perception of safety than others. It's recommended to research the area you plan on visiting ahead of time and take necessary precautions such as checking public transport timings ahead of time and avoiding walking alone at night.
3. How can I stay safe while using public transportation in Cologne?
To ensure safety while using public transportation in Cologne, try to avoid traveling alone at night whenever possible, keep an eye on your belongings at all times, stay alert for any suspicious activity or individuals around you and use well-lit paths if available.
4. Are there any cultural customs I need to be aware of when visiting Cologne?
As with any new destination, it's always worthwhile getting familiarized with local customs before arriving - especially if you're coming from another country as some nuances may differ vastly from culture-to-culture (i.e. tipping practices).
In general though - most people living within the city are very friendly & welcoming towards visitors so don't hesitate reaching out if ever needing assistance!
1: The Safest and Most Dangerous Places in Cologne, MN: Crime Maps and Statistics, retrieved from https://crimegrade.org/safest-places-in-cologne-mn/
2: Women feel unsafe in German cities, study shows, retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/women-in-germany-feel-unsafe-in-large-cities-study-shows/a-54541135
3: Half of women in Germany victim of sexual harassment, retrieved from https://www.dw.com/en/half-of-women-in-germany-victim-of-sexual-harassment-survey/a-41149234
4: Crime in Cologne, Germany, retrieved https://www.numbeo.com/crime/in/Cologne