The Perfect 3 Days Itinerary for Cologne

Updated on October 17, 2023  


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In this 3-day Cologne itinerary, we'll guide you through the must-see attractions such as the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site - Cologne Cathedral, mouthwatering dining experiences, inspiring museums like Imhoff-Stollwerck Museum, and much more that make Cologne an unforgettable travel destination.

With our recommendations tailored for travelers seeking incredible cultural experiences and memorable moments with family or friends, all that's left for you is to pack your bags and dive into exploring the vibrant heart of Germany's 4-th biggest city.

Day 1: Exploring Historic Cologne

Visit The Majestic Cologne Cathedral, A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Immerse yourself in the rich history and breathtaking Gothic architecture of the iconic Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has stood proudly since its completion in 1880. [1]

cologne-cathedral-things-to-do  3 days

Open on working days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays for tourists wanting to explore its vast interior or marvel at its awe-inspiring exterior, Cologne Cathedral has been captivating travelers for centuries.

While navigating through this historic site, take note of the vibrant stained glass windows or pause by one of many altars to appreciate their storied pasts.

Walk Across The Hohenzollern Bridge And Enjoy Breathtaking Views

One of the most memorable experiences you can have on your first day in Cologne is walking across the iconic Hohenzollern Bridge. Not only is it a significant cultural landmark, but it also offers awe-inspiring views of the majestic Cologne Cathedral and the sparkling Rhine River.

The Hohenzollern Bridge is adorned with love locks on both sides, a testament to the many couples who have visited and wanted to leave a lasting symbol of their affection.

3 days itinerary love-locks-bridge-cologne

These locks create an enchanting atmosphere as they shimmer against the backdrop of historical landmarks like the famous Cathedral.

For an even more enriching experience in exploring all seven bridges in Cologne that can be traversed on foot, consider taking part in guided tours offered by knowledgeable locals ready to share fascinating stories about these structures' pasts while providing exclusive access to some of the city's most scenic viewpoints.

Discover The Ancient Artifacts And Mosaics At The Roman-German Museum

A visit to the Roman-German Museum is an essential stop on your first day of exploring historic Cologne.


This fascinating museum showcases a vast collection of Roman artifacts and mosaics, offering travelers an invaluable glimpse into the rich history and development of Cologne from a Germanic settlement to a bustling Roman city.


As you wander through the Roman-German Museum, take note of how its inner courtyards are designed to mimic the layout of an ancient villa—an intentional nod to Rome's architectural heritage.

Marvel at stunning exhibits featuring intricate mosaics like those found in ancient villas or awe-inspiring relics showcasing Cologne's cultural heritage.

While meandering through this immense repository, be sure not to miss some noteworthy highlights: for instance, marvel at Germany’s largest glass collection dating back more than 2,000 years or explore rare votive offerings which illuminate facets of religious practices amongst inhabitants during antiquity. [2]

Day 2: Art, Culture, And Cuisine

Admire The Contemporary Art Collection At The Museum Ludwig

Day 2 in Cologne is all about art, culture, and cuisine! Start your day by admiring the contemporary art collection at the world-renowned Museum Ludwig. This cultural destination is a must-visit for those who love modern art.

3 days itinerary museum-ludwig cologne things to do

One of the highlights of visiting the Museum Ludwig is its impressive Pop Art collection. You'll be able to view some of Warhol's most famous works, including "Marilyn," "Campbell's Soup Cans," and other pieces that defined an entire movement in American art history. [3]

After immersing yourself in contemporary art at the museum, be sure to head out into Cologne's bustling streets once again where you can continue exploring all the city has to offer!

Indulge Your Taste Buds At The Famous Chocolate Museum And Local Restaurants

After immersing yourself in modern masterpieces, head to the Chocolate Museum for a sweet treat.

This popular destination is not just for indulging taste buds but also exploring the cultural history of chocolate.


After satisfying your sweet tooth, explore local restaurants that offer an authentic taste of Cologne's traditional cuisine. From cozy taverns serving up hearty meals to high-end restaurants offering exquisite culinary arts, there is something for everyone.

Or simply take in the beautiful views from one of our recommended local cafes while sipping on a coffee or cocktail.

Enjoy A Performance At The Stunning Cologne Opera House

To wrap up your day of exploration and indulgence, why not catch a performance at the stunning Cologne Opera House?

The Cologne Opera House boasts fabulous acoustics and is home to some of the best performers in the world. The impressive theater has a rich heritage and hosts a variety of classical music concerts, operas, ballet performances and more. [4]

If you're visiting Cologne for two days or more, we highly recommend including a stop at this stunning venue on your itinerary.

The beautiful historic building sets an ideal backdrop for an unforgettable evening out in town.

Day 3: Excursions And Local Experiences

Take A Day Trip To The Charming Town Of Bonn Or Visit The Spectacular Drachenburg Castle

A day trip out of Cologne can take you to the charming town of Bonn or the magnificent Drachenburg Castle. Just 30 minutes away from Cologne is Königswinter, a picturesque village that is home to Drachenburg Castle.

The castle offers spectacular views of the Rhine Valley, with its majestic towers and Disney-esque turrets providing visitors with a fairytale-like experience.

If you're looking for an outdoor adventure, why not hike up halfway on Drachenfels hill to reach the castle? Along this forest trail lies a nature reserve where hikers can get up close and personal with local flora and fauna while enjoying breathtaking views of Siebengebirge countryside.

Alternatively, head westward towards Bonn which was once Germany's capital city before reunification in 1990. [5]


Other popular day trips include taking a boat ride through this beautiful region located along Rhine River or visiting other preserved castles nestled throughout small villages near Cologne - all accessible using public transportations!

Whether you're interested in hiking trails, natural reserves or simply soaking up local culture, these excursions offer experiences that will enrich your travels while keeping your wallet happy thanks half-price fares on affordable tours; make sure not miss on these unforgettable adventures during your stay!

Explore The Vibrant Ehrenfeld Neighborhood And Its Trendy Shops And Cafes

If you prefer to remain in Cologne, then make sure to visit the vibrant Ehrenfeld neighborhood. This district is known for its trendy shops and cozy cafes that offer a perfect mix of old-world charm and modern elegance.


Ehrenfeld also offers an exciting nightlife scene with numerous craft beer bars and clubs where you can dance the night away.

If you're a foodie, Ehrenfeld will not disappoint.

All in all, Ehrenfeld is an excellent destination offering plenty of activities suitable for travelers seeking fun-filled experiences.

Enjoy A Refreshing Boat Ride Along The Picturesque Rhine River

One of the best ways to experience Cologne's impressive Rhine panorama is by taking a boat tour on the river.

During this scenic ride, you'll be able to admire some of Cologne's most picturesque views from the water, including quaint villages and stunning castles nestled amongst lush vineyards.


For those who want to stay close to town, though, there are several options available for a quick sightseeing trip along the Rhine River.

One popular choice is the Viator Cologne Rhine River 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise which allows travelers to depart at different times throughout the day and enjoy beautiful Cologne from a unique perspective.

If you find yourself with more time on your hands during your visit to Cologne, then why not consider exploring some of its famous castles and wine regions?

Boat tours are one excellent way of experiencing these attractions while also learning about their rich history and culture firsthand.

Additional Tips And Must-Try Experiences

Try The Traditional Kölsch Beer At Local Breweries And Beer Halls

No visit to Cologne is complete without trying the traditional Kölsch beer at one of its famous brewery restaurants, or "Brauhäuser." This distinct style of beer is light, crisp and refreshing with a slightly bitter taste.


There are more than 25 brands of Kölsch on the market, but less than half number breweries that produce it.

One popular spot to try Kölsch is Früh am Dom, located near the majestic Cologne Cathedral. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating with views of the cathedral, this historic brewery dates back to 1904 and has become an institution among locals and tourists alike.

To fully immerse yourself in the beer culture of Cologne, book a brewery tour such as Kölner Kompass that offers budget tours including three Kölsch beers for only €23.50.

Experience The History And Art Of Perfumery At The Fragrance Museum

A visit to the Fragrance Museum in Cologne is a must for anyone interested in aromatherapy, fragrance history or perfume making. The museum offers a glimpse into almost 300 years of fragrance and culture starting with the world of Rococo.

Visitors can take a guided tour where they will learn about the ingredients used to make cologne and how it is made.

The Farina-House itself is steeped in history as it was here that Johann Maria Farina first created Eau de Cologne over three centuries ago.

Farina Fragrance Museum  offers a private historical guided tour for up to 20 people at a fixed price of €160 per group (or €8 per pax) providing visitors with an intimate experience of exploring this stunning museum. [6]

Purchase A KölnCard For Discounts On Attractions And Public Transportation

If you're planning a 3-day itinerary in Cologne, purchasing a KölnCard is an excellent idea. This tourist ticket offers discounts up to 50% at many museums, restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions in the city.

The KölnCard can be purchased online before your trip, and group tickets are available for groups of three to five people. With this card, you'll have access to many must-see attractions and experiences in Cologne without breaking the bank.

So if you want to visit all that Cologne has to offer while being able to enjoy attractive discounts and hassle-free transportation options around the city, make sure not to miss out on purchasing a KölnCard during your visit!

Conclusion:3 Days Itinerary in Cologne

In conclusion, a 3-day Cologne itinerary is the perfect way to experience all that this breathtaking city has to offer. From exploring historical landmarks and indulging in local cuisine to discovering art and culture, there's something for every traveler in Cologne.


Key Takeaways

  • On the first day of your 3-day trip to Cologne, take a walk through history and visit the majestic Cologne Cathedral, walk across the Hohenzollern Bridge for breathtaking views, and explore ancient artifacts at the Roman-German Museum.
  • Admire the contemporary art collection at the Museum Ludwig, enjoy a performance at the stunning Cologne Opera House, and indulge your taste buds at the famous Chocolate Museum and local restaurants.
  • On the third day of your 3-days in Cologne itinerary, take a day trip to Bonn or visit the stunning Drachenburg Castle, explore the trendy Ehrenfeld neighborhood for local shopping and dining experiences, and enjoy a boat ride along the picturesque Rhine River.
  • Try the traditional Kölsch beer at local breweries and beer halls, experience the history and art of perfumery at the Fragrance Museum, and purchase a KölnCard for discounts on attractions and public transportation.


1: Cologne Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Centre, retrieved from
2: Römisch-Germanisches Museum Köln | History, retrieved from
3: History of the Museum Ludwig from 1976 to the Present, retrieved from
4: Cologne Opera House Official Website, retrieved from
5: Bonn - Google Arts & Culture, retrieved from
6: Guided tours in the Fragrance Museum, retrieved 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.