13 Outstanding Churches and Cathedrals in Cologne, Germany

Updated on September 8, 2023  


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Boasting an impressive array of churches and cathedrals, Cologne's skyline is punctuated by stunning examples of Romanesque, Gothic, and modern architecture - all testament to the city's rich religious heritage.

In this blog post, we've compiled a list of must-see churches and cathedrals for anyone looking to explore the breathtaking beauty of Cologne's sacred spaces.

Background On Cologne's Religious And Architectural History

Cologne, a city renowned for its rich history and stunning architecture, has long been a hub for Roman Catholicism in Germany. With the construction of various churches and cathedrals throughout the centuries, it holds an integral role in showcasing Gothic architecture as well.

As early as the 4th century AD, Cologne saw an emergence of Christian communities who laid foundations for many noteworthy structures within its territory.

The magnificent Cologne Cathedral – one such example – boasts seven centuries' worth of collaboration from skilled architects and builders to create this masterpiece which now stands proudly on UNESCO's World Heritage List. [1]

In addition to Cologne Cathedral, several other churches including St. Andreas and Great. Great St. Martin Church.

Visiting historical sites allows travelers to immerse themselves in a fascinating blend of spiritual tradition and artistic expression spanning over many centuries.

Each church or cathedral tells its own unique story while collectively encapsulating Cologne's profound religious influence extending through time.

Top Churches And Cathedrals To Visit In Cologne

Cologne Cathedral

As the largest Gothic cathedral church in Cologne, Germany, the Cologne Cathedral stands as an awe-inspiring monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture.

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1996, this magnificent structure draws over six million visitors each year, making it Germany's most visited landmark.


When exploring the breathtaking interior of Cologne Cathedral, you'll be amazed by its intricate details and stunning stained-glass windows that bathe the space in vibrant colors.

This incredible feat of engineering and artistry took many centuries to complete, showcasing not only religious significance but also unique architectural features representing distinct time periods throughout history.

Fun fact: There's a treasury that acts as a museum inside the Cathedral.

St. Andreas

Tucked away in Cologne's bustling banking district, St. Andreas is an outstanding example of Late Romanesque architecture that should not be missed on your visit to this historic city.

What sets St. Andreas apart from other churches in the area are its beautiful interior frescoes and stunning stained glass windows, which provide a glimpse into the intricate craftsmanship of centuries past.

While admiring the artwork and architecture, take note of how it has been expertly preserved and restored over time to maintain its original charm for visitors like yourself to enjoy today.

St. Aposteln

With its impressive Gothic architecture and rich history, St. Aposteln is a true gem among Cologne's churches. This beautiful former collegiate church is dedicated to the twelve apostles and boasts an impressive Romanesque architecture.

st-apolsteln church-cologne

The basilical plan of construction, which was a common feature during this period, makes it truly unique. St. Aposteln is an iconic landmark that holds significant cultural and religious importance as part of Cologne's rich history.

Furthermore, visitors will discover its historical significance as they explore this Gothic-style structure with intricate details carved into the walls throughout its entire interior.

They can also marvel at the stunning stained-glass windows that light up every corner of the building with vivid colors while basking in its peaceful atmosphere.

St. Cecilia's

St. Cecilia's is one of the most beautiful Romanesque churches in Cologne that every traveler must visit. Maintained by the Foundation of Romanesque Churches in Cologne, it boasts of stunning frescoes on the upper choir that were unfortunately damaged during World War II.

Aside from its historical significance, St. Cecilia's Church also adds up to Cologne's tourist attractions with its unique features like Gothic cathedrals and Sacred art displays making it an important part of Germany's cultural heritage buildings list alongside other landmarks.

St. Georg

Another of the 12 Romanesque church in Cologne is St. Georg. Although the exterior may seem unremarkable, don't let that fool you - this church has a unique interior with pillars partially taken from ancient Roman structures.

Divided into three naves, St. Georg's Church boasts an architectural style that sets it apart from other religious sites in the city.

st-georg-cologne cathedral

St. Gereon

As one of the oldest churches in Cologne, St. Gereon offers visitors a glimpse into the city's rich history and cultural heritage. This Romanesque church is among the top churches and cathedrals to visit in the city and holds significant historical and architectural importance.

st-gereon-cathedrals in -cologne

Built-in the fourth century, the interiors of St. Gereon are adorned with beautiful frescoes and colorful stained glass windows that add to its majestic ambiance.

This landmark church is part of Cologne's twelve great Romanesque churches, which attract tourists from all over the world for their Gothic architecture and German heritage.

So if you're looking for an enriching religious tourism experience, exploring St. Gereon should be on your list of cathedrals to visit in Cologne.

St. Kunibert

With its stunning stained glass windows and intricate stonework, St. Kunibert is a true masterpiece of Gothic architecture. This Catholic church stands as a religious landmark named after the tenth bishop of Cologne who founded it in the 7th century.

Completed in 1247, St. Kunibert church is one of Cologne's Romanesque churches and has an impact on the Rhine panorama in the North of the cathedral city, just like its iconic counterpart, Cologne Cathedral.

St. Maria

A visit to St. Maria church is a must for anyone interested in Cologne's religious and cultural heritage. This sacred space is a perfect blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, making it unique among other religious sites in the city.

With its breathtaking design and peaceful ambiance, St Maria has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

As you explore this remarkable building, take note of how every nook and cranny is designed to evoke feelings of spiritual awe and inspiration.

St. Maria Lyskirchen

Situated on the banks of the Rhine River, this Romanesque building may be small, but it packs a punch with its intricate architecture and rich history.

st-maria-lyskirchen--cologne church and cathedral

The church was founded in 948, and the present structure dates back to 1210-1220. [2] Interestingly enough, Saint Mary in Lyskirchen is the sole Romanesque church in Cologne that was built as a parish church instead of an abbey or monastery belonging to religious orders.

In addition to its historical significance, St. Maria Lyskirchen serves as one of Cologne's cultural treasures and top tourist attractions because of its excellent location on the riverfront promenade; it provides visitors with an opportunity to take stunning photos while also appreciating Germany's rich cultural heritage firsthand.

Great St. Martin

The Great St. Martin Church is one of the most iconic religious landmarks and tourist attractions in Cologne, Germany.

Its foundations rest on remnants of a Roman chapel, built on what was then an island in the Rhine. [3]

This majestic church was first founded as a small chapel way back in 690 but was later transformed into a monastery in 708.


It has an impressive quarter-tower top and a unique clover-like ground shape that makes it stand out from other churches and cathedrals in the area. The church contains stunning Roman ruins underground, with well-preserved columns showing their colors after centuries of wear and tear during wars.

St. Pantaleon

If you're looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, St. Pantaleon church is a peaceful haven that you won't want to miss.

Built in the 10th century as a Benedictine abbey by Archbishop Bruno, St. Pantaleon is now a former monastery church consecrated to Saint Pantaleon and the Saints Cosmas and Damian.

St. Pantaleon's Church holds immense historical significance as it is associated with the Ottonian Church, which was dedicated to Emperor Otto III's memory after his death in 1002 AD.

This significant monument is included in the top 50 churches to visit in Cologne city due to its rich history and cultural importance.

St. Severi

St. Severi is a stunning, early Romanesque basilica church situated in the Südstadt of Cologne (Köln). It is considered one of the twelve churches of Cologne and stands out for its rich historical significance and magnificent architectural heritage.

The former collegiate church has been expanded and greatly enlarged several times throughout its history, making it an impressive sight to behold. Visitors can admire its intricate detailing in Romanesque architecture while exploring the interior of this religious site.

St. Ursula

If you're looking for a church that's off the beaten path, St. Ursula offers a tranquil and contemplative space that's well worth a visit.

Built on the ancient ruins of a Roman cemetery, this stunning Gothic church is dedicated to Saint Ursula who, according to medieval legend, suffered martyrdom in Cologne along with 11,000 other virgin companions.

The Basilica church of St. Ursula has an exquisite reliquary that contains bones of hundreds of female martyrs beautifully arranged into gorgeous patterns and designs, making it one-of-a-kind religious artifact that travelers should not miss when visiting Cologne.

Significance Of These Religious Sites To Cologne's Cultural And Tourist Attractions

Historical And Architectural Significance

The churches and cathedrals in Cologne are not only significant religious centers but also hold great historical and architectural significance. Many of these structures were built during the Romanesque period, with some dating back to the 4th century.

Gothic architecture, which emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages, is also highlighted in many of these buildings.

The most prominent example is Cologne Cathedral, a towering masterpiece of Gothic architecture that has dominated the city's skyline for centuries. Its intricate facade and soaring spires make it an awe-inspiring sight from any angle.

Visiting these churches offers an opportunity to explore their rich history while admiring their incredible architecture up close.

Religious Significance

The churches and cathedrals in Cologne are more than just stunning examples of Gothic and Romanesque architecture. They hold a deep religious significance that makes them must-visit places for any traveler who wants to understand the city's culture and history.

For instance, the Cologne Cathedral is widely recognized as an iconic monument of German Catholicism.

But it's not just the Cologne Cathedral that holds immense religious significance; several other churches like St. Ursula Basilica also have deep roots in Catholicism that date back many years ago.

Visiting these sites provides travelers with opportunities to witness first-hand how religion has shaped this ancient German city.

Cultural And Tourism Importance

The churches and cathedrals in Cologne hold significant cultural and tourism importance for travelers visiting the city. These religious sites offer a glimpse into Cologne's rich history, from Romanesque architecture to Gothic masterpieces.

Moreover, these religious sites are important tourist destinations that contribute to Cologne's vibrant commercial center. The world-renowned Cologne Cathedral alone attracts millions of tourists every year, offering guided tours and breathtaking views of the Rhine River.

Conclusion: Cathedrals in Cologne

In conclusion, Cologne is a city rich in religious and cultural history, with many churches and cathedrals spread throughout the city.

Whether you're interested in Gothic architecture, Catholicism, or simply want to explore some of the city's most iconic landmarks and monuments, there's something for everyone on this list.

From the awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral to smaller Romanesque churches like St. Ursula's Basilica, these religious sites are an integral part of Cologne's cultural heritage and tourist attractions.

Key Takeaways

  • Cologne, Germany is home to numerous churches and cathedrals that showcase impressive examples of Romanesque, Gothic, and modern architecture.
  • Some of the top religious sites you must visit in Cologne include the iconic Cologne Cathedral, St. Andreas, Great St. Martin Church, and St. Ursula's Basilica.
  • These religious landmarks are not only significant for their historical and architectural value but also play a vital role in Cologne's cultural heritage and tourist attractions. Visiting these churches offers an opportunity to explore their rich history while admiring their incredible design up close.
  • The churches' intricate details such as frescoes and stained-glass windows give tourists a glimpse into the intricate craftsmanship of centuries past that has been expertly preserved for visitors to enjoy today.


1. What are some notable churches and cathedrals to visit in Cologne, Germany?

Some of the most popular and significant churches and cathedrals to visit in Cologne include the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), St. Andreas Church, Great St. Martin Church, and St. Maria im Kapitol.

2. Are there any historical or cultural events held at these churches and cathedrals?

Yes, many of these churches host concerts, art exhibitions, religious festivals, and other cultural events throughout the year that showcase their history and significance within the community.

3. Do these churches have guided tours available for visitors?

Yes, most of them offer guided tours led by knowledgeable guides who can provide insights into their architecture, history, artwork,and religious symbolism.

4. Is it possible to attend Mass or other religious services at these churches if I am not a practicing member of that religion?

Yes! Visitors are welcome to attend public services like Mass or Vespers regardless of their faith background or beliefs; however,it is important to be respectful during worship times as a mark of acknowledging different traditions around us.


1: Cologne Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Centre, retrieved from https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/292/
2: St. Maria Lyskirchen, Cologne, Germany - SpottingHistory.com, retrieved from https://www.spottinghistory.com/view/7635/st-maria-lyskirchen/
3: Google Arts & Culture - Great St. Martin Church, retrieved from https://artsandculture.google.com/entity/great-st-martin-church/m0h2sk0?hl=en

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.