Weekend in Cologne: The Perfect 2 Days Itinerary

Updated on November 10, 2023  

weekend in cologne 2 days itnerary

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Welcome to your ultimate Cologne Germany weekend itinerary! This vibrant city boasts a rich history, stunning architecture, and a lively cultural scene that will captivate every traveler.

Whether it's your first time visiting or you've been before, our carefully crafted two-day itinerary ensures you'll experience the very best of Cologne - from its iconic landmarks like the magnificent Cathedral to the bustling Fischmarkt for delicious local flavors.

Day 1: Exploring The Historic City Center

Visit The Cologne Cathedral

No trip to Cologne would be complete without a visit to the iconic Cologne Cathedral. This awe-inspiring Gothic masterpiece is a true symbol of the city and one of its most famous historical sites.

weekend in cologne cathedral

As you approach this landmark building, prepare to be captivated by its intricate detailing and sheer size. Be sure to explore both the interior and exterior of the cathedral, taking in its exquisite stained glass windows and towering spires that reach toward the sky.

For an unrivaled view of Cologne's skyline, consider climbing 533 steps up the south tower to marvel at incredible panoramic vistas from above.

Overall, visiting the Cologne Cathedral should undoubtedly top your list when exploring this vibrant German city over a weekend itinerary; immerse yourself in its rich history while basking in breathtaking views of charming neighborhoods peppered with tourist attractions for every traveler's taste.

Explore Romano-Germanic Museum

Step back in time as you explore the Romano-Germanic Museum on your first day in Cologne. Situated in the heart of the city center, this fascinating museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich Roman history on which this captivating city was built.

2 days cologne-romano-germanic-museum

The museum itself stands atop a second-century archaeological site of a Roman villa – adding another layer of historical intrigue to your visit. One highlight not to be missed during your trip to the Romano-Germanic Museum is its mosaic dining room discovered during excavations at this villa location. [1]

In between admiring these intriguing displays, take advantage of opportunities presented by guided tours or interactive programs available within the museum - allowing you truly immerse yourself in this remarkable aspect of Cologne's past.

Discover The Art Scene At Museum Ludwig

A visit to Cologne would not be complete without exploring the city's vibrant art scene at Museum Ludwig.

As one of the top attractions in Cologne's historic city center, this premier museum houses an impressive collection of modern and post-war contemporary art, featuring renowned artists from around the world. [2]

museum-ludwig cologne things to do

Museum Ludwig provides an immersive experience where interpretive materials in both English and German help visitors delve deeper into each artwork's historical context.

To complement its permanent collection showcasing famous works from legendary artists like Picasso or Warhol, Museum Ludwig also hosts regular exhibitions spotlighting contemporary talents from across the globe.

This ensures that you'll constantly discover something new during your visit as it continually showcases groundbreaking talent while preserving timeless masterworks.

Take In The Sights From The Hohenzollern Bridge

One of the must-visit landmarks in Cologne is the Hohenzollern Bridge. This impressive bridge crosses over the Rhine River and offers stunning views of the city. Whether you're on foot or taking a train, it's worth stopping to take in the sights from this historic structure.

2 days itinerary cologne-germany

Whether you're strolling through old town or crossing over between districts on this famous landmark, taking in sights from The Hohenzollern Bridge creates a memorable experience that shouldn't be missed during your trip to Cologne.

Admire The Cityscape From KölnTriangle

As you explore the historic city center of Cologne, be sure to add a stop at KölnTriangle to your itinerary. This iconic landmark provides stunning views of the city skyline and is situated near the Rhine River.

kolntriangle cologne weekend itinerary

From atop KölnTriangle, take in the panoramic view and marvel at the sight of towering buildings set against a backdrop of rolling hills. You can spot several famous tourist attractions like Cologne Cathedral, Old Town area or even Hohenzollern Bridge.

For those looking for an extra thrill, consider visiting KölnTriangle around sunset to witness an unforgettable display as dusk falls over Cologne’s silhouette.

Day 2: Indulging In Local Flavors And Culture

Shop And Eat At The Fischmarkt

On day 2 of your weekend in Cologne, Germany, make sure to indulge in the local flavors and culture by heading over to the Fischmarkt. This seafood market is a fantastic place to shop for fresh seafood and try traditional foods that highlight the regional cuisine.

While at the Fischmarkt, you can enjoy some of Germany's best seafood dishes like grilled mackerel or shrimp cocktail. The market also offers other snacks like baked goods or freshly squeezed juice if you're looking for something sweet or refreshing.

If you are looking for an authentic German culinary experience, then visiting Fischmarkt is a must during your stay in Cologne.

Discover The Great St. Martin Church

As you indulge in the local flavors and culture of Cologne on day 2 of your weekend itinerary, make sure to add a visit to the Great St. Martin Church to your list.

What makes the Great St. Martin Church so special is not only its stunning Gothic architecture but also its rich history as a religious landmark in Germany. It's said that pilgrims traveling along the Rhine River would stop at this site to pray before continuing their journey.


To make your experience even more enjoyable, take advantage of our tip by researching when mass services are held beforehand so you can plan accordingly without missing out on any other cultural experiences planned for day 2 of your trip.

In short, no trip to Cologne would be complete without visiting one of its most iconic landmarks - the Great St. Martin Church.

Relax At The Alter Markt

After a busy morning, it's time to relax at the Alter Markt. This charming square is lined with restaurants and cafes that offer a range of delicious local cuisine.

Relax with a cup of coffee while taking in the sights and sounds of this bustling market square.

If you're visiting Cologne during December, make sure to come back to this area as it transforms into one of Europe's largest Christmas markets! You can enjoy mulled wine, gingerbread cookies, hand-made crafts while being surrounded by festive cheer.


The Alter Markt is just one example of many cultural experiences available throughout Cologne city center that tourists should add to their itinerary!

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth At The Chocolate Museum

For those with a sweet tooth, the Chocolate Museum in Cologne is an absolute must-visit. This popular attraction showcases exhibits on the natural history of cocoa and pre-Columbian cultures in Central America.


One highlight of the museum is its walk-through palm house. Here, visitors can breathe in the lush scent of tropical flora that plays a key role in chocolate production.

Whether as part of your exploration of local flavors or just as a standalone visit, stop by the Chocolate Museum during your weekend trip to Cologne to indulge and satisfy your cravings for all things sweet!

Experience Nightlife At Heumarkt

As the sun sets on day two of your weekend in Cologne, Germany, it's time to explore its vibrant nightlife at Heumarkt. This lively square is a hub for German nightclubs and bars and offers visitors an unforgettable experience.

Apart from dancing and drinking, visitors can indulge in Cologne's food scene by trying local cuisine at Heumarkt's restaurants and cafes. You can also take part in brewery tours to learn more about Kölsch beer culture– one of Cologne's biggest exports.

One thing is sure; experiencing nightlife at Heumarkt should be on your list when planning a weekend itinerary in Cologne - especially if you want to discover more about the city's exciting culture!

Tips For Planning The Perfect Cologne Weekend

Research Open Hours And Days

To make the most of your Cologne weekend, it's essential to do some research about open hours and days for the places you plan to visit. For instance, many museums in Cologne are closed on Mondays, so make sure to check their schedules beforehand.

Additionally, some attractions may have special events or exhibitions that require advanced booking.

By taking a little time to research and plan ahead, you can maximize your time exploring the city without any unexpected disappointments due to closures or limited access.

The official website for Cologne tourism is a great resource for up-to-date information regarding open hours and other helpful tips for travelers.

Lastly, be aware of public holidays as they might reduce service availability and lead to possible crowd surges at tourist destinations.

Plan Time Efficiently

To make the most of your Cologne weekend, it's vital that you plan your time efficiently. With so much to see and do in this vibrant city, it can be easy to get sidetracked or overwhelmed.

Start by identifying key attractions and experiences you want to have during your trip. Then, research their opening hours and days ahead of time so that you don't miss out on anything due to last-minute closures.

Keep in mind that transportation is also a crucial factor when planning your itinerary.

Lastly, dressing comfortably for walking is essential since much of the city center can only be accessed on foot or bicycle.

Use The Cologne Card For Discounts

The KölnCard is a must-have for anyone looking to explore Cologne on a budget. This tourist discount card offers free travel on all public transportation within the city and up to 50% off at various attractions, sightseeing spots, and cultural venues.

By using the KölnCard, you can save not only on transportation costs but also attraction fees which makes it an ideal option for budget-friendly travel.

Visitors can indulge in local food and drink options without worrying about breaking their bank as this card offers so many discounts! You can easily plan your weekend itinerary by checking out places that offer discounts exclusively with this card.

In addition to being easy on your wallet when traveling through Cologne, the KölnCard ensures hassle-free exploration of this beautiful city.

All you need is one card per person which means no more fumbling around with tickets or change when trying to navigate busy transportation systems during peak hours.

Book Restaurant Reservations Ahead

If you're looking to indulge in the local cuisine during your weekend getaway in Cologne, it's important to book restaurant reservations ahead of time. T

his will ensure that you don't miss out on dining at some of the city's most popular spots, such as eatDOORI which serves up delicious Indian cuisine.

In addition to securing a table at your desired restaurant, booking ahead can also save you time during your trip.

Instead of waiting for hours for an available spot at a popular eatery or fumbling with last-minute plans, pre-planning your meals allows for more efficient use of your limited time in Cologne.

Overall, planning ahead by booking restaurant reservations can greatly enhance your experience during a weekend in Cologne – especially if you want to try out local culinary delights or other recommended foodie hotspots from locals or online reviews.

Dress Comfortably For Walking

Exploring Cologne, Germany requires a lot of walking, so it's crucial to dress comfortably. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes suitable for long walks as you explore the historic city center and wind through charming neighborhoods like the Belgian Quarter.

When planning your wardrobe, consider packing versatile pieces that can be worn in various weather conditions. In Germany, temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day, so layers are essential.

Don't forget a lightweight raincoat or umbrella if traveling during the wetter months.

Getting Around Cologne

Getting around Cologne is easy and convenient with various options such as walking, public transportation, and bicycling.


Walking is a popular way to get around Cologne. The city is pedestrian-friendly and its compact size makes it easy to explore on foot.

Walking also gives travelers the opportunity to discover hidden gems and landmarks that they might have missed if they were relying solely on public transportation.

Additionally, walking can be a great form of exercise and an enjoyable way to burn off some calories after indulging in local flavors at places like Fischmarkt or satisfying your sweet tooth at Chocolate Museum.

Public Transportation

Getting around Cologne is easy and convenient, thanks to its well-connected public transportation system.

The Kölner Verkehrs-Betriebe (KVB) operates a network of trains, trams, and buses that run frequently throughout the city from early morning until late at night. [3]

Public transportation in Cologne is divided into seven zones, with the 1b ticket being your best bet if you're planning on staying within city limits.


This ticket covers unlimited journeys on all modes of transport for up to 90 minutes after validation.

If you prefer bicycles over buses or trams then don't worry because bike rentals are widely available throughout Cologne giving visitors another great option for getting around town! Plus it's a healthier way to explore while experiencing life like locals do!


Bicycling tours are an excellent option to explore Cologne and its stunning surroundings. Colonia Aktiv Tours offers bike tours around Cologne city for approximately three hours, covering approximately 15 km.

The tour includes a visit to the famous Cologne Cathedral and exploring the Germanic-Roman Museum and Art Scene at Museum Ludwig.

The circuit connects the Rhine, Ahr, and Erft rivers in a network that boasts beautiful views along the route.

Overall, bicycling around Cologne can be incredibly rewarding for travelers looking for outdoor adventures while exploring this magnificent city's sites.

Conclusion: A Memorable Weekend In Cologne, Germany

A weekend in Cologne, Germany offers a perfect combination of rich history, stunning architecture, and a lively cultural scene for every traveler.

Key Takeaways

Day 1: Exploring The Historic City Center
Explore Cologne's rich history by visiting the iconic Cologne Cathedral, learning about Germanic-Roman artifacts at the Museum Ludwig, taking in breathtaking views from KölnTriangle and Hohenzollern Bridge.

Day 2: Indulging In Local Flavors And Culture
On day two, immerse yourself in local culture by shopping and eating at the Fischmarkt, exploring the Great St. Martin Church, relax at the Alter Markt, visit the Chocolate museum and experience nightlife at Heumarkt.

To ensure a successful weekend in Cologne, plan your time efficiently, research open hours and days of attractions ahead, use the Cologne Card for discounts on public transportation and admission tickets, book restaurant reservations in advance to avoid long waits, and dress comfortably for walking around the city.

With helpful tips for planning your itinerary and getting around, you can make the most of your short trip to this beautiful city.

If you have one more day in Cologne, then check out our 3-days itinerary here. Alternatively, see our One Day in Cologne Itinerary.


1: Römisch-Germanisches Museum Köln | History, retrieved from https://roemisch-germanisches-museum.de/History
2: History of the Museum Ludwig from 1976 to the Present, retrieved from https://www.museum-ludwig.de/en/museum/the-museum/history.html
3: Kolnner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG, retrived from https://www.kvb.koeln/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.