One day in Cologne (NRW - Germany)

Cologne Cathedral is very special to us! Its Atyudarini's 25th UNESCO World Heritage Site and Germany is her 10th country! However, she had other plans than to 'see' the cathedral. She chose to sleep in the cathedral! In her defense, it was a very very hot day and it was cool inside the Cathedral.
 So what if its my 25th UNESCO Site.... Mommy, I'm very sleepy!!!!! 
kölner dom Cologne Cathedral UNESCO Germany

Atyudarini at UNESCO Germany kölner dom

Atyudarini at UNESCO Germany kölner dom

Kolner dom Cologne Cathedral Architecture History

We went on a short weekend trip from Brussels to North-Rhine Westphalia in West Germany. On Day 1 we were in Aachen to visit the Aachen Cathedral and explore the Route Charlemagne. On Day 2, we began our day in Cologne with a visit to Augustusburg Castle in Bruhl which effectively took half a day. We were back in Cologne city and we had half a day to explore Cologne. Both Cologne & Aachen are two of the top 10 places to see in North Rhine-Westphalia

There are 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in North Rhine-Westphalia. Of those 5, 3 are located very close to each other here - Cologne Cathedral, Aachen Cathedral and Schloss Augustusburg. A bit away from here Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen. Very far away, closer to the Lower Saxony border is Corvey whose former Benedictine abbey is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in NRW, Germany. On this trip, our plan was to visit the first 3 which are located close to each other and that's what we did.


First impression of Cologne Cathedral........... It is humongous & imposing!!!! That's the first word that came to mind.... The best way to walk around the Cathedral is with their official app which explains every stained-glass window and every sculpture of every part of Cologne Cathedral with a map and pictures (Cologne Cathedral App (android)Cologne Cathedral App (iOS))

The construction of this cathedral began in 1248 CE. As soon as we enter are the fascinating stained glass windows on either sides. The ones of the left side as old while the ones of the right are new. The first window, Passion Window belongs to 1507-08, and is one of the oldest. Following 3 windows on the same side, including the ones depicting Nativity and the next depicting Adoration of Magi (3 wise men) belong to the same time period. The newest of this time is the last one depicting the Coronation of Virgin Mary, 1509. 
On the right, the windows belong to 1846-48. Also the west portal window (main facade), belongs to this era. 
The oldest and most-important stained glass window is the one behind the altar, made in 1260 CE. Its is Bible Window. On the right column talks about new testament while the left column talks about old testament. The newest window, on the other hand, is located in the South Transept, which was made in 2007.

Cologne Cathedral Stained Glass Windows

Cologne Cathedral Stained Glass Windows

Cologne Cathedral Stained Glass Windows

Cologne Cathedral Stained Glass Windows

On the left, the first chapel has the wooden altarpiece of Poor Clares. This is also one of the oldest article, belonging to 1350-60, in the cathedral. It was then at the Church of St.Clare. It was brought here when that church was demolished. On either sides are double wings, which provide 3 types of magnificent looks! The paintings were redone in 1400. However when restoration happened in 1907-09, this layer was removed to bring out the original painting. 

The choir also belongs to the early Gothic Era. The life-sized sculptures of the apostles  & Madonna has been in existence since 1280 CE. The windows of the choir also belong to around this time, 1300 CE. These windows are called the Cycle of Kings. The upper 2/3rd of the window is simple geometrical pattern, but the lower 1/3rd is life-sized stained glass images of 48 kings. The chairs of the choir belong to 1308-11 CE. 
The oldest ever article is the wooden crucifix located in the left side, closer to the altar. Its golden is color and huge! It was donated by Archbishop Gero in 976 CE! It was then in the altar of Chapel of St Stephen before this church was built, when it was brought here. The marble altar and the sun behind were added in 1683 CE. This is the earliest crucifix sculpture of this size to be in existence, till date! At the altar is the Shrine of Magi. This belongs to around 1190-1220 CE. The right side, parellel to Gero crucifix is the Altar of City Patrons, belonging to 1442 CE.

How to reach Cologne Cathedral (on Google Maps): Cologne Cathedral (Koelner Dom)
Nearest railway station: Köln HBF (the imposing tower of the Cathedral is visible from the railway station. Its a walking distance)
Cologne Cathedral ticket: Free 
Cologne Cathedral Treasury ticket: €6
Cologne Cathedral Opening Hours: Daily 6:00AM to 7:30/9:00PM in winters & summers respectively
Sundays: 1:00PM to 4:30PM only for tourists 

Cologne Cathedral wooden altarpiece of Poor Clares

Cologne Cathedral Gothic Sculptures in Choir

Cologne Cathedral Sculptures in Choir

Cologne Cathedral Shrine of Magi


While the church is humongous and has so much to see, the outside of the church is just a perfect place to be! On, one side are huge staircases, followed by the square in front of the railway station. When we went, this place was so very lively with musicians & performers showcasing their skills and tons of college students chilling on this staircase! Its one of the most lively squares I've been to, reminding me much of Milan Cathedral's square! Another thing that reminded me of Milan Cathedral here was the architecture - the flying buttress feature was just like Milan's!!!

On the other side of the church is a fantastic fountain and the day we went was way too hot and the fountain with pool with its ducks was the perfect way to wrap up our evening. 
After seeing Cologne Cathedral, we hardly had any time before our train. So we didn't do much, but just walk around to see the Hohenzollern Bridge or Love Locks Bridge!!! The entire railing is just filled with padlocks declaring the love of some sweet couples! Guess what people have started doing now due to lack of space? Put on a bicycle lock on the bridge and fill 'that' with padlocks!!! I did see some huge antique locks too. I don't know since when this practice started in Köln! Just the locks are estimated to weigh about 2 tonnes!!! If you're planning to visit & add one, may be just read about what happened to Pont Des Arts, Paris before doing it!!!
One of the other top places to visit in Cologne is obviously Farina Duftmuseum (Fragrance Museum). Have you ever wondered if there was some connection between the city Cologne and the men's fragrance Cologne? If you did, you're right! 'Eau de Cologne' literally means 'Water of Cologne' which was a fragrance created in 1709! Unfortunately we didn't visit this museum due to lack to time!

How to reach Love Locks Bridge (on Google Maps): Hohenzollern Bridge - Walking distance from Koln HBF
How to reach Cologne Fragrance Museum (on Google Maps): Farina Duftmuseum - Walking distance from Koln HBF
Cologne Fragrance Museum (Farina Duftmuseum) ticket: Weekdays - €5; Weekdays - €9 
Cologne Fragrance Museum (Farina Duftmuseum) Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00AM to 07:00PM; Sun: 11:00AM to 05:00PM

Farina Duftmuseum Cologne Fragrance Museum
Pic Courtesy: ©FARINA via KölnTourismus (used in this blog & related social media with permission)

One day in Cologne Hohenzollern Love Locks Bridge

One day in Cologne Hohenzollern Love Locks Bridge

How many days in Cologne are needed? Well here's my ideal 3 days in Cologne Itinerary. But then if you don't have much time, below is the minimalistic one day in Cologne itinerary.

  • Half day at Schloss Augustusburg Bruhl
  • Return to Cologne & visit Cologne Cathedral 
  • Visit Cologne Fragrance Museum
  • See the love locks of Hohenzollern Bridge
  • Walk around to see some Cologne Street-Art if there's time left!

P.S: I was invited by NRW Tourism to experience the region for review purposes, however the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.

Kolner dom Cologne Cathedral Pinterest Things to do in One day in Cologne Pinterest


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. The Cologne cathedral is indeed its highlight. I saw it from the outside and had the same thought as you that it is huge! My regret now having seen your photos is not getting inside. I can imagine getting some refuge from the scorching summer heat in the interiors of this great Cathedral.

  2. Wow that is pretty exciting that your daughter has already been to 25 UNESCO World Heritage Sites! The Cathedral is very beautiful! I love the stained glass windows and it is very impressive that there is a crucifix dating back to 976 CE. That bridge is definitely full of love locks. It would be hard to find a spare spot to add one. It's cool to see bridges with this trend all over Europe.

  3. The Cologne Cathedral is seriously huge and looks so impressive. The stained glass paintings look so beautiful. I could have simply stayed here the entire day marvelling at its architecture! The Love Locks Bridge is also quite interesting. Fancy using padlocks to declare the love! As if they are sealing their love with it.

  4. You're weren't kidding about Cologne Cathedral, it's very impressive. I'm in awe of those stained glass windows too, they're pretty mesmerising! Very sweet that your daughter is on her 10th country; she's doing very well!

  5. Such a gorgeous cathedral - both from the outside and inside. Loved the stained glass captures and frankly, that is always my first sight within a church. The exteriors do remind me of Milan Cathedral - the same style. Is it the same era too? Loving your Europe chronicles.

  6. Wow! Looks like an incredible church. I visited the Douma in Milan and enjoyed the external ambience as well. There were lots of people from all around the world just chilling and enjoying the place. Id love to check this place out one day.

  7. I just love these old buildings in Germany! This too, is amazingly beautiful. We like to visit cathedrals and churches on our travels, and this looks like something we would love to see. There is so much to see in Germany and hopefully we get to return there soon.

  8. I have heard and seen so much about the cologne cathedral. It does look majestic from your photos and description. While the entire cathedral is stunning, I really liked the oldest and most-important stained glass windows. Really impressive to know how they have been maintained since 1260 CE.

  9. It hink it is so cool that I found this post, because I am going to Belgium soon and have considered to take the car across the border to visit Germany. A visit to Cologne needs to be on my itinerary now when I have seen these photos. The architecture is so grand and unlike anything we have here at home, and the cathedral is one of many favorite buildings that I have seen online. So impressive and grand! I will consider visiting Cologne for sure during my Europtrip!


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