14 Best Cologne Tours

It is no surprise that the German city of Cologne, with a history of more than 2,000 years, is known as the cultural center of Germany and the whole of Europe.

Cologne’s location on the banks of the Rhine, combined with its medieval architecture, including the iconic Cologne Cathedral, make the city remarkable.

The beautiful riverside district and historic old town are just the beginning. The city is home to dozens of museums, hundreds of art galleries, and one of the oldest and largest universities on the African continent.

With a population of just over one million, Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany. The city’s residents are known for their optimistic, present-day lifestyle. Cologne has more bars than any other city in the country.

Cologne hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Cologne Carnival, Ringfest and Christmas Market.

Here are 14 of the best tours in Cologne.

1. Explore Cologne with a local

Cologne, Germany

The second best way to get acquainted with any city is to leave the hotel and explore on your own. The best way to get acquainted with a new city is to explore it with the people who live there and have all the insider tips and tricks to get around more easily; they’ll know the best places to eat, drink, experience history and culture.

Meet your local guide at your hotel and start your walking tour with an introduction to your surroundings. Share your interests with your guide so they can tailor a tour to suit you.

Over the next few hours, visit top attractions and learn about the city’s history and what it’s like to live there. End your trip with confidence that you have all the information to make your stay in Cologne the best possible time.

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2. Take a virtual tour back in time

While you won’t actually travel back in time at TimeRide Cologne, this virtual reality experience is the closest thing to it.

Put on a pair of VR glasses and get ready to travel back to the early 20th century and see what Cologne looked like back then.

In 45 minutes, you’ll travel through the Old Town, admiring an accurate depiction of the city in 1900, including trams and lively street scenes.

Visit the cinema, where you’ll watch a short film about Cologne’s past and present, and see 3D pictures of iconic landmarks.

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3. Experience the dark side of Cologne

Cologne Cathedral by night

Cologne was a very different place in the Middle Ages. This two-hour nighttime walking tour takes you back to a time when city life was ruined by hardships.

Meet your guide at the Heumarkt and stroll through Cologne’s historic center. Listen carefully as your guide tells you stories of witches, ghosts and murders.

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4. Learn about the history of chocolate at the Cologne Chocolate Museum

Cologne Chocolate Museum

Chocolate has been around for a long time. This Cologne Chocolate Museum ticket, valid all day and skip-the-line, is a collection of exhibits about 5,000 years of chocolate history.

Located in the old town, the museum is a must for chocolate lovers. Learn about the origins of the world’s most popular snack and how cocoa was used in South America before it made its way to Europe. See how chocolate has changed over the centuries.

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5. Explore Cologne by bike

Cologne by bike along the Rhine

Meet your guide and don your bike, helmet and poncho, and cycle through the beautiful city of Cologne.

Start your journey in Eigelsteintor in the Old Town and spend the next three hours soaring through the streets of this medieval city as the wind blows through your hair.

Cross the Zoobrucke Bridge and see various sights and landmarks along the way, including the Prussian Fort X, Philharmonic Hall, 3 Crane Houses, Ludwig Museum, Siebengebirgshaus and Rhein Park, one of the most beautiful parks in the country .

Relax with a cold beer at the brewery and visit the unique Reinauhafen district. Return to where you started by following the route along the Rhine.

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6. Taste local beers on a Cologne brewery tour

Cologne beer

Like the rest of Germany, Cologne is famous for its beers. In a city with more bars than anywhere else in Germany, there are plenty of opportunities to sit and have a cold drink.

Meet your guide at the cathedral near the Kreuzblumen monument and start a fun and enlightening tour of Cologne and its breweries.

Spend two hours admiring the sights between the breweries. As you go along, your guide will get to know everyone on the group so they can choose the best brewery for them.

Stop at three different breweries and taste three local beers while learning about the history of local brewing and hearing interesting stories.

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7. Cruise along the Rhine

Cologne Cruises

Sail along the Rhine for an hour and see the city of Cologne from a different perspective. Explore many of the city’s top attractions from the water, including the Old Town and Cologne Cathedral.

The bar serves snacks and drinks. You can also choose to go on a Sunday brunch cruise or an evening self-guided tour.

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8. See Cologne from a rickshaw

Cologne Rickshaw Tour

Another unique way to get around the city of Cologne is by rickshaw. Meet your guide and rickshaw driver in the city center for a 1.5-hour journey through the streets of Cologne.

During the tour, your guide will show you some famous sights including Cologne Cathedral, the medieval town hall, the old town and the Rhine boulevard. Warm blankets and rain gear are provided for inclement weather.

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9. Quick access to Hard Rock Cafe Cologne

Hard Rock Cafe Cologne

Dining at Hard Rock Cafe Cologne is a must. This ticket lets you skip the line and dine in style. This ticket is good for an entire day, where you can enjoy a variety of delicious meals, including authentic American fare and decadent desserts.

Admire rock memorabilia or buy a souvenir to take home to remember your unforgettable meal.

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10. Cologne from the air

Cologne in the air

Seeing a city from the air gives you a bird’s-eye view of the city’s landscapes and attractions. Visitors to Cologne have the opportunity to take a one-hour flight over the city for such a trip.

Head to Bonn/Hangelaar Airport and meet a trained pilot who will give you an overview of your flight before you take off for the adventure of a lifetime. Visit iconic sights such as Cologne Cathedral, the Rurstausee, the Hohenzollern Bridge and the Rhine.

During the flight, you will be equipped with headphones so that you can easily hear the pilot’s voice.

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11. Unlock Haunted Cologne

Hanentoburg gate, Cologne

If you are looking for an independent interactive experience in Cologne with a unique style, this walking game is a fun way to learn about the city and its dark side.

Your experience starts with purchasing access to the game via your smartphone.

Follow the map and travel through areas of the city that are said to be haunted. As you progress, you’ll need to solve clues to unravel spooky stories about various locations and attractions, including Cologne Cathedral and the Alte Market.

There is no set time limit to complete the game, so you can go at your own pace. You can play alone or with a group.

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12. Party Through Cologne in a Private Pub Crawl

pub crawl

Cologne is known for its lively nightlife, and this four-hour tour lets you experience it with the help of knowledgeable locals who know where all the top party spots are.

There is no need to plan anything; you can meet your guide at your hotel at the most convenient time. Celebrate the party with your first drink of the night – it’s a welcome shot. Experience the city’s hottest nightlife with your guide, where you’ll enjoy live music, drinks and an exciting atmosphere. You don’t have to worry about long lines: this tour guarantees you’re in right away, and you’ll get free gin at every bar you go.

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13. Explore Meraten Cemetery

Merathen Cemetery

Merathen Cemetery is a peaceful place steeped in history and art and the contrast between life and death. On this two-hour tour, you’ll wander the beautiful grounds of 55,000 cemeteries.

Admire these natural surroundings in the heart of Cologne and learn about the history of the cemetery and the people who rest there.

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14. Explore Cologne street art by bike

Cologne street art

Go to Eigelsteintor, where you will meet your guide, rent a bike, and go on a 3-hour tour of the Belgian Quarter and the Ehrenfeld district of Cologne.

As you walk through the city streets, you will see different types of street art created by artists from all over the world. Your guide will tell you about the different techniques used in this type of art and the history of the art form itself. Take a break in a cozy café to end the tour.

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