When to fly
The city’s seasonal temperature makes a holiday in Cologne a diverse and unique experience no matter when you book flights. If you visit between December and February, you’ll experience chilly temperatures, whereas, June, July and August are the hottest months, with a typical rainy spell in June. The shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) usually stay mild and temperate, with less showers or extreme hot or cold temperatures.
The warmer months between May and August are the most convenient times to really enjoy being outside in the city and a great time to book flights. The sun will be shining, days are long, and rainfall levels are at a minimum, making it easy to explore the city on foot. Be careful to choose dates on the bookends of this season though, because rainfall becomes more frequent in the middle.
If you plan of visiting Cologne during one of its hottest months, July, be sure not to miss Kölner Lichter, which transforms the city into a magnificent sea of colours through Germany’s biggest high-altitude fireworks display. Thousands of visitors come to watch this spectacular show, whether from the banks of the river Rhine or on board one of the many river cruises where you can also enjoy some delicious food.
Winter is known as Cologne’s quieter season due to the cold temperatures and increased rainfall, it is therefore easier to find cheap flights to Cologne and deals on accommodation during this period. Be sure to pack warm clothing and an umbrella if you travel at this time. Bear in mind that there is a couple of exceptions to this quieter season, including Christmas, New Year and Carnival. Carnival takes place in February, with a number of events, including Women’s Carnival Day, Rose Monday and Ash Wednesday. The streets come alive during this colourful event, with parades, fancy dress gatherings, masked balls, performances and much more.
As soon as you step off your flight to Cologne, you’ll have no choice but to be absolutely absorbed in the rich history and the beautiful architecture that lines the city’s streets. Around every corner is another colour or majestic, towering establishment, and across the street is usually its counterpart – equally beautiful and just as intriguing.
There is no shortage of diversity here. Ancient Roman walls, post-war buildings, and medieval churches complete the perfect cityscape in Germany’s fourth-largest city. Once you’re done seeing the sights and absorbing the classic air of German history, head to one of the beer halls, which are said to rival those in Bavaria. Whether you’re looking for art, sports, nightlife, beer, or authentic cuisine, you’ll find all of it here.
Getting around Cologne
Buses and trams can take you all over Cologne. Save some money by purchasing a day pass or group pass at one of the ticket machines. Don’t forget to validate it after you board. Taxis are plentiful, and you can either hail them on the street or call ahead for one. Renting a bike can be a cheap and convenient way to get around as well.
Getting from the airport
Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) is the main airport which serves the Cologne. It is just over 9 miles (15 km) from the city.
Cologne insider information
Museum Ludwig: With the long list of museums and cultural establishments you’ll have to pick from when you book a flight to Cologne, this place should be at the top. An awesome collection of contemporary art, Museum Ludwig starts its exception aesthetic impressions from the outside in. Its jarring façade and wavy roof line is a piece of artwork all on its own. Inside, European and Postmodern art hang from every wall, as well as shining examples of American Pop Art kings like Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. From avant-garde to German expressionism, to the wonderful and unlikely musing of Picasso, this place has it all.
Kolner Dom (Cologne Cathedral): For religious enthusiasts planning flights to Cologne, should make sure to visit the Kolner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). Known as the spiritual and geographical heart of the city, the Kolner Dom is also the largest cathedral in the entire country. Mysteriously untouched throughout WWII even though its neighbourhood was demolished, the legend is that Allied forces refused to bomb the church because they used it as a landmark when bombing other areas of the city. Whether that’s true or not, happily it’s still around.
Museum Festival: For the perfect way to see all of the museums offered on your travel to Cologne, take advantage of the sporadic Museum Festival days, when every single museum in the city opens its doors to take part in the day-long, large-scale rotation of museums. Shuttle buses to and from every establishment leave on the hour (and on the 90 minute mark), so getting to and from each one is easy. Extra lectures and guided visits at each place are the best ways to see it all – especially in smaller, lesser known ones like the Carnival Museum and the Chocolate Museum.
Nightlife: Anyone on a flight to Cologne wants to experience that German nightlife, always known for dipping into sunrise. Cologne is no exception to its German siblings like Berlin and Munich. Here, though it’s not just about three-story clubs with house jams and techno beats: Nightlife in Cologne is a much broader subject, covering performing art as exquisitely as a pub crawl. With a huge emphasis on punk rock and exhibitionism, live music and live art are around every corner.