6 Free things to do in cologne 

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Cologne, a vibrant city and the fourth largest in Germany. It’s steeped in history, architecture and plenty of things to see and do for free. 

Take a stroll along the picturesque Rhine River, admire the incredible architecture of the famous Koln Dom (Cologne Cathedral), or lock your love to Hohenzollernbrucke (Hohenzollern Bridge) also known as love locks. 

We share the top 6 free things to do in Cologne.  

Free things to do in Cologne 

Our travel plans always start with what free things to do in the destination. We will then plan our itinerary around what we are interested in.  

Free doesn’t mean you miss out, free means you are staying on a budget. 

Here are the free things to do in Cologne.  

Cologne Cathedral (Koln Dom) 

Located in the heart of Cologne, is this charming UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gothic architecture is mesmerizing, with two towering spires, making this the tallest of its kind in the world.  

Contruction began on this stunning building back in 1248 but it took 600 years before it was finally completed. 

Step inside for the breathtaking interior, the stained-glass windows casting delightful colour and intricate detail. 

Escape the busy Cologne streets and enter tranquillity. Take a moment to breathe, take in the peaceful atmosphere, say a prayer, or just light a candle.  

Just behind the alter is the shrine of the three kings. It is said that the sarcophagus containing the three wise men who followed the star to Bethlehem during the birth of Jesus is within these walls.  

Venture up the south tower for epic views of Cologne.  

Koln Dom is our favourite free thing to do in Cologne, it drew us back daily just to marvel at the intricate design and one you shouldn’t miss from your Cologne itinerary.  

Take a stroll around the Old Town 

Take a leisurely stroll around the historic old town of Cologne. Wander down cobbled streets, narrow roads and passageways, admire historic buildings and take in the vibrant atmosphere.  

 Window shop at the many shops and boutiques, stop at the restaurants, bars, cafes and Brauerei (German Brewery’s) for some delicious German food and drinks.  

Take your time and embrace the atmosphere of the historic district.  

Hohenzollernbrucke (Hohenzollern Bridge) 

Hohenzollernbrucke, is a bridge over the Rhein River, offering stunning views of Cologne Cathedral.  

Be stunned by the bright colours, from the thousands of padlocks that are attached to the bridge’s railings. Loving couples share their love, with a message on the padlock that they leave behind.  

Not only is this a popular tourist spot but it is a romantic thing to do in Cologne.  

Tunnes and Schal statue 

Tunnes and Schal are just two of the many captivating statues located opposite the Romanesque Church in the old town.  

Rub the noses of Tunnes and Schal in the hope it will bring luck.  

Things to do in Cologne for under $10.00 

Although we are covering the free things to do in Cologne, there are a few sights in the city that’s we just couldn’t miss off this list and they are still budget friendly at a price of $10.00 or less.  

Just make sure your budget includes these small expenses.  

NS Dokumentaionszentrum 

Cost: €4.450 per adult (£3.92, $4.85) 

Opening times: Tues to Fri 10am to 6pm, Sat and Sun 11am to 6pm 

Once the headquarters for the Gestapo (Secret Police) during World War II, it is now a memorial and permanent and special exhibition.  

The upper floors are home to the permanent exhibition, detailing the history of Cologne from the National Socialist era to facts about World War II.  

Beneath ground, is the cold and harrowing memorial. A detention centre, that not only locked prisoners in here for their crimes, but they were also persecuted, tortured and murdered.  

Inscriptions found surrounding the walls of the prison cells are a vivid reminder of the conditions and horrors that went on during Nazi occupation.  

A real sombre atmosphere and journey through Germany’s war era.  

Information cards on the upper floors are in German, in the basement there in English. An audio guide will be useful, as you make your way through the exhibitions.  

Triangle Viewing Point – Panoramic views of Cologne 

Cost: €5.00 per adult (£4.36, $5.42) 

Opening times: Sun to Thurs 11am to 8pm 

The Viewing Point offers 360-degree panoramic views of Cologne.  

At a height of 103.20 metres and 29 floors via a lift, you are granted with a bird’s eye view of Hohenzollernbrucke and the Koln Dom in the backdrop.  

For a small outlay, the views of the city are worth it.  

With Dusseldorf only a short distance from Cologne, you could easily add this onto your trip to Germany, by visiting Dusseldorf in Autumn.


A vibrant city that’s stacked with a wide range of free things to do for all visitors.  

Cologne Cathedral is a must visit, with stunning architecture and a tranquil place to get away from the crowds. Our favour place to visit in Cologne. 

Share your love in the city, at love locks, take a stroll around the Old Town and discover statues, quaint narrow streets and cobbled roads.  

Learn about Germany’s history at NS Dokumentaionszentrum. 

This simply is a budget friendly city to visit, with these free things to do in Cologne.  

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