Dangers & Annoyances
Although Cologne made headlines for hundreds of sexual assaults committed on New Years' Eve 2015, it is by and large no more dangerous than other big cities. Areas where you should exercise extra caution are around the Dom and Hauptbahnhof, at Ebertplatz, Eigelstein and along the ring roads. There is an increased police presence in those areas.
The KölnCard (24 hours, €9) offers free public transport and discounted admission, tours, meals and entertainment. It’s available at the tourist office, in many hostels and hotels and at public transport ticket vending machines as well as online at www.cologne-tourism.com/book-buy/koelncard. If there's more than three of you, buy the group ticket for €19.
The MuseumsCard (per person/family €18/30) offers one-time admission to all municipal museums over two consecutive days.
Emergency & Important Numbers
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Gay & Lesbian Travellers
Cologne is one of Germany’s most happening and friendly out-and-proud cities. The rainbow flag flies especially proudly in the so-called ‘Bermuda Triangle’ around Rudolfplatz (especially Schaafenstrasse), which explodes into a non-stop party zone at weekends. Another major romping ground is in Altstadt around Heumarkt (especially Pipinstrasse), which draws older and more sedate folks. A good source for specific places is www.patroc.com/gay/cologne. Lesbians have fewer choices; Blue Lounge is a top pick.
Cologne Pride in June basically serves as a warm-up for the Christopher Street Day, which brings more than a million people to Cologne on the first weekend in July.
There is free public wi-fi in the area around the Dom and other city centre areas such as Neumarkt, Friesenplatz or Rudolfplatz. Look for the Hotspot.Koeln network and sign up.
The following are typical opening hours, although these may vary seasonally and by location (city centre or the suburbs).
Banks 9.30am–6pm Monday to Friday, some to 1pm Saturday
Bars 7pm–1am or later
Beer halls 9am–midnight or later
Clubs 11pm–5am or later
Shops 10am–8pm Monday to Saturday
Travel with Children
Cologne is an enjoyable place to visit if you’re travelling with little ones. The city has plenty of parks and playgrounds, a zoo, beer gardens with play areas, museums with child-friendly exhibits, and restaurants that welcome tots with special menus.
- Satisfy everyone's sweet tooth at the Schokoladenmuseum.
- The Kölner Dom is imposing at any age.
- Listen to the Glockenspiel at 4711 House of Fragrances
- Take a boat tour on the Rhine
- Ride the lift up the KölnTriangle
- Check out the love locks on Hohenzollern Bridge
- Go underground at a Roman governor's palace
Travellers with Disabilities
Hotels For a list of barrier-free hotels, see here: www.koeln.de/hotels/barrierefreie_hotels
Public transport The local KVB network has a special route map 'Touren ohne Treppen' (Touring without Stairs) that indicated the level of accessibility of each station. Those marked green are completely barrier free, those marked yellow are partially barrier-free and those marked red are not barrier-free. It can be downloaded here: www.kvb.koeln/service/barrierefreiheit.html
Tours The tourist office can arrange guided tours that meet the needs of the mobility-, seeing- or hearing-impaired.