Cologne (Köln) offers a mother lode of attractions, led by its famous cathedral whose filigree twin spires dominate the skyline. The city’s museum landscape is especially strong when it comes to art but also has something in store for fans of chocolate, sports and even Roman history. Cologne's people are known for their liberalism and joie de vivre; it’s easy to have a good time with them in the beer halls of the Altstadt or during Carnival.
Cologne is like a living textbook on history and architecture: drifting about town you’ll stumble upon an ancient Roman wall, medieval churches galore, nondescript postwar buildings, avant-garde structures and a new postmodern quarter right on the Rhine.
Germany’s fourth-largest city was founded by the Romans in 38 BC and given the lofty name Colonia Claudia Ara Aggripinensium. It grew into a major trading centre, a tradition solidified in the Middle Ages and upheld today.