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2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

Things to do in Cologne, Germany.

If you’re sketching out a 2 days Cologne itinerary, you’re in for a treat! Cologne, a city bursting with history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture, makes every minute count. Whether savoring delicious local dishes or strolling through charming streets, your days here will be packed with discoveries. Ideal for a quick getaway, this lively city invites you with open arms and scenic beauty at every turn. See why everyone who visits Cologne leaves with stories to tell and a smile on their face!

2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour cologne, cologne cathedral, sunset-1846353.jpg
2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

Where to Stay in Cologne

Looking for the perfect place to stay during your 2 days Cologne itinerary? Check out the Weltempfänger Backpacker Hostel for a friendly, budget-friendly option. Prefer a bit more comfort? The Boutique 003 Köln am DOM offers great value right in the heart of the city. Both choices make exploring Cologne easy and convenient, ensuring a memorable trip packed with local charm and hospitality.

Self-guided Walking Tour

This 2 days Cologne itinerary is made for a self-guided walking tour. All the tourist attractions listed here are within walking distance (or a few steps) from each other. They’re all within a kilometer, so there’s really no need for public transport. However, to avoid lining up, buying tickets to attractions that require tickets is a great idea. You can buy them here or here. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes during the summer months, and always carry a water bottle to stay hydrated. 

Here’s my 2-day Cologne itinerary when I visited the city.

Day 1: Historic Highlights and Skyline Views

9:00 AM: Arrive in Cologne and head to your hostel

Welcome to Cologne! Kick off your journey by checking into your cozy hostel. Here, you’ll find a friendly atmosphere perfect for travelers. Unpack, settle in and gear up for an exciting day exploring Cologne’s rich history and culture.

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10:30 AM: Visit Cologne Cathedral

Marvel at the majestic Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This gothic masterpiece towers over the city skyline. Don’t miss the stunning stained glass windows and the panoramic views from the top. The climb up the tower is a must for breathtaking city vistas!

12:00 PM: Explore the Römisch-Germanisches Museum

Step next door to the Römisch-Germanisches Museum. This museum showcases fascinating Roman artifacts, including the famous Dionysus mosaic. Discover the ancient world as you wander through well-preserved relics and learn about Cologne’s Roman past.

1:00 PM: Walk to the Museum Ludwig for some modern art

A short walk takes you to the Museum Ludwig, where modern meets contemporary art. The museum boasts an impressive collection of pop art, abstracts, and surrealism. Be sure to check out the famous works by Picasso and Warhol. Art enthusiasts will find this place a creative paradise!

2:30 PM: Visit the Praetorium

Discover the underground wonders at the Praetorium, Cologne’s ancient Roman governor’s palace. Explore archaeological finds and ancient ruins right beneath the city streets. The hidden pathways and historical artifacts offer a unique glimpse into Cologne’s past.

3:30 PM: Have a late lunch at Gaffel am Dom.

Refuel with a delicious late lunch at Gaffel am Dom. This traditional brewery serves local specialties like Kölsch beer and hearty German dishes. The vibrant atmosphere makes it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy Cologne’s culinary delights.

2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour
2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

4:30 PM: Visit the Farina Fragrance Museum.

Dive into the scented world of the Farina Fragrance Museum, home of the original Eau de Cologne. Learn about the fascinating history of perfume and how Cologne’s signature scent was created. The engaging tours here are a treat for the senses.

5:30 PM: Walk around Groß St. Martin and Hohenzollern Bridge

Take a leisurely stroll to Groß St. Martin, a stunning Romanesque church, and then onto the Hohenzollern Bridge. With the Cathedral backdrop, capture memorable photos and attach a love lock on the bridge as a memento of your visit to Cologne.

6:30 PM: Head to the Cologne Triangle

Arrive at the Cologne Triangle for a spectacular sunset view over the city. The observation deck provides a 360-degree view that stretches far across Cologne. Watching the sunset from here is an unforgettable end to your day.

Optional Activity: Join a Cologne Rhine River 1-Hour Sightseeing Cruise.

8:30 PM: Return to Alter Markt and have dinner at Peter’s Brauhaus

End your day with a hearty dinner at Peter’s Brauhaus in the bustling Alter Markt area. Enjoy traditional dishes and a lively atmosphere as you reminisce about your day’s adventures.

10:00 PM: Head back to your hostel/hotel

Return to your hostel for well-deserved rest after a day filled with history, art, and culture. Prepare for another day of adventure as Cologne continues to charm you with its enchanting stories and vibrant streets.

Related Post: One Month in Europe: From Portugal to Germany

2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour cologne, historic center, rheinland-2820934.jpg
2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

Day 2: Art, Chocolate, and Riverside Farewells

9:00 AM: Breakfast at Cafe Rico

Start your day at Cafe Rico, where the coffee is rich and the vibes are cozy. This café is a local favorite for its warm ambiance and delicious breakfast offerings. Fuel up with their signature brew and a hearty meal to energize you for the day ahead.

10:00 AM: Visit Kolumba

Step into Kolumba, an art museum that seamlessly integrates ancient ruins with modern architecture. This unique space houses a thoughtful collection spanning over a thousand years of art. Be sure to see the serene garden and the poignant war ruins preserved among the exhibits.

11:00 AM: Explore the Wallraf-Richartz Museum

Discover a world of European art at the Wallraf-Richartz Museum. From medieval masterpieces to French Impressionism, this museum offers a diverse collection. Don’t miss the stunning paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt. The museum’s richly decorated rooms are a visual feast!

2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour cologne, cathedral, bridge-6624212.jpg
2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

12:30 PM: Head to the Schokoladen Museum

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Schokoladen Museum. Learn about the fascinating history of chocolate and watch it being made. From ancient Aztec recipes to modern bars, the journey of chocolate unfolds here. Don’t leave without trying some freshly made chocolate from their in-house factory! Get your tickets here

2:00 PM: Lunch at Sünner im Walfisch

Enjoy a traditional German lunch at Sünner im Walfisch. Nestled in a historic building at Heumarkt, this restaurant offers a taste of local flavors in a rustic setting. Relish dishes like schnitzel and sauerkraut paired with local Kölsch beer, a must-try in Cologne.

3:30 PM: Return to the hostel to collect your belongings and depart Cologne

Wrap up your visit by heading back to your hostel. Collect your belongings and say goodbye to the charming city of Cologne. As you depart, carry with you the memories of art, history, and chocolate that have made your stay unforgettable. Safe travels!

2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour rail, central station, station-4320077.jpg
2 Days Cologne Itinerary: A Self-Guided Walking Tour

Goodbye, Cologne!

Wrapping up your 2 days Cologne itinerary, you’ll leave with unforgettable memories and a desire to return. Cologne combines ancient charm with a bustling modern lifestyle, making every moment count. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, this city welcomes everyone with something unique to offer. Cologne is perfect for a short trip and ensures your travel diary brims with stories. 

Onwards to Other German Cities by Train

After wrapping up your 2 days Cologne itinerary, consider visiting other German cities. Book train tickets online in advance for a smooth journey. Frankfurt is just about two hours away, offering a stark contrast with its modern skyline. For a shorter trip, Bonn is only 30 minutes south, while Düsseldorf lies a mere 40 minutes northwest. Opting for a bus can be a more budget-friendly choice, allowing you to explore more of Germany without breaking the bank.

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