cologne city

Cologne city attractions you can enjoy during Euro 2024

Euro 2024 is set to be an extraordinary celebration of football, offering fans not just thrilling matches but also a golden opportunity to explore new destinations. Cologne, or Köln as it’s known in German, is Germany’s fourth-largest city, boasting a wealth of sights and experiences for visitors.

Before traveling for the tournament, make sure you check out this list of Cologne touristic places and attractions. Many of which are conveniently located near the stadium and fan zones, to make your trip both memorable and hassle-free.

First, a few fun facts about the city:

Roman Heritage: Established by the Romans in 50 AD as Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, Cologne is steeped in Roman history. The city is dotted with ancient ruins and artifacts, including the Praetorium and the Roman-Germanic Museum, offering a glimpse into its illustrious past.

Kölsch – The Local Brew: Unique to Cologne, Kölsch is a light, crisp ale that’s become an integral part of the city’s culture. Brewed exclusively here, it’s served in slender glasses known as “Stangen,” symbolizing Cologne’s rich brewing tradition.

Birthplace of Eau de Cologne: The city is renowned for its famous fragrance, Eau de Cologne. Created in the early 18th century by Johann Maria Farina, this iconic scent continues to be produced in Cologne, capturing the essence of the city in a bottle.

RheinEnergieStadion: Home to FC Köln, the RheinEnergieStadion boasts a capacity of 45,965 and has hosted numerous significant matches, including five World Cup games in 2006. During Euro 2024, it will be the stage for five matches, including Hungary vs. Switzerland (Group A), Scotland vs. Switzerland (A), Belgium vs. Romania (E), England vs. Slovenia (C), and a round of 16 match.

Local Football Icons: Cologne – Köln has been a cradle for football talent, producing legends such as Lukas Podolski, a pivotal player for the German national team and clubs across Europe; Toni Schumacher, a legendary goalkeeper with a mixed legacy; Thomas Häßler, a 1990 World Cup winner with Germany; Wolfgang Overath, who triumphed in the 1974 World Cup with West Germany; and Jonas Hector, a current player for FC Cologne with 43 caps for Germany.

If you want to learn more about Cologne, you can check our Cologne city guide.

15 must-visit Cologne touristic places:

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is an awe-inspiring example of Gothic architecture and the most iconic landmark in the city. In my experience, departing Cologne without a cathedral souvenir is nearly impossible. This architectural marvel, which took over 600 years to complete, from its commencement in 1248 to its completion in 1880, houses the revered Shrine of the Three Kings.

This shrine is believed to contain the remains of the Three Wise Men, making it a site of significant historical and religious value. Visitors can ascend to the cathedral’s south tower. I really enjoyed breathtaking panoramic views of Cologne, offering a unique perspective on the city’s landscape.

Old Town (Altstadt)

Cologne’s Old Town, with its picturesque old buildings, narrow alleys, and vibrant squares such as Alter Markt and Heumarkt, embodies the city’s rich history and culture. This area is the ideal place for leisurely exploration, inviting visitors to wander its streets and discover Cologne’s charm on foot.

The Old Town is renowned for its traditional breweries and pubs, where locals and tourists alike can enjoy Kölsch, the distinctive local beer. This area serves as a living museum, showcasing the city’s medieval past alongside its lively contemporary culture.

Rheinpark

Situated on the right bank of the Rhine, Rheinpark is a verdant oasis in the heart of the city. It offers ample space for picnics, leisurely walks, and playful afternoons in the children’s playground. The park boasts spectacular views of the city skyline and its majestic cathedral. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax or a picturesque setting for outdoor activities, Rheinpark is a cherished green space that enriches Cologne’s urban landscape.

Rhine River Promenade

The Rhine River Promenade is a beautiful walkway that affords stunning views of Cologne – Köln. This includes the cathedral and the romantic Hohenzollern Bridge, famed for its love locks collection.

This promenade is a favorite among locals and visitors for peaceful strolls, offering a tranquil space to enjoy the Rhine and the city’s architectural wonders. The juxtaposition of the flowing river, historical bridges, and the city’s skyline creates a captivating setting for photographs at any time of the day. Even in cloudy weather, I took a nice picture of the river.

Museums

Cologne’s museum landscape is diverse and fascinating. It contains the Ludwig Museum for modern art, the Chocolate Museum for sweet indulgences, the Farina Fragrance Museum dedicated to the birthplace of Eau de Cologne, and the Roman-Germanic Museum showcasing ancient artifacts.

All of these museums, as well as the Sports and Olympia Museum, which is a real treat for sports enthusiasts, are conveniently located within walking distance of each other. This makes it easy to explore Cologne’s rich cultural offerings in one day.

EURO 2024 Fan Zone

The EURO 2024 Fan Zone at Heumarkt is set to be the centerpiece of festivities in Cologne. It promises to be a vibrant space for fans to gather and share in the excitement of the tournament. 

Open throughout the 31 days of EURO 2024, the fan zone invites locals and tourists to enjoy live broadcasts of matches on big screens and a variety of football-themed activities for all ages. As you can see from my photo, it’s the perfect spot to meet fellow football fans and immerse yourself in the atmosphere.

koln euro 2024 fan zone

Public Viewing Experience

In addition to the fan zone, just a few minutes walk away (on the other side of the river), UEFA will also set up a public viewing spot. There is more to it than just watching the big matches on giant screens; there is live music, stage performances, and a wide variety of entertainment.

Many key attractions are located nearby, making the city tourist-friendly. This convenient arrangement ensures that visitors can easily explore a multitude of sights on foot, including many Cologne – Köln touristic places close to Euro 2024 fan zones. 

This proximity enhances the experience when traveling for Euro 2024, but what about game day plans? Let’s explore some notable Cologne touristic places close to the Euro 2024 stadium:

Belgian Quarter (Belgisches Viertel)

Nestled in the west between Cologne’s central area and the stadium, the Belgian Quarter shines as a beacon for those who love fashion and culture. This vibrant neighborhood is bursting with trendy boutiques, art galleries, cozy cafes, and lively bars, offering a slice of the city’s contemporary life

A visit here perfectly complements a trip to the stadium, merging football excitement with the allure of local culture. Within its heart lies Stadtgarten, a charming blend of a traditional city park and a beer garden. This local favorite is an ideal spot for unwinding and socializing, making it a must-visit on your way to the stadium.

FC Cologne Fan Shop

For football fans, a visit to Cologne – Köln would be incomplete without a stop at FC Cologne’s fan shops. These shops are a haven for supporters looking for club merchandise and memorabilia. With several locations scattered across the city, it’s convenient to find a store near you. One fan shop is strategically located near the stadium, providing an opportunity to visit before or after a Euro 2024 match.

Things to do with Family in Cologne

Cologne Zoo

Established in 1860, the Cologne Zoo stands as one of Germany’s oldest and biggest zoos, home to over 10,000 animals across more than 850 species. This historical zoo offers educational fun for the entire family, with a diverse array of habitats from around the globe. 

Conveniently, its location is close to both the Cologne Cable Car and the Flora and Botanical Garden, making it easy to plan a day trip encompassing all three attractions for a comprehensive family outing.

Cologne Cable Car (Kölner Seilbahn)

The Cologne Cable Car offers an unparalleled aerial perspective of the city, presenting an unforgettable journey across the Rhine River. Since its inauguration in 1957, it has become an iconic attraction, providing passengers with panoramic views of Cologne’s stunning landscape. 

Furthermore, his ride connects the Zoo with the Rheinpark, making it an excellent mode of transportation. Ideal for families, couples, and solo travelers alike, the cable car experience is a must-do for anyone.

Flora and Botanical Garden Cologne (Botanischer Garten Köln)

Spanning over 11.5 hectares, this beautifully landscaped garden features a diverse collection of more than 10,000 plant species from around the globe. Visitors can wander through themed gardens, including a captivating Japanese garden, a sensory garden, and historical greenhouses filled with exotic tropical plants.

The garden serves as a living museum dedicated to plant biodiversity, and provides a lovely setting for walks, photography, and family picnics. It’s a wonderful place for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

Odysseum

Positioned a bit further east, the Odysseum is an interactive science museum that engages children and adults in hands-on learning across a spectrum of subjects, from biology to space. While it lies a short distance away from other attractions, it’s fairly close to the official public viewing area. This can be a worthwhile detour for families looking to add an educational twist to their football journey.

Phantasialand

Just outside Cologne to the south, Phantasialand is a thrilling theme park that caters to families and adventure seekers. It has a vast selection of rides, attractions, and live entertainment. Despite being outside the city, it’s still easily accessible, only a 25-minute drive or about an hour by public transport.

Touristic places for Couple

Traveling for football with your significant other? This can be both romantic and extraordinary. Our final recommendation is tailored just for you.

Love Locks Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge, a stone’s throw from Cologne Cathedral, has become a romantic landmark for couples from around the world. This iconic bridge is adorned with thousands of ‘love locks,’ padlocks attached to its railings by lovers to symbolize their unbreakable bond.

The tradition has turned the bridge into a visual testament to love and commitment. It has become a charming location for romantic strolls and memorable photographs. As couples lock their love and throw the keys into the Rhine below, they leave behind a lasting reminder of their affection in the heart of Cologne – Köln. This ritual not only embodies the romantic spirit but also connects visitors with the countless stories of love that the bridge holds.

cologne rhine river

Now that you’re equipped with the top places to visit in Cologne, make sure you’re also prepared for Euro 2024 by checking out this travel packing guide.

Experience Cologne through my Eyes

Cologne offers a rich variety of attractions, seamlessly blending history, culture, and modern vibrancy. From the architectural grandeur of the famous cathedral to the tranquil beauty of the Rhine’s landscapes, the city is a treasure trove of experiences.

Whether you’re traveling for Euro 2024 alone, with your family, partner or friends, Cologne promises unforgettable memories and its unique kölsche atmosphere.