The cathedral, the Rhine and the Hohenzollern Bridge shine in the glow of the Cologne lights, © Dieter Jacobi / Köln Tourismus

Co­logne lights

Fire­works, Bengal lights and hun­dreds of thou­sands of spark­lers

One of the most beau­ti­ful mu­sic­al fire­work dis­plays im­merses Co­logne in a sea of light and col­our.

On a warm July evening, Cologne is illuminated in a very special light during one of the most beautiful musical firework displays in Germany. The “Cologne Lights” is a display of fireworks, Bengal lights, waterfalls and hundreds of thousands of sparklers. In front of the main display, a convoy of 50 festively lit boats from Cologne-Porz moves down the Rhine towards the inner city. It is greeted by different firework displays on land.

At the grand finale at around 11.30 pm, the images light up the sky accompanied by music. The musical theme changes from year to year. Sometimes, the huge loudspeaker towers to the left and right of the Rhine play music from the 1970s, and sometimes film tunes. The rhythms are reinforced by the firing of the pyrotechnics in time to the music. A sophisticated computer program triggers the shots into the sky down to a hundredth of a second accuracy.

Special tours during the evening

The musical programme already begins during the afternoon, with free concerts on the Tanzbrunnen stage.

During the evening, a large number of shipping companies offer special tours of the Cologne Lights on the Rhine. For those wanting to watch the spectacle on the water, early booking is recommended.

The Cologne Lights are one of the largest synchronous musical firework displays in Germany. Every year, around 800,000 people come to the banks of the Rhine in Cologne to watch the spectacle.

Date: 20 July 2024, 12 July 2025

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