Cologne and Rhine-Erft County
For city breakers and nature lovers
Metropolitan flair meets romantic moated castles: Cologne has wonderful art, culture and shopping, while Rhine-Erft County offers nature and historic villages.
Millions of visitors come to see Germany’s best-loved attraction every year: Cologne Cathedral is the symbol of North Rhine-Westphalia’s largest city and an important regional monument. Meanwhile, the neighbouring Rhine-Erft County has its own famous buildings: the castles of Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl. Like Cologne Cathedral, they have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Every year, the castles provide a historical backdrop for the “Brühler Schlosskonzerte” classical music concerts.
Nature meets history
Visitors can also find traces of history elsewhere in Rhine-Erft County. The little town of Alt-Kaster with its gabled houses, market square, castle ruins and fortifications has scarcely changed in appearance since medieval times, and Erftstadt-Lechenich is also worth visiting for its attractive old town. Hikers, meanwhile, can travel even further back in time on the Römerkanal-Wanderweg (Roman Canal Hiking Trail), which traces the historic path of the aqueduct from Nettersheim to Cologne, known to the Romans as Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.
Cyclists can also choose from a number of themed routes to discover Rhine-Erft County in their own particular way. There is even a special app called QuoRadis, which helps cyclists navigate the Rhineland using their smartphone or tablet, and follow routes like the River Erft or Rhine cycle paths. Whether visitors choose to hike or cycle, they are certainly guaranteed to encounter idyllic landscapes in Rhine-Erft County. On the Wasserburgen-Route (Moated Castles Route), for instance, castles, palaces and mills continuously pop into view along the way.
While many of the cycling and hiking paths are suitable for children, the highlight for the youngest family members will undoubtedly be a visit to Phantasialand. This popular leisure park in Brühl offers thrilling rides and fascinating themed areas with fun for all the family. Nearby, the city of Cologne offers additional family-friendly attractions in the zoo, the Odysseum and the Chocolate Museum.
Art, culture and shopping
The Rhine Metropolis of Cologne and Rhine-Erft County are well-known for their museums and internationally-acclaimed exhibitions. The Museum Ludwig is one of Germany’s top museums for modern art, the Kolumba is an architectural masterpiece as well as a museum, and the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl houses famous works by the Dadaists and Surrealists. The ART COLOGNE and lit.COLOGNE fairs also revolve around the fine arts, attracting thousands of visitors to the Rhine every year.
As well as its cultural highlights, Cologne is of course also known for its amazing shopping and metropolitan flair. Schildergasse, which together with Hohe Straße forms the city’s central pedestrian zone, is considered to be the busiest shopping mile in Germany. On a smaller scale but equally enticing is the Belgian Quarter, where a line-up of trendy designer shops, small cafés and hip bars provide a showcase for the city’s young urban culture. And for a final authentic touch, no visit to Cologne would be complete without a refreshing glass of Kölsch in the old town and a boat trip on the Rhine.
Arriving at Cologne Bonn Airport