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Cologne on the cheap

We love love love our weekends away in Europe, and our trip to Cologne was just the same. As always, we planned it well to both save money and make sure we could see as much as we could. Take a look at our itinerary and highlights of the trip, and book your next holiday!

We stayed in a cute little Airbnb, much cheaper than the hotels, and everywhere was totally walkable so that was an easy save for money and time.

We arrived first thing Friday morning, and we wee lucky that our amazing airbnb let us drop our bags immediately. It was one of those trips that we had planned so well in order to try and keep everything fairly local to each other to even save time between visits.

Our first taste of Cologne was at the Romisch Germanisches Museum. Put simply, it is a small Museum filled with archaeological artefacts. They all how the story of Germany’s beginning, and will there’s some of it is underwhelming, it is fascinating nonetheless.

Cost: free

From there we walked the short distance to the Altes Rathaus (historical City Hall) which is a beautiful thing to see in what is seemingly quite a metallic grey city. It’s not open on Saturday and Sunday, so if you want a look around like we did then you have to go on a weekday.

Cost: free

It was a slightly longer walk across the love lock Bridge, which although terribly cheesy, is somewhere you have to stop when you’re on holiday, it’s a great excuse.

What came next was something neither of us were expecting. Quite possibly now both of our favourite art gallery in the world, (even though you can read how we were blown over by the ones in New York). Kolumba art gallery is worth the visit to Cologne alone. Modern Art, but stuff you can get your head around, in the most fascinating concrete building. I emphasise the concrete because that is seemingly the point. Rooms and Floors of different shapes and sizes each one a brand new masterpiece in which to display the beautiful work not necessarily on its walls.

Cost: €5 (€3 for concessions)

The Belgian quarter is a very short walk from there and somewhere excellent for shopping, snacking and people watching; which is exactly what we did.

Cost: free if you don’t buy anything!

For dinner we decided we were going to go traditional German in both food and beer. Although I can’t say it was the most of nutritious and it definitely wasn’t michelin-star, however, Peter’s Brauhaus for dinner was such a good shout.

Cost: very affordable

Papa Joe’s jazzlokal was our final stop of the evening, for Great drinks, locals and some great music. I say great, but we aren’t the type of people to go clubbing all of the time.

Saturday morning gave us brunch at Funkhouse, slightly more expensive than we would normally pay, but it was exceptional, and we o my tend to eat once in the day. Except obviously today. As Tim is such a coffee fan we had to go and check out coffee gang, and it was perfect.

Very close by was the Dom. Now we loved it and the views were amazing, but don’t go near climbing it if you’re scared of heights or spiral staircases, or both in Jess’ case. However it was worth it, the views were immense and it was amazing to see.

Cost: €4 (€2 concessions)

In a fourthousandweeks shocker, we actually did something unplanned that afternoon and just went for a walk along the Rhine. We could bore you with facts here about the river, but instead how about you Google them and impress the people you’re travelling with.

Cost: free

For dinner we headed to  Biergarten Rathenauplatz, the perfect place for a warm evening, not so much in the winter.

Sunday morning we packed up and went on a Sandemans free walking tour. Now if you’ve seen our other cities like Lisbon and Berlin you’ll see that we rave about Sandemans, and they seem to be in every major town and city in Europe. It was a long one, but you can be honest and drop out during it. And as it says on the tin, it is free but they do ask for tips at the end.

Cost: free

The next stop was one for Jess. We went to the NS Dokumentationzentrum which is quite an intense old gestapo prison, filled with things about the war. Although most of it is in German, they are adding more and more English to it by the year so it is worth going as it is a section of German History that you can’t shy away from.

Cost: €4.50 (€2 concessions)

If you’re not on a strict budget, or you fancy a treat one night or lunch, here are some fine dining options for you in the grand city of Cologne.

-MaiBeck – only open for lunch service and dinner service

-La Societe (Michelin star!) – casual but incredible food