When planning a trip to Germany most would predictably think of Munich or Berlin, however we decided to take a visit to Cologne where we found it ticked a number of weekend break boxes.
I am based in Galway so we booked flights from Knock Airport, it is only an hour and half from Galway city and with plenty of parking, no delays, it is always an obvious choice. Now, with the announcement of direct flights to Cologne every Tuesday and Saturday commencing on June 1, there are many opportunities to travel to this beautiful destination.
Cologne is a city that has not been subject to the mass tourism of other more popular German cities, therefore as soon as you arrive you feel immersed instantly in the culture of the city. I really enjoyed wandering through the beautiful streets of the old town, stopping off for a glass from the great selection of wines in the little bars along the river.
Throughout Cologne there are many beautiful cathedrals, it is definitely a go-to city if you are interested in history. Cologne is a real architectural city with highlights including St Martin's Church, St Andrew's, the Bascilica of Holy Apostles, and the one of its biggest attractions, Cologne Catherdral which includes a knee-trembling 500 steps leading to the most breathtaking views over the city.
Accommodation is the best you will find in any German city with a huge variety of hotels and AirBnBs. There are many galleries and museums throughout the city, and we were lucky enough to go Museum Ludwig which has the largest exhibition of pop art outside the US including 900 Picassos and many works by the amazing Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Alexander Rodchenko.
Of course no city break is complete without some retail therapy and shopping you will find in the hipster Ehrenfeld area. Here is Kornerstrasse Street with its cluster of appealing shops and cafes. Cologne doesn't just have the best-loved shopping streets in Germany — Hohe Straße and Schildergasse — but also in the surrounding area you can find everything your heart may desire. Exclusive brands on Mittelstraße, the latest trends around Ehrenstraße, or fashion from upcoming young designers in the Belgian Quarter. There really is something for everyone's tastes.
There is also a fantastic theme park on the outskirts of the city so if you are thinking of a family destination then Cologne would be a good consideration.
I have to admit I wasn't sure what to expect before visiting this beautiful city, however I would definitely recommend it as a city break destination, and now with the direct flights from Knock there really is no reason not to go.
Lynne Casey, senior travel consultant, Fahy Travel, Bridge Street, Galway, email [email protected].