16 Nov 22 | Datos útiles

5 favorite getaways near Cologne
NRW, Germany

Cologne, the well-known "Jewel of the Rhine" is a must-see in Germany and a great starting point to explore the surrounding area. There are many wonderful cities and attractions to be visited, starting here. Here are details of our recommendations: Dusseldorf, Augustusburg Palace in Brühl, Aachen, Siebengebirge and Bonn.

Located in the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia, the well-known "Jewel of the Rhine" is a must-see in Germany and a great starting point for exploring the surrounding area. There are many wonderful cities and attractions that can be visited from Cologne by public transport.

Much of our region is accessible especially by train. If you are traveling in a group, it may be more economical to use a twenty-four hour ticket for local and regional trains or the "Schöner Tag Ticket North Rhine-Westphalia" for Intercity (IC) or Intercity Express (ICE) trains that travel more significant distances.

Here are the best one-day destinations departing from Cologne:


No list of the best day trips from Cologne would be complete without a mention of the capital of the regional state of NRW, Düsseldorf. Often considered a rival to Cologne, locals joke that Düsseldorf is "the forbidden city" and should not be mentioned. Kind of like the Lord Voldemort of the region. Don't be fooled by this rivalry: Düsseldorf is an elegant and sophisticated city with a lot to offer in the cultural sphere. It boasts world-renowned museums such as the Kunstsammlung NRW. The Königsallee is also home to some of the most exclusive stores in Germany. This historic shopping street offers a luxurious selection of stores, such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Rolex, among others.

Known as the little Tokyo on the Rhine, Düsseldorf is home to one of the largest Japanese communities in Europe. The bustling shopping center is the Japanviertel (Japan Quarter) around Immermannstraße and is lined with sushi and karaoke bars as well as stores selling kimonos and Japanese ceramics.

Düsseldorf's riverbank and old town are larger than Cologne's, as they were not as badly damaged during World War II. It is a great place to stroll and enjoy the Rhine. It is highly recommended to try the local beer, Altbier, which is different from Cologne's Kölsch. If you go in search of Altbier then you should go on a tour of "the longest bar in the world", a collection of 250 bars that stretch through the old town.
How to get to Düsseldorf from Cologne

Since these two cities are relatively large and people commute between the two for work, there are plenty of transportation options between Cologne and Düsseldorf. Express trains (labeled IC or ICE) run once an hour, while regional trains depart several times an hour from Cologne's main station. The journey takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

Things not to miss in Düsseldorf

  • Marvel at the avant-garde architectural district in the Medienhafen, with buildings by Frank Gehry and other award-winning architects.
  • Sample some of the best local produce and regional gastronomic specialties at the Carlsplatz market.
  • Ten kilometers from the city center by public transport or car, Benrath Palace is a splendid Baroque mansion built in 1756. The highlight is the interior of the palace, as well as the walk through its huge gardens.

Augustusburg Palace in Brühl

It used to be the palace of Prince Bishop Clement Augustus of Bavaria. Today it is one of the finest examples of Rococo architecture to be found anywhere in the world, which is why it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The palace is open every day except Mondays, and can only be seen with a guided tour. Tickets and opening times can be found on its official website. Inside, visitors can see incredibly ornate royal apartments along with furniture from the same period. Outside, there are some of the finest French Baroque gardens to be found in Germany.

How to get to Brühl from Cologne?

Brühl station is located right next to the palace gardens and can be reached from Cologne Central Station in just 15 minutes. It is only 18 km from the center of Cologne, so cycling is another good way to reach the beautiful town of Brühl.
Things not to miss in Brühl
Visit inside to see the incredible marble staircase of Augustusburg.
A stroll through the small old town and its charming little streets.


Known in English as Aachen, it was the first German city to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has everything you need for a perfect day trip from Cologne.

Thousands of years old, Aachen is best known for the residence of Charlemagne (Charles the Great). He was the powerful king of the Franks during the Middle Ages, ruling a territory that encompassed most of Western Europe. During his last 20 years, he spent most of his time in Aachen, transforming it into an imperial metropolis.

Perhaps the most famous attraction is Aachen's Carolingian cathedral. With a very different appearance from Cologne's cathedral, be sure to visit inside so you don't miss the colorful dome.

Around the cathedral you will find an abundance of boutique cafes, markets, bookstores and delicious bakeries. The local specialty is "Printen", small, chocolate-covered cakes.

How to get to Aachen from Cologne

From Cologne Central Station, there are frequent regional trains that take approximately 50-60 minutes. For a faster option, the slightly more expensive express service trains take about 30 minutes. In addition, many international trains, such as those from France or Belgium, also stop in Aachen.

What not to miss in Aachen

Soak in one of the city's ancient thermal baths. The Carolus spa is one of the best ones.
Taste the typical regional mulled wine or Glühwein, especially during the Christmas market season.
Siebengebirge and Drachenfels Castle

A short train ride south from Cologne will take you to the picturesque village of Königswinter. From here you can walk to the Siebengebirge or Seven Mountains nature park. This is a popular hiking and biking area for locals, thanks to the breathtaking views of the hills and forests.

The most famous of all the sights in Königswinter is Drachenfels, which translates as "Dragon Cliff". Up the hill by train or foot, you will find the magnificent Drachenburg Castle.

Spectacular views of the Rhine River valley and the ruins of an ancient fortress await you at the top of the hill. There is also a café offering welcome refreshments and waffles perfect to combat the cold if you are traveling in winter.

How to get to Königswinter from Cologne

The train ride from Cologne Central Station by regional train to Königswinter takes about 40 minutes. Once in town, you can hike or take the cogwheel to the top.

What you should not miss in Königswinter


The ride up and down with the cog railway is a must for any train fan.

A picnic with the view at the top of the mountains after the hike as well as a visit to the majestic Drachenburg Castle from the inside.



Bonn is a medium-large city with 320,000 inhabitants, which brings together much more than you would expect in a city of its size. It was the capital of western Germany and is an ideal place to visit on a day trip from Cologne.

In the center you will find the Poppelsdorf Palace, a palace that is now part of the University of Bonn. The town hall is also a must-see, right next to the central market that offers delicious local produce.

Bonn's most famous historical citizen is Ludwig van Beethoven. The famous composer was born here in the 18th century. His former home is now a museum dedicated to telling his life story, with an emphasis on his early years in Bonn.

How to get to Bonn from Cologne

Many trains, both regional and express, leave Cologne Central Station every hour and take 20-30 minutes to reach Bonn Central Station. You can even take streetcar number 16 to Bonn.
What not to miss in Bonn
If you are lucky enough to have your visit coincide with spring, be sure to visit the Old Town near Heerstraße and Breite Straße as you will be able to see the city's incredible display of cherry trees.
Visit the Haribo factory store to sample the sweets and buy the perfect gift.