Sample Cologne's two millennia of history by taking a walking tour round the old town and its famous gothic cathedral. To get a different perspective on the city, take a trip on a cable car across the Rhine or a boat cruise down the river. The city's 36 museums range from modern art in the Museum Ludwig to sweet treats in the Chocolate Museum. For shopaholics, Schildergasse or boutique-haven the Belgian Quarter are essential, while groups wanting to get out of the city should visit Bruhl's baroque palaces, 12 miles south of Cologne.
WHERE TO STAY
There are around 26,000 hotel beds in and around Cologne, with a range of international brands including Hyatt Regency, Intercontinental and Marriott present in the city.
Overlooking the city's cathedral, Le Meridien Dom Hotel Cologne is a centrally located, 124-room property. Its Le Merou seafood restaurant offers international cuisine and panoramic views of the cathedral. The largest of the ten event spaces can cater for up to 60 guests for a gala dinner.
Built in 2001, the modern 313-room Dorint An der Messe Koln is opposite the eastern entrance to the Koelnmesse exhibition grounds, so it is well placed for convention visitors. It also has 13 conference rooms that can be combined, with the largest providing room for 550 delegates.
The five-star Hilton Cologne Hotel has 12 meeting rooms, business centre and in-room wi-fi. For groups wanting to chill out after a long day, it also boasts a bar made of ice. Hotel in Wasserturm is a 78-room luxury property with a difference. It's built inside the shell of a former watertower and features the restaurant La Vision, which boasts a Michelin star and is located on the 11th storey and offers amazing views.
HINTS & TIPS
- The Cologne Convention Bureau launched in August and will be responsible for promoting the city
- Cologne Bonn airport is a hub for low-cost carriers and serves Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Edinburgh and Nottingham.
- Koelnmesse has 284,000m2 of exhibition space and two conference centres that can hold up to 12,000 delegates
- The city's Karneval begins on 11 November. The Rose Monday parade is a particular highlight.
- Local DMCs include Germany Incoming Service, Conference & Touring Destination Management Company and Destination Service Cologne
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
With more than 3,000 restaurants and pubs to choose from in the city, there are plenty of options for the C&I visitor. A visit to Cologne wouldn't be complete without tasting the area's distinctive Kolsch beer in one of the many brewery taverns around the old town. Try Gaffel am Dom or Fruh. For something a little trendier, M20 is a retro cocktail bar featuring DJs and live acts or there's combined laundrette and bar, Cleanicum. Local favourite Fischermanns' is an elegant destination serving Eurasian cuisine. Or check out Osman, a Mediterranean restaurant on the 30th floor of the Kolnturm for the amazing views.