Whether it’s your first visit or a fond return encounter, Cologne is a place with unique local colour — and colourfully unique locals.
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Founded by the Romans two millennia ago, the city’s most popular sights are not only the 700 year old Cologne cathedral but also the modern Museum Ludwig and the Wallraf Richartz impressionist collection. And you may just want to pay a visit to the chocolate museum or check out where the original “Cologne 4711” was made at the Farina House Fragrance museum.
For a weekend city break from the UK, the city excels. This is especially so for LGBT people adventurers.
Diversity has been culturally ‘hard-wired’ into the place for centuries so “Kölner” citizens have a powerful knack for making visitors feel at home.
Cologne residents and visitors enjoy one of the best LGBT ’scenes’ in Europe, without the big city hassles you may find in some other places.
As the fourth largest German city there’s all the amenities you would expect in a large city but with a far warmer, more ‘local’ feel than you might otherwise encounter in such a large European metropolis.
Stepping out — or winding down? Welcome to Cologne.
One great way to ‘do’ Cologne — while meeting a very large number of locals — is to visit for Cologne Carnival, one of Europe’s largest and most famous street festivals with street parades but also indoor parties galore.
Technically this globally renowned event starts promptly at 11:11am on 11 November. To catch the most vibrant Carnival action though, visit from Thursday 23 February 2017 for Women’s Day (Weiberfastnacht) and if you can, stay for the weekend and the biggest Carnival party date, Rose Monday (Rosenmontag), 27th February 2017, when you will definitely not want for company to celebrate with. Over 1 million people usually attend the street procession and all the masked balls over the weekend to imbibe in drinking, eating, dancing and much all-round carousing until the last person stops doing their thing on “Ash-Wednesday” 1st March 2017. Fancy dress or disguise is not an option but near compulsory – those in the know have a street costume (more and warmer layers) and an indoor outfit (note to self: dancing burns calories).
The heart of the street celebrations is located by Neumarkt, near one of Cologne’s gay heartlands. The local LGBT community is a very integrated part of the whole Cologne city, so being able to be yourself in what is frequently cited as Germany’s most ‘liberal’ city tends to delight visitors.
Getting lost (and found) inside a Bermuda Triangle
Cologne’s LGBT community thrives. With dozens of cafes, bars, restaurants, plus an enticing selection of late-night clubs — some with more of a fetish flavour — no matter what your taste in heading out, Cologne has you covered.
For a great weekend, try starting with a meal and a few drinks around Rudolfplatz (known locally as ‘The Bermuda Triangle’). Then as your evening unfolds, stay local enjoying a great selection of area pubs and bars, or wander down towards the Old Town where you will discover even more bars, cafes and maybe even join in the hunt for bears at the Cox bar. If cruising into the night is your thing, try the late-night ambience at “Chains”, or Station2b, Boners or Deck 5.
Daytime is always the right time for sausage and beer or pastries and coffee, topped off by walking and people-watching.
When night falls, the city resets itself and powers back into nighttime mode once more.
Getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle has never been so much fun.
If you visit during Christmas season — you get to enjoy the Gay and Lesbian Christmas Market in the Bermuda Triangle which is a magical, unique travel experience you will never forget.
WIN! Your trip to Cologne.
German National Tourist Office invites you to enter to win your next trip to Cologne in 2017. Entering is simple and takes around 1 minute. Click this link for details.
When to visit
Cologne is a genuine all-round destination with things to do and see most times in the year. Check out the German National Tourist Office site for masses of great information on events to catch and locations to visit.
Bear Pride Festival
23 – 27 November 2016
Cologne Pride Festival
24 June – 9 July 2017. Parade: 9 July 2017
Gay and Lesbian Christmas Market
23 November – 23 December 2016
There is no better way to learn what’s essential about LGBT travel to Germany than by checking out the dedicated LGBT pages at www.germany.travel/lgbt