7 of the Best Tours of Cologne

by Oliver Stallwood  |  Published October 4, 2023

One of Germany’s oldest cities, the former Roman colony of Cologne is now one of Europe’s best-kept secrets, with a manic week-long street festival, record number of pubs and enough architecture to tire out even the fittest legs. Here are seven tours to get the best out of Cologne:

Cologne is a diverse city full of surprises (Photo:

With the likes of Berlin and Munich hogging the limelight when it comes to holidaying in Germany, Cologne might seem like an unlikely choice. But the 2,000-year-old German city is not only steeped in history and culture, it is also extremely good fun, with both a great Brauhaus culture (there are more pubs and taverns per capita than any other major city in Germany apparently) and also a week-long street carnival known as the ‘Crazy Days’. Then there are the chocolates, sports, art galleries and incredible architecture gems, all combining to make it an enthralling, lesser-known European destination. To get around we’ve found the seven best tours to take in Cologne:

Cologne City Tour Experience

Kicking off with a classic, this two-hour tour mixes the must-sess such as Cologne Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge and the Old Town, as well as finding out hidden details about lesser-explored sights such as St. Maria Himmelfahrt, Cologne Central Station and the modern tower block Kölntriangle. The guides are knowledgeable but it never gets too weighed down with facts and history, with lighthearted touches and the odd joke thrown in. There are also useful tips on how to spend the rest of your time in the city. As a well-rounded and compact tour of Cologne, this is hard to beat. From €29.00.

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Old Town Brewhouse Tour

Kölsch is a typical beer of Cologne (Photo:

Navigating the warren of streets in Cologne’s Old Town looking for a Brauhaus can be exhausting – there are dozens to choose from. For less than €20 a local guide will lead you away from the usual tourist hotspots, visiting four handpicked establishments where you can try Kölsch, the local beer of the city. Facts about Cologne’s beer culture, which dates back more than 500 years, as well as personal anecdotes, will be shared during the two-hour tour. Anyone who prefers to chuck themselves into local culture, phrasebook in hand, might find this all a bit distracting from the serious business of quaffing beer, but for anyone who wants more of a hassle-free night out, it should tickle the tastebuds. From €19.

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Cologne: Street Art Walking Tour of Ehrenfeld District

Let’s face it, Cologne does gothic cathedrals and cosy old taverns pretty well, but what about modern Cologne, I hear you say. Ehrenfeld District, a 40-minute walk from the centre in the city’s northwest, is where the barristas lurk and the kombucha slowly ferments, and as such, is a great place to see amazing street art. This tour takes in works by artists such as ROA, Herakut, Faith47, INTI, Tika, and M-City and explains some of the more poignant messages behind them. Just 1.5 hours, it’s not that long – and at nearly €100 pretty expensive – so really only one for real street art buffs. From € 94.14.

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Cologne: The Melaten Cemetery, Life, Love and Death Tour

The Melaten Cemetry is a good place to understand Cologne’s long history (Photo:

Walking around a graveyard might not sound like fun but Cologne’s Melatenfriedhof (Melaten Cemetery) is a fascinating way to understand the long history of the city. With 55,000 ‘inhabitants’, its resting places reflect Cologne’s architectural styles, from Neoclassicism to neo-Gothic, neo-Baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernism, and feature famous residents including Dirk Bach, Willi Herren and Sophia Czory. The most surprising thing about this tour, which retells tales of the celebrities buried here and the art, culture and history surrounding them, is how tranquil it is compared to bowling around a city centre. The site of a former leper colony, Melaten Cemetery now doubles up as a beautiful park shaded by plane trees, maples and birch, right in the middle of Cologne. From €12.50.

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The 10 Tastings of Cologne

What better combination than plentiful food and drinks during a walking tour to burn it all off? This tour does what it says on the tin, sampling the tastiest offerings of Cologne, from local cheeses and chocolate to currywurst – this is milder than the Berlin version and comes with creme – and Kölsch beer. It’s a really informative tour that also includes some history of the city, as well as top tips on secret eateries and bars, so works as a great catch-all for anyone wanting to do just one tour of Cologne. 10 food and drink tastings are included in the price. From €89.71.

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Compact Tour

If the thought of wandering around a city at a snail’s pase, while Sidney takes his 85th selfie, has you twiddling your thumbs, this tour is something completely different. It’s a running tour, that is: you run behind your guide. The good news is it ticks off that bit of exercise normally skipped during a weekend away and covers a lot of ground – in this case 7km – in around an hour and a half. Admittedly this is probably more for people who find holidays a tedious interruption to their fitness regime, but it’s a novel way to meet likeminded sporty types as you fly round Cologne’s sights, including Cologne Cathedral, Heinzelmaennchenbrunnen fountain, and perfume boutique 4711 Eau de Cologne. From €65.00.

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Private Rickshaw Tour

A rickshaw takes the stress out of sightseeing (Photo:

At the opposite end of the scale to legging it around the city (and a bit cheaper than the running tour too) this rickshaw ride lets someone else do the sweating. It’s eco-friendly and carbon neutral too, trundling between the city highlights like Heinzelmännchenbrunnen, Dionysos Mosaic, Hohenzollernbreach, and the Cologne Cathedral. The cool thing is you can let your driver know beforehand where you want to go and the tour is tailored to your needs, dropping you off in a place of your choice to walk back (or take public transport) at your leisure. Hot drinks, binoculars and blankets are all thrown in too, making this one of the most decadent and relaxing ways to enjoy Cologne. From €46 per person.

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