It may have been nearly destroyed from heavy bombing during World War II, but Cologne today is one of the largest cities in Germany and a major European metropolis. Situated on the Rhine River in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne offers a vibrant array of attractions, buzzing nightlife and a stellar arts and culture scene.
Cologne packs impressive landmarks such as the city’s informal symbol, the Cologne Cathedral, a stunning Gothic church that claims to contain the gifts of the Magi mentioned in the Bible. Moreover, the Twelve Romanesque Churches are magnificent examples of medieval architecture.
As a leading culture center in the Rhineland area, Cologne boasts an outstanding collection of orchestras, art galleries and museums. Two of the most important museums include the Wallraf-Richartz Musem for its fine medieval art, and the Farina Fragrance Museum, which details the history and production of the city’s famous perfume, Eau de Cologne.
Every year, Cologne hosts one of Europe’s largest Carnival festivals, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors, and filling the streets and pubs with costumed people, music and dancing. However, even outside of festivals, tourists will find no shortage of nightlife choices in this city of many pubs, bars and clubs. Cologne is known for its unique beer, called Kolsch, which is served cold and fresh in every bar in town.