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5 TOP Areas Where to Stay in Cologne for 2024 (+a map!)

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A panoramic view of Cologne, Germany, showcasing the iconic Cologne Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge, and Cologne Central Station along the Rhine River.A panoramic view of Cologne, Germany, showcasing the iconic Cologne Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge, and Cologne Central Station along the Rhine River.

As one of Germany’s oldest cities, Cologne holds many secrets, and today, I’ll try to uncover some of them in this guide on where to stay in Cologne!

I have recently been to Cologne and absolutely loved the city and its neighborhoods, each has a different vibe to it! Read this post and you’ll find out which are the 5 best areas to stay in for tourists and which are the most amazing hotels, in each of those neighborhoods for all budgets!

I carefully compared the various accommodation options in Cologne, so don’t worry! You’ll find only the top-rated options for luxury, mid-range and budget, arranged by price. 

In short, Altstadt-Nord (Old Town) is the best area to stay in Cologne! That’s where you’ll find the most popular attractions and the top hotels! It’s also a great location for first-timers.

And since we’re on the hotel topic, I recommend booking your favorite accommodation in advance to secure your spot and get the best prices. Cologne is a major holiday destination and it gets many tourists all year long!

If you are in a hurry

Here’s a list of the hotels located in the Old Town to help you decide quickly where to stay in Cologne:

Here’s a map that will help you visualize all the areas that I will be talking about in this post:

1. Altstadt-Nord – where to stay for the first time

An aerial view of Cologne from the cathedral, overlooking the Rhine River, Hohenzollern Bridge, and the modern architecture of the Museum Ludwig.An aerial view of Cologne from the cathedral, overlooking the Rhine River, Hohenzollern Bridge, and the modern architecture of the Museum Ludwig.

You’ll want to explore this area all day long, that’s how pretty it is! And it’s also the best place to stay in Cologne for the first time.

Its Gothic buildings, the historic houses and just general vibe will make you fall in love with Altstadt-Nord (that’s German for the Old Town).

Set on the banks of the Rhine River, which runs through Cologne and separates into two halves that are connected by 4 bridges, the Old Town is absolutely packed with iconic attractions. 

Probably the most famous one is the majestic Cologne Cathedral (apparently, it took 600 years for it to be built, but it was surely worth it)! And also the fun Wallraf-Richartz Museum, the Great St. Martin Church and Museum Ludwig.

Did you know that Eau de Cologne originated in Cologne in 1709 when Johann Maria Farina named the fragrance in honor of the city? You can visit the Duftmuseum im Farina Haus  Fragrance Museum and see where it all started!

But don’t spend all your time indoors! Take some time to explore the narrow cobbled streets, which are filled with 14th-century colored houses! And also check out the famous Hohenzollern Bridge which has lots of padlocks! It’s a pedestrian bridge so you can walk on it and admire the views but the train also crosses it. 

As you explore around, you’ll find trendy, friendly cafes and bars at every corner, which you should definitely check out. Papa Joe’s Biersalon (map), is definitely a great place to start the night! This old pub serves Rhineland food and it’s the perfect place to rest and try the local Kölsch beer! It’s a must thing to do when visiting Cologne! 

If you’re a beer fan, you should definitely try to join in on the local Oktoberfest celebrations in Cologne or head to the festival itself in Munich! 

But there’s another market that you should check out, Heinzels Wintermärchen (map), which hosts Cologne’s annual Christmas Fair, and boasts a seasonal ice skating rink (usually just while the fair is on). 

For those arriving by train or who are planning to take some day trips, the Central Cologne Train Station or The Hauptbahnhof (HBF) is located in the Old Town, so it’d be super convenient should you decide to book your hotel here!

Luxury hotel

Views of the Cathedral from the comfort of your luxurious five-star hotel? Yes, please! This family-run accommodation has such elegant decor! Boasting modern rooms, a spa, and a great location just a minute walk away from the train station, this has to be one of the best places to stay in Cologne!

Other accommodation in Altstadt-Nord

budget

Enjoy your holiday in the Old Town in this friendly hostel that has uniquely designed rooms and offers breakfast

airbnb

A modern room in a friendly apartment that has a kitchen, free wifi flat screen Tv and a balcony

Things to do in Altstadt-Nord

  • Admire the Cologne Cathedral in the heart of the city
  • Visit the Museum Ludwig and Kolumba Museum
  • See the Romanesque Great St. Martin Church (map)
  • Try some perfumes at Duftmuseum im Farina Haus Fragrance Museum
  • Catch an exhibition at the Roman-Germanic Museum
  • Enjoy the Christmas Markets, specifically the Cathedral Christmas Market 
  • Drink the local beverage – Kölsch beer
  • Attend the Cologne Karneval (in February)

2. Belgian Quarter – where to stay in Cologne for nightlife

A cityscape of Cologne featuring the Colonius Tower, KölnTriangle, and a sprawling urban layout with various buildings and the central railway lines.A cityscape of Cologne featuring the Colonius Tower, KölnTriangle, and a sprawling urban layout with various buildings and the central railway lines.

Set in Neustadt Nord, a 25 min walk away from the Old Town, the Belgian Quarter (or Belgisches Viertel in German) is a super trendy and stylish neighborhood that has lots of bars, restaurants and some great hotels!

It’s not only the fun nightlife that attracts tourists, though. The area’s bohemian atmosphere and its amazing street art will make you fall in love with this place. Most of its street art is set between ​​Aachenerstrasse (map) and Venloer Straße (map).

If you’re in luck and you’re visiting Cologne during the summer you might even catch a live concert somewhere in this area.

There are tons of galleries, entertainment venues, and friendly cafes. If you’re looking for some place to start the night, Little Link (map) and Sixpack (map) are fab places to grab a cocktail.

Then you can head to Brussels Square, which has a great central location in the heart of the Belgian Quarter, where people usually gather to have a drink and plan their evenings! 

If you’re wondering about the name, it is called the Belgian Quarter as many streets in the neighborhood are named after Belgian provinces and cities, such as Brussels Street (map).

You’ll find tons of boutique stores here, so start shopping for some cool vintage pieces that will remind you of your stay in Cologne, in the Belgian Quarter.

As for the hotels, they’re a bit cheaper than those in the Old Town! Especially those in Friesenplatz!

Luxury hotel

You’re going to love the stylish and bright rooms of this hotel! Most have large windows overlooking the city and a comfortable bed. The accommodation also offers a delicious breakfast, private parking and a bar.

Other accommodation options in the Belgian Quarter

airbnb

A great place that has rooms for 2 people and which comes with a kitchen, a backyard and flat-screen Tv

Things to do in the Belgian Quarter

  • Spend a fun night at the ​​Giga-Center Köln (map)
  • Meet your friends in Brussels Square to plan your night of partying
  • See the medieval Hahnen Gate (Hahnentor) 
  • Catch an art exhibition at the Temporary Gallery
  • Enjoy Cologne’s nightlife at the Little Link
  • Go shopping for vintage treasures

3. Altstadt-Süd – best place to stay in Cologne on a budget

The modern harborfront of Cologne during sunset, with contemporary buildings and docked boats along the calm waters.The modern harborfront of Cologne during sunset, with contemporary buildings and docked boats along the calm waters.

Located south of the Old Town, this neighborhood is perfect for anyone who is looking for affordable accommodation, but in a great location – there are many affordable hotels and hostels. 

Altstadt-Süd has borrowed a bit of charm from his more famous brother Altstadt-Nord. You’ll find one or two museums here, but the one that’s not to be missed is the Lindt Chocolate Museum. If you love chocolate as much as I do, then you have to go there and taste all those amazing flavors!

Then there are some other attractions that you should check out, like Ulrepforte, a 13th century watchtower, the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum and the beautiful Basilica of St. Severin, which has some features from the 10th century. 

If you’re not too full of chocolate after your visit and want to explore other sides of the neighborhood, then the Rheinhaufen quarter is definitely worth a visit! What was once an old commercial port, now has turned into a famous tourist spot because of the Kranhaus buildings, which have a really cool design and are built in the form of a crane over the Rhine River. 

At sunset head to the Riverside Promenade and enjoy a nice walk and the stunning views!

Luxury hotel

Such a great boutique hotel in Cologne that has amazing rooms with a furnished balcony where you can enjoy a cup of coffee before heading out! The accommodation also comes with a great location, parking and a bar. 

Other accommodation options in Altstadt Süd

mid-range

Set in a former chapel, this boutique hotel has rooms with oak floors, walnut furniture and a terrace

budget

An affordable hotel that comes with spacious rooms with courtyard views, a terrace and a restaurant

airbnb

One of the best airbnbs with a gorgeous balcony, a small kitchen and a beautiful courtyard

Things to do in Altstadt Süd

  • Indulge in all the goods at the Chocolate Museum
  • Catch a sunset at the Rheinauhafen marina
  • Visit the Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum
  • Grab a bite at Rheinau (map)
  • Attend the Cologne Pride Parade, one of the largest in Europe
  • Check out the St. Maria im Kapitol Church
  • Wander the streets and find the best restaurants to eat at 
  • Take a picture of the modern Kranhaus buildings standing over the Rhine River (map)

4. Deutz – best area to stay with your family

A tranquil park in Cologne with lush green lawns and walking paths, the Cologne Cathedral visible in the distance.A tranquil park in Cologne with lush green lawns and walking paths, the Cologne Cathedral visible in the distance.

Located across the Rhine River just a 20 min walk east of Cologne’s Old Town, this neighborhood has a tranquil atmosphere and some great hotels!

I’d definitely recommend it for families who are looking for a nice place to stay in Cologne that’s not too crowded but still close to the Old Town!

Deutz is actually the home of Lanxess Arena, a famous area and the largest ice hockey arena outside of North America! They also hold concerts here so if you’re in luck maybe you can catch one during your holiday in Cologne. 

Here you’ll also find Koelnmesse, where they hold lots of conferences and events! If you’re attending one, it would be beneficial to get a hotel here and be just a short walk away from it.

There are a few parks here where you can enjoy a break from the city noise and the kids can play all day long! Pyramiden Park (map) is a great one. You can even make a whole day out of it and organize a cute picnic with some delicious German food from the supermarket! 

The area is pretty big and it offers some amazing views of the Rhine River! Although you won’t find as many attractions here, there are some that I think you and the kids will love like the Odysseum, a high-tech interactive museum that has a cinema and live shows! 

The accommodation options are also pretty diverse – you have everything from small boutique hotels to large business hotels here:

Luxury hotel

The elegant family-friendly rooms at this luxury hotel and the amazing view of the historic Cathedral will make you want to spend some lazy mornings here! Take advantage of the swimming pool and eat a delicious meal at the restaurant before heading out to explore Deutz district in Cologne, Germany.

Other accommodation options in Deutz

mid-range

Feel like you’re at home in this boutique hotel located on the banks of the Rhine, that has family rooms

budget

Enjoy your coffee on the terrace of this hotel that has rooms with large windows and a garden

airbnb

A simple yet well-equipped apartment with waterfront views, a kitchen and a flat-screen Tv

Things to do in Deutz

  • Take the kids to the Odysseum Museum
  • Spend a relaxing afternoon at Claudius Therme
  • Enjoy a picnic at Rheinpark (map)
  • Go on the family-friendly ​​Kleinbahn Koeln train
  • Visit the Deutz Abbey 
  • Check out the Lanxess Arena
  • Check out the Cologne Zoo and the Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln (Botanical Garden) (map)

5. Ehrenfeld – best place for a local experience

A historic red-brick building with a circular tower, set against a clear sky with blossoming trees in the foreground.A historic red-brick building with a circular tower, set against a clear sky with blossoming trees in the foreground.

Located outside of the main city center, around 6 km (4 miles) away from the Old Town, Ehrenfeld has become a competitor over the years for the Belgian Quarter! 

However, since it’s not so close to the heart of the city, this area is a bit more chilled. But don’t worry, you have great underground connections to the other central parts of the city in case you want to visit all the attractions.

This cool district has the same trendy vibes as the Belgian Quarter. However, it has kept its authentic German aspect

There aren’t as many historic landmarks or museums (except the really cool The Mystery of Banksy Museum) here, but you won’t get bored on the lively streets of Ehrenfeld! They are filled with art and they even attract international creators! 

If you’re in the mood to do some shopping then head to the small boutique shops and explore around. Polyestershock (map) and Kitsch Deluxe (map) are some really cool spots that you should check out if you like vintage clothes! 

I love getting to a new place and finding small coffee shops that no one has heard of. I usually don’t even look anywhere, I just head to the area and discover all the unique places. I suggest you do the same if visiting Ehrenfeld.

Luxury hotel

Set near a park, this 4-star hotel has a super elegant design! Start your day with some room service in bed or head out to the garden if you want to enjoy some fresh air as well! The accommodation comes with a bar as well and private parking.

Other accommodation options in Ehrenfeld

mid-range

Unwind in the fab tub of your room while staying in this hotel that offers room service and a bar

budget

An affordable hotel that has a lovely terrace, a restaurant and rooms with large windows

airbnb

This comfy studio has room for 2 people, a kitchen and a lounger area where you can watch Tv

Things to do in Ehrenfeld

  • Take pictures of the unique street art (map)
  • Visit Cologne’s Central Mosque (map)
  • Grab a coffee at Café Rotkehlchen (map)
  • Go shopping in the boutique stores
  • Check out Cologne’s Red Light area near Ehrenfeld 
  • Spend a fun day at the Great Escape (map)
  • Take a day trip to Bergisch Gladbach near Cologne

BONUS: Best hotels near Cologne Central Station

The bustling front square of Cologne Central Station on a sunny day, with people sitting and walking around, and the station's mid-century modern architecture prominently visibleThe bustling front square of Cologne Central Station on a sunny day, with people sitting and walking around, and the station's mid-century modern architecture prominently visible

Whether you’re stopping in Cologne just for a brief time during your European travels (here’s an itinerary idea if you’re planning to do that) or maybe you’re settling in this city for a while and taking day trips, it might be more convenient to stay right near the train station! 

Cologne is pretty close to many cool cities like Düsseldorf and Bonn (only a 25 min train ride away)!

That’s why I decided to make this bonus with some of the best hotels near Cologne Central Station! All of them are just a short walk away from the station: 

  • Luxury: Hotel Ludwig Superior – Set a 5 min walk away from the station, this hotel comes with a restaurant and a terrace. 
  • Mid range: Cologne Marriott Hotel – Enjoy your morning coffee on the outdoor terrace of this hotel that’s located a 5 min walk away from the station. 
  • Budget: Hotel Domspitzen – Such a cozy place that offers a free daily breakfast and rooms with a flat-screen TV. 

FAQs about where to stay in Cologne

The Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, adorned with thousands of colorful love locks, with pedestrians walking alongside.The Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, adorned with thousands of colorful love locks, with pedestrians walking alongside.

❓ Is Cologne safe at night?

Yes, the city is usually safe at night, however, there are some areas to avoid as they have a higher crime rate like Ostheim, Ossendorf and Chorweiler.

📅 How many days do you need in Cologne?

You should spend between 3-5 days in Cologne. That way you can explore the Old Town and visit some other areas and attractions!

💸 Is Cologne an expensive city?

Compared to other cities in Germany, Cologne is affordable for most travelers. You can find a few good deals on hotels and hostels and cheap restaurants.

🎅🏽 Where to stay in Cologne for Christmas Markets?

The Old Town is the best place to stay in Cologne if you’re attending the Christmas Market, as the fair is held here in Heinzels Wintermärchen Square.

🥳 Best hotel to stay in Cologne for nightlife?

If you’re wondering where to stay in Cologne to enjoy its amazing nightlife then the Belgian Quarter is the perfect district for you, and you can stay at the Hostel die Wohngemeinschaft, a great hotel with amazing rooms.

🏨 What is the best hotel in Cologne?

Definitely a top choice for anyone who is traveling to Cologne, Germany, is the Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom – a luxury hotel located in the Old City.

🚶‍♀️How walkable is Cologne?

Cologne is super walkable! You can get pretty much everywhere by walking, but they also have a great public transport system in case you want to take the bus.

🤔 How can I get around Cologne?

By walking, or using the tram, bus or subway. 

🕯️ Where is the best area to stay to see the Cologne Cathedral?

If you want to see the Cathedral I recommend staying in the Old Town. Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom is a great hotel located there that offers views of the attraction!

Conclusion

The writer of the post placing a love lock on the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, with the bridge's structure and locks in the background.The writer of the post placing a love lock on the Hohenzollern Bridge in Cologne, with the bridge's structure and locks in the background.

What a charming city! I’m sure you’ll feel the same after exploring it and visiting its iconic attractions! 

I hope this guide helped you decide where to stay in Cologne and if you’re still not sure which hotel to pick, then check out my top 2 favorite options, both set in the Old Town:

I’d recommend booking your hotels in Koln, Germany in advance! This city is super popular and it’s better to secure your spot early!

Have fun enjoying the sights of the Cologne Cathedral and drinking lots of beer!

Leave me a comment if you have any questions about the hotels in Cologne city or have suggestions for our readers!

Auf Wiedersehen, 

Yulia


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Certares-led consortium enters into an investment agreement with the FTI Group

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FTI GROUP partners with Certares-led Consortium to secure €125 million for growth and digital transformation, positioning itself for enhanced profitability in the European tourism sector.

The FTI GROUP, the third largest tour operator in Europe, announces that an agreement has been reached which concludes the process to strengthen the capital and restructure the shareholder base of the Company originally launched in September 2023.

A consortium led by Certares, an investment firm specialized in the travel and tourism sector, with capital provided by co-investors (the “Consortium”), has signed an agreement on the proposed acquisition and funding and will assume control.

Under the terms of the Agreement, FTI will receive new capital of € 125 million to support its next phase of growth and fund digital transformation. The current shareholder has accepted to provide financial support and further investment. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other condition precedents as are typical for transactions of this type.

Karl Markgraf

Karl Markgraf, CEO of the FTI Group

Karl Markgraf, CEO of the FTI GROUP, stated: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the Certares-led Consortium. Certares is a leading investor in the global travel and tourism sector. With support from Certares and its extensive experience in the sector and capital provided by the Consortium, FTI is uniquely positioned for future growth and profitability which benefits all the stakeholders, including our customers, commercial partners and employees. We are committed to start our next chapter of success and to further consolidate our position as a leading player in the German and European tourism sector.”

Who is who

Established in 2012, Certares is a global investment firm focused exclusively on the travel and hospitality industries, leveraging deep sector experience, proprietary transactions and hands-on partnership with management teams to drive growth. With approximately $ 10.1 billion of assets under management, including co-investments, as of 31 December 2023, Certares brings together a team with decades of both operational and investment experience in private equity, travel, tourism, hospitality and travel-related business and consumer services.

Delta, Certares and Knighthead in a strategic partnership

With its numerous brands and subsidiaries, the FTI GROUP is the third largest tour operator in Europe. It includes FTI Touristik as well as the short-term tour operator 5vorFlug, the car rental broker Drive FTI, the destination management company Meeting Point International, which is active in over 40 locations worldwide, and the tour operator for promotional goods BigXtra.

Under the umbrella of the hospitality company MP Hotels, the company bundles its hotel brands Labranda Hotels & Resorts and Design Plus Hotels, Kairaba Hotels & Resorts, Lemon & Soul Hotels, Club Sei and Managed by MP Hotels. TVG Touristik Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH combines the franchise systems with the brands sonnenklar.TV Reisebüro, 5vorFlug and Flugbörse. Around 10,000 partner agencies sell FTI products throughout Germany.

The TV travel shopping channel sonnenklar.TV, an FTI GROUP partner, and the online B2B provider for accommodation Youtravel are also important sales channels. The consolidator FTI Ticketshop is responsible for the sale of scheduled flight tickets. In Austria, FTI Touristik is represented by a branch in Linz.

FTI expects highly successful winter 2023/24

The subsidiary FTI Touristik AG, based in Basel, represents the tour operator in Switzerland. The French tour operator FTI Voyages has been part of the FTI GROUP since 2012. With FTI Reizen, the group has also been active in the Netherlands since 2016. The seven service centres handle numerous bookings for the FTI GROUP and external customers. Headquartered in Munich, the Group employs over 11,000 people worldwide and generated consolidated sales of around € 4.1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year.


Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.




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Air New Zealand Buys 9M Liters of SAF from Neste

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Air New Zealand has agreed to purchase 9 million liters of
neat sustainable aviation fuel from producer Neste, the carrier announced
Monday. Neither company disclosed the value of the deal. 

The fuel will be produced at Neste’s Singapore refinery and
will be blended with conventional jet fuel and supplied to Los Angeles
International Airport between April 1 and Nov. 30, 2024, according to the
carrier. Air New Zealand expected its total fuel uptake during that period to
be about 850 million liters across its network.

The carrier said the deal is the “largest purchase of
SAF from Neste by any airline outside of North America and Europe for delivery
before the end of 2024.”

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March traded 74% up year on year, sales director says

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