The world feels at home in Cologne, where people meet for a Kölsch, a chat or simply a laugh. Life in Cologne is vivacious.
Swimming, relaxing, sipping cocktails and enjoying the famous Rhine panorama - summer in Cologne ist special.
The Cologne people like to spend their free-time in the the green zone - just for relaxing and barbecue. Well over a quarter of the city is made up of green areas. Statistically speaking, for every inhabitant of Cologne there are around 75 m2 of public green space, even in the more cramped areas of the city. The Rhine promenade in the Old Town, various parks in the city centre, the entire forest belt with the Forstbotanischer Garten (arboretum), Friedenspark, Flora and Botanical Gardens all form the city's "green lungs".
Besides taking the usual means of public transport, the Rheinpark at the Koelnmesse can also be reached by foot across the Hohenzollern bridge, by the Rhine cable car from the zoo or by ferry - even making the journey to the park an experience. The ferry service only operates when exhibitions are being held in the city. Visitors are invited to hop off and enjoy the Claudius Therme thermal spa and the Tanzbrunnen in the Rheinpark, which hosted the first National Garden Show in 1957. Although some parts of it are quite worn out the architecture of the 50s is still worth looking. The Cologne Tourist Board is happy to help you plan your activities in Cologne's green areas.
During summer time you can as well enjoy sandy beaches at the trendy Beach Clubs that entice you to enjoy the famous Rhine panorama of Cologne while sipping cocktails in holiday surroundings.
The Fühlinger lake with its 2000-metre long Regatta course are popular meeting points for both sportspeople as well as for a family day out. There are also various wildlife parks, a protection station for birds of prey and an extensive network of signposted hiking trails. The Sundown Beach Club has run the Escher See since 2007. Deck chairs, climbing walls, slides and other play equipment is provided for children and families. The non-swimming area is sealed off.
Cologne Zoo was founded in 1860 and is one of the oldest - yet also one of the most modern - zoological gardens. In no other zoo the development of the zoological gardens over the years can be seen so clearly: the buildings starting from the menagerie of the 19th century to the wildlife reserve of the 21st century, from the Moorish-style elephant house and the former birdhouse in the style of a Russian basilica dating back to the 19th century, to the ape island created in a Hagenbeck style and modern natural worlds such as the rain forest.
Traditionally a visit to Cologne must include a boat trip on the Rhine. Boat trips along the Rhine take in the view of Cologne's Old Town and travel south to Rodenkirchen or Porz or north to Mülheim.
In mid-July, the "Kölner Lichter" light up the sky in flames. The impressive firework display is synchronised with music and transforms the view of the Rhine into a colourful sea of banyan lights, waterfalls and hundreds of thousands of sparklers. In 2012 it takes place on 14th July.
Sprend an evening or afternoon in one of Cologne's numerous beer gardens. Here you find some pictures of the nicest ones.