Cologne and sports - two words that cannot be divided. Why not attend a football game of the 1. FC Köln (www.fc-koeln.de) - supported and beloved by the people - and experience storms of enthusiasm? The "King of sports" has had its home in the district of Müngersdorf for the last 80 years; the complex dating back to the 1920 was renovated and altered into the spacious and modern "RheinEnergie Stadion" some years ago. International tournaments such as the 2006 FIFA World Cup were held here as well.
If you are more into ice hockey you should not miss a game of the "Kölner Haie" (Cologne sharks) that run regularly at "Lanxess arena" (www.lanxess-arena.de).
Cologne as well is the secret golf capital of Germany - nowhere else in the country golfers are offered so many options and top events. The first golf club in North Rhine Westphalia was founded in Cologne in 1906, the Golf and Country Club Köln in Refrath is still considered one of the greatest championship courses in Germany.
It is not only competitive and elite sports that are at home in the Rhine metropolis - the people of Cologne are not only sports fans but are also enjoy playing sport themselves. Around 800 sports clubs cater for a wide range of around 70 different kinds of leisure sport - from ballet to go-carting and diving. The Alpine mountaineers in Cologne have discovered an extraordinary area for training - on the Rhine bridges.
There are several rowing and canoeing clubs on the banks of the Rhine, which also use the regatta course at the lake Fühlinger See for competitions. Supporters of equestrian sports can visit the traditional horse racing track in Weidenpesch. In the summer there are several running days where you have a flutter and whrer you can bet on the horses. There are also the Hippodrom - from there you have a comfortably look at the race and eat and drink something. Running days and Horse Racing: www.hippodrom-koeln.de
Cologne also leads the way in sports science with its 19 different sports institutes and coaching academy. The German Sport University in Cologne (www.dshs-koeln.de) is equipped with state-of-the-art technical facilities and attracts top athletes and coaches from every continent. Experts from around the world discuss the latest developments at the Federal Institute for Sports Science and the International Working Group for Sports Facilities.
The lively history of sport is presented at the Sports and Olympic Museum, where visitors can view the exhibits on show and can also enjoy an interactive experience.
Sport and fun are united the whole year round at Aqualand, a spacious swimming pool complex in the north of Cologne, and at the Agrippa bath in the city centre. If you are health-conscious and prefer a more relaxed environment you should pay a visit to the two medically recognised thermal baths - the Claudius Therme and the thermal baths at the Mauritius Hotel - or be pampered at some of the city's hotels or the beautifully art nouvea Neptun bath. (Photos: Cora Finner, dapd)