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Day trip from Cologne

We are in cologne for 3 nights and have realized 2 would have been enough. Where can we day trip on our 3rd day? Looking for a smaller town to explore; Aachen seems a good option.

All input welcome!

Posted by
2652 posts

Aachen is a wonderful option - I went there on a day trip from Cologne and loved it. The cathedral is beautiful on the inside and well worth a visit. It is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe and for over 500 years, it witnessed the coronation of 43 German kings and queens. It was also one of the first items to be listed on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites. At the back of the altar is the Karlsschrein, which holds the final remains of Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. And the beautiful and ornate chandelier in the middle dates back to 1165.

The city itself is charming and very walkable - lots of shops and cafes and interesting restaurants. There is also the Granus tower, which is next to the Rathaus (town hall) and is one of the few pieces remaining from Charlemagne’s palace. It dates back to the 8th century, making it over 1200 years old.

Posted by
6189 posts

Aachen is a first class destination, check for any closure days. Another obvious answer is Duesseldorf, which I could unfairly reduce to "20th century art and Brauhaus dining and drinking." It does have a nice botanical garden (long subway ride). Someone who likes the movie The Princess and the Warrior (Der Krieger und die Kaiserin) would want to see the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal.

It's hard to do without planning, but the touristy but pure-Fachwerke town of Monschau is actually worth the trip, if you can find a convenient bus to get there. The point is that it's not alternating Fachwerke and post-war housing. It's not as rich a destination as Aachen.

Have you been to the Cologne Medieval Art/Ethnographic combination, just a few subway stops, the Cologne botanical garden, or the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK)? I really like Cologne.

Posted by
220 posts

Yeah I'd say pick Aachen over Bonn. I did Bonn and wish I had gone to Aachen!

Posted by
29674 posts

Aachen springs immediately to mind.

Or the other direction if you'd like to ride a train under the rail and experience really neat technology try a ride on the Wuppertal Schwebebahn.