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Located on the Rhine, Cologne has progressively risen to be one of the best cities in Germany to visit. Boasting the tallest cathedral in Europe and an impossible to miss chocolate museum, Cologne has something to offer to all kinds of visitors and all tastes.
However, it can be hard to figure which neighbourhood is the best to stay in while getting the best out of the numerous accommodation options offered on the Internet.
This is exactly why we have decided to put together this guide! Choosing where to stay in Cologne should be fun and relaxing.
Our dedicated team of travel experts has put together a comprehensive list of the best hotels and neighbourhoods to stay in Cologne.
By the time you are done reading this guide, YOU will be an expert on Cologne and its neighbourhoods. Get ready, set, go!
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Have you read our list of the best things to do in Cologne, and our favourite hotels in Cologne? Also, our other must-read guides to the best hotels in Hamburg and amazing hotels in Berlin will save you time and money!
Our top rated things to do in Hamburg and ultimate things to do in Berlin will give you inspiration for the adventure of a lifetime! Not to mention the 131 ultimate things to do in Europe – check them out!
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Cologne.
The Hotel Sandmanns am Dom is the best option for where to stay in Cologne on a budget.
Located in the heart of the city, this hotel offers rooms featuring a private bathroom, heating, soundproofing and a flat-screen TV. Free WiFi is available everywhere in the hotel.
Hotel Casa Colonia offers a comfortable accommodation in a quiet but central location. All rooms feature a private bathroom a flat-screen TV and a seating area.
A free WiFi connection is available all around the hotel. A buffet breakfast is served for guests every morning.
The Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom is the best choice you could make for where to stay in Cologne.
Located directly opposite the famous cathedral, the hotel offers spacious and comfortable rooms featuring a private bathroom, air conditioning and soundproofing. The in-house restaurant serves exotic Asian food and has a Michelin star.
Over the years, Cologne has become a serious contender for the title of coolest city in Germany.
Located on the banks of the Rhine river in the West of Germany, the city enjoys a prime position and should definitely be on your itinerary when visiting Germany.
The Rhine cuts the city in half, with most of the tourist-worthy neighbourhoods standing on the West bank.
Hotel Jules Insider TipThe Old Town concentrates most of the historical sights and is thus perfect for first timers in Cologne. There, the most famous landmark is probably the Cologne Cathedral, standing tall at 157 meters.
Around the cathedral, visitors will enjoy the cobble-stone streets and the old houses dating back from the 13th or 14th century.
On the Rhine bank, the Chocolate museum is also not to be missed. Learn how chocolate is crafted from the cocoa bean and, of course, leave with some Lindt chocolate samples!
To the north-west, the Belgian Quarter, or Belgisches Viertel, has become a prime spot for youngsters and nightlife.
During the summer, beer gardens pop out and conquer the outdoor space. During the day, designer shops offer quality and unique shopping opportunities.
Despite its location a bit out of the city centre, the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood is now set to be the coolest area in Cologne.
Designer shops, trendy coffee houses and independent restaurants are what you will find in Ehrenfeld. Some say the Berlin’s underground and subculture can be found here in Ehrenfeld.
Cologne offers an array of neighbourhoods with different vibes and activities. Let’s explore each one of them together.
The Cologne Old Town is the real heart of the city. Visitors will be delighted with cobbled streets, old houses dating back from the 13th and 14th century, and bars serving the local brew of Kölsch beer.
The quaint streets are home to hundreds of small restaurants and café, some of which have a beer garden during the summer months.
The highlight of the area is without a doubt the Cologne cathedral, standing tall at 157 meters high.
The cathedral has been built in Gothic style from 1248 to 1880. It is open daily for visitors and guided tours are available. Several other churches such as the Romanesque church Great St. Martin can be visited.
Historical remains can also be seen in the Old Town including the archaeological zone, exposing what is left of the Roman city.
While in the Old Town, you can also check out the fragrance museum, explaining how the world-famous Eau de Cologne came to life. The original brand’s shop is also located right next to it and is a convenient stop if you are looking for local souvenirs to bring back home.
The Hotel Kunibert der Fiese is located in the heart of Cologne and is close to all the main historic attractions of the city.
The hotel’s rooms, located in a 13th-century tavern, are comfortable and feature a private bathroom, free toiletries and heating. A free WiFi connection is available in the building.
Hotel Engelbertz offers family-run accommodation just a short walk away from the cathedral, in a pedestrian street. It offers comfortable rooms featuring an ensuite bathroom and a TV.
A good breakfast is included when staying at Hotel Engelbertz and served every morning, and free WiFi is provided all around the property.
The CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom offers modern and elegant rooms fitted with a private bathroom, a satellite TV, air conditioning and a minibar.
A good buffet breakfast is served for CityClass guests every morning. Pets are allowed for an extra fee. A free WiFi connection is available all around the hotel.
The Altstadt Süd is located just south of the Cologne Old Town, on the western bank of the Rhine river. Together with the Altstadt Nord, where the Old Town is mostly located, it forms the Innerstadt, where most touristic sights are to be seen.
In the Altstadt Süd, there are several interesting museums. The most famous one is probably the chocolate museum, positioned right on the Rhine river.
Visitors to the chocolate museum can learn about the making of chocolate and the techniques used to process it and transform it into the bars we love from simple cocoa beans. Lindt is now in charge of the museum and allows some tasting!
Around the chocolate museum, the Rheinhaufen quarter, the old commercial port, is now a modern area focused on creatives and digital technologies. Take a look at the Kranhaus buildings, built in the shape of cranes over the river.
Away from the river, remains of the Roman city are worth seeing. Two towers and a Roman wall have been partly preserved and are now exposed to the public.
Finally, for those who want to see something a bit more unusual, head to the Mustard museum where you can learn about the history and the making of this popular condiment in Germany.
Hotel Weber Cologne is a great choice for where to stay in Cologne on a budget.
The hotel’s comfortable bedrooms feature a private shower and a shared toilet, a seating area, free toiletries and heating. Some of the bedrooms have a private bathroom with a shower and a toilet.
The NH Köln Altstadt is conveniently located just across the street from the Rhine river and the chocolate museum.
The hotel’s rooms are clean, spacious, and feature a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, heating, and a flat-screen TV. A fitness centre and a restaurant are available in the hotel.
The Romantik Hotel im Wasserturm is a unique hotel located in a historic water tower in the heart of the city.
The hotel’s comfortable rooms are fitted with a private bathroom, free toiletries and a flat-screen TV. Guests can enjoy a well-equipped fitness centre as well as a bar serving good cocktails.
The Belgisches Viertel owes its name to the streets within it, mostly named after cities from Belgium and the Netherlands.
The neighbourhood is often referred to as one of the coolest in Cologne. In its centre is the Brüsseler Platz, boasting a beautiful neo-roman church.
The Belgian Quarter is located on the outside of the city centre, further off to the west, and is often overlooked by tourists. However, if you like a laid-back atmosphere or a good party, you would really be missing out by skipping it.
The shops around the Belgian Quarter are mostly independent brands that are not usually seen on the high street. Come here to get a unique piece no one else will have! If you need a break, dozens of cafés and hip restaurants line the streets.
Mingle with locals at the Belgian Quarter and try the local Cologne cuisine while sipping on a Kölsch beer.
During the summer, beer gardens pop out everywhere and stay open late. Concerts are often organised.
Many clubs are also located in the neighbourhoods, some of which like the famous Six Pack stay open until 8 in the morning.
The Royal Inn Cologne is located just a few streets away from the Brüsseler Platz in the Belgian Quarter. The rooms feature a private bathroom, a flat screen TV and a balcony with a nice view.
The hotel offers family rooms and allows pets to stay. The reception provides tour desk services.
The Steigenberger Hotel is a great choice for where to stay in the Belgian Quarter of Cologne.
The hotel’s rooms are spacious and offer either a city or a garden view. In addition, they are all fitted with a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat screen TV with satellite channels and air conditioning.
This hotel boasts a 4-star rating and is conveniently located near the Belgian Quarter. The modernly decorated rooms are fitted with a private bathroom and air conditioning.
A delicious buffet breakfast is served every morning at the Astor & Aparthotel and a fitness centre is available for guests to use at their convenience.
Tucked away from the city centre, Ehrenfeld has taken over the Belgian Quarter as the coolest neighbourhood in Cologne.
People do not come to Ehrenfeld for cultural and historical sights, but rather for a lifestyle and the trendy atmosphere that lingers in the streets.
A stop in one of the local artisan coffee shops is mandatory to try some one of a kind brews created by local baristas. For a more filling stop, dozens of independent restaurants are to choose from.
The Ehrenfeld neighbourhood is also a hotspot for street art and graffiti that even attracts international artists. Tours with local guides are organised to see all the artwork, or you can explore the area on your own.
Shopping is very popular in the neighbourhood which is filled with independent shops. Flea and antique markets are regularly organised. Do not forget to bargain your price down before buying!
It is also in Ehrenfeld that Germany’s largest mosque is located. It recently opened in 2017 and was built in a modern style with floor to ceiling windows and raw concrete.
Finally, Ehrenfeld is a popular nightlife spot in the city. The clubs are eclectic and offer techno music as well as party classics from the 1980s. In the summer, enjoy a night out in one of the many beer gardens.
The Weltempfänger Hostel is a great option in Ehrenfeld. The rooms offer single or dormitory accommodation.
In-room lockers and a shared bathroom are available at the Weltempfänger. A washing machine and a tumble dryer are available for use in the hostel, as well as a free WiFi connection.
The Park Inn by Radisson provides stylish and modern rooms in Ehrenfeld. They are all fitted with a private bathroom with a bathtub, air conditioning, soundproofing and a flat screen TV with satellite channels.
A state-of-the-art fitness centre can be used by Park Inn guests at their convenience.
The NH Collection Köln Mediapark is located just outside of the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood in Neustadt Nord. It offers modern and spacious rooms featuring an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV its satellite channels and a tea and coffee maker.
A fitness centre, a sauna and a steam room are available for NH guests to use.
The Deutz neighbourhood is located just across the Rhine river from Cologne’s Old Town. Until 1888, it was an independent town but is now fully part of Cologne.
Due to its location and being mostly a business area, Deutz is quieter than the bustling city centre, especially in the summer when the beer garden season is in full swing.
Families will appreciate the laid-back and tranquil atmosphere in Deutz after a long day out exploring the city.
To the north of the neighbourhood, the Rheinpark offers a great opportunity to spend a day out amongst greenery. During the summer, take the kids out for a picnic in the park and spend a lazy afternoon at the beach club.
For events lovers, the Lanxess Arena hosts the biggest events in the city, from international music stars to sports tournaments. The Köln Messe, the area dedicated to trade shows, is also located in the Deutz neighbourhood.
From Deutz, you will easily be able to reach Cologne’s Old Town by crossing the iconic Hohenzollern Bridge, formerly used for rail traffic. At night, the bridge lights up beautifully.
Take the view in from the Kennedy Embankment, without forgetting to take a look at the beautiful Cologne skyline in the background, including the Cologne cathedral.
The Penny Pincher Inn offers dormitory rooms that are a great option for where to stay in Deutz on a budget. Each bed is assigned to a private locker and has a reading light.
The rooms all have a bathroom with a shower, a wardrobe, and a toilet with toilet paper.
The hotel is conveniently located next to the Köln Messe and is a great option when it comes to where to stay in Deutz, especially if you are attending an event!
The hotel’s rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a private bathroom with a bathtub, soundproofing and a city view.
Located on the banks of the Rhine river in Deutz, the Hyatt Regency Köln provides luxury accommodation in Cologne.
The hotel’s comfortable and spacious rooms are fitted with a private bathroom and air conditioning, and some rooms have a stunning view over the cathedral on the other side of the river.
Cologne is a bustling metropolis, and surely deserves its title of coolest city in Germany. It is also full of history with a heritage that dates back to the Roman Empire. Visitors will enjoy the shopping, the cultural sights and the local food and beverages.
In our opinion, the Old Town is the best place to stay as it is closest to all the sights and action.
In Old Town, the Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom offers luxury accommodation with a million-dollar view over the Cologne cathedral. It is hard to do better than that.
Did we forget any hotspot in Cologne? Let us know in the comments and we will add it right away!
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!