7 Best Day Trips from Cologne, Germany

Cologne or Köln is Germany’s fourth-largest city and the capital of carnivals. Its rich history dates back to the Romans, which is why you will find some of the most stunning museums and art venues in the region. Among its popular attractions are the Roman remains, historic churches, fairytale palaces, and fascinating galleries that will leave you in awe. Among its popular attractions are the Roman remains, historic churches, fairytale palaces, and fascinating galleries that will leave you in awe.

If you are planning a visit, there are some excellent day trips from Cologne to explore the beautiful location to your heart’s content. To inspire you, we have compiled 7 Best day trips from Cologne, so you know where to begin your journey. So get your favorite travel bag packed and let’s get ready to hit the road.

7 Best Day Trips from Cologne 

Like Berlin, Cologne has a unique vibe, making it one of the most popular cities in Germany. Moreover, you will find some great wine in the region. If you’re a wine lover, you will love the Cologne original, the Kölsch beer.

7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

Of all the places you can visit in Cologne, we have compiled seven best day trips from Cologne that can be reached by public transport. 

Ahr Valley 

  • Suggested Duration: six to eight hours for drinking and hiking 

The Ahr Valley is one of the most important wine regions close to Cologne. Red grapes grow and ripen on terraced vineyards of the steep valley, making the Ahr Valley one of the largest producers of Pinot Noir in Germany. 

7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

The valley is especially famous for its spätburgunder, velvety red wine with a taste of bitter almonds or blackberries.

The best way to explore the whole place is by going on a mild hike on the Red Wine Trail or Rotweinwanderweg in German. This 35km long trail is weaved through various wineries and vineyards, as well as castle ruins, churches, and monasteries. 

Must-have wines in Ahr Valley include:

  • Spätburgunder
  • Portugieser
  • Dornfelder
  • Frühburgunder


  • Suggested Duration: about six to eight hours

Located on the Rhine River, Bonn is the closest city to Cologne, which translates to an ideal day trip to a small German city. Bonn is known for the central Beethoven House, a memorial site and museum in memory of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

While you are in Bonn, you can also explore one of the oldest churches in Germany, Bonn Minster. It was built over the ruins of Roman temples and churches back in the 11th century.

Even a simple walk around the old city will be a wonderful experience. You get to enjoy the Japanese cherry blossom trees along Heerstrasse street that come alive with a pop of color every spring. 

While you are there, don’t forget to visit the Haribo Candy company that makes the best gummy candy in Germany.


  • Suggested Duration: at least six hours  

If you love modern architecture, Düsseldorf is going to be a lovely day trip for you. Like Cologne, Düsseldorf strives to be the best city in North Rhineland Westphalia, but these cities have entirely different vibes if you ask us. 

7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

Düsseldorf has quite a few attractions to check out, especially if you are spending a day in Cologne. It would be a shame if you come to the state and don’t visit Cologne or Düsseldorf.

In Düsseldorf, you can:

  • Get a pastry from Manufactum Brot & Butter, a lovely shop selling premium home-made products
  • Visit the Düsseldorfs Altstadt to drink Düsseldorf-style Altbier, a modern brew.
  • Eat at Dreas & Dendas, a fusion eatery that offers a unique menu of two or three items from Monday to Friday.
  • Visit the Carlsplatz Markt that sells fresh juice, spices, fruits, vegetables, and flowers.


  • Suggested Duration: two to three hours for a tour

The town of Brühl is another one of the fantastic day trips from Cologne. The beautiful Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces are masterpieces of Late Baroque architecture, dating back to the 18th century. 

augustusburg and falkenlust palaces

Due to the marble pillars, gold decor, and huge murals, the site is a must-visit for every tourist. 

After the palaces, you can admire the French gardens at the site with well-tended flowerbeds, stunning fountains, and tree-lined paths that are free to explore all year round. However, for the interior of the palace, you have to book a guided tour.

Did You Know? The Augustusburg and Falkenlust Palaces used to be a residence for Cologne’s Archbishop.


  • Suggested Duration: four to six hours depending on what you want to see

Koblenz lies at the convergence of the two rivers, the rivers Rhine and Moselle, and that’s how it gets its Roman name Confluentes. The point where the two rivers meet is symbolic of German reunification and is named ‘German Corner’, which has many romantic implications, too, for couples.

Koblenz rhine river

One of the oldest cities in Germany, Koblenz, is surrounded by dreamy hills and fairytale castles. Get a cable car to take you over the river up to the medieval museum. It is the perfect romantic day trip for newly wedded couples who want to experience some thrill.

Things to do at Koblenz:

  • Cruise through Rhine river
  • Take a cable car to the Medieval fortress and museum
  • Admire the Schängelbrunnen fountain


  • Suggested Duration: up to eight hours for sightseeing and spa 

Aachen lies on the German-Dutch-Belgian border, an intersection of culture, history, and beauty. Like many historic European cities, Aachen’s history dates back to the Romans and Charlemagne, and the Aachener Cathedral serves as a burial place of Charlemagne along with 30 German Kings.

carolus day spa

A great way to spend your time in Aachen is in the relaxing thermal waters of the Carolus day spa. It has eight different soaking pools and another eight saunas that will do away with the stress and fatigue of your trip. 

The Carolus Thermal Bath has three sections:

  1. Thermalbad or Thermal Baths are indoor and outdoor pools 
  2. Saunawelt is a sauna area with pools for adults only 
  3. Spa is the area for massage treatments

You can spend the whole day at the spa, switching between saunas, pools, and relaxing rooms. And, when it’s time to eat, you can dine at Saunawelt’s restaurant that serves Asian fusion food. This is why it’s one of the 7 best day trips from Cologne.


  • Suggested Duration: six to eight hours

Königswinter lies in the Seven Hills or Siebengebirge, just southeast of Bonn. On a cruise down the Rhine river, you will pass through Bonn before arriving at Königswinter, a city known for its fairytale castles, romantic ruins, and pleasant river views. 

konigswinter seven hills or siebengebirge
7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

When you arrive, take a trip to the Drachenburg Castle atop of the Drachenfels Hill, towers over the whole city. The gorgeous towers and romantic legends surround the castle walls, making it appear almost dreamlike.

Eifel National Park  

  • Suggested Duration: about four hours for relaxing and hiking

The only national park in North Rhineland Westphalia, the Eifel National Park, is the best place to visit in a day. If you want an escape from cities and towns, the park has endless walking and hiking trails to explore the intricacies of nature around you. Bring along a minimalist travel backpack so you can hike and explore without getting weighed down with extra baggage. 

7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

The whole place is densely packed with lush trees spread over steep mountains that give some of Germany’s most beautiful views. Aside from that, you will also come across cerulean lakes and rivers, bubbling streams, and dramatic wilderness that will keep you wanting more.

Did You Know? With 110 square km of land, the Eifel National Park has become a local favorite during the pandemic. 

Chocolate Museum 

  • Suggested Duration: one to two hours

Cologne’s Chocolate Museum was founded in 1972 when Hans Imhoff discovered a rubbish container of broken machinery and remains of chocolate manufacture. He restored these remnants that now form the basis of the Chocolate Museum.

chocolate museum

You can walk through the palm house to discover the natural history of cocoa. Then, explore historical machinery, antique molds collections, chocolate boxes, and try free samples from the chocolate fountain. The visitors can also follow the modern chocolate production from cocoa beans to chocolate bars. 

What’s impressive is that all the exhibition rooms in the museum give you free access, including the CHOCOLAT Shop and the CHOCOLAT Grand Cafe.

Did You Know? At the Chocolate Museum, you can design your own chocolates too and take them home with you.

Wrap-Up – 7 Best Day Trips from Cologne

The day trips from Cologne are as simple as hopping on the train and getting off for the adventure that awaits. On your day trips from Cologne, you can enjoy dreamy palaces, historical museums, secluded villages, and relaxing spas, all within your reach. 

You will find so much history and culture in each region that you will be heading out for a day trip every day.

This blog is written by guest writer Kyle from @Viatravelers we’re so proud to have them as a member of the Dutchbloggeronthemove team.

Via travelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure. Follow them on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Disclaimer: some of the links contain affiliate links in this article. This means, when you click on them to make a booking or buy a tour for example I earn a small commission. This doesn’t cost you anything extra but will sure help to keep this site running so we can deliver you the best articles. Thank you for supporting me in this way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *