Cologne is a city well-known for its vibrant culture, tons of shopping and an exciting nightlife. However, there is a calmer, more peaceful side that will attract nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts — the Cologne parks and nature spots.
The Cologne Zoo
With over five hundred species of animal from all over the Earth, the Cologne Zoo is a definite highlight. The Elefantenpark features these always-popular animals in one of Europe’s largest enclosures. The Urwaldhaus has our closest animal relatives, the Great Apes, on display, and the Regenwald is a recreation of the tropical Southeast Asian jungle. There’s also an aquarium that showcases beautiful coral reefs.
Many areas of Cologne were set aside following the First World War as designated park area. These remain very popular with travelers and citizens.
Some of the tourist-friendly ones include the Volksgarten, the Hiroshima-Nagasaki (aka Aachener-Weiher) and the Stadtgarten. In the warmer months, people flock to these oases of calm to play, sunbathe and have a picnic.
Naturally, each Cologne park features a beer garden. Be sure not to litter when visiting! There are hefty fines imposed on those who do not respect the beautiful, clean tranquility of these parks.
In addition to so many nature parks, Cologne also offers many lovely, manicured gardens for you to stroll through.
The Arboretum is particularly well-known for its Japanese area, with many different types of plants and flowers decorated in a “garden monument.” Finken’s garden is more geared towards children, who are invited to touch and smell whatever they may find in this small park. The Flora Gardens, located in the north of Cologne, features a botanical garden.
With so much outdoorsy recreation, it is only natural that Cologne would offer many camping opportunities as well.
The Campingplatz Stadt Köln A Rhineside camping site (Weidenweg 35, in the district of Poll) is popular as it offers a spectacular view of the city center and the Cathedral. And Cologne’s largest camping site, Camping Berger (Uferstraße, in the district of Rodenkirchen), is accessed more easily by public transportation and also provides a supermarket and restaurant.
Rhine River Cruises
A trip to Cologne would be incomplete without experiencing its most valuable natural asset — the Rhine River. There are many options for river boat tours and excursions to enjoy the beauty of Cologne from a unique vantage point. River cruise tickets can be purchased right at the piers.