More about Welcome Card
Get yourself a WelcomeCard for your visit to Koln and benefit from free travel on public transport and discounts at many attractions.
Koln has a complex travel network of trains, trams and buses but with your WelcomeCard you don't need to worry about buying the right ticket.
The museums and galleries can be a bit expensive, so it's great news that the WelcomeCard offers up to a 50% discount at most places!
There are other perks, like free beer and schnapps from certain bars and restaurants!
There are different versions to suit your itinerary, but for one person the 24-hour card is 9 euro, for 48 hours it's 14 euro and for 72 hours it's 19 euro. A 'family' card for 2 adults and 2 children (OR up to 3 adults and no children) costs twice as much.
You can buy the card at tourist info offices in the city centre or at the airport plus at many hotels.
Bring a small backpack with enough space for snacks and drinks. Comfortable tennis shoes. I wore flip flops to the park and my feet were sore at the end of the day.
If you dont want to get wet on the water rides, bring a light raincoat. I saw a lot of people at the park on water rides with raincoats to protects themselves and their bags because you have to bring your items with you on the rides.
Spare socks. Keep your feet dry, even if your shoes are a bit wet or bring flips flops to wear on water rides then change back into tennis shoes to walk the park. If you get motion sickness there is a over the counter medicine called Dramamine. You can take it 30-60 minutes before going on any rides and it works great. I also use it before I take long plane rides.
Small facecloth... just something extra, you never know what you might need it for. (maybe its a hot day and your feeling light headed, you could rise the facecloth under cool water and place the facecloth on your forehead)...etc. Sunglasses. Food at the park is expensive so try packing some sandwiches and drinks. I dont think they check bags at the parks (mine was not inspected) because I saw a lot of tourists taking food out of their bags and making little picnics here and there.
At the park you can buy a book/map which talks about the rides and phantasialand in general which costs about 3 Euro but it is a waste of money and space. You can get a map of the park for free and its just as good as the one in the book and handy enough to fold up and put in a pocket.
There is one ride called Winja's Force and I think it is one of the only rides (besides the black mambo...but you can leave your items off to the side) in which you cant take your bag on with you. They have lockers to rent near Winja's Force but they are usually all taken and it is hard to get a locker. It is about 3 Euro for a locker so it is not worth is just for one ride.
Cologne to Mulheim on the Stadtbahn
The Stadtbahn forms part of Cologne's extensive public transport system. This tram network operates partly below ground and partly above ground and connects hundreds of stations in Cologne and nearby Bonn.
The information in this tip relates primarily to the journey that I frequently undertook between Mulheim (a suburb located approx 10 minutes to the north east of Cologne city centre) and Cologne Dom/Hauptbahnhof station, but some of the information will also be applicable for other journeys within the city.
Tickets can be purchased from machines at all stations. Tickets that I purchased from the machine at Mulheim Wienerplatz station were pre-validated, while tickets purchased from the more complicated machine at Dom/Hauptbahnhof station (use code "2070" for the relevant ticket) needed to be validated on board the tram.
The tickets that I needed to purchase for my daily trip were price category 1b and these cost 2.20 Euros per trip. For shorter trips (I don't know the exact criteria, but I would say 2 or 3 stops), there are cheaper tickets priced at 1.60 Euros. There are a variety of daily passes and multi trip tickets available if you plan to use the public transport network extensively.
The journey between Mulheim Wienerplatz and Cologne Dom/Hauptbahnhof
Cost: 2.20 Euros each way
Journey time: approx 10 minutes
Frequency of trams: every 3 or 4 minutes
Tram numbers: 17 / 18 / 19
From Mulheim Wienerplatz to Cologne Dom/Hauptbahnhof
Take one of the following trams:
17 - destination Ubierring
18 - destination Bruhl / Bonn
19 - destination Klettenberg
From Cologne Dom/Hauptbahnhof to Mulheim Wienerplatz
Take one of the following trams:
17 - destination Buchheim
18 - destination Thielenbruch
19 - destination Buchheim
The journey goes via the following stations:
Cologne Dom/Hauptbahnhof - Breslauer Platz - Ebertplatz - Reichenspergerplatz - Zoo / Flora - Boltensternstrasse - Slabystrasse - Mulheim Wienerplatz
The Place after the Game
A Pils (or Kýlsch) after the Ballgame -- (nearly) the best thing on earth!!! When you've been active or out for watching a game in the sports district around the Rheinenergie-Stadium, the sports parks around it or the German Sports University, then the Doping is a handy spot for quenching your thirst. They also serve inexpensive, well-tasting baguettes. In summer, you can sit outside among the many sports students. Beware of crazy wheelchair-basketball players occasionally to be seen around :-) Kýnigs Pilsener
Boat trips on the Rhine
There are a number of boat trips along the Rhine available at Cologne. Some of these are just an hour or so in duration, while others go further afield to other towns and cities located further along the river.
One of the main boat trip operators is Koln Dusseldorfer, which operates boat trips that leave from Frankenwerft, near to Deutzer Brucke.
The boat trip that I undertook during my visit to Cologne in July 2006 was a one hour round trip and cost 6.80 Euros.
The one hour round trip runs daily in the summer at 10:30, 12:00, 14:00 and 18:00. In the afternoon, the company offers 2 hour round trips at 15:30 and 17:30 on another of its boats. If you fancy a longer cruise, you can sail north to Dusseldorf or south to Bonn, Konigswinter, Remagen and several other small towns en route to Koblenz.
The boat that I went on had a large open air top deck and a lower deck indoors that was set with dining tables. Most people, myself included, chose to sit outside in the fresh air, enjoying the views. The upper deck offers excellent views of the Dom and Gross St Martin when the cruise first starts....but the views soon deteriorate when you leave the city skyline behind. The cruise continues under a variety of bridges, passing the chocolate museum and the sports museum. Beyond that, the scenery consists of grassy riverbanks with people fishing and, on this sunny day, nudists working on their all-over suntans!
There is a brief commentary in German and English, but this is as limited as the views are.
The cruise heads southbound for 20 minutes or so, then turns and heads back north for 30 minutes, passing the Rheinpark parkland and cable cars and the hotels and office blocks of northern Cologne, before returning to the departure point.
A relaxing cruise...but the views beyond the city are somewhat limited!