Cologne is very densely built city and there are very few unbuilt places in the city center. Of course, the Rhine and its embankments make a large unbuilt corridor that offers opportunities for walking and jogging.
Fondest memory: Right across the Rhine there is a large Rhine Park, built in the 1950s for one of the Garden shows. On the other, western side of the center, a large strip of parks now occupies the area that was formerly forbidden for construction as it follows the former city walls and were protected fields for the defence.
After the World War I a 120 hectares of Inner Green Belt were designed as a strip of parks, together with artificial lakes and ponds. This offers great opportunities for enjoying some fresh air right next to the city center. This stretch starts at the University on the south and goes in a wide loop till the Zoo gardens and the Rhine on the north.
Cologne has an impressive skyline, dominated by the Cathedral and sometimes nicely balanced by other verticals, like the Gross St. Martin. The views definitely become more impressive at night when everything is beautifully lit. Otherwise pretty muddy Rhine suddenly transforms into a great reflection mirror and you can only watch and click on your camera.
Fondest memory: The best place for night shots is definitely the area on the "wrong side" of the Rhine, between the Hohenzollern and Deutzer bridges, as well as the Hohenzollernbrucke itself. The sight is absolutely amazing with the three elements - the Cathedral, the bridge and the St. Martin tower changing their relationships as you walk.
I was told that the Hohenzolernbrucke is the busiest bridge in Europe, with the largest number of trains passing per hour. Same goes for Cologne Main Station that is one of the busiest railway junctions in Europe.
Fondest memory: There is certainly no reason to doubt this as there are literally trains passing every half minute or so and the Hohenzollernbrucke is definitely a paradise for all trainspotters.
It is a great idea to construct a bridge only for trains and pedestrians - you walk only a few meters from the tracks (separated by the fence, of course) and you literally feel the passing train through the noise and the shaking of the impressive metal construction.
Although it was rather cold and windy Sabsi and I spent almost an hour here, catching the ICE and local trains as well as reflections of the bridge and the cathedral.
Definitely the best trainspotting spot I've ever been to!
Rhine is an important waterway and there are big cargo ships going up and down literally every minute.
Fondest memory: It was interesting to me to watch the big container ships passing literally at the foot of the Cologne's Cathedral and under the Rhine bridges. Road highways always make a loop around cities and you can hardly ever see a container truck within the city.
But here, this water highway runs right through the city center and gives an excellent opportunity for a very dynamic shipspotting.
Favorite thing: It was raining when I was in Cologne. But the panomaric view across the Rhine river still fascinating.