City Centre Shopping, Cologne
It is obvious that the Dom is the main tourist attraction of Cologne.
However, there is more to see and do in the city of Köln. First of all, you can find some roman remnants scattered around the city. One of them, a roman gate, is located on the place just in front of the Dom, just across the street from the Tourist Office. However, it is easy to miss, with the enormous backdrop that the Dom provides.
Moreover, the city is simply very nice for a walk, shopping and eating and drinking. Historic buildings (shops, bars and restaurants) and cosy places with terraces are mingled with modern shops, malls and other buildings. All in all a great city for a nice day out.
If you want a great view of the skyline, cross the river Rhine by using the railway bridge close to the Dom. (Yes it has a foot and biking path). Turn right and follow the other river bank. Take the next bridge back into the city centre.
For people arriving by train: The main train station is located just next to the Dom.
Near the cathedral and next to the brewery "Früh" you will find a funny fountain - the Heinzelmännchen Brunnen. I have to look up the story of the "Heinzelmännchen" first and tell you about it later.
Wie war zu Köln es doch vordem
Mit Heinzelmännchen so bequem!
Denn, war man faul, man legte sich
Hin auf die Bank und pflegte sich:
Da kamen bei Nacht,
Ehe man´s gedacht,
Die Männlein und schwärmten
Und klappten und lärmten,
Und hüpften und trabten
Und putzten und schabten
Und eh ein Faulpelz noch erwacht,
War all sein Tagewerk - bereits gemacht!
There are some nice shops right behind the Cathedral and it continues for some blocks. People just go along on their daily lives, I guess being used to the tourists trying to fit in, or just hanging out and watching the locals go by.
Hohe Strasse and Schildergasse are the main shopping and business streets and a pedestrians paradise. Here you will find stores like Kaufhof, Marks & Spencer etc. 'Mittelstrasse' - little but exclusive and elegant boutiques.
The Hohe Strasse, became on of the first real pedestrian walks in Germany back in the 1950’s. It continues to be a very busy shopping street in the city.
I have never seen such a dense concentration of H&M department stores in my entire life--every time I walked a street, there seemed to be another H&M! At first I thought it was all one big store with multiple entrances but that wasn't so... there are so many fashionably thrifty people in Köln that H&M felt a need to build one one every corner. It's more ubiquitous than McDonald's. It was a little confusing, because I usually refer to H&M's as landmarks when in Europe so the proliferation of these stores made me get even more lost than I was.
I used to (and still would) love to stroll the streets of Cologne -- especially the shopping streets which you can access right from the plaza at the Dom Cathedral, just accross from the Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof).
It is crowded in and outside the shops. It's full with Malls, shopping centers, little and bigger shops for quality clothes and different stuff. There are also many places for fast food like classic pommes frites with mustard and of course musicians that play some eastern rhythms.
Schildergasse & Hohegasse were both extremely full when we went on a saturday with perfect weather. Other then that they offered nearly every kind of store you could think of, and sometimes more than just one of them, sometimes even up to 4 of the same store in a very little area. No matter what, I enjoyed the day and would recommend it as a shopping starting point in Cologne!
Another summer.....Musicians in the square near the cathedral and train station. I have no idea what country they were from but their music sounded South American.