1. Boats on the Rhine River
2. Boats and the railroad bridge
3. Barge going under the Deutzer Bridge
From Cologne there are plenty of opportunities to take excursion boats on the Rhine River.
To avoid misunderstandings, however, I should point out that this is not the really famous part of the Rhine will all the old castles like the Marksburg and Burg Katz. That part is further upstream, between Bingen and Koblenz.
1. People sitting by the river
2. Strolling on the river bank
3. Lying on the grass by the river
4. Cycling by the river
Cologne is on the Rhine River at about kilometer 688, which is roughly 33 km downstream from Bonn, 97 km downstream from Koblenz and 185 km downstream from Mainz.
They only start counting kilometers at Konstanz, by the way, which is where the Rhine flows out of Lake Constance (Bodensee). If you were to count the upper parts of the Rhine, between the Swiss Alps and Lake Constance, then it would be nearly three hundred kilometers longer.
The old town panorama with the cathedral is best enjoyed from the opposite river bank on the Deutzer side. Cross the Rhine via Hohenzollernbrücke or Deutzer Brücke. The river promenade connects both bridges, so you can do a “round trip” and return to the old town on the other bridge.
The Rhine promenade is a must see. The beautiful park to sit and watch the activities around or just make a stroll is very soothing. When we went it was really rainy and so could not really enjoy. But still loved the view.
The very beautiful and majestic river Rhine crosses across the city of Cologne dividing the city into two. As one enters the city by train, just before the Hauptbahnhof one crosses the majestic Rhine river and it presents a great sight. Once in the city, a walk along the riverside is also recommended. Being from a country like India that is known as the land of rivers (thousands of them) I always enjoy seeing rivers across the world.
The Rhine is one fantastic river and I could spend a month dropping off at quaint little villages along the way, and will do so someday. The foilage is just lush and the vines of grapes hug the hillsides. All seems so neat and orderly.
Don't know about you, but I love a good waterfront. The Cologne waterfront has no shortage of pedestrian areas, grassy and other seating areas and restaurants. If you're lucky enough to be there when it's warm enough to sit outdoors, do it! Even though some (or maybe most) of these restaurants are geared toward the tourist, well....that's what I was!
One of the first things I would recommend in Cologne is a river boat trip. The most famous shipping line is the most expensive: KD Linie, with its long sleek river boats, but there are lots of others to chose from. Just bear in mind that not all offer any sightseeing commentaries as some are just a nice way to go from A to B, including to the famous zoo. All have little cafes on board though, usually serving ice cream, coffe and cakes, beer and sausages. Sail along the Rhine and discover its importance as a lifeline to the city whilst seeing the huge amount of barge traffic on it. If you take a short city cruise, there won't be that much more to see once the city skyline has given way to grassy riverbanks but you will still enjoy seeing what people do along their river such as kite flying and jet skiing. There are also longer evening dinner cruises and daytrip cruises to nearby towns such as Düsseldorf and Bonn.
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!
Take a day cruise on the rhine. Leave early in morning and disembark the ferry at a city of your choice. Do sight seeing during the day and take a ferry back. There are some very nice views along the river Rhine. The crowd on the ferry is mainly touristy and everyone is in good mood. So, its a lot of fun.
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