London Stansted to Cologne Airport
European tourists have been coming to the German city of Cologne situated on the River Rhine for many centuries, many of them to admire its spectacular cathedral, the Dom. Much of Cologne was destroyed by bombing raids in the Second World War, although fortunately the city has been attractively rebuilt with many fine squares and parks.
Flights between London Stansted and Cologne-Bonn Honrad Adenauer Airport are operated by Germanwings. The airport is around 14km from Cologne city centre. The Inter City Express (ICE) train runs every 15-20 minutes from the airport to Cologne’s central station (Hauptbahnhof). Journeys take only about 15 minutes, single tickets cost 12 euros (£1 is approximately equal to 1.45 euros). The S-bahn 13 train also connects the airport to Hauptbahnhof. Trains run every 20 minutes on weekdays and half-hourly at weekends. Journeys take 20 minutes and a single ticket costs 2.10 euros. Taxis to the city centre cost around 30 euros and take about 15 minutes. Buses from the airport tend to be expensive and impractical.
Places of interest in Cologne include:
- The Dom. The construction of Germany’s largest cathedral was begun in 1248. The project was halted in 1560 before finally being finished in the 19th century, 632 years after it was started. Fortunately it emerged unscathed after heavy bombing during World War II. Inside visitors can admire the great stained glass windows and Magi’s shrine, thought to contain remains of the Three Wise Men. From the top of the Dom’s south tower there are superb views over Cologne, while the 24-ton Peter Bell is the world’s largest working bell.
- German Sports and Olympia Museum. This new museum oponed in the 1990s is housed in an old warehouse in the harbour. The museum traces the history of the Olympics from a German point of view and contains more than 10,000 items. There are also several interactive exhibits.
- The Roman-German Museum. Next to the cathedral is this museum which displays artefacts excavated from the Rhine Valley. It is built around the 3rd century Dinysos Mosaic which was uncovered in 1941. The upper floors of the Roman-German museum house a large collection of Roman glassware, ceramics and jewellery.
- Gross St Martin. This church is probably the most spectacular of the 12 Romanesque churches which were painstakingly reconstructed after Second World War bombing raids. The church was originally built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is easily recognised by its four turrets and enormous tower. Gross St Martin is also the venue for many concerts.
- Glockengasse 4711. This address might not sound very inspiring but it is the birthplace of the world-famous eau-de-cologne. The neo-gothic house situated close to the opera house still sells the original perfume.
- Town Hall (Rathaus). Although severely damaged in the Second World War, part of this Renaissance town hall dating from the 14th century has been rebuilt. Particular attention has been paid to the tower so that its bells can be heard again throughout the city.