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Campervan hire Cologne

An ancient city with a thoroughly modern outlook on life, Cologne is a dynamic and friendly destination that knows how to have a good time.  

 

Sitting on the banks of the Rhine, Cologne, at 2,000 years old, is one of the oldest cities in Germany and is best known for the Gothic wonder that is Cologne Cathedral. But in addition to this architectural masterpiece, Cologne is a place where the avant-garde rubs shoulders with the ancient and postmodern art meets traditional beer halls and Roman relics. Indeed, Cologne, or Köln (don’t freak out, it’s the same place) has a history of open exchange and evolution. Look past its rather drab post-war buildings and busy roads, and you’ll find a warm and generous city with a rich heritage, a strong personality, and a bit of an arty edge to boot. Hire a campervan in Cologne and discover a city that doesn’t take itself too seriously — as the gallery called Arty Farty Artspace confirms — and locals who like to have fun, helped, perhaps, by the hugely drinkable beer called Kölsch. And, of course, this is the birthplace of eau de cologne — making Cologne indisputably the sweetest-smelling of all European cities.

 

Practical Information

Depot + Transfer

If you want to hire a campervan or motorhome in Cologne, we’re right there for you. We’ll meet you at Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN), where you can pick up and drop off your RV – free of charge in regular hours, of course!

Parking in the city

Parking on the street in Cologne can be tricky as capacity is limited. You can find inner-city car parks but they tend to be expensive. A better option is the Park and Rides on the outskirts of the city, which are cheap and sometimes even free. Possible options include Park + Ride Parkhaus Zoo or Park + Ride Stammheim.

Camping grounds nearby

If you decide to hire a campervan in Cologne, there are plenty of camping grounds nearby where you can spend the night. Two great options are Camping Berger, 20 minutes from the city centre, on the banks of the Rhine, and with a beer-garden too, and Campingplatz der Stadt Köln where you can cycle along the banks of the river to the city centre in around 15 minutes.

 

About Cologne

Cologne was founded in 38 BC with the high and mighty mouthful of a name ‘Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium.’ The imperial governors of Rome resided there and soon the town became one of the most important trade centres in the northern Roman Empire. Its success continued under Franconian rule and by the Middle Ages, Cologne was one of the wealthiest towns in the German-speaking area. In 1288, Cologne’s citizens managed to win power from the archbishops who had been ruling the city up until then and they founded the first city university in Europe — now one of the largest universities in Germany. Cologne then became a significant industrial hub before being decimated during WW2 — when around 90 percent of the inner city was destroyed. In 1947, work began to rebuild the Old Town and the city began to get back on its feet.

Hire a campervan in Cologne and begin exploring. Wander through the picturesque Old Town, or Alstadt, before heading over to the elegant Belgian Quarter whose Art Nouveau buildings will transport you back to a pre-war Cologne. This is a neighbourhood of creatives and ultra-cool cafes, shops, and restaurants. Then discover the city’s many museums and galleries, or explore edgy and bohemian Ehrenfeld with its intriguing graffiti and diverse population of immigrants, musicians, and artists. Then make like a local and lounge around on the grass by the riverfront promenade, people-watching and whiling away a leisurely afternoon. Enjoy some art at the Museum Ludwig. Or, if you’d rather some art of artisan chocolate variety, head to the Chocolate Museum. Then relax at a spa, one of Germany’s top national pastimes — just be prepared for some serious nudity.

And it wouldn’t be Germany if we didn’t mention the beer. Cologne’s style of beer-drinking is quite distinct. There are no vigorous Prosts with enormous frothing tankards here. This is beer for the sophisticated drinker. The Brauhauses serve slim 20cl glasses of Kölsch, a pale beer that, like Champagne, must be made in Cologne. Or, if your libation of choice is a dry white wine rather than all this German beer, Cologne’s got you covered. The Rhine region is home to some of the country’s best wines and you can do tastings at various locations around the city.

 

What to discover

In and around the city

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral has more or less put Cologne on the map. It’s exceptionally impressive to look at and also took an impressively long time to build: construction began in the 13th century but wasn’t finished until 1880. It has one of the world’s tallest spires and one of the most important shrines in the Catholic Church: the relics of the Three Wise Men, whose bones can be found in a casket inside. The cathedral is Germany's most visited tourist attraction — and standing in the huge nave amongst exquisite stained glass and soaring ceilings, you’ll soon understand why.  

The Chocolate Museum

The Schokoladen Museum, or the Chocolate Museum, puts an educative spin on chocolate and makes everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure a little less guilty. Explore the 5,000-year history of chocolate and learn all about the journey from cocoa pod to packaged product. There’s also a 10-foot high chocolate fountain at the end of the visit — definitely the highlight of the tour. The museum is one of the most visited in the whole city — which says a lot both about the priorities of your average tourist, as well as how great a museum it is.

Museum Ludwig

Fans of modern art may well have already heard of Museum Ludwig with its vast range of contemporary masterpieces. From Picasso to Warhol, Lichtenstein to Rothko, all the big names can be found here. But even if these celebrities of the art world don’t interest you, the museum displays such a diverse mix of works that there really is something for everyone. Stop by to see some iconic pop art, some intriguing German expressionism, and to just absorb some of the creations that have defined, challenged and transformed the global art scene in recent decades.

 

Recommended locations

Aachen

Historic Aachen was once known as the ‘The Spa of Kings’ — and for good reason. In the 1800s, European royalty all descended on the city to try its curative waters. Be like a royal: hire a campervan, stop by in Aachen and take a dip in its hot springs. Then there’s the iconic cathedral that houses the remains of King Charlemagne, buried here in 814 AD. But this ancient and regal city also has a sense of humour — and it appreciates a sense of humour in others. As well as the Charlemagne Prize for politics, the city gives an annual Medal for Combating Deadly Seriousness to those politicians, diplomats, and lawyers across Europe who can see the funny side. Make sure to also try the Aachener Printen, a hard, spicy biscuit that was originally sold by pharmacists as the herbs and honey were considered to have medical benefits. Have a taste to see if they were on to something.

Koblenz

With its winding streets, ancient churches, castles, fortress walls, and palaces, 2,000-year-old Koblenz is a place for those who want not just a holiday from home but a holiday from the present day. Want to hire a campervan in Koblenz? Get a van in Cologne instead to step back in time, making your way through the surrounding mountain ranges and to a city that once welcomed princes, kings, and emperors from around Europe. Or if you’d rather remain in the 21st century, Germany’s first tri-cable car will take you on a breathtaking trip over the Rhine and up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress with its spectacular views. Wander through atmospheric alleyways, stroll along river banks, and relax in a weinstube, a wine tavern. Make sure to also sample regional dishes such as Döppekooche, a potato casserole made of grated potatoes, bacon, and onions.

Bonn

Following WW2 and the split of Germany into two halves, Bonn was the capital of West Germany. Yet although at one time hugely significant, today the city is neglected by many visitors to the country. Their loss. Hire a campervan and drive to Bonn, a  city that offers romantic and atmospheric castles, Roman artifacts, and — wait for it — Haribo. Yes, everyone’s favourite jelly candy originated in Bonn before making a name for itself in the US. But for the less sweet-toothed travellers among us, you can trade sweets for sweet, sweet music, because Bonn was also the birthplace one of the world’s most famous composers, Ludwig van Beethoven. Finally, the city also boasts some beautiful green spaces, including the Rheinaue, a sprawling park on the Rhine River that has a lake, boats, bikes to rent, and even places to have a BBQ.

 

Depot Contacts

Phone: +351308 809 080

Email: [email protected]

Address: Cologne Bonn Airport - Kennedystrasse, 51147 Köln, Germany

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