Köln Fahrradtour
Cologne has so many highlights, there's no time to waste: Jump on your bike and off you go! Köln hat so viele Highlights zu bieten. Also rauf auf's Rad und ab durch die Stadt. Photo: Adobe Stock

Capturing Cologne: the ultimate cycling tour for fabulous holiday pics

Many paths lead through Cologne - and those who know explore them by bike. This 25-kilometer route leads to the most beautiful motifs for amateur photographers.

10am – Start at Decksteiner Weiher lake

Our tour starts at Decksteiner Weiher on Cologne’s outer green belt. For something to eat, find yourself a picnic spot on the lawns or pop in to the Haus am See restaurant. This is also a chance to take some snaps before we get going: the almost square-shaped lake and the trees surrounding it are a popular subject for hobby photographers, especially when the leaves don their vivid autumn colours.

Haus am See Weiherwiese
Haus am See in the north of the park has food and drink for those seeking an energy boost. Photo: Haus am See, Weiherwiese

10.14 – Stop at Fort VI

Not long after you start pedalling, you’ll see Fort VI over to the side. Erected by the Prussians in 1873, the only parts of the fortifications to survive the First World War and demilitarisation were the fort and a section of the ramparts. The ditches have been filled in and the buildings destroyed.

10.33 – Through the northwest of Cologne to the Colonius telecommunications tower

We continue our journey, travelling northwest to Dürener Straße. The route crosses Militärring, leads through the Stadtwald park and then along the canals of the Lindenthal district. Stressed city cyclists can relax here and enjoy the car-free scenery. On the inner green belt, we come to Aachener Weiher, an artificial lake, where the locals like to come to enjoy the sun. A few metres uphill, there’s a good place to take pictures of the Colonius telecommunications tower and Mediapark – especially at night, when, bathed in light, they look stunning.

Aachener Weiher
The lawns around Aachener Weiher lake are very popular on sunny days.

10.41 – A coffee break in the Belgian Quarter

If your body’s saying “coffee time!”, a quick stop-off in the neighbouring Belgian Quarter is called for. Cute cafés and restaurants beckon customers in with the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans, divine cakes or, at Café im Bauturm, for example, home-made jam.

Good to know: If you want to spend more than one day cycling, there’s cyclist-friendly accommodation at the Die Wohngemeinschaft hostel.

Fahrradtour Ines Eckermann
Author Ines Eckermann explored Cologne by bike for our readers. Photo: Fabian Paffendorf

Our tour takes us further through the inner green belt to a spot that’s perfect for fans of wide-angle lenses: Herkulesberg hill on Innere Kanalstraße, which offers a view of the city skyline. Berg means “mountain”, but Herkulesberg is actually a 25-metre tall mound of Second World War rubble in what is otherwise a pretty flat city.

10.55 – On to Ehrenfeld and an outdoor art studio

Carrying on along Innere Kanalstraße, we arrive at Odonien in the neighbourhood of Ehrenfeld. Artist Odo Rumpf has created a very special motif here in this mixture of outdoor studio, workshop, open-air performance venue and cultural centre full of bizarre sculptures and graffiti. If you do the tour in the afternoon, you can stop for a rest at the beer garden, which opens at 5pm on weekdays and 3pm on weekends.

Köln Odonien
Odonien: outdoor studio, workshop, open-air performance venue and cultural centre. Photo: xC xHa

11.09 – Along the Rhine towards Deutz harbour

The next photo stop is Rheinpark, beneath the Zoobrücke bridge, where there’s crazy golf and expansive lawns right on the banks of the river. From here, it’s not far to the Rheinboulevard and its 500-metre-wide steps. If you don’t want to carry your bike but still want to get to the Rheinauhafen district on the other side, you can cross the Severinsbrücke bridge instead. But if you do venture up the steps, you’ll be rewarded by a glorious view of the Altstadt, the old part of the city. From here, we move south to the Südbrücke bridge, the Poller Wiesen park and Deutz harbour.

Into architecture? This is a good place to stop for a picnic and study the façades of the new and the old buildings.

A relaxing way to enjoy an aerial view across the Zoobrücke bridge.

12 noon – Through the Altstadt district to the major landmark: Cologne Cathedral

Near Neumarkt lies the Rauten­strauch-Joest-Museum, which is one of Germany’s most important ethnological museums and has its own café. Leaving the museum, we cross Heumarkt and our route takes us on to an ancient part of the city: Altstadt. With its narrow streets, colourful houses and the picturesque Fischmarkt, it has some excellent motifs for photographs.

The nearby Hohenzollernbrücke bridge is also worth a visit. Lovebirds come here to attach padlocks bearing their initials to the bridge: around 45,000 couples have turned the ordinary-looking structure into a monument to their love and a work of art.

Kölner Dom
An ever-present landmark: Cologne Cathedral. Photo: Getty Images

Now there’s no missing our destination: Cologne Cathedral. The city’s famous landmark is the most popular sight to photograph – and the last stop of our tour.

Fancy more great cycle tours of Cologne?

Cologne Tourist Board has plenty of interesting ones to choose from.

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