Die Skyline von Köln mit Blick auf die Hohenzollernbrücke und den Kölner Dom mit Sonnenuntergang.
Bathed in gold - the Cologne skyline. © Eric Weber

Cologne across the rooftops

Did you know Cologne has a skyline to die for? No? Then it’s high time you headed skywards for an awe-inspiring view of the city. Here are our top eight places to take in the vista.

Venturing up high to get a view across the city’s rooftops and look the cathedral in the spires… Not as far-fetched as it sounds. Cologne is certainly not the most mountainous of places but it does have quite a few high-up spots that offer a completely new perspective. This is Cologne as you’ve never seen it before.

From a cable car

Eine gelbe Seilbahngondel vor blauem Himmel mit Wolken.
Not for the faint of heart: admiring the views from a cable car. Photo: www.badurina.de

The most spectacular way of enjoying a bird’s eye view of Cologne has got to be in a Kölner Seilbahn cable car. Built for the Bundesgartenschau (national garden show) in 1957, the line has provided a link across the Rhine between the districts of Riehl and Deutz for more than 60 years. There are night crossings and “special event” crossings on specific dates too. But it’s not just tourists who appreciate this attraction – locals like to take to the skies this way too.

If you’re into zoos and have time to spare, you can visit Cologne Zoo after your trip – it’s right next to the cable car station.

March to November: daily, 10am–6pm (make sure you check the times for the “special event” trips)

How much? 
Adults: 5€ single / 9€ return
Children (aged 4 to 12): 3€ single / 4.50€ return 

Right riverbank: Rheinpark, on the corner of Sachsenbergstraße and Auenweg
Left riverbank: Riehler Str. 180

From the KölnTriangle tower

If you want to get the big picture, the KölnTriangle viewing platform is the place for you. In just a few seconds, the lift whisks visitors up to the 29th floor to take in the 360° view. From up here, you can watch life down in the city without all the commotion. The platform has reinforced glass panes all the way around that ensure safe access for visitors and provide information on notable buildings nearby.

Completed in 2005 and measuring approximately 100 metres in height, this office block has truly become part of Cologne’s skyline. If you’d like to round off your visit with a culinary “high-light”, the exclusive Köln Sky Restaurant might be just what you’re looking for.

October to April: daily, 11am–8pm 
May to September: Sun to Thurs, 11am–8pm / Fri and Sat, 11am–8pm

How much? 
Adults: 5€ 
Free admission for children up to the age of 12

Ottoplatz 1, 50679 Cologne

From Cologne Cathedral

Der Kölner Dom und die Hohenzollernbrücke in Abendstimmung.
The towering spires of Cologne Cathedral. Photo: Dieter Jacobi

If you’re partial to a bit of exercise, you’ll like Cologne Cathedral – a Gothic masterpiece that doesn’t feature a lift. The 533 steps of the spiral staircase lead to the viewing platform on the southern tower, where you’re rewarded with a breathtaking panorama view of the city centre, the Rhine and the surrounding region. People who are no good at heights should give this lookout point a miss though – it’s 97 metres tall!

On the way to the top, you also pass the belfry, which houses the world’s largest swinging bell. To hear the cathedral’s famous bells close up, book a tour before you go.

March to April: 9am–5pm
May to September: 9am–6pm
October: 9am–5pm 
November to February: 9am–4pm

How much? 
Adults: 6€
Concessions: 3€

Domkloster 4, 50667 Cologne

From Sonnenscheinetage

Auf dem Bild sieht man die Dachterrasse eines Kaufhauses, die in eine Beach Bar umfunktioniert wurde. Es wurde Sand aufgeschüttet, Schirme und Palmen aufgestellt und Strandkörbe platziert.
Unwind and enjoy the view at Sonnenscheinetage. Photo: Andreas Keunecke

At Cologne’s loftiest beach, you go up to wind down on the roof of the Galeria Kaufhof multistorey car park (Parkhaus B). In a space measuring around 1,000m², fine gravel, palm trees and loungers bring beach flair to the urban jungle of Cologne. With chilled drinks and tasty snacks available too, this roof-top terrace is the perfect place to unwind.

But Sonnenscheinetage has more to offer, with an exceptional view of the cathedral included in the experience. They sometimes host big events up here too, featuring live DJ sets.

Wednesday to Friday: 6pm–midnight
Saturday: 2pm–midnight
Sunday/public holidays: 2–10pm

Times may change depending on the weather.

How much? 
Adults: 5€
Free for children up to the age of 12

An St. Agatha 19 – 25, 50667 Cologne

From the footbridge in Mediapark

Linking Mediapark with the inner green belt is a relatively old yet photogenic footbridge that has no name. It’s hidden away in the middle of the park but its steel posts, once painted in blue, make it easy to find. From the bridge, a glorious, urban view opens up, revealing the cathedral, the Colonius telecommunications tower and the tracks on the railway embankment. A wonderful backdrop that presents the cathedral from an alternative angle.

From here, it’s just a few steps to the top of Herkulesberg hill, built from rubble from the Second World War. Referred to fondly by the locals as Monte Klamotte, this is also an ideal spot for a picnic or a jog.

Erftstraße 38, 50672 Cologne

From Neni

The eighth floor of hip 25hours hotel “The Circle” is where you’ll find trendy Israeli eatery Neni. The family-owned business from Vienna already has a number of restaurants throughout Europe.

Now, guests can enjoy their incredible food – and a fantastic vista – in Cologne too. As well as the finest in re-interpreted Israeli cuisine – think hummus, falafels, shakshuka and co. – this restaurant serves up an amazing view of the cathedral. And if you can’t get enough of the scenery, just move across to the Monkey Bar for a drink or two.

Mon to Fri: noon–11pm
Sat to Sun: 12.30–11pm 

Im Klapperhof 22-24, 50670 Cologne

From Bar Botanik

Eine Aufnahme von der Dachterrasse der Bar Botanik, die Sonnenuntergangsstimmung zeigt.  Leute die Cocktails trinken und sich unterhalten. Im Hintergrund die Skyline von Köln.
Cocktails and sundowners – what else could you ask for? Photo: Wasserturm Hotel Cologne

Most Cologne locals probably know there’s a luxury hotel within the old walls of the water tower but the superlative roof-top bar on the eleventh floor is not so well-known. Thanks to its 360° roof terrace, you can choose a spot with your favourite view, sipping on one of their mouth-watering signature drinks as you admire it.

Bar Botanik is more than just a bar though. As well as some exciting cocktail creations, it has a fantastic fine dining concept aligned with the drinks. True, the prices are a little on the high side, but it’s not every day you get to enjoy an extravagant bar experience, with Cologne quite literally at your feet. Reason enough to make an exception when you’ve got something special to celebrate.

Tues to Fri: 5pm–1am
Sat: noon–1am 
Sun: noon-10pm 

Kaygasse 2, 50676 Cologne

From Lanxess Arena (scheduled launch in 2024)

Eine Aufnahme der Lanxess Arena aus der Vogelperspektive.
A skywalk experience across the arena’s arch is set to open in 2024. Photo: efes/pixabay

Adrenalin junkies can look forward to an extra special thrill in Cologne, scheduled to launch in 2024. The idea is to open a “skywalk” across the arch that spans the Lanxess Arena. The skywalk experience, with a panorama view of Cologne included, is still at the planning stage but the word is that it’s all quite feasible. If the project goes ahead, you’ll be able to walk along the entire length of the arch, which stands 78 metres above the ground at its highest point.

0 comments on “Cologne across the rooftops

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *