Fahrrad am Zaun in der Nähe der Eisenbahnbrücke in Köln mit dem Dom im Hintergrund.
There's lots to do on a winter weekend in Cologne. Photo: GettyImages

Where to warm up on a winter break to Cologne

Cologne is always worth a visit - even in winter. Here are some cosy places to warm up on your trip to the city.

A trip to Cologne in winter? Might not sound so appealing but it has its advantages. Before the city’s Karneval season gets underway, hotels are cheaper, the attractions not so crowded and the city exudes a romantic wintery charm. This is a city with plenty to offer in summer and winter and these places help make your break in Cologne a winter weekend full of Gemütlichkeit.

Vegan waffles for breakfast at Vevi

We start our city break in Cologne with a sumptuous breakfast of freshly baked waffles, topped with hot cherries and lashings of icing sugar. At quaint vintage café Vevi in the Belgian Quarter, the waffle batter is vegan and there’s matcha latte or cold brew coffee to wake you up. The vintage furniture in this cosy café comes courtesy of owner Jess’ focus on sustainability. With all the greenery and pretty pictures on the walls, you could quite easily spend your whole Saturday here!

Brüsseler Str. 29, 50674 Cologne; opening hours: Wednesday – Monday, 10am – 6pm

Get your sweat on with some hot yoga

For tropical temperatures even in the middle of winter, try some hot yoga at Yoga39. The sessions involve a series of specially selected, centuries-old Hatha yoga poses and breathing exercises at 39 (!) degrees in high humidity. The studio runs both beginner and advanced courses, which you can book online. A wonderfully warming way to escape from bleak winter days. 

Richard-Wagner-Straße 18, 50674 Cologne

A warm glow at Café Mansito in the south of the city 

After sweating it all out at hot yoga, you’ll need something to get your strength back. Café Mansito in the city’s Südstadt quarter mentally catapults visitors back to summer. With surfboards on the walls, travel magazines on the shelves and exquisite empanadas on the menu, the wintery temperatures outside are soon forgotten. They also have some out-of-the-ordinary teas, including Mango Madness (green tea with natural mango flavouring, sunflower and rose petals), Positivitea (made from bamboo leaves with prickly pear, mango and mint) and Magic Mate. A place to put a glow in your heart.

Kurfürstenstraße 1, 50678 Cologne. Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

Hot new pop art at Galerie 30works 

Cologne’s art scene has a vibrant range of cultural attractions to combat the cold and dreary weather. Galerie 30works in the heart of the city is a great place to enjoy art. Managed by the owner, this gallery runs the gamut from naturalism to hyperrealism to abstract paintings and urban art. Admission to the rotating exhibitions is free. 

Pfeilstraße 47, 50672 Cologne; opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm

Add some spice to your day at Bambule’s Chilistube in Cologne’s Südstadt district

Verschiedene Schalen mit Chili-Gerichten bei Bambule‘s Chilistube in Köln
Some like it hot: Bambule’s Chilistube serves up a variety of spicy chili creations. Photo: Bambule‘s Chilistube

Chili is an unbeatable winter warmer too. Lucky, then, that street-food start-up Bambule’s Chilistube opened its own restaurant in the heart of Cologne’s Südstadt district in April 2020 and is set to launch a second one in the Belgian Quarter this year. Bambule’s is all about chili con carne, with a “cosmoculinary” twist. So, as well as the classic version of the fiery food, the menu includes revolutionary remakes inspired by global cuisine. How about an Indonesian satay chili, for example, with marinated minced beef, bamboo sprouts and coconut milk? And if you like your food extra hot, you can pimp your chili with jalapeños or pink habanero onions. 

Alteburger Str. 2, 50678 Cologne; opening hours: Monday – Friday, 11:30am to 9 pm

Dance away the winter blues at Stereo Wonderland

Die rote Theke in der Bar Stereo Wonderland mit vielen aufgeklebten Stickern
A visit to cute indie bar Stereo Wonderland is a must-do on a winter weekend away in Cologne. Photo: Stereo Wonderland

When the days get darker, so can your spirits. Dancing the night away to some good tunes is a proven solution to brighten your mood and boogie off those winter blues. Enter Stereo Wonderland, a little indie bar between Barbarossaplatz and Bahnhof Süd station that regularly hosts small gigs and indie parties. Nice people, divine drinks and, most importantly, really good music make Stereo Wonderland the perfect place to dance ’til dawn.

Trierer Str. 65, 50674 Cologne

Relax and recharge at a spa, hammam or sauna*

If even the thickest woollen socks and warmest quilted coat can’t keep the cold at bay, there’s only one thing for it: some serious pampering! A visit to Neptunbad in Cologne’s Ehrenfeld district is an excellent way to forget about the cold, grey weather outside. It has two gigantic sauna areas: one based on the original art nouveau style, which has protected status, and one Asian-style area with saunas and baths. At Hamam Köln, you’ll come out feeling completely cleansed – physically and mentally. With their traditional hammam treatments and wide range of massages, it almost feels like you’re on an oriental holiday. And if you’re in the city centre and looking for somewhere to unwind, you’ll find a leisure pool and saunas with massages and a solarium to top up your tan at Agrippabad, which is located between Heumarkt and Neumarkt.

Neptunbad: Neptunplatz 1, 50823 Cologne; sauna opening hours: daily, 9am – midnight

Hamam Köln: Holunderweg 75, 50858 Cologne; opening hours: Monday and Tuesday, 2 – 10 pm, Wednesday, 10am – 10pm, Thursday, 12 – 10pm, Friday, 12 – 11pm, Saturday, 10am – 11pm, Sunday, 10am – 22pm

Agrippabad: Kämmergasse 1, 50676 Cologne; opening hours: Monday – Friday, 6.30am – 10.30pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9am – 9pm

* Be aware that German saunas tend to require customers to be unclothed.

Hearty local cuisine to revive body and spirit

Blick auf den Tresen im Brauhaus Hellers in Köln
The menu at Brauhaus Hellers features local delicacies, traditional German pub cuisine and a selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Photo: Brauerei Heller GmbH

Hot, hearty food wards off winter chills so some yummy Rhineland cuisine is a must on your winter break to Cologne. Classics include Himmel un Ääd (mashed potato, black pudding and apple) and Halver Hahn (a rye roll with butter and cheese). Places like Brauerei Hellers in the heart of the Latin Quarter serve traditional pub cuisine such as “hop sausage” or pork knuckle. The menu there also includes vegetarian and vegan dishes. And it all tastes best when paired with a glass of kölsch beer, fresh from the tap.

If you happen to be in the Ehrenfeld district of the city, you shouldn’t leave without popping into Braustelle, Cologne’s smallest brewery. As well as house-brewed beer, they do a range of hearty food like Ehrenfelder Schnitzel or Biergulasch.

Hellers Brauhaus: Roonstraße 33, 50674 Cologne. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm.

Braustelle: Christianstraße 2, 50825 Cologne. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – 1 am

Watch an independent film in a comfy seat at Off Broadway 

Junge Frau mit Freunden beobachten Film im Kino und lachen. Gruppe von Menschen im Theater mit Popcorns und Getränke.
When temperatures drop, it’s a good time to head for one of Cologne’s large selection of cinemas. Photo: Adobe Stock

Wintertime is cinema time! And so our winter break in Cologne comes to a cosy end at Off Broadway on Zülpicher Straße, the city’s student area. The cinema is mainly geared to arthouse film fans and shows independent films from across the globe – usually in the original language with German subtitles.

Zülpicher Straße 34, 50674 Cologne

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