Die Klarenbach Buchhandlung in Köln
Klarenbach Buchhandlung - one of Cologne's many wonderful bookshops. Photo: Klarenbach Buchhandlung

A great read: seven wonderful bookshops in Cologne

Cologne has dozens of well-stocked bookstores, catering to different interests and age groups. These are our favourites.

For poetry fans: Buchhandlung Klaus Bittner

After he finished his studies, owner Klaus Bittner decided to do an apprenticeship at the Walther König art bookstore. He went on to open his own shop in 1980, which has an amazingly broad selection of new and second-hand titles. The focus is on literature, non-literature, children’s and teenagers’ books but graphic novels and audiobooks feature strongly too. The poetry section in particular has been gradually expanded over the years. A firm believer in the idea that literature is about bringing people together, Klaus was one of the co-founders of the Atlas der neuen Poesie festival, set up Literaturhaus Köln with author and publisher Reinhold Neven DuMont and served as an advisor to the Lit.Cologne festival. In 1986, he started his own publishing firm.

Buchhandlung Klaus Bittner, Albertusstr. 6, 50667 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 2574870, Mon–Fri 10am–7pm, Sat 10am–6pm

For inquisitive minds: Buchladen Neusser Straße

Buchladen Neusser Straße
The team at Buchladen Neusser Straße are dedicated to helping customers find the right book for them. Photo: Buchladen Neusser Straße

Nippes is a really lively district that has a market on Wilhelmplatz square from Monday to Saturday. Neusser Straße is the perfect place for a spot of shopping and it’s also where you’ll find Buchladen Neusser Straße. This is a bookstore like they used to make them – with staff who are literature lovers themselves and always on hand to chat about classics or new works. You’ll leave with inspiring literature, excellent recommendations and, most importantly, a glow in your heart.

Buchladen Neusser Straße, Neusser Straße 197, 50733 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 737706, Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-6pm

For art connoisseurs: Buchhandlung Walther König

Buchhandlung Walther König
An institution in Cologne: Buchhandlung Walther König Photo: Buchhandlung Walther König

You’re not supposed to overuse superlatives but it’s hard not to with this institution. Founded in 1969, it’s a leading design and art bookstore, with branches in a number of German cities as well as London, Paris, Milan and Vienna. Make sure you’ve got plenty of time to have a proper look around – with so much to peruse, it’s easy to forget everything else.

Buchhandlung Walther König, Ehrenstr. 4, 50672 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 205960, Mon–Thurs 10am-6pm, Fri 10am–7pm

For bookworm families: Klarenbach Buchhandlung

Klarenbach Buchhandlung Köln
Klarenbach Buchhandlung has a wide range of books to choose from. Photo: Klarenbach Buchhandlung

The fact that this bookshop celebrated its 70th anniversary last year shows that it can’t just be focusing on passers-by. With a friendly team that are happy to take the time to help advise customers and give recommendations, you’ll want to come back time and time again. In their own words, this shop in the west of the city is a “traditional bookstore with charm, a warm atmosphere and customer-centred service”. And their fantastic range of literature for children and teenagers makes them a great place for a family outing to Aachener Straße.

Klarenbach Buchhandlung, Aachener Strasse 458, 50933 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 4911686, Mon–Fri 9am–6.30 pm, Sat 9am–2pm

For design aficionados: Siebter Himmel

Kölner Buchhandlung Siebter Himmel
“Come on in. We’re open!”: the Siebter Himmel bookshop Photo: Marie Köhler/Artist 34

Siebter Himmel really means “cloud nine” but it translates literally as “seventh heaven” and the seven is reflected in the number of rooms at this concept store (owned by the Bastei Lübbe publishing house). Each room concentrates on one design aspect and the literature to go with it.

Siebter Himmel, Brüsseler Str. 67, 50672 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 169191921, Mon–Sat 10am–7pm

For (would-be) students: Der andere Buchladen

Cologne has two branches of this “different” bookstore (that’s what the anders in the name refers to) and it’s a more than fitting description. The story started back in the late 1960s when students founded a shop called Das politische Buch so that readers could get their hands on critical works by the likes of Hannah Arendt and Simone de Beauvoir. That’s also the reason why the two stores (which also stock scientific periodicals, political, sociological and philosophical books and literature from African countries) are close to university buildings.

Der andere Buchladen Köln-Sülz, Weyertal 32, 50937 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 416325, , Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 10am-3pm
Der andere Buchladen Köln-Südstadt, Ubierring 42, 50678 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 329508, Mon–Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 10am-2pm

For younger readers: Buchhandlung Pflips

Located in the north of Cologne’s Belgian Quarter, this shop started specialising in children’s literature in 2010. And it likes to get them started early, with books for babies and toddlers on offer. There are classics and new works for children to discover whilst the grown-ups browse the shelves to find home design books, out-of-the-ordinary cookery books and much more. If you’re looking for a present, Pflips also has unique gift ideas like homemade cushions.

Buchhandlung Pflips, Limburger Str. 25, 50672 Cologne, Tel. +49 (0)221 251525, Mon–Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-2pm

Prefer your stories on the big screen? Check out our recommendations for film lovers in Cologne.

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