Cheap flights to Cologne
When it comes to real beauty the German city of Cologne wins first prize. Sat right on the Rhine, and boasting all the boat rides and riverside charm you’d expect, it’s a perfectly up-to-date medieval town.
It has all the spectacular sights, age-old wonder and breathtaking buildings of a historical setting, put together with modern lifestyle, some truly edgy and interesting nightspots, and a rich and varied selection of art and culture.
Even just taking a quick stroll though the city will take you past spectacular medieval cathedrals, Roman ruins, the multi-coloured buildings of the Altstadt, or old town to you and me, and plenty of interesting museums and galleries. That is, of course, provided you haven’t been lured away by its clutch of unique boutiques, trendy second-hand stores or chic designer outlets.
On 13 October athletes from more than 40 countries descend on the city for the 2013 Cologne Marathon. With a route that crosses the Rhine, takes in some of Cologne's funkiest neighbourhoods and finishes close to the famous cathedral, it's a celebration of the city's charms as well as one of the year's sporting highlights. koeln-marathon.de
Track down some of Cologne's most enticing architecture, shopping, eating and drinking in the chic streets of the Belgian Quarter (Belgisches Viertel) west of Rudolfplatz. You'll know when you get there because the streets are named after places in Belgium and Holland.
The quaint fortified town of Zons is less than 30 minutes from the city centre by train and bus, and its intact medieval walls and lost-in-time cobbled streets make it the perfect antidote to Cologne's big-city bustle.