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.
Beautifully-made leather shoes at reasonable prices draw fashion-conscious women to Elke Scherbaum's 39einhalb store in the Südstadt district, where the range extends from ballet pumps to clogs and winter boots (26 Merowingerstrasse, tel: 0221 304 9860).
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
Stay with the sporting mood with a visit to the Deutsches Sport & Olympia Museum, where there's 3,000 years of sporting history to discover, from the influence of the British on world sport to the two occasions when world politics and the Olympics converged on German soil: Berlin in 1936 and Munich in 1972 (1 Im Zollhafen, tel: 0221 336 090, sportmuseum.de).