Is Koln (Cologne) worth the trip?

Sep 29th, 2009, 10:14 PM
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Is Koln (Cologne) worth the trip?

On final planning stages with my family of 2 adults and 3 kids under 6.
We are staying in Oberwesel at the Schoenburg castle for 2 nights and have 2 nights left before heading back to Frankfurt. We would like to stay close to Frankfurt those last 2 nights (no more than 1 hour 30 min from Frankfurt) and would like to stay in one final town for those 2 nights ( I am considering Rudesheim) . We would like to see Koln but don't want to stay there. My dilemma is, koln is almost 2 hours from Oberwesel and then we would have to drive back to stay in the general Rhine region. Too much driving for one day with the kiddos. Is Koln cathedral a must see or is it better to stay in the Rhine area and take that in some more? I know this is a very subjective question. I have seen some gorgeous cathedrals and I just don't want to tax the kids more unless it is unquestionably a must see.
ked99 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2009, 10:23 PM
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Well, it is a great cathedral, but there are so many great cathedrals. In my opinion, with 3 kids under 6, I would do whatever makes your trip easier. Cologne is not an easy fit, so why not see sights that are easy to manage?

That said, I really like being in Cologne. It has a very positive feeling to me.
WillTravel is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 06:41 AM
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Perhaps you could bribe the kids with a promise to visit the chocolate museum in Cologne. (There are taste samples.)
irishface is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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Köln has much more to offer than the cathedral. Yes, there are many cathedrals, but Köln cathedral is the most spectacular of all. Firstly, it has both towers completed. Secondly, it has the shrine of the three magi (you can see the skulls). I am sure, this will be most impressive for the kiddies.

You can visit the cathedral within 15 minutes - it is enough to soak in the special atmosphere. After that, I strongly recommend a visit to the Roman-Germanic Museum right beside the cathedral. You will see the most stunning artifacts of the Roman world, especially glassware and jewellry. I cannot imagine a kid who will not be impressed by these 2000-year-old pieces. Thirdly, I recommend a visit to the Praetorium, the ancient Roman palace, under the City Hall. You can even walk through the old Roman sewer (for 200 yards, or so) - another stunner for the kids! And then the Chocoloate Museum...

BTW, the fastest train connection from Oberwesel to Köln is 1:34 - that might be better than driving. From Frankfurt, the train to Köln takes just 1 hour - which is even better.
traveller1959 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 07:35 PM
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Thank you for your replies! We will have the car in Oberwesel and do not want to waste the day driving back to Franfurt to drop off then seek a train so that is not an option. The more I think about it, after 10 days touring Germany, I am leaning more towards finding a great town in the forest with a great hotel where we can hike and swim and settle down after all the running around. Is there such a town within 1 hour 30 min drive from Frankfurt without having to go to the Black forest?
ked99 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2009, 10:56 PM
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Since you are traveling with 3 kids that are quite young, may I suggest that you stay in Bad Homburg your last 2 nights? It is a beautiful town located in the Taunus Mountains, but just 30 min. by S-bahn from Frankfurt. Activities for kids abound.

The Opel Zoo is right next door, Hessen Park - an Open Air Museum with all kinds of hands-on activities is also nearby. The Saalburg - a reconstructed Roman fort is close. Lots of Roman stuff there and great walking trails. Bad Homburg has a lovely indoor pool which the kids would like after touring. Koenigstein is also close if you would like to wander around a castle ruin set up high on a mountain.

Or consider spending a day in Frankfurt, which also has lots for children. The Kinder Museum is perfect for kids under 10, really hands on and interactive. Rebstock Bad is a large indoor pool complex with a wave pool, slides, childrens area and sauna for mom or dad. The Frankfurt Zoo is popular as is the Palmengarten, which has large playgrounds with water play and a small train. Frankfurt itself has something like 48 parks, all with playgrounds, but the best one has to be on the Sachsenhausen side, in the city forest. A climb to the top of the wooden Goethe Turm would be in order there, and they do have some fantastic playground equipment.

Staying someplace like Ruedesheim is not very practical with children, nor very interesting I would think. Besides that, the whole town is about as tacky as you can get, unless you like store after store filled with fake German souvenirs, and enjoy paying high prices for all your meals and drinks, and streets literally packed with busloads of tourists. There is nothing charming about this town in my opinion.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 04:12 AM
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My opinion was that Koln was a disappointment. The cathedral was impressive, no doubt about that, but I have seen many more that I liked better. I guess it depends on what impresses you. For me the setting is part of it and in the case of Koln, the cathedral is right smack on top (almost literally) of the train station, and the square around it rather small so you can't even get that great a look at it. There weren't even many benches to sit on around it. As for the rest of Koln, that was a disappointment to me also. A nice area along the river but the city was almost completely leveled during the war and not rebuilt with much consideration for the past.

Given your situation I would most definitely not go to Koln.

Are you spending any time in the Mosel valley? From Oberwesel it's not that far, even all the way to Trier which we absolutely loved. And Cochem is halfway there and we loved that too. And Burg Eltz, which we didn't get to as we didn't have a car, is supposed to be great.

Here's my trip report from this past July in that area:
isabel is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 08:22 PM
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Mainhattengirl, your information was fantastic! We will be staying in Frankfurt coming into Germany so it is exciting to know the areas to go with the children. Are there hotels in the Sachsenhausen side? I do need to find one for our arrival.

Isabel, your input convinced me it is not worth all the time it would take to go there and see the cathedral. We will be so tired after such a long trip touring Germany by car that the trip up there is just more than I think the children will be able to handle at the end. I will give the last 2 days to them! No better way than to stay in the areas you visited! Thank you for your link. To anyone reading this, Isabels trip report on the Mosel Valley and Rhine is superb and I will base my last two days on this! Thanks again Isabel!
ked99 is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 08:53 PM
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Mainhattengirl's info was great. I love Bad Homburg, it's a lovely peaceful little town off the beaten track.

Koln may not be the best for the kids but the Ludwig is an exceptional art museum.
LSky is offline  
Oct 1st, 2009, 09:01 PM
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This is something that might really appeal to your kids: The Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt.

It is amazing. We lived in Frankfurt for three years and this was a favorite of my kids when they were the age of your children. I haven't been there for a long while, but they were closed for renovations a few years ago and added lots of exhibitions. They have lots of dinosaurs and birds. One thing all the kids find exciting is a giant anaconda in the process of swallowing a water-hog whole.

Perhaps someone who has been there since the renovations can say what it is like now.

I also second the recommendation of the Palmengarten (if the weather is nice) and the Rebstock Bad pool complex.
Sassafrass is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 05:53 AM
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My sister and I did a daytrip from Amsterdam to Cologne and were somewhat disappointed. If you've traveled anywhere else in Europe, you've seen cathedrals, and probably some that left a more lasting impression, IMHO. We more enjoyed the Ludwig museum and the donuts (berliners) we bought on the street! With little ones, I wouldn't make the trek.
amyb is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 07:10 AM
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I don't know what your budget is or what type of hotel you like, but here goes. Holiday Inn is almost across the street from where the Goethe Turm is located. I know it is a chain hotel, but with 3 kids, it might be to your advantage.

If you like a place with more charm, try this one -

or this B&B

Agree that the Senckenburg Museum is a great one for the kids. If you have your heart set on seeing a cathedral, I fine the one in Mainz to be impressive, as well as being 1000 years old. Frankfurt has a cathedral too, where the Holy Roman Emperors were elected and crowned, so very important historically, but it is a bit smaller than Köln or Mainz. My favorite churches here are St. Leonhards - built in 1219, the Alte Nikolai - built in 1290, and the Teutonic Order of Knights church - built in 1309.
Mainhattengirl is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2009, 07:29 AM
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This is very helpful info (cross my fingers, I may be looking at a similar trip in the next year).
Bitter is online now  
Oct 3rd, 2009, 07:59 PM
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While I think Köln is a great city, I believe that you will probably be happier staying closer to Frankfurt. I also really enjoy the middle Rhine and the Mosel river valleys. I would suggest you look at Bacharach as a possible place to stay. It is a wonderful walled city, with a castle on the hill above. This castle is now a youth hostel and it may be a possible place for you to stay:

The web site has the symbol that shows that it has been certified as a “family hostel.”

My wife and I have made it a point to visit Bacharach on our last three visits, and our now planning our next trip. Here is the information for the place where we stayed on our last visit and where will be staying again this time:

Here is a link to my last travelogue. The information on Bacharach is towards the bottom.
jgwagner4 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 07:57 PM
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Very exciting stuff! Sassafrass I have just added Senckenberg Museum to our itinerary!

jgwagner4, thank you for the links! We have decided to stay at the Marriott in Maiz the last 3 days. It is still accessible to the Mosel area and only 30 min from the airport so we won't have to pack up that 3rd night to go to an airport hotel for the night!

Mainhattengirl, my budget for Frankfurt hotel room is around $400 per night total. Is there one anyone can suggest a hotel ("kids" walking distance) for our first night arriving in Frankfurt. We are hoping for an area around a neat part of town to walk around and take in Frankfurt? I have been running into dead ends on trip advisor for a nice hotel where we don't have to drive to have a chance to see some of the charm I am sure Frankfurt has to offer! Will also make a new post since this does not seem to fit into my original topic!
ked99 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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Oops, not staying in the Marriott, we are staying at the Hyatt Regency in Mainz! Do not need to necessarily have such a modern hotel, but would like something in Frankfurt in a charming part of town!
ked99 is offline  

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