Kiev travel guide

Kyiv, Ukraine’s Dynamic City on the Dnipro

Kiev or Kyiv, is the vibrant capital of  Ukraine. Full of colourful cathedrals, parks, funky cafes, colourful street art, exciting nightlife and delicious vegan food.

I would go as far as saying that is one of Europe’s most underrated travel gems.

I was curious to finally visit this former Soviet nation since I’ve only visited a few countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union (USSR), Estonia, Latvia, ¬†Lithuania, Georgia and Armenia.

Ukraine is the second-largest country in Europe, famed for its beautiful historical cities, unusual-flavoured vodkas, beautiful beaches in the Crimean Peninsula, wonderful churches, and soviet architecture.

I felt on my time in Kyiv that the city has a huge amount of potential and it had the surprising feel of being somewhat off the beaten track when compared with other European capitals.

Exploring Ukraine’s exciting and engaging cultural capital
UNESCO Sites

Kyiv has two UNESCO World Heritage sites. Both are Orthodox Christianity icons. Kyiv Pechersk Lavra and the Saint Sophia Cathedral.

  • St. Sophia Cathedral

I found that the interior was the most outstanding aspect of¬†St Sophia’s Cathedral. The oldest standing church in Kiev, with its striking original frescoes and mosaics from the early 11th century.

The bell tower is also worth climbing for great views over Kiev.

  • Pechersk Lavra also known as the ‚ÄúMonastery of the Caves‚ÄĚ comprises an ensemble of monastic buildings, overlooking the right bank of the Dnieper River.

Founded in the 11th century, Lavra has a number of gold-domed churches and an underground complex of labyrinthic caves that expands for more than 600 metres.

The monks dug caves and underground labyrinths, living and studying in them, and their mummified bodies still line the walls.

Walking around the caves was definitely an ‘experience’ that I will not repeat. I felt that was a place that should only be open to people that go there to pray, I was the only tourist there walking around in the dark and narrow passages while believers congregate from one relic to another, praying and kissing each icon and the numerous vaults which contain the¬†mummified bodies of the monks in turns.

Cathedrals and more Cathedrals

When visiting Kiev you will not escape from visiting at least a few Orthodox Christian Cathedrals. Don’t get me wrong, they are beautiful, unique and different from what I’m used to, but after a while, I had to have a break from all the religiousness.

I honestly can’t decide which one I liked better. They were all beautiful with their golden tops glimmering with glory. So here is the list of my favourite ones:

  • St. Volodymyr‚Äôs Cathedral

Built-in the late 19th century, St Volodymyr’s Cathedral is not one of the most famous but I found the interior absolutely stunning, with art nouveau influences.

The exterior is yellow and has seven blue domes.

  • St. Michael‚Äôs Golden-Domed Monastery

This golden-domed blue church is hard to miss out. Looking from St Sophia’s past the Bohdan Khmelnytsky statue, at the other end of proyizd Volodymyrsky. The shiny cupolas are absolutely stunning and also the murals inside.

  • St Andrew‚Äôs Church

This Golden and blue baroque church is a traditional Ukranian five-domed crossed-shaped church, that dominates the view as you walk up Andriyivsky uzviz.

Make sure you climb the steps to the platform for great views over Podil and the Dnipro River.

An Introduction to Kiev at Independence Square
  • Maydan Nezalezhnosti square (Independence Square)

Maydan is the nation’s meeting point, where people come to stroll and enjoy the nightly fountain show.

Kiev’s big social heart hosts many concerts, performances and festivals, and it is known for its vibrant and lively atmosphere.  The independence Square is filled with fountains and glass domes.

Annually you can see here on August 24, the celebration of the independence, with a military parade.

  • Stroll Along Kreshchatyk Street

Khreshchatyk Street is lined with neoclassical buildings, cafés, and upscale shops. You will probably walk this street almost every day in order to reach different sights in various parts of the city.

On weekends and holidays, the road is closed to traffic.

Highlights in Kyiv’s Old Town

Is at Kyiv‚Äôs Old Town, (also known as the Upper Town), that you can find the¬†oldest and most important landmarks of the city, perfect for aimless walking…¬†admiring ancient ruins and gracious baroque architecture.

Discovering the Best of Kiev
  • Podil- In the heart of Kiev

The historical area of Podil is one of the most dynamic and coolest areas in Kiev. It truly has a bohemian, revivalist feel that really resonated with me.

Podil is full of stylish cafés and restaurants, art galleries and cultural centres, street art and historical orthodox churches.

Part of the joy here is wandering around without any specific purpose.

Strolling Around Andreyevsky Uzviz

Andreyevsky Uzviz (or Andrew’s Descent) is a charming winding cobblestone street.  The area has a bohemian vibe, and is a wonderful place to stroll. The main street is filled with galleries, shops, restaurants, cafés, artists’ co-ops and studios. Stop to check out the open-air vintage markets along Andriyivskyy Descent.

The Bustling Bessarabsky Market

Is a massive indoor market filled with stands selling fresh produce, jar upon jar of pickles and preserved everything! The produce is stacked beautifully and you’ll see lots of traditional Ukrainian products.

Other cool and unique things to do in Kiev, Ukraine
  • Kiev’s¬†‘underground economy’

As other post-communist countries, there are several underpasses at busy intersections.¬†Where you can find people selling all sorts of goods ‚Äď these mini-market stalls truly seem to be a part of people‚Äôs everyday life.

So marvelling at all the economy that is taking place underneath Kyiv’s walkways is a must.

  • Take the metro to the deepest station in the world

The metro in Kiev is cheap, reliable and a great way to get around.

Kiev metro is one of the deepest metro systems in the world, and Arsenalna Metro is the deepest metro station in the world (346 feet underground).

  • Go on a self-guided street art tour

The scale, quality and quantity of the street art in Kyiv is impressive and not to be missed.

  • Eat amazing Vegan food

Veganism is on the rise, and Kiev is not an exception. There are lots of interesting places to be found and delicious food to be appreciated.

  • Ride the funicular¬†

The funicular is not a tourist attraction, is one of the many public types of transport you have in the City. Is just a short trip, but nice, especially for the views. A simple way to travel from upper to lower city.

The funicular runs down a steep hillside to the river terminal in the district of Podil

  • Catch an Opera or Ballet

While in Kiev you should admire the amazing architecture of the opera house and see an Opera or Ballet show. They are quite affordable, and Ballet is known for being popular in the Ex-Soviet states.

  • PinchukArtCentre

The international centre of the contemporary art –¬†PinchukArtCentre, It’s the largest exhibition area in the whole of Eastern Europe.

They have excellent free rotating exhibitions, and great views of Kyiv’s roofs from the coffee shop on the top floor.

  • Holosiivskyi National Nature Park

The Holosiivskyi National Nature Park is a protected forest and nature reserve in Kyiv and a must-visit for nature lovers.

Navigating Your Way around the city

Transportation in Kiev is cheap by most European standards. The metro in Kiev is one of the most efficient in the world.

Kyiv, a city that has it all

Kiev will surprise you and leave you pining to book a return trip, I really enjoyed my time in Kyiv, and I bet you’ll love it as much as I did.

What was your experience in Kiev? Or are you planning to go?

Kiev Street Art

Kiev, an amazing hub for street art

Kyiv, Ukraine‚Äės capital city is getting in the spotlight as the Eastern European cultural hotspot since 2014. Kiev today has a vibrant art scene, it‚Äôs home not only to numerous exhibitions, performances and premieres but also to street art.

And you ask what as happened in 2014? Well, since then a number of large murals began appearing on the facades of old Soviet buildings.

Nowadays, the city hosts over 160 pieces of public art produced by talented painters or graffiti artists from Ukraine and other countries such as Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Australia. Not many places can compare to Kiev in terms of the scale and volume of huge murals.

What is really cool about exploring the city through its murals, is that you will go to places that otherwise you wouldn’t since the murals are often hidden in lesser-known parts of the city.

The street art scene in Kiev is creative, big, bold, unexpected, and colourful ‘decorating’ the urban landscape perfectly.

A Self-Guided Walking Tour

The Ukrainian capital aims to position itself on the world’s street-art scene, with monumental murals cover the walls of Kyiv.

The Street Art can be found all over the city, so time is definitely required. To help you with your treasure hunting expedition there are some great resources.

Kyiv Street Art Resources

Kyiv Murals is a great up-to-date App which pinpoints murals near you. The app it’s free and includes a map of all the street art in Kyiv, with information on the artists and the meaning.

Kyiv Murals is a website with the GPS locations of almost all of Kyiv’s street art.

Kiev Off the Beaten Track!

Making your own Street Art tour is a great way to go off the beaten tourist path and discover a lesser-known side of Kiev.

You will find a bit of everything from portraits, landscapes to abstract art ‚Äď hidden on the walls of the city.

Kiev’s murals are, indeed, breathtaking and well worth of exploring while visiting the¬†capital city of Ukraine. Expect Kiev to be like a big open-air Art Gallery.

So don’t miss out and explore and discover the colourful¬†Kiev Murals.

Location Map

Which city is your favourite for street art? Let me know so I can make sure to check it out! 

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

Cambridge, where to go?

You have many reasons to visit this extraordinary university town. Cambridge has a unique vibe and will amaze you with its history, architecture, and natural beauty.

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When visiting Cambridge you can’t miss the¬†colleges and it’s gardens, the riverside,¬†all the green¬†meadows surrounding the city and the Backs (gardens and parks line up beside the river¬†behind the colleges).

Walking and cycling are the best ways to visit the city.

The town is full of cyclists, students and tourists, but still has a nice vibe and it’s far from being a big chaotic city.

The Colleges are truly amazing even if you only contemplate them from the outside.

Before your arrival, you should check on the internet if the King’s College Chapel or the¬†Trinity College are hosting a concert during your visit. This is excellent way to visit both of this emblematic places (sometimes for free).

Most of the museums are free in Cambridge, if you have time you should visit them all, if not I recommend the fabulous¬†Fitzwilliam Museum, the¬†Kettle’s Yard and the¬†Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

If you are a fan of Sir Isaac Newton, stop at Trinity College to see the famed apple tree where it was said to be the inspiration for his theory of gravity after being bopped on the head by one of the fallen fruits. 2015-01-09 23.58.30.jpg

If the weather invites for a picnic the Botanic Gardens are a must or a punting session through the river Cam.

It¬†is always something happening in Cambridge, so make sure you do your research and don’t miss what this city has to offer.

If you visit cambridge be prepared to fall in love with this town.

Cambridge is very accessible by bus or train from London.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha¬†

ūüćú¬†More about¬†vegan food¬†in Cambridge¬†ūüćú

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Street art in Marseille

Street art in Marseille

In the quartier of Cour Julien and the in the quartier of Le Panier walls are extravagantly painted for everyone to decipher and enjoy.

Both are wonderful areas with loads of quirky stores, cafes, restaurants, bars, and colourful street art and graffiti covering most of the facades.

Make sure you have the time to explore it!

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Marseille is a real treat for street art lovers, hope you have enjoyed this small gallery.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

 

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Marseille, the French Port

Marseille is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean and capital of Provence-Alpes-C√īte d‚ÄôAzur¬†region. Unfortunately doesn’t have the best reputation, due to high crime rates and immigration.

From my travels around France, ALL the people I meet said to be very careful in Marseille or even not to go there.

I can’t say that Marseille is very safe, I could have been lucky¬†because¬†fortunately, I didn’t have any problems at all as a solo female traveller.

Its great to explore the city on foot, but I also recommend you to buy a bus card because the city is quite big.

 

Vieux-Port (Old Port)

The Old Port is located in the heart of the city and is a very popular place. The bay is packed with boats and yacht surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars and hotels.

It is quite busy but still picturesque, with a mish-mash of styles and influences.

 

Notre-Dame de La Garde¬†‚ÄúLa Bonne M√®re‚ÄĚ

The Notre-Dame de La Garde sits on the highest point in the city. The best part is to walk up the hill and the 360 panoramic views.

The basilica is ornamented with coloured marble, byzantine-style mosaics, and murals.

 

Chateau D’If Frioul

Is an incredible landmark because of The Count of Monte Cristo from Alexander Dumas. If the weather is good, you can go by boat to the island, from the Vieux Port (old port).

The fort is nice but to be honest not much to see, although the views are great.

La Major, Marseille Cathedral

It is a beautiful and at the same time  unusual roman catholic cathedral built in the nineteenth century in Romano-Byzantine style.

The Cathedral of Marseille stands on the western edge of the old town above the Quai de la Joliette.

 

MUCEM Museum (Museum of Civilization in Europe and the Mediterranean)

The MUCEM, is an iconic museum mostly because of the structure of the building. It’s really a magnificent place and a fantastic playground if you like photography! I strongly recommend a visit even if is just to contemplate the remarkable building.

You can access, to both the courtyard of J4 and the ramparts of the fort, for free. To visit the¬†permanent and temporary exhibitions is 9,50‚ā¨.

 

Vieille Charité

The Virile¬†Charit√©, located in the¬†heart of Marseille’s Le Panier quarter¬†was built as an almshouse, although the beauty of the building doesn’t really give that¬†impression with its¬†neoclassical central chapel and elegant arcaded courtyard.

Today is home to a number of cultural institutions and museums.

 

Fort Saint-Jean

The Fort Saint-Jean, is for me one of the best places in Marseille. The fort lies at the northern mouth of Vieux Port and was recently restored.

Its perfect for scenic strolls through its gardens, and to enjoy the views of the Mediterranean coastline.

If you go to the top of the gardens near the footbridge to MuCEM, you can see Marseille’s Cathedral, and¬†admired the amazing views of Marseille and of the Mediterranean.

 

Natural History Museum of Marseille

The museum is inside the astonishing Palais Longchamp, which is worth a visit just to contemplate the architecture and the gardens. Not really worth to visit inside.

 

 Les Docks Village

If you are into shopping Les Docks are a mid-19th century complex of shipping warehouses, that has been redeveloped and now includes shops, boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants.

The buildings are connected by creative courtyards. This alone can be good a reason to visit.

 

Street Art

The quartier of Cour Julien walls are extravagantly painted for everyone to decipher and enjoy. A wonderful area with loads of quirky stores, cafes, restaurants nice bars, and colourful street art and graffiti covering most of the facades. Make sure you have the time to explore it!

 

Farmers’ Market

A great place to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.IMG_7699

David’s Statue

For some reason, Marseille also has a copy of the famous David from Michelangelo, placed in the middle of a roundabout near the Prado beaches.

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photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

Have you ever been to Marseille? What other places would you include here?

 

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Carcassonne, medieval France

Carcassonne is located in the southwest of France. Is a well known fortified Medieval town part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The walled city is very old, founded by the Romans, and is the largest citadel in Europe. The walls of the city are 1.9 miles (3 km) long and have 52 massive towers.

This medieval town is a picturesque place, that attracts plenty of tourists, unfortunately, too many in my opinion.

Carcassonne was fortified by the Romans and strategically located between Toulouse and the Mediterranean sea.

I’ve visited Carcassonne¬†12 years ago and really loved it, this time I felt a bit disappointed. The walled city felt more like a theme¬†park than a real town where normal life takes place.

I arrived early in the morning, and the entrance was already packed with buses and excursions.

Within the walled city all the buildings, squares, and alleyways have retained their medieval character.

La Ville Base

This time I have enjoyed more to walk around Carcassonne Town (La Ville Base) than the citadel. I found it quite charming and I really had a great time strolling through its streets.

From Toulouse, Carcassonne is an easy day trip and Bla Bla car works really well.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

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Albi a beautiful town in southern France

Albi is small and relatively off-the-touristy radar town on the Tarn River in southern France, conveniently located about an hour northeast from Toulouse.

Despite its size, Albi is incredibly rich in history and charm. For me is without a doubt one of my favorite small town in France.

Albi is covered in red bricks, what gives this town a charming and distinctive aspect. The best way to visit Albi is by wandering around the historic center. Through the small cobblestone streets and alleyways near the river.

Albi Cathedral

The Cathedral is an¬†UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place¬†will take your breath-way, it’s imposingly tall and has a distinctive look for the use of brick to construct its exterior. I personally, never came across a construction of this size made of¬†bricks.

This incredibly beautiful Gothic Cathedral is located in the middle of the lovely charming plaza filled with cafes, boulangeries, and other stores.

I found the interior as impressive as the exterior.

Maison du Vieil Alby

The Maison du Vieil Alby is a brick-half-timbered house covered in red-bricks. This house is one of the oldest-surviving buildings in Albi.

 Collégiale Saint-Salvi

A Catholic church with a small cozy cloister, perfect stop, to have a snack or to relax.

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Palais de la Berbie

The Palais de la Berbie was a former Bishop’s Palace that serves today as an art museum dedicated to the artwork of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

The gardens behind it, are truly fantastic and the view of the Tarn River spectacular.

Old medieval bridge.

The special thing about the Albi bridge is that it’s also constructed with the same red brick from which all the buildings in the old town were made.

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From the bridge, you get a great view over the rest of Albi and the city of Madeleine which is located on the other side of the bridge. The river itself is also quite pretty.

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From the other side of town, you have excellent views of the cathedral and the the Pont Vieux along the Tarn River

Marché Couvert

It’s a small indoor marketplace, unfortunately with no vegan options.

where to stay and how to get there

Albi is a great place to visit¬†but is really small. So its better¬†to base yourself in the nearby big city of Toulouse and do Albi as a¬†day trip. Toulouse as plenty of accommodation choices and Albi doesn’t.

Toulouse has plenty of hostels, hotels as well as a range of AirB&Bs to choose from.

Blabla car works really well in France and is a great way to meet local people.

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photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

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Toulouse, La Ville Rose

Toulouse¬†is a charming French town that surprises with its enchanting atmosphere, and location between¬†the Garonne River and the mighty Canal du Midi, plus it’s still a bit off the radar to most people.

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The¬†ochre rooftops and coral-pink brick facades gave this sunny town the¬†nickname ‚ÄėLa Ville Rose‚Äô (the pink city).¬†I found Toulouse quite romantic, perfect for a couple.

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Toulouse is an easy stop-off in the heart of the south west of France. Has plenty to do and see from ancient palaces to great food markets. Toulouse has two Unesco heritage sites, the Canal du Midi and the Basilica of St. Sernin, the biggest Romanesque building in Europe.

Toulouse is a “big small city“, where everything you may want to visit is quite close, plus the public transports are amazing, making it really¬†easy to get around.

Basilique Saint-Sernin

As I mention before this Basilique is a Unesco heritage site, and it’s considered one of the largest remaining Romanesque buildings in Europe.  I found the bell-tower especially impressive, standing 64 meters above the ground.

The city is quite clean and many streets in the center are limited to pedestrians. Bikes are also everywhere. The Old Town not only is a concentration of monuments and old buildings but is also the place where the normal everyday life takes place.

The Capitole

It’s the majestic square in the¬†heart of Toulouse,¬†bordered by grand buildings made from Toulouse‚Äôs hallmark rose-red bricks.

The building itself is accessible to the public, and the entry is free.. Going inside is definitely worth it.

Musée des Augustins

Used to be a convent, nowadays is a fine art museum which houses some of the works from the French school between the 15th and 18th centuries. The medieval cloister and garden are especially magical, surrounded by salons filled with evocative statues and sculptures.

Cathédrale saint-étienne

Also know as Toulouse Cathedral, it’s a Roman Catholic church built between the 13th and 17th centuries. The cathedral is a combination of northern and southern Gothic styles.

Canal du Midi

A picturesque canal whose waters flow throughout the southwest of France until exiting into the Mediterranean Sea, perfect for a stroll along the River Garonne during a sunny day.

Pont Neuf

The Pont-Neuf is the oldest and also the main bridge in town, a great place to walk along the Garonne river. The bridge was constructed in the 1500s.

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Jardin Japonais

Located in the north of the city near the¬†Compans Caffarelli. On the day I visited the¬†garden, there was virtually no one there, it’s a gorgeous place, that definitely deserves a visit.

Chapelle des Carmélites

It’s a¬†stunning¬†chapel that will absolutely take your breath away. Inside this¬†chapel¬†is covered in fresco painting, from the wall to the ceiling. The chapel is¬†covered with religious depiction of the Heavens, definitely worth a peak.

Market of Saint Aubin

The Market happens every Sunday morning¬†and is run by local farmers. It’s a great place to buy organics products, vegan street food, find local artists and books.¬†Although Toulouse has¬†several markets this one was my favorite

The Marché Victor Hugo, is quite big and well known for its gourmet stalls and restaurants but more is more suitable to non-vegans.

How to get there

Toulouse has its own airport, 20 minutes away from the city center. It also has great connections from the airport to the city.

photography ‚Ästall rights reserved ‚Äď Ana Rocha

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Cologne travel

Cologne is mostly known for its beautiful Gothic cathedral and crazy carnival, and I was lucky enough to experience both. Cologne is also a major cultural center.

After D√ľsseldorf¬†I took the train down to Cologne,¬†the largest city of the German Bundesland of North Rhine-Westphalia, during¬†carnival time (Karneval).

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Carnival is a big deal in Germany, and the city of Cologne was¬†unrecognizable when I arrived. There was a festive spirit in the air, lots of alcohol, music,¬†fun, noise, crowds and thousands of people dressed up.¬†Cologne’s Carnival is the biggest in Germany and¬†has a long and rich history which I did not know much about, until then.

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The City of Cologne 

Cologne is a fairly walkable city, but if you are more of a bus person, a¬†single ticket costs ‚ā¨2.80 a day pass is ‚ā¨8.60. Cologne also has a dense network of bike routes along the Rhine.

The river runs through the heart of old town so you can also take a cruise along the river.

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Altstadt (The Old Town)

Cologne doesn’t really impress with its old town¬†since¬†only a tiny area of historic streets survived the¬†World War II. The reman streets are¬†colorful and great for a wander around.

 

The K√∂ln’s Dom

The world-famous Gothic cathedral, is located right next to the train station, in the center of Köln, is the fourth-tallest in the world, and luckily survived the war. The construction and details are quite impressive, and I do recommend going in the morning before everyone else arrives. Visiting the cathedral is free.

 

The¬†South Tower, is 157 meters high, with 533 steps, (4‚ā¨) if the weather is good you have a great panoramic view all the way over and around Cologne and the Rhine river.

The Belgian Quarter

Located outside old town, is kind of a pot mixing bits and pieces of France, Belgium and Germany. Here all the street are named after cities in Belgium, like ¬†Br√ľsseler Platz, a beautiful scare surrounding a church.

There is a huge variety of local and international boutique shops, ethnic markets, restaurants, and local cafes to discover.

Ehrenfeld

It’s another area outside old town that deserves to be explored. A few years ago some well-renowned covered Ehrenfeld with¬†stunning murals.

Art Museums & Street Art

Cologne has a number of excellent museums, like The Ludwig Museum with an impressive Pop Art collection with work from the well known Warhol and Lichtenstein, and great street art to be found around the city.  For instance, in Ehrenfeld, or Eigelstein, the key is to leave old town and walk around back streets, side streets and all the roads in between the main ones.

 

Some other museums are quite unusual, such as the German Olympic Museum the Chocolate Museum or the perfume museum.

If you do like museums, its best to buy the MuseumsCard¬†(‚ā¨18)

Hahnen Gate

This is one of twelve gates of the medieval city wall located in Rudolfplatz.

Skulpturen Park Köln (sculpture park) 

It is a relaxing and interesting place that combines art and nature. Artists have been commissioned, to create work that interacts creatively with the surrounded nature. The entry is free, and the park combines permanent and temporary exhibition.

Botanical Garden

Located in the north of the city, next to the zoo. It’s a great place to visit during summer and spring. The park is very well maintained, and the entrance is free.

Flea Markets

Cologne’s streets are home to an exceptionally large number of flea markets,¬†¬†there you may find amazing and affordable vintage items. Even if you don’t want to buy something, it still is a¬†nice place with a special atmosphere, to walk through looking at the antiques. If you are there to buy¬†bargaining is a must, most of the markets also have¬†food and beverage stalls.

The panorama tower, Köln Triangle

this impressive high-rise K√∂lnTriangle offers a good 360-degree panorama view of Cologne, to go up they charge a ‚ā¨3 fee.

Love Lock Bridge

The Hohenzollern Bridge or Love Lock Bridge is completely covered with tens of thousands of padlocks, each one engraved with names, dates or something romantic.
From Old Town, you can cross one of the numerous bridges that separate the two parts of the city. From this side, there’s a great view of old town and the Cathedral.

 

If you have time:

Take a train and pop into some of the many picturesque towns outside of Cologne along the Rhine.

  • ¬†Drachenfels¬†has a spectacular¬†castle, called the Dranchenburg Castle. 1 1/2 hours by train.
  • ¬†Aachen¬†is a university-town great for history-lovers, and it is close to¬†Belgium.¬†1 hour by train.
  • Koblenz, is a town full of ancient history, 1.5 hour by train.
  • Mainz, its a nice little university town with a medieval center and an impressive cathedral.¬†1.5 hours by train.
  • Marburg¬†is picturesque medieval hill town with narrow cobbled streets and half-timbered houses.¬†2.5 hours by train.

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