May 2018: Cologne

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Return Flights: £29.99  (Ryanair)

Accommodation: £66.29 Station Hostel for Backpackers (Ryanair Rooms) 

Total: £96.28

Summary and Highlights

  • Utilise the Kiosks – they’re on practically every street corner, have most things you’d need and cheap.
  • Germany does good discounts not just for students but teachers and pensioners too – check to see if any discounts are available at attractions.

 

  • Cologne Cathedral
  • Schokoladenmuseum
  • A cold Kölsh at one of the many bars and restaurants along the Rhine

I ♥ Germany. It’s probably my favourite country and one of the cheapest places to travel to from the UK. Cologne is known locally the most northern city in Italy due to their relaxed lifestyle, warm climate for Germany and al fresco drinking and dining culture along the Rhine. I’ve been to Cologne before but it was when I was about 12 but all I could remember is how cringe a 12 year old me would have been. Also that I couldn’t indulge in a Kölsh, which unlike most beer in Germany comes in smaller glasses, than a stein.  Like all German beer, it is sacred and fiercely protected.

Another Ryanair Rooms special (getting that travel credit in), but I always compare against Booking.com or other providers offering the same hotel and compare prices. Even if Ryanair rooms is slightly more, it is sometimes worth it to get the travel credit back meaning you’ve made a saving and been rewarded for it. The hostel was conveniently located near the main train station and was quite a lot for the 2 nights I was staying. (Though I did book only 6 weeks before I went).

As per, my first go to is a walking tour organised by an independent company which reacquainted me with the city. A great thing in Europe is that many landmarks i.e. churches, castles and bridges tend to be free (and great for the gram). But even attractions that have paid entry often do discounts up to 50% off for students, concessions and even teachers. Although I’m no longer technically a student, I got a 3 year NUS card just before I graduated which has an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) on the back. This side of the card is only valid for one year but is internationally recognised as a form of proof of student status. ISIC also offer an International Youth Identity card (for under 30s) and International Teacher Identity Card that can be purchased online for a few pounds. Even if you only used it a few times, as long as you got the value you paid for back then anything extra is a saving. I used this for National Socialism Documentation Centre, which cost me €2 entry instead of €4.50 and the Schokoladenmuseum costing €7.50 instead of €10 euros respectively.

In terms of eating and drinking, I love German food. I find that the further south you go, the better the food is. One of the coolest things about Cologne is the Büdchen or Kiosks. Essentially a corner shop selling snacks, a few souvenirs and of course beer. Thankfully in Germany drinking is legal in the street so many have a bottle opener on the door to crack open a cold one as soon as you walk out. I was told on my tour that clubs and bars can be expensive so many people have a night out going from kiosk to kiosk and buying a drink at each for the journey to the next. Either that or sitting in one of the many restaurants outside areas along the Rhine is my ideal time. Prost!

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