One of the largest cities in Germany, Cologne is home to more than 1 million people. Cologne’s suburbs and surrounding metro area are home to more than 3.5 million. The city is located on the Rhine River in the western part of the country, about 16 miles north of Bonn, which was the capital of West Germany during the Soviet era.
Cologne was founded in the first century CE by the ancient Romans, but much of the city as it is known today was built during the medieval era. Because of its long history, the city is home to many historic buildings and sites. Many of the people who book flights to Cologne are tourists who come to the city to experience these historic sites and enjoy the city’s scenic natural surroundings.
Among Cologne’s most recognizable landmarks is the medieval Kölner Dom (Roman Catholic Cologne Cathedral). Also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, the Gothic-style church was built in the 13th century and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It is the tallest twin-spired church in the world and the second-tallest cathedral in Europe after the Lutheran cathedral, Ulm Minster, which is located in southern Germany in the city of Ulm. The Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s most-visited historic building. More than 20,000 tourists come to the cathedral each day.
Tourists visiting Cologne also frequent the city’s many other historic sites, museums, performing arts venues, and public parks. These include Cologne’s City Hall, which was built in the 12th century and is the oldest government building in Germany that is still in use; the Museum Ludwig, a modern art museum with a large collection of paintings by Picasso; and the city’s three remaining medieval gates, which are fortified castle-like structures that were once part of a large wall surrounding Cologne.
Cologne has long been a hub for classical music, and the city is home to several symphonies and musical ensembles. Visitors from across Germany and from other countries in Europe commonly fly to Cologne to attend performances. Among the city’s most famous musical troupes is Musica Antiqua of Cologne, an early music group that performs music written in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Cologne Opera and the Gurzenich Orchestra also draw large numbers of patrons to the city.
Kölsch is also a popular beer that tourists who book flights to Cologne seek out. While many other cities in the world try to emulate the style, a true Kölsch has to be brewed in Cologne. Hofbräu Früh, located near the Cologne Cathedral, is one of the more popular destinations for delicious German food and cold Kölsch.
Business travelers also frequently fly to Cologne, Germany, as the city is one of Germany’s major economic centers. The Cologne region is home to several financial and insurance companies, including the German offices of the French multinational insurance firm, Axa. It is also home to a number of media companies, including publishing houses, television networks, and production studios.
The headquarters of the German flag carrier airline, Lufthansa, are also located in Cologne, as are manufacturing facilities and offices for automobile companies Ford Europe and Toyota.
Cologne is home to several universities, colleges, and professional schools. More than 72,000 students live and study in the city. Many of these students take cheap flights to Cologne from other countries in order to attend school there. Built in the 14th century, the University of Cologne is the city’s oldest university as well as the largest university in Germany. Other well-known universities in the city include the Cologne University of Applied Sciences; the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies; the German Aerospace Centre; and the Cologne University of Music and Dance.
Flights to Cologne arrive at Cologne Bonn International Airport (CGN), which is located about seven miles south of the city center in the Porz neighborhood. The airport handles flights to and from 35 countries around the world. About 13 million passengers use the Cologne Bonn Airport each year.