Taking a whopping 632 years to finish building, it’s easy to see why this iconic cathedral welcomes over 20,000 visitors a year. Finally finished in 1880, Kölner Dom has since survived World War II despite the rest of the city being largely flattened, and been added to UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994.
It now stands as one of the icons of Germany, and is one of the first things that pops into mind when someone mentions Cologne. And the fact that it’s Germany’s largest Gothic cathedral, and the second largest in Northern Europe just meant I had to stop by Cologne given the chance.
I arrived by train in Cologne, and as I stepped out of the train station the cathedral stood proudly right in front of me. I hadn’t expected to be welcomed so grandly to the city, but the cathedral acted as a point of reference throughout my stay – handy when I got a bit lost – due to the fact it can be seen from many places across the city.
To have visited Cologne and not stopped in the cathedral would have been an absolute missed opportunity, especially for someone like myself who loves seeing different religious buildings!
Although Cologne Cathedral welcomes so many thousands of people a day, there’s no entrance fees, and you’re free to wander around and explore the different decor, windows and sections. I love to take a seat in a church, look up and just admire the architecture. I’m not religious by any means, but I do love a good building!
If you’re looking for amazing panoramic views of the city, there is a viewing platform in one of the towers. From it’s vantage point 98m above ground, you’ll be afforded stunning views at the mere cost of climbing 509 steps. There’s no lift, so it’s not for the faint hearted, and surprisingly there wasn’t a queue when I visited.
I had to pop back in the evening to see how the cathedral looked all lit up, but unfortunately it was tipping it down with rain, and I really hate being out in the rain. It still looked just as stunning, but after a few photos I had to move on.
The joy of the location of the cathedral meant that I was able to soak up the stunning views one last time as we made our way back to the train station to move on to our next stop. I’m so glad I was able to see this amazing cathedral!
- There’s a midday mass that tourists need to vacate the cathedral for at 11.30am. If you want to join in the service, you’re welcome to take a seat, otherwise you have to wait at the back.
- Whether you speak German or not, and whether you’re religious or not, sitting through a service here is something else.
- Free entry!
- There are tour that go round that you could tag along with, but for €1 you can pick up a guided leaflet tour which is really interesting and informative.