Tuesday, 3 April 2012

On yer bike: Cologne

Cologne, Germany’s fourth most populous city, is particularly attractive to the budget-aware visitor as the centre can be explored on foot and the whole city is easily accessible by bike. An extensive network of cycle paths and an all-round bike-friendly mentality mean that this really is an enjoyable place to cycle. I have always felt far too unsecure to cycle on the roads in the UK, but in Cologne I found myself happily whizzing from one place to another feeling like superwoman on two wheels. Actually, make that environmentally-friendly-Superwoman on two wheels.

Happy punters on our cycle around Cologne!

So, if you feel like going green and saving on public transport costs while you're at it, get on yer bike. It may be a case of beg, borrow or steal (although that last option is not advised - you probably won't be able to out-cycle the Polizei...), or there are various hire options available including Cologne's answer to the Boris Bike: Callabike. These silver bicycles with the red DB logo emblazoned on them are dotted around the city, and if you register online ( then you can enter your unique customer code into any of their bikes to use it straight away. There is a charge per minute (€0.08), but you will not be charged more than €15 in a 24-hour period. If you are intending on staying in the city for a while then you could always do as the locals do and head to one of the many flea markets (Flohmarkt) to bag yourself a bargain bike. I picked one up for €40 at the Kölner Stadt Flohmarkt just off Universitätstraβe (every Saturday).

Anyway, once you have got your hands on a bike one way or another, read on for a few places well worth a visit if you want to see the best of the city without spending a fortune...