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Accessible Travel Guide: Cologne

Cologne is the largest city in the German federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth-largest city in Germany . It is also a major cultural centre with more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. Cologne is also a city highly accessible for people using a wheelchair or a walker.

A large part of the city is equipped with ramps and all major attractions are accessible, making a visit to this city a real pleasure. A wide number of reserved parking spaces and of accessible public toilets complete the offer and make Cologne a great destination for a long weekend of culture, history, great food and drinks.


cologne cathedral seen from the bridge with train rails on the right side and all the love lockets

Your visit must include the majestic Cathedral and at least three of the city museums: the Ludwig Museum has a great collection of, amongst others, Pop Art and Picasso  (and a very nice restaurant and café with terrace, all accessible) while the Wallraf-Richartz Museum has the most extensive collection of Impressionist and Neo-impressionist art in Germany. And the third? Well, you must visit all floors (all accessible!) of the Chocolate Museum. We won’t even discuss why. Chocolate fountain aside.

If you walk from the Cathedral to the Hohenzollern Bridge (and the thousands of locks people have left to witness their love) and cross the river, you can take the lift to the top of the Köln Triangle and see the city in it’s entirety. Or you can take a boat and view the city from the water. The choice is yours! But don’t forget to try the schnitzel, the pork knuckle, a Kölsch  bier or a vegetarian meal in one of the may veggie restaurants in town.

When is the best time to visit? Cologne is a great destination all year round: in winter you cannot miss the Christmas markets, while in summer it is perfect for lounging around in a terrace, having a drink or a meal outside and enjoying the riverside (and the beach bars!).

The Kôln Tourism Board has prepared a special map with two accessible itineraries, it is in German but even if you do not know the language it is very useful for locating toilets and parking spaces. However, feel free to roam out of the itineraries, as the city is truly very easy to roll around in!

General Accessibility of the area

Tip: the Cologne Tourist office is located next to the Cathedral and they have a barrier free map of the city (in German, but the symbols are self-explanatory). You will find more information about the guided accessible tours in their website, in the section dedicated to ACCESSIBILITY IN COLOGNE

The city of Cologne is highly accessible for people with mobility impairments: people moving around in wheelchairs and walkers are a common sight in town as the city has been very well adapted for “moving on wheels”.
There are plently of reserved parking spaces and plenty of accessible public toilets (to know where the toilets are located in real time near you, you can look in a special website created with the Cologne Tourism Board, the link is on the top right side of this page).
Also, the Tourism Board has supported the creation of a service that rents out mobility scooters for short term periods at a very reasonable price. It is conveniently located in the Central Station.

Airport Accessibility

There are two airports near Cologne: the Cologne Bonn is nearer, but in alternative the Düsseldorf airport (DUS) is also not too far away, so it may be considered a good option too (65km from Cologne and well connected).
The quality of information regarding accessibility for the Cologne Bonn airport is very good and detailed, the info for the Düsseldorf is more basic but still very useful.

Cologne Bonn Airport – Information on accessibility and special assistance
Düsseldorf Airport- Information on accessibility and special assistance

 

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