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We’ll Take The Cologne (Germany), The Chocolate And The Beer Bike

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I could say that I came to Cologne to see the Cathedral, the most popular sight in the city. I could say I came to see the Medieval Old Town or the remains from the city’s Roman Empire era. I’d be lying. No, I came for chocolate, the chocolate museum. While I was there, however, I found chocolate and much more.

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Cologne Cathedral at Night

During a stay in Paris, a friend told me about Cologne’s chocolate museum and that the city was a short train ride away. Being a chocolate fanatic, my bucket list includes visiting all the chocolate ‘capitals’ in the world and any chocolate museums out there.

I had to go check this museum out for myself. We took the 3-hour train from Paris for a weekend trip.

The chocolate museum sits on the Rhine River Promenade near the Medieval Old Town. It is set up so you can learn as little or as much as you want about chocolate.

A self-guided tour with informational boards and placards, in German and English, explains the entire chocolate making process. Speed through the tour and straight to the sampling, or take all day and become an expert on the process. The pace is entirely up to you.

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Chocolate Making Machinery, Cacao Plant and the Finished Product – Chocolate

The tour began with the cultivation and harvesting of cacao pods. Through photos and many interactive displays, which looked more like games and toys, we learned several factoids about the growing of cacao pods. They grow best 10 to 20 degrees north and south of the equator, mostly in South and Central America and Africa. T

he museum contains a tropical garden with its own cacao plant. When we moved from the air-conditioned museum to the tropical rainforest area, the sauna feel and hot mist facial gave us a good sense of the wet and sticky cacao-growing environment.

We winded our way up to the chocolate making machinery area. Machines involved in the entire process were on display with placards detailing each process. The machinery, which led to the industrialization of chocolate making in the 19th century, provided two things.

First, chocolate making became less expensive, allowing everyone to enjoy it, not only the rich and nobility. Prior to industrialization, chocolate was used only as a drink. With industrialization came the molding process and chocolate bars.

Chocolate Fountain with the City of Cologne in the Background

Our tour ended at the cacao pod chocolate fountain. After a sampling of chocolate-dipped cookies, we headed to the gift shop. The gift shop is worth the visit, alone. The variety of chocolate was amazing.

There were bars of every flavor and filling, chocolate liqueur, body paint, hot chocolate sticks, and chocolate shaped in the form of many of the city’s sights. There was even chocolate beer! Inside the museum, there is a café for those who still need more of a chocolate fix. They can have a chocolate drink or dessert.

Chocolate Souvenirs

After our chocolate binge, we walked off the calories by exploring the city. The Cathedral, the Kölner Dom, is a gothic giant that dominates the entire city skyline. I felt like an ant standing beside it, gaping up at the soaring facade.

Inside, the vaulted apse and nave also seemed to stretch way up to the heavens. Vibrant stained glass windows told stories of religion and royalty. The Cathedral holds an ornately decorated Sarcophagus of the Magi. Inside the sarcophagus there are three golden-crowned skulls, said to be those of the Three Kings or Magi. The Three Kings are the patron saints of Cologne. You can climb the south tower’s 509 steps to the top. Because of bad weather and chocolate overload, we put this climb on the list for the next trip.

Interior of the Cologne Cathedral

The Medieval Old Town seemed like an enchanting village straight from a fairy tale. Although it belongs to a church, the Gross St. Martin tower looks like it could have had Rapunzel locked away inside. I gazed at the tower windows waiting for her to let down her hair and for the prince to arrive. Clusters of pastel painted and half-timbered buildings surround large squares. The squares are filled with beer gardens and pubs. Whimsically designed rod iron signs hang above pub and store entrances.

Medieval Old Town and the Gross Saint Martin Tower


Wrought Iron Sign Over the Gaffel Haus Entrance

The local beer is Kolsch. It is also the language or dialect spoken in the area. We stopped in at Gaffel Haus, across from the Dom, for a beer and a bratwurst. They serve Kolsch in small 20 ml glasses, ensuring one’s beer is always cold.

Beer Bike for Twelve

If you’d like to drink beer and see the town at the same time, how about a bar on wheels? This beer bike looks like so much fun. Don’t worry, no drinking and driving allowed. The beer drinkers only peddle. The bartender does the actual steering.

You may also like: A Wine Lover’s Guide To Craft Beer

Rhine Promenade and Medieval Old Town at Night

For nightlife, the Medieval Old Town was the place for us. We ate dinner at one of the brew houses along the Rhine’s Promenade and stopped into a few of the old town’s many crowded pubs for a few Kolsch.

I went for the chocolate but found much more to Cologne. I’m looking forward to my next trip back, more chocolate, working it off climbing those 509 steps up the Dom and riding that beer bike.

Useful websites:

Chocolate Museum in Cologne

Beer Bike (in German)

German Railway Site

Cologne Tourism Site


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19 thoughts on “We’ll Take The Cologne (Germany), The Chocolate And The Beer Bike”

  1. City of Cathedral, chocolate and the base of! LOL
    I really love Cologne and can recommend it to all the travelers out there. Many visitors to Germany visit Frankfurt instead of Cologne and I have no clue why? Frankfurt got an important airport, but Cologne is definitely much nicer as a city! It rocks! Especially around the carnivals time! Check it out then! It’s unique and one of the world’s best!

  2. The cathedral in Cologne is definitely a must-see when you’re in Germany! The immensity of it really strikes you when you walk out of the train station (if you arrive by rail). Walking around the Old Town is very quaint and enjoyable (lots of good beer and food). We especially enjoyed the walk along the river. I think the chocolate museum may be best if you’re traveling with children or if you’ve never seen how chocolate is made (it’s quite pricy). If not, I would personally recommend spending time enjoying the architecture, culture and food instead.

  3. Thanks for all the great comments everyone.
    Laura – Yes, let’s hear it for chocolate travel!
    Ayngelina – You could actually mix alcohol and chocolate quite easily in Cologne.
    Eurotrip Tips – Thank you very much. I think I did the walk across the bridges for those photos twice at night and once during the day….had to walk off the chocolate.
    Melvin- I didn’t realize most people stayed in Frankfurt. As you said, Cologne rocks! (as do many other cities in Germany) I’m hoping to go back again either during Carnival or Christmas.
    Nicole- Yes, the beer bike looks hilarious. You have to reserve ahead of time, which we didn’t. We tried to hitch-hike our way on, but they weren’t having it.

  4. I love your night shot of the cathedral. Cologne is a great town and how can it not be if TravelDudes are there! That beer bike looks like a lot of fun and now I must get myself to the chocolate factory one day. Yum! That is what I love about Europe, a 3 hour train ride and you are out of Paris and into Cologne in an entirely different culture.

  5. I nearly fell into a sugar coma just reading this marvellous post and looking at the pictures. I am a true choc-aholic, so next stop: Köln. Considering the Belgium and her chocolates are nearby..hmmm, tempting.

  6. Kathy,
    the photos are gorgeous! I’ve been to Cologne before when I was a child but I remember hardly anything except the Cathedral. This chocolate factory sounds amazing. Next time I know what to see! 🙂

  7. Hi Kathy,
    Great story and photos, as usual! –Chocolate travel is an untapped market. Thanks for covering Cologne’s sights and posting such beautiful representations of them!

  8. Zita, D, Michael and Dave & Deb: Thanks all for the comments and compliments on the photos. Cologne was a lot of fun. The Medieval Old Town was full of life at night.
    Karen: Now I realize we may be onto something with this chocolate travel thing. I didn’t realize it was an untapped market, since I’ve been doing it most of my life (blush).
    Erica and Inka: Since much of the chocolate is dark, it also has less sugar – meaning less risk of a sugar coma.
    Candice – You’re adopted!
    I’m thinking maybe Cologne should have a chocolate & beer bike – all in one.

  9. I agree, Sarah, the Cathedral is amazing. I read it was started in 1248 but wasn’t fully finished until 1880! That’s got to be a record for the longest construction site I’ve ever heard of 🙂

    We had a wonderful time there last year, as we went for the Christmas markets in Cologne that happens every year, and the chocolote was fantastic (coming from a massive chocolate fan!). We didn’t try the beer like yourselves, but we did manage to stuff our faces with pretzels, gingerbread and lots of other baked goods, along with a few glasses of mulled wine. It was really magical and I think we’ll go again in a couple of years for sure.

    Kathy, did you actually try the beer bike? It looks like a lot of fun!

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