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Cologne

Cologne was raised to a 'colony' (hence the name), with city status by the Romans in 50 AD, and was later absorbed into the Gallic Empire, becoming the capital from 260-271. The city was highly prized by both of these communities, due mainly to its location on the River Rhine, which placed it at the intersection of the major trade routes east and west, and was the basis of Cologne's growth. In addition to this, several saints were martyred in the city and the relics of the Three Magi were acquired from Milan. Cologne then also became a centre of ecclesiastical importance, as well as a pilgrimage centre, meaning the city continued to prosper in the middle ages as a result. Following a slight decline in the city's fortunes, Cologne experienced something of a renaissance in the 18th century with a recipe involving distilling flower blossoms in alcohol. This 'toilet water' achieved worldwide fame as eau de Cologne.

Although Cologne was badly damaged in the Second World War, the Cathedral survived, and extensive restoration work has since taken place throughout the city. In the modern age Cologne has reclaimed its old role as a major trade and business centre - now a radio and television metropolis, and a beer city, with over twenty breweries producing Kölsch, the distinctive local beer. Whilst in Cologne you really ought to visit the vast Cathedral. The foundation stone was laid in 1248, and it was finally completed in 1880. Called "the mother of all German churches", it is one of the largest Gothic structures ever built, and its size reflects its power - it is the seat of the Primate of Germany. The Cathedral was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996, and today you can see the relics of the Three Magi, and climb the south tower for a spectacular view of the city and the Rhine.

Sightseeing in Cologne
Cologne's Old Town, which has been carefully restored to preserve its pre-war appearance, is also a joy to discover. It spreads from just south of the Cathedral to the bank of the Rhine. Here you can admire the tall and narrow pastel-coloured houses, set out along the Old Town's winding streets, as you wander to the Rhine Promenade for a stroll along the river. There are many traditional brewery taverns close to the Old Town, all of which serve Kölsch beer - brewed only in Cologne. You may wish to visit at least one of these to sample the beer for yourself.

If you have the time to explore further, Cologne boasts an assemblage of both Roman and medieval remains that is unsurpassed in Germany. For example Eigelsteintor, one of the three surviving magnificent city gates, is a short distance north. The other gates, Severinstor and Hahnentor, are further afield but also worth a visit.

15 results matching: Escorted Rail Tours to Cologne

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Glacier Express & St Moritz
Small Group
4.3 stars(35 reviews)
2022AugSep
10 days from
£2,895 pp
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10 days from
£2,895
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
Zell am See
Small Group
4.4 stars(50 reviews)
2022AugSepOct
2023Jul
9 days from
£1,545 pp
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9 days from
£1,545
per person
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  • DestinationAustria
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
Map and accommodation
Premium Rhine Cruise
4.0 stars(22 reviews)
2022AugSep
2023MayJunJulAugSep
8 days from
£2,095 pp
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8 days from
£2,095
per person
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  • DestinationFrance, Germany, The Netherlands
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
Map and accommodation
Amadeus Queen
4.4 stars(16 reviews)
2022AugSep
2023JunJulAugSep
9 days from
£2,195 pp
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9 days from
£2,195
per person
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationCruise
  • TransportRail, Cruise
Map and accommodation
9 days from
£2,395
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
9 days from
£2,295
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Grand Alpine Explorer
4.4 stars(7 reviews)
2022AugSep
14 days from
£3,895 pp
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14 days from
£3,895
per person
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  • DestinationAustria, Germany, Switzerland
  • Starts / EndsLondon Heathrow
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
Map and accommodation
7 days from
£1,795
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
Map and accommodation
7 days from
£1,795
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Interlaken & the Jungfrau Express in Winter
4.4 stars(22 reviews)
2023JanFeb
7 days from
£1,595 pp
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7 days from
£1,595
per person
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  • DestinationSwitzerland
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail
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Romantic Road and Bavarian Alps
Small Group
3.8 stars(14 reviews)
2022Sep
9 days from
£2,295 pp
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9 days from
£2,295
per person
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  • DestinationGermany
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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The Harz Mountains
4.5 stars(23 reviews)
2023JanFeb
7 days from
£1,295 pp
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7 days from
£1,295
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  • DestinationGermany
  • Starts / EndsSt Pancras International
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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Our customers love our Cologne tours
The Majestic Rhine (Rail and Cruise)
2/Aug
L Miller
5 stars
“Everything from the ship to the crew to the staff was first class. The cruise directors were so friendly and efficient - everything from the food to the service was excellent and the staff were so funny and friendly - I cannot recommend it enough and would certainly travel with great rail journeys again.
Collected by Trustpilot
Delights of the Danube (Rail and Cruise)
23/Jul
R Tweed
5 stars
“great journey
Collected by Trustpilot
Interlaken and the Jungfrau Express in Winter
29/Mar
John Jago
5 stars
“We done the same tour in the summer however the Winter version is like a different holiday.Amazing scenery.
Collected by Trustpilot
Colditz, Meissen and Saxony by Steam
23 Sep 2020
Mr Michael Arnold
5 stars
“Excursions and hotels all very nice, plenty of free time and it was also very warm(!)
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
The Alps of the Austrian Tyrol in Winter
18 Apr 2019
Mrs C Maskell
5 stars
“Lovely hotel, excellent tour manager , met some lovely people, plenty of snow
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
Grand Alpine Explorer
4/Aug
P Parmenter
4 stars
“A good tour overall, especially the second week. The time in Munich and Austria was more mixed, with a poor hotel experience in Munich of particular note. The itinerary needs to be reviewed to ensure every day is worth keeping in the tour. At least two of the days did not merit inclusion or live up to the 'Grand' title of the tour
Collected by Trustpilot
The Glacier Express and St Moritz
3/Aug
Brian Cockrell
4 stars
“A great trip,well planned and well led by our tour managerJohn. It would have been 5 star except for the lack of tea/coffee making. I understand Great Rail are trying to rectify this.
Collected by Trustpilot
Austrian Alps All-Inclusive
31/Jul
A Coy
4 stars
“A good holiday apart from a rather unpleasant hiccup with a train in Germany - and it was really good that our group was only 14 including the Tour Manager.
Collected by Trustpilot
Romantic Road and Bavarian Alps
5/Jun
Mr Maclean
4 stars
“DB was plagued by bad weather causing trains to be cancelled or delayed. This made the tour manager Christine’s work harder but all ended up with an excellent tour. Great Rail failed on two points. The tour guide at Wurzburg failed to arrive and the luggage transport from Fussen to Cologne was cancelled which with the DB alterations made changing trains very difficult.
Collected by Trustpilot
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