6 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type



Date of travel

July, 2018

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with


Reasons for trip

Cologne was a sudden choice for a two night mini-break, and we went with Cities Direct, as always – they can arrange a neat little bespoke package that zips into your budget. We knew little about the city but it’s an hour from Stansted and the right size to explore on foot.

The Flandrischer Hof proved a well-placed hotel, clean and courteous, with an outside breakfast area, though we had forgotten that Germany has no rules about smokers in eating areas. We found this both surprising (my friend said she associates Germany with perfect teeth, rude health and tennis) and unpleasant as it occurred wherever and whenever we ate outside.

The obvious place to head was the Dom, or cathedral, which draws the gaze with marvels of contrast. Its awe-inspiring bulk manages to look like lace, its daytime blackness becomes a night-time paleness, and it assumes a totally different shape and personality from different angles. Inside, the organ is suspended at a giddying height, like an exterior elevator on a skyscraper; the position of the organist didn’t bear thinking about.

Café Reichard, once discovered, was visited no less than three times – lured by the boudoir interior of pink velvet banquettes and silver table ware, we discovered that there is a sparkling-mirrored chocolate shop within, from which you can choose delectable ganaches to be borne in with your hot coffee. Later, on the outside terrace, we gulped (I can use no other word) ambrosian Limoncello Spritzers, stuffed with lime, mint and ice under the hot sun.

Beer is, of course, the local tipple, and is swung nonchalantly about in circular tiered trays by busy waiters. There is a wealth of restaurants and pubs – we headed for the river – and it’s worth exploring the smaller cobbled streets which often have quiet eating areas in gardens at the back. The cuisine tends to be heftily meat-based and portions large – vast pork knuckles abound – but the fish dishes we had were excellent and there is plenty of choice, though a high proportion of eateries are Italian.

Our Rhine cruise was not quite what we imagined – more a liner than the boat we had expected – but as a pleasant and relaxing way to see the surroundings for an hour (or longer, if you wish) it was hard to beat. Commentary was clear, the right volume and length, and more beer was on hand.

A final unlooked for moment was a wander leading to the church of Gross St Martin. On a whim we pushed the door and were instantly in another world – of light, of plain fittings, muted choral singing, pale stone and remarkable stained glass windows, black, grey and clear. We were unable to find the name of the artist – Francis Bacon meets Marc Chagall – but went in search of more, finding it in the Basilica of the Apostles. Look through the small chunky green lumps of glass inserted into the huge wooden doors within – another treat awaits.


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.