Cologne Warnings and Dangers
Cologne is located on Germany’s Rhine River and is more than 2,000 years old. The city is an ideal escape for admirers of gothic architecture and history. While it’s relatively safe, tourists must be aware of the dangers before visiting Cologne for the first time.
Thankfully, violent crime is rare in Cologne. However, like any large city, theft is a problem. When traveling on the trains, buses, and cabs, keep your personal belongings close. Never leave your wallet or purse unattended in a public place. When you check into your hotel, ask if your room comes with a safe or lockbox. If it does, put your passports and other valuables in the safe before you explore the city. At the very least, leave your passport in a secure bag in your room. Overall, Cologne is a very safe place to visit, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Weather and Flooding
After winter and into spring, the snow in the mountains melts and the Rhine carries much more water than at other times of the year. The locals call this “hochwasser.” If you’re in Cologne during this time of the year, pay attention to flood warnings and don’t take any risks. It’s not uncommon for the city to close down entire areas of the city due to flooding. Talk to your travel agent and don’t stay too close to the river.
Cologne is a very bicycle friendly city. That’s great, but it creates an additional obstacle for visitors to the city. The lanes are usually painted a different color than the rest of the pavement, or they’re marked with lines and pictures of bicycles. For your safety and the cyclists’ well-being, never drive in the cycle lanes and always look both ways before you cross them. Residents of Cologne will let you know if you’re in their way, but accidents are inevitable. If you don’t want to get run over by local cyclists, be alert when walking around town.
Stay away from Altstadt at Night
You should never go for a walk along the Rhine River around Altstadt after dark as it is considered by some to be the most dangerous area in Cologne. You should enjoy the architecture of Altstadt during daytime and move away when the sun goes down.
The Cathedral of Cologne is one of the most famous and beautiful cathedrals in all of Europe. However, when you are looking up to admire the beautiful spires, you need to be aware of what is happening down around your pockets as there are many pickpockets outside and inside the cathedral.
Buying Train Tickets
If you need to buy train tickets for Deutsche Bahn railway system, don’t buy them at the automats in the train station as they are usually more expensive than if you bought them somewhere else. Go into the Deutsche Bahn Reisezentrum in the central train station Hauptbahnhof and ask a real person for your ticket. If you are under 26, ask for a ‘TwenTicket’, which is much cheaper. Also, you cannot get international tickets at the automats.
Money Exchange Tip
Change your money at the banks as it’s safer and they have better rates than those found in most other places around the city. There are Bureau de Change places around the city which are also good to use, but they can be hard to find.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about the warnings and dangers in Cologne.