Well-known for its beer culture, art scene, and dramatic architecture, Cologne is quickly becoming a popular destination to settle. Despite being overshadowed by Germany’s many big cities, Cologne has much to offer, including lucrative career opportunities and open green spaces, and plays host to some of the country’s most significant art and music festivals each year.
If you’re heading to the city for a short trip or making a permanent move, we’ve got everything you need to know about the best neighborhoods in Cologne, plus our tips on finding accommodation there.
Where to live in Cologne: 7 best neighborhoods
Likened to Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood, Ehrenfield is about as cool as Cologne gets. Known as the center of hip living in Cologne, you’ll find a young, edgy, and creative crowd here, made up of a mixture of students and professionals. Its eclectic streets are packed full of independent cafes, restaurants, bars, and some of the city’s most popular nightclubs and live music venues, including the Live Music Hall.
Despite all of the activity, Ehrenfeld remains to be one of Cologne’s more residential areas, with a vast range of accommodations to choose from. Boasting a younger population, flat shares are common here, but houses and modern serviced accommodation are available in the neighborhood too.
If a convenient location is top of the list when it comes to finding the perfect neighborhood in Cologne, Neumarkt should be your first choice. Making up the center of Innenstadt, otherwise known as downtown, Neumarkt is just a short walk away from all of the city’s top hot spots, including the Cologne Cathedral, Ludwig Museum, and Chocolate Museum.
As one of the most activity-rich neighborhoods in Cologne, Neumarkt does experience its fair share of tourists, with packed streets, especially during its very popular Christmas Market. However, if you don’t mind being amongst the hustle and bustle of the city, living in Neustadt will give you an authentic and vibrant time in Cologne.
Away from the busy streets of the city center is the much quieter neighborhood of Lindenthal. Home to plenty of open green spaces, such as Beethovenpark and Lindenthaler Tierpark, the neighborhood has become popular with families. It’s also home to the University of Cologne campus, making it a popular choice amongst students too.
A lively neighborhood, Lindenthal is like a city in itself, offering all the amenities and entertainment you could need, along with fantastic public transport and road network connections. This sprawling residential area sits just westwards of Neumarkt and is just a 20-minute bus ride or 10-minute car journey into the center.
Found just outside of the commercial heart of Cologne, Rodenkirchen has become a popular place to settle for families across the city. Boasting a sought-after mixture of spacious family homes with gardens and large, modern apartments, Rodenkirchen has also pulled a significant population of young professionals.
Bordering the Rhine along its eastern boundaries, Rodenkirchen provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the fresh air. From walks along the river and afternoons spent on the beach to leisurely cycles along the Rhine Cycle Route that cuts through the neighborhood, weekends are well spent here.
Rodenkirchen’s smaller but more lively neighborhood, Chlodwigplatz, isn’t to be overlooked when looking for some of the best neighborhoods in Cologne. This compact but lively enclave of streets sits ten-minutes south of the city center and is easily accessible by both bus and train, giving you the perks of being close to the city center without the crowds.
Packed to the brim with bars, restaurants, and cafes, the social scene in Chlodwigplatz is unbeatable, and one of Cologne’s best parks, Volksgarten, makes it easy to venture out into the fresh air at the weekends. Enjoying a young, vibrant crowd, laid-back crowd, this neighborhood is ideal for students or young professionals moving into the city.
An up-and-coming area in Cologne, Nippes is a multicultural enclave of the city and comes with budget-friendly rental prices too. With a large Turkish population, you’ll find ethnic supermarkets, cafes, and eateries on every corner, treating you to local delicacies from the eastern Mediterranean and beyond.
Despite being well-connected to the rest of Cologne, Nippes is ideal if you love the quiet life. As well as a prevalent cafe culture, Nippes is home to peaceful streets with a community feel, sprawling outdoor spaces, and the city’s much-loved Cologne zoo.
While Porz may be a little further out from the city center than some would like, the village-esque atmosphere you can enjoy here is hard to pin down elsewhere in Cologne. You’ll find Porz on the eastern banks of the Rhine, just a five-minute drive from the Cologne Bonn Airport.
On the edge of the Konigsforst nature reserve, Porz offers a balanced life with easy access to both the city and the countryside. Instead of lively bars and restaurants, in Porz, you’ll find locally run cafes and restaurants serving up local delicacies; life here is all about slowing down and appreciating the natural world around you.
Looking for accommodation in Cologne?
It’s no secret that finding somewhere to stay in Cologne isn’t an easy task. Growing in popularity over the years, apartment rentals in Cologne in the city are in high demand, and prices are rising. Saying that, with a bit of preparation and planning, securing your perfect home away from home shouldn’t be too difficult. Finding a long-term rental tends to be easier once you’re in the city, giving you the option to speak to local estate agents, get advice from friends and colleagues and find potential flatmates.
For that reason, many expats choose to secure a temporary flat or shorter-term accommodation before they fly. Accommodation in Cologne is becoming a popular option. Not only can you secure your own apartment months before you move, but you can rest assured knowing that your utility bills and Wi-Fi costs are included in the cost, and furniture and other household essentials are ready and waiting for you, enabling a smooth transition to life in Cologne.