Cologne – Bikers, buildings and beer

Bikers will flock to Cologne this October as Germany’s fourth largest city is due to stage the Intermot International Motorcycle and Scooter Fair.

But Cologne has much more to offer than a collection of wannabe Hells Angels – it dates back to the Roman times and possesses some of the most striking architecture of central Europe.

The city also has a very young vibrant population and is famed for its remarkable bar to person ratio, said to be the highest in the country.

Cologne, known as Koln by the locals, is the major transport hub of west Germany with an international airport just ten miles south-east of the city and a good road network provides tourists with easy access to its centre. The city’s S-bahn, the local railway, runs all day and trains take approximately 15 minutes to reach the Hauptbahnhof, or the central station.

However, the intrepid biker will probably wish to surge through the channel tunnel and along Europe’s highway on his steel horse with the open road at his mercy, as he makes his way to the world renowned Intermot fair.

This year’s show, taking place from October 3rd to 7th, is hosted inside a 120,000 sq m newly-furbished arena with a 75,000 sq m outdoor area attached.

Visitors will have the chance to view offerings from hundreds of motorcycle and accessory manufacturers as well as watch and participate in a number of support events including stunt shows, enduro courses, quad riding, scooter races and a trails course.

In addition, BMW Motorrad factory rider Chris Pfeiffer will showcase his vast array of tricks to a large audience.

But for the more retiring tourist, Cologne’s famous cathedral will have the most cultural gravity. A building which dominates the city’s skyline and now a UNESCO world heritage site, it took 632 years to be fully completed and is now Germany’s most popular tourist attraction with 6.5 million people entering every year.

Cologne also boasts 12 Roman churches that were built not long after the founding of the city in 50 AD. They are now fully restored after the destruction of World War II

But if annihilation of the intoxicative kind if what you are after, then you are advised to make your way to one of the city’s many bars, which will invariably be selling a ‘hoppy’ beer called Kolsch.

The locals take this brew very seriously indeed: it can only be served in a small, narrow glass called a Kolschstange which is less than half a pint. And the Kolsch Convention of 1985 states that the beer can only be brewed within a 20 mile radius of this bubbly and beautiful city.

Notes about the image in this article

Cologne, Groß St Martin at night – This image is subject to copyright. Please do not copy.

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