Cologne is known for its joyous attitude and party spirit. The city is a matter of the heart, an emotion and an unfalteringly positive state of mind. At the root of this outlook are Cologne Carnival, kölsch beer and, of course, the cathedral.

Just to pre-warn you, the period between the new year and Ash Wednesday is pretty exceptional in Cologne, as this is when the world-famous Cologne Carnival is held. The highlight of the event is the street carnival, where people celebrate, sing and dance in the pubs and bars around the Alter Markt and Heumarkt squares. Visitors will also notice the unique Cologne joie de vivre in the cosy, rustic pubs that serve kölsch, Cologne's signature beer. The city on the Rhine also boasts a thriving music and art scene, making it a fun place to be. Highlights include Christopher Street Day, Musical Dome, the Wallraf Richartz Museum and the Ludwig Museum with its works by Picasso, Warhol and Lichtenstein.

Cologne Cathedral will most likely leave you speechless. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and world-class religious edifice, landmark and hub of the metropolis on the Rhine. Countless legends also tell the tale of how Cologne's twelve Romanesque churches came into existence. And before you let your hair down with high-spirited people in the student hang-outs such as the Kwartier Latäng or the Friesenviertel district, why not visit the Rheinpark, take the Cologne Cable Car over Germany's longest river and see what joie de vivre looks like from above.

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