A Travel Price Comparison for Germany Cologne vs. Bonn for Families, Attractions, Nightlife, and Old Town

Should you visit Cologne or Bonn?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Cologne or Bonn? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Cologne

Cologne is a accessible, vibrant, and colorful city. It's a large city with plenty of activites for visitors as well. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include museums, nightlife, and food.

Bonn

Bonn is a beautiful, outdoorsy, and lively city. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Cologne and Bonn: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Big city activities
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers


Is there more to do in Cologne or Bonn?

You'll generally find more things to do in Cologne than Bonn. Cologne is bigger than Bonn, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Cologne is better known for its nightlife, christmas markets, big city activities, and impressive beauty, while Bonn is more popular for its historical sights and quaint atmosphere. Cologne is more touristy than Bonn and is popular for its large and detailed cathedral, its festive Christmas markets, and its location along the Rhine River. Also, Cologne is famous for The Cologne Cathedral. Bonn is well known for its many museums, cultural venues, and university atmosphere, as well as being the birthplace of Beethoven.

The Cologne Cathedral
The Cologne Cathedral

How is Cologne different from Bonn?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Bonn and Cologne. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Cologne or Bonn?

Cologne
Bonn

For an educational experience, head to a museum or a notable sight in either Cologne or Bonn.

Cologne offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. At the heart of the city is Cologne Cathedral, which is stunningly intricate and highlights High Gothic architecture. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. Other famous sights around town include Cologne City Hall, the Wallraf-Richartz & Ludwig Museums, and Hohenzollern Bridge.

Many visitors head to Bonn specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Some of the most popular museums include Haus der Geschichte (history), Beethoven's House, and Kunstmuseum Bonn (art). For architecture check out the Old Town Hall and Bonn Minster. Other landmarks include Poppelsdorf Palace and Schloss Drachenburg.


Is the Food Better in Cologne or Bonn? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Cologne
Bonn

Dining out at restaurants in both Cologne and Bonn can be an enjoyable experience.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Cologne area. The food scene consists mostly of brewhouses and pubs, where you'll find local cuisine. There are also a number of international restaurants around town if you want something a little different. In particular, you'll find many Turkish kebab shops near the train station. Local dishes from Cologne include Halve Hahn (an open face sandwich), Hämmche (pork with sauerkraut or potatoes), and Mettbrütche (minced pork bread roll). For a sweet treat, there is no shortage of donut shops with decadently decorated toppings.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Bonn. Like much of the food in Germany, you'll find local dishes are hearty and filling. Potatoes and meats are popular ingredients, as are milk, butter, and vegetables. For local flavors try the Rhenish Sauerbraten (veal stew), Reibekuchen (German pancakes), or Christmas Sausages.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Nightlife?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne is a great city for nightlife. Also, Bonn is not as popular, but is still a nice city for nightlife and partying.

The nightlife in Cologne has something for everybody. Head to one of the many beerhalls to check out the local nightlife scene. Make sure you try the local beer, Kölsch. Some of the most popular places for night include Ona Mor, Pepe, and Engel & Weiss.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Bonn. There are bars and nightclubs around town but even more popular are the cultural events that the city hosts. If nightlife is important to you, try to visit during one of the festivals around town.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for its Old Town?

Cologne
Bonn

Bonn is well known for its historic old town charm. Also, Cologne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its historic old town.

Many visitors explore the old town while visiting Bonn. The old town is filled with cobblestone streets and charming shops. There are also cafes and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat.

Cologne is a good destination for visiting its old town. The Old Town is large, but its mostly been rebuilt with modern buildings. There are plenty of shopping areas where you can buy name brand clothing or sample sweets.


Is the Shopping Better in Cologne or Bonn?

Cologne
Bonn

Shopping is a popular activity in both Bonn and Cologne.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Cologne. There is no shortage of clothing shops around Cologne. You'll find all of the major European chains with many souvenir shops mixed in. Schildergasse is a major shopping street in town, but there are also many shopping malls to choose from. For local markets, head to Wilhemplatz.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Bonn. A mix of local shops and major chains make shopping fun and easy. Whether you're interested in souvenir gifts or a new outfit, there are countless stores around town.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Christmas?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne is very popular for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Bonn does not offer Christmas activities.

People travel from all around to experience the Christmas season in Cologne. Cologne is one of the top Christmas destinations in Germany. You'll find many different markets spread around town that offer ice skating, curling, warm drinks, and local dishes. Foodies will appreciate the many samplings of local holiday favorites while shoppers will be able to pick up gifts and Christmas decorations that are locally made.

Bonn does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Christmas Markets?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne is very popular for visiting Christmas markets. However, Bonn does not offer Christmas markets.

Cologne has some of the best Christmas markets in the world. Cologne is one of the top Christmas market destinations in Germany. You'll find many different markets spread around town that offer ice skating, curling, warm drinks, and local dishes. Foodies will appreciate the many samplings of local holiday favorites while shoppers will be able to pick up gifts and Christmas decorations that are locally made.

Bonn does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Families?

Cologne
Bonn

Bonn is an unbeatable place for its family-friendly activities. Also, Cologne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

As it has a large number of activities for kids, Bonn is a very family-friendly destination. Just outside of the town is the Haribo factory outlet store where you can pick up a number of sweet treats and spend some time exploring with the kids. Another favorite activity for the whole family is a trip to nearby Phantasialand. This is one of the best amusement parks in Germany and it has many rides for teens and younger kids alike. In town, you'll find playgrounds and kid-friendly museums. Kids will also love a visit to Schloss Drachenburg Castle.

Cologne is a very family-friendly destination. In addition to the stunning cathedral and impressive bridge, this city has many great playgrounds including Rheinpark, right across the river from old town. Kids who like high places will enjoy the view from the top of KölnTriangle. Popular kid-friendly museums in town include Odysseum and the Chocolate Museum. And if you have a day to spare, head to the indoor waterpark at Aqualand.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Couples?

Cologne
Bonn

With fun activities for couples, both Cologne and Bonn make for a notable place to visit.

Cologne is a good city for couples to visit. The city has a number of activities that couples will enjoy such as walks along the river, dining at nice restaurants, and Rhein River cruises. Also make sure you put a lock on the Hohenzollern Bridge to declare your commitment to each other.

Bonn is a nice destination for couples. Churches, architecture, and botanical gardens all make this a great couples destination. You can take a cruise down the Rhein or enjoy a meal at one of the best restaurants.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne and Bonn are notable places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Cologne. There are a few good hostels around town and many free sights that make this a budget-friendly destination for backpackers.

Bonn is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. Many backpackers skip this town, so its a good option for travelers who want to get off the beaten backpacker trail. There are affordable hotels and hostels around town as well as restaurants where you can pick up something cheap to eat.


Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Students?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne and Bonn are high quality places to visit for students.

Cologne is a very popular city for students and younger travelers. The city is large enough to attract international students for all types of studies. It's also well connected to the German train system so it's easy to get out and explore the area.

Bonn is very popular with students. The city has a very international vibe and you'll likely run into people speaking English around town. Job opportunities in the area are good and there are schools that attract students from around the globe.

Is Cologne or Bonn Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne is very popular for times when you don't have a car. Also, Bonn is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its public transit.

Cologne has an effecient and thorough public transportation system which can take you anywhere in the city. KVB operates the system that includes trains, trams, and buses. The city is also easily connected to other nearby towns so it makes a great base for exploring the entire area.

The public transit in Bonn can get you around easily. There is a light rail system that includes 9 lines and 64 stations. There are also buses around town. Bonn is connected to the region by convenient commuter trains so it's possible to visit as a day trip.

Is Cologne or Bonn a more walkable city?

Cologne
Bonn

Cologne and Bonn both are high quality when exploring on foot.

Cologne is a very walkable destination. If you stick to the Old Town and nearby neighborhoods, you'll be able to explore easily on foot.

Bonn is very walkable. The compact old town is easy to explore on foot.


For even more information, also check out Is Cologne Worth Visiting? and Is Bonn Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Bonn or Cologne?

How long in Cologne or Bonn?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Cologne and Bonn. In our opinion, Cologne has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Cologne than Bonn. However, 1-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Bonn than Cologne. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Bonn, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Cologne than Bonn. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Cologne that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cologne than Bonn if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Cologne.


  • How many days in Cologne or Bonn? Ideal Length of Stay
    Cologne 1-3 
    Bonn 1-3

One day in Cologne or Bonn?

Cologne is a big city destination where you can fill many days. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One day is usually enough time to experience most activities.

In Bonn, you'll find nightlife and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This city offers something for everyone. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

A weekend in Cologne or Bonn?

Cologne is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. A weekend is often enough time to do most activities. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

In Bonn, you'll find food and shopping. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. Visiting the old town is also a must. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Bonn has to offer.

Five days in Cologne or Bonn?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the colorful big city of Cologne. This city offers something for everyone. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Bonn is a great place to explore. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. Anyone can find something fun to do here.


A week in Cologne or Bonn?

The accessible city of Cologne offers nightlife and food. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Bonn. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Bonn. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Luxury Tours to Germany, The Best Budget Tours to Germany, The Best Tours for Seniors to Germany, and The Best 3-Day Tours from Munich.


Which place is cheaper, Bonn or Cologne?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Cologne is €161, while the average daily cost in Bonn is €154. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Cologne and Bonn in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Cologne 91
    Bonn 85
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Cologne 182
    Bonn 170
Compare Hotels in Cologne and Bonn

Looking for a hotel in Cologne or Bonn? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Cologne


Hotels in Bonn


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Cologne Hotel Prices and Bonn Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Cologne 19
    Bonn 23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cologne

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cologne:

  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Bonn hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $109
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Cologne hotels - Round-trip Private Transfer : $98
  • Transfer from Cologne Airport CGN to Cologne City by Luxury Car: $83
  • Superior Private Transfer from Cologne City to Dortmund City: $63
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Bonn hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $54
  • Cologne hotels to Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) - Departure Private Transfer: $49

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bonn

Also for Bonn, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Bonn hotels Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) - Departure Private Transfer: $54

Is it cheaper to fly into Cologne or Bonn?

Prices for flights to both Bonn and Cologne change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Cologne 50
    Bonn 49
Typical Food Prices in Cologne

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Cologne:


  • Dinner
    14
  • Donner Kebab
    4.00

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Cologne

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Cologne.

  • Hard Rock Café with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $27
  • Hard Rock Cafe Cologne With Set Lunch or Dinner: $29
  • Köln Südstadt kulinarisch – Die Food Tour: $48
  • 3-Hour Südstadt Food Tour: $479

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Cologne 20
    Bonn 34

Tours and Activities in Cologne

Here are a few actual costs in Cologne for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 3-Hour Cologne Street Art Bike Tour in Small Group with Guide: $43
  • 3-Hour Murder Mystery Interactive City Walking Tour in Köln: $75
  • 5 Hours Cologne to Aachen Train Tour in Germany: $63
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.53
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Self Guided Walking Tour on your Phone: $7.51
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $11
  • Aachen old town tour - GERMAN (public): $13
  • Aachen: Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $11
  • Amusing Stories of Cologne Walking Tour: $13
  • Beethoven and Bonn Highlights Tour from Cologne by Car: $837
  • Best of Cologne in 1-Day Private Guided Tour with Transport: $437
  • Bike Tour of Cologne Top Attractions with Private Guide: $196

Tours and Activities in Bonn

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Bonn.

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • Free Walking Tour Bonn - City Center: $3.20
  • Self-Guided Highlights Scavenger Hunt & Walking Tour: $4.26
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.38
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.39
  • Bonn Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.51
  • Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $7.99
  • Scavenger Hunt and City Highlights Walking Tour: $11
  • Bonn Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $11
  • Autumn tours with a live guide: $20
  • 1.5-Hour River Cruise on the Rhine: $20
  • 24-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Ticket: $21

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Cologne 23
    Bonn 23

Sample the Local Flavors in Cologne

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Cologne:

  • Old Town Walking Tour with Brewery and Kölsch Beer: $18
  • Public brewery tour in German in Cologne: $18
  • Guided tour of the old town with a visit to the brewery in Cologne: $19
  • Old Town Walking Tour inkl Brewery Visit: $23
  • South Cologne Walking Tour with brewery visit: $27
  • Pub Crawl Cologne Including Admission Fee for Bars and Shots: $27
  • Entertaining Brewery Tour: Feel Good Package including local beer: $27
  • Brewery Tour with 3 Kölsch Beer Tastings: $29
  • Brewery Tour with Beer Tasting and Halven Hahn: $31
  • The Legendary Kölsch Brewery Tour: $32
  • The Legendary Kölsch Brewery Tour: $33
  • Cologne-Nippes: Gourmet wine tasting with cheese platter: $63


When comparing the travel costs between Cologne and Bonn, we can see that Cologne is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Cologne Expensive? and Is Bonn Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Cologne or Bonn?

Cologne has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Bonn. When comparing the sizes of Cologne and Bonn, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Cologne or Bonn?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Cologne or Bonn in the Summer?

Both Bonn and Cologne during the summer are popular places to visit. The summer months attract visitors to Cologne because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Bonn this time of year.

In the summer, Cologne is around the same temperature as Bonn. Typically, the summer temperatures in Cologne in July average around 19°C (66°F), and Bonn averages at about 19°C (66°F).

In the summer, Cologne often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Bonn. Cologne gets 184 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bonn receives 191 hours of full sun.

Cologne usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Bonn. Cologne gets 80 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Bonn receives 78 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Cologne 19°C (66°F) 
    Bonn 19°C (66°F)

Should I visit Cologne or Bonn in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Cologne and Bonn. The city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Cologne this time of year. Furthermore, many travelers come to Bonn for the shopping scene.

In October, Cologne is generally around the same temperature as Bonn. Daily temperatures in Cologne average around 12°C (54°F), and Bonn fluctuates around 12°C (53°F).

Cologne usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Bonn during autumn. Cologne gets 104 hours of sunny skies, while Bonn receives 109 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Cologne usually receives more rain than Bonn. Cologne gets 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain, while Bonn receives 47 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Cologne 12°C (54°F) 
    Bonn 12°C (53°F)

Should I visit Cologne or Bonn in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Cologne as well as Bonn. Many travelers come to Cologne for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Additionally, many visitors come to Bonn in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Bonn can get quite cold in the winter. Be prepared for some very cold days in Cologne. Cologne is around the same temperature as Bonn in the winter. The daily temperature in Cologne averages around 3°C (37°F) in January, and Bonn fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Cologne often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Bonn. Cologne gets 43 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Bonn receives 45 hours of full sun.

Cologne usually gets more rain in January than Bonn. Cologne gets 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain, while Bonn receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Cologne 3°C (37°F) 
    Bonn 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Cologne or Bonn in the Spring?

Both Bonn and Cologne are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Cologne in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Cologne is around the same temperature as Bonn. Typically, the spring temperatures in Cologne in April average around 10°C (50°F), and Bonn averages at about 10°C (50°F).

Cologne usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Bonn during spring. Cologne gets 152 hours of sunny skies, while Bonn receives 145 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Cologne usually receives more rain than Bonn. Cologne gets 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Bonn receives 48 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Cologne 10°C (50°F) 
    Bonn 10°C (50°F)

Typical Weather for Bonn and Cologne

Cologne Bonn
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 3°C (37°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
Feb 4°C (39°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 4°C (39°F) 36 mm (1.4 in)
Mar 7°C (44°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 7°C (44°F) 47 mm (1.8 in)
Apr 10°C (50°F) 55 mm (2.2 in) 10°C (50°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
May 14°C (58°F) 68 mm (2.7 in) 14°C (58°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Jun 17°C (63°F) 76 mm (3 in) 17°C (63°F) 73 mm (2.9 in)
Jul 19°C (66°F) 80 mm (3.1 in) 19°C (66°F) 78 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 19°C (66°F) 73 mm (2.9 in) 19°C (66°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Sep 16°C (61°F) 62 mm (2.5 in) 16°C (61°F) 58 mm (2.3 in)
Oct 12°C (54°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 12°C (53°F) 47 mm (1.9 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 7°C (44°F) 56 mm (2.2 in)
Dec 4°C (39°F) 71 mm (2.8 in) 4°C (39°F) 53 mm (2.1 in)