A Travel Price Comparison for Germany Mainz vs. Cologne for Attractions, Food, Old Town, and Families

Should you visit Mainz or Cologne?

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

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Mainz and Cologne can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Mainz

Mainz is a quaint, charming, and beautiful town. With stunning beauty, it attracts visitors from all around. Other popular activities here include museums, food, and shopping.

Cologne

Cologne is a colorful, fun, and accessible 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 food, shopping, and museums.

Mainz and Cologne: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less family-friendly
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


Is there more to do in Mainz or Cologne?

You'll generally find more things to do in Cologne than Mainz. Cologne is bigger than Mainz, and it also has more attractions and activities for travelers. Cologne is better known for its museums, nightlife, shopping, christmas markets, and big city activities, while Mainz is more popular for its food, historical sights, and impressive beauty. Mainz is well known for its quaint old town, Roman heritage, and beautiful town squares. Cologne is well known 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.

The Cologne Cathedral
The Cologne Cathedral

How is Mainz different from Cologne?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is a very popular place for its museums and history. Also, Mainz is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its museums and landmarks.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Cologne. 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.

Mainz offers a variety of museums and landmarks to choose from. It's an old university town with a number of historical sights. Check out the Church of St. Stephan, Mainz Cathedral, the Gutenberg Museum, and the Museum of Ancient Seafaring.


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

Mainz
Cologne

Mainz is well known for its restaurant scene. Also, Cologne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its local flavors and cuisine.

Dining out in Mainz is an experience not to be missed. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes that serve local food. There are also wine taverns where you can sample the local wines and dine of regional specialties.

There are plenty of up and coming restaurants around Cologne. 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.

Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Nightlife?

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is a very popular place for nightlife. However, Mainz is lacking in good options for nightlife and partying.

Cologne has a large number of nightlife venues. 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.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Mainz. It's a sleepy little town, so even locals often head to bigger cities for better nightlife.

Is Mainz or Cologne Better for its Old Town?

Mainz
Cologne

Mainz 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 Mainz. Filled with beautiful squares and cobblestone streets, this is a nice old town in a pleasant city.

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 Mainz or Cologne?

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is a very popular place for shopping. Also, Mainz is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting 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.

Mainz offers some nice shopping areas. Head to the boulevard of Am Brand near the cathedral for some of the town's best shopping. There are shops that line the street and it's a nice area to walk around.

Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Christmas?

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is terrific for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Mainz does not offer Christmas activities.

Cologne offers plenty of sights and activities around Christmas. 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.

Mainz does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Christmas Markets?

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is terrific for visiting Christmas markets. However, Mainz does not offer Christmas markets.

The Christmas markets in Cologne are not to be missed. 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.

Mainz does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Families?

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is a very popular place for its kid-friendly activities. However, Mainz is lacking in good options for its family-friendly activities.

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.

Mainz doesn't usually come to mind when thinking about kid-friendly destinations. Kids will enjoy the Gutenburg Museum and the outdoor spaces where they can run around. There's also a nice old town that everyone will have fun exploring.

Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Couples?

Mainz
Cologne

Mainz is well known for couples. Also, Cologne is still popular, but not quite as popular for romance.

Couples visit Mainz frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Located on the Rhine River, this scenic setting is popular for river cruises. The town is nice to explore on its own, or you can hop around and take in several of the German river towns. You can also sit at outdoor cafes and sip local wine.

Cologne is a nice destination for couples. 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.

Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Mainz
Cologne

Mainz and Cologne are both notable destinations for backpackers.

Mainz is a good town to visit for backpackers. The town is popular with river cruises but you'll also find a hostel or two where budget travelers can save some money and meet other backpackers.

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


Is Mainz or Cologne Better for Students?

Mainz
Cologne

Both Mainz and Cologne are excellent destinations for students.

Students come from all over to stay in Mainz. It's a university town with a pleasant atmosphere and a beautiful setting.

Many students visit Cologne. 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.

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

Mainz
Cologne

Cologne is terrific for times when you don't have a car. Also, Mainz is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its public transit.

The thorough and effecient public transit system of Cologne can take you anywhere. 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.

Public transit in Mainz can get you to some places easily. There are regional trains that make it easy to use Mainz as a base to explore the area, or you could visit Mainz as a day trip from another nearby town.

Is Mainz or Cologne a more walkable city?

Mainz
Cologne

Mainz is an unbeatable place for its ease of walking around. Also, Cologne is still popular, but not quite as popular for its walkability.

Getting around Mainz on foot is easy. The town is easily explored on foot.

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


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

Should I spend more time in Cologne or Mainz?

How long in Mainz or Cologne?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Mainz and Cologne. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Mainz than in Cologne. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Mainz, and 1-3 days is enough time in Cologne.

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

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

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Cologne than Mainz 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 Mainz or Cologne? Ideal Length of Stay
    Mainz 2-4 
    Cologne 1-3

One day in Mainz or Cologne?

In Mainz, you'll find museums and food. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. This town offers something for everyone. One day is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do.

Each neighborhood in Cologne has its own distinct appeal, so there are pleny of areas to explore. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Because of this, one day is usually enough time for a trip here.

A weekend in Mainz or Cologne?

In Mainz, 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 Mainz has to offer.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cologne. For many, it makes a great getaway for a weekend. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Five days in Mainz or Cologne?

Mainz 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.

Cologne is a fun place to experience. Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the big city destination of Cologne. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.


A week in Mainz or Cologne?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Mainz. Many people enjoy the museums and food when visiting Mainz. 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.

You'll find food and shopping around the fun big city of Cologne. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.


Which place is cheaper, Cologne or Mainz?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Mainz is €142, while the average daily cost in Cologne is €161. 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 Mainz and Cologne in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Mainz 74
    Cologne 91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Mainz 148
    Cologne 182
Compare Hotels in Mainz and Cologne

Looking for a hotel in Mainz or Cologne? 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 Mainz


Hotels in Cologne


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: Mainz Hotel Prices and Cologne Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Mainz 37
    Cologne 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cologne

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cologne:

  • Transfer from Cologne Airport CGN to Cologne City by Luxury Car: $83
  • Superior Private Transfer from Cologne City to Dortmund City: $64
  • Departure Private Transfer Cologne Airport CGN to Cologne by Car: $66
  • Cologne hotels to Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) - Departure Private Transfer: $49
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Cologne hotels - Round-trip Private Transfer : $99
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Cologne hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $49
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Bonn hotels - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $110
  • Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Bonn hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $55
  • Arrival Transfer Cologne Airport CGN to Cologne by Luxury Van: $88
  • Arrival Transfer Cologne Airport CGN to Cologne City by Sedan: $66

Is it cheaper to fly into Mainz or Cologne?

Prices for flights to both Cologne and Mainz 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
    Mainz 41
    Cologne 50

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
  • Sharing Plate Food Tour in Cologne: $77
  • 3-Hour Südstadt Food Tour: $485

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Mainz 33
    Cologne 20

Tours and Activities in Mainz

For Mainz, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Romantic Old Town Self-guided Discovery Tour: $7.44
  • Mainz Syndicate City Escape Game Self Guided Tour: $18
  • Guided tour in Mainz on the Rhine: $22
  • Crime-Tour - Escape Game: $42
  • Self-Guided Urban Adventure Game: $43
  • Urban Adventure Game in Mainz with an app: $44
  • Private custom tour with a local guide: $52
  • Murder Crime Game Self-Guided Interactive Tour: $74
  • Private Guided Walking Tour in Mainz: $82
  • 1 Hour Private Guided Tour: Gutenberg Museum Mainz : $132
  • 1 Hour Private Guided Tour: Landesmuseum Mainz: $132
  • 1 Hour Private Guided Tour: Cathedral and Diocesan Museum Mainz: $132

Tours and Activities in Cologne

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

  • 'Himmel und Koelle' Comedy Musical Tickets | Cologne: $64
  • 120min - Cologne City Tour: $154
  • 3 hour great Cologne harbor tour: $38
  • 3-Hour Cologne Street Art Bike Tour in Small Group with Guide: $44
  • 3-Hour Murder Mystery Interactive City Walking Tour in Köln: $76
  • Aachen City Hall tour (public): $20
  • Aachen Private Walking Tour With A Professional Guide: $232
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.58
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $12
  • Aachen old town tour - GERMAN (public): $13
  • Aachen: Walking Tour with Audio Guide on App: $11
  • Amusing Stories of Cologne Walking Tour: $13

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Mainz 22
    Cologne 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
  • Guided tour of the old town with a visit to the brewery in Cologne: $19
  • Entertaining Brewery Tour: Feel Good Package including local beer: $21
  • Old Town Walking Tour inkl Brewery Visit: $24
  • Brewery tour in Cologne including a variety of tastings: $26
  • South Cologne Walking Tour with brewery visit: $27
  • Pub Crawl Cologne Including Admission Fee for Bars and Shots: $27
  • Brewery Tour including Three "Kölsch" Tastings: $30
  • Brewery Tour with Beer Tasting and Halven Hahn: $31
  • The Legendary Kölsch Brewery Tour: $33
  • Colonia Tour: Explore Cologne by Segway with brewery beer tasting: $87
  • Walking Tour with Brewery Visit & Beer Tasting: $194


When comparing the travel costs between Mainz and Cologne, 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 Mainz Expensive? and Is Cologne Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Mainz or Cologne?

Cologne has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Mainz. When comparing the sizes of Mainz and Cologne, 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 Mainz or Cologne?

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 Mainz or Cologne in the Summer?

Both Cologne and Mainz during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Mainz for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Cologne in the summer for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Mainz is generally around the same temperature as Cologne. Daily temperatures in Mainz average around 19°C (66°F), and Cologne fluctuates around 19°C (66°F).

It's quite sunny in Mainz. In the summer, Mainz often gets more sunshine than Cologne. Mainz gets 225 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cologne receives 184 hours of full sun.

Mainz usually gets less rain in July than Cologne. Mainz gets 63 mm (2.5 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 80 mm (3.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


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

Should I visit Mainz or Cologne in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Mainz and Cologne. Many visitors come to Mainz in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Cologne for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Mainz is cooler than Cologne in the autumn. The daily temperature in Mainz averages around 11°C (51°F) in October, and Cologne fluctuates around 12°C (54°F).

Mainz usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Cologne during autumn. Mainz gets 103 hours of sunny skies, while Cologne receives 104 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Mainz usually receives around the same amount of rain as Cologne. Mainz gets 51 mm (2 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Mainz 11°C (51°F) 
    Cologne 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Mainz or Cologne in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Mainz as well as Cologne. Most visitors come to Mainz for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Cologne because of the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Cologne can be very cold. Mainz can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Mainz is much colder than Cologne. Typically, the winter temperatures in Mainz in January average around 2°C (35°F), and Cologne averages at about 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Mainz often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Cologne. Mainz gets 41 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cologne receives 43 hours of full sun.

Mainz usually gets less rain in January than Cologne. Mainz gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Mainz 2°C (35°F) 
    Cologne 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Mainz or Cologne in the Spring?

Both Cologne and Mainz are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Mainz because of the natural beauty. Also, the activities around the city and the natural beauty are the main draw to Cologne this time of year.

In April, Mainz is generally around the same temperature as Cologne. Daily temperatures in Mainz average around 11°C (51°F), and Cologne fluctuates around 10°C (50°F).

Mainz usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Cologne during spring. Mainz gets 163 hours of sunny skies, while Cologne receives 152 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Mainz usually receives around the same amount of rain as Cologne. Mainz gets 52 mm (2 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Mainz 11°C (51°F) 
    Cologne 10°C (50°F)

Typical Weather for Cologne and Mainz

Mainz Cologne
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 2°C (35°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 3°C (37°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Feb 3°C (38°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 4°C (39°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Mar 6°C (43°F) 51 mm (2 in) 7°C (44°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Apr 11°C (51°F) 52 mm (2 in) 10°C (50°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
May 14°C (58°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 14°C (58°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Jun 18°C (64°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 17°C (63°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Jul 19°C (66°F) 63 mm (2.5 in) 19°C (66°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 19°C (66°F) 65 mm (2.6 in) 19°C (66°F) 73 mm (2.9 in)
Sep 16°C (61°F) 48 mm (1.9 in) 16°C (61°F) 62 mm (2.5 in)
Oct 11°C (51°F) 51 mm (2 in) 12°C (54°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 6°C (42°F) 59 mm (2.3 in) 7°C (45°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Dec 2°C (36°F) 54 mm (2.1 in) 4°C (39°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)