A Travel Price Comparison for Germany Potsdam vs. Cologne for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Potsdam or Cologne?

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

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Potsdam and Cologne can help you decide which place is right for you.

Potsdam

Potsdam is a compact, park-filled, and historic city. Don't miss this spot, as it's a charming small town with plenty of activities. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Cologne

Cologne is a fun, accessible, and vibrant city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. And you can't forget about the shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Potsdam and Cologne: Pros and Cons

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


Is there more to do in Potsdam or Cologne?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Cologne than Potsdam, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Cologne is more popular for its nightlife, historical sights, shopping, christmas markets, and big city activities, while Potsdam is known for its food and small town charm. Cologne is more touristy than Potsdam and is known for its large and detailed cathedral, its festive Christmas markets, and its location along the Rhine River. It is also home to The Cologne Cathedral. Potsdam is popular for its beautiful palaces, scenic town center, and accessibility to Berlin.

The Cologne Cathedral
The Cologne Cathedral

How is Potsdam different from Cologne?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

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

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

Potsdam
Cologne

Plenty of people visit the great sights and museums in both Potsdam and Cologne.

Many visitors head to Potsdam specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. People visit this city for its high concentration of historic sights. The Renaissance Orangery Palace is a highlight of the visit for many travelers.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Cologne can be an interesting and educational experience. 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.


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

Potsdam
Cologne

Potsdam 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 Potsdam is an experience not to be missed. You'll find a diverse restaurant scene, although the city is quite small. There are international restaurants as well as local venues where you can try 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 Potsdam or Cologne Better for Nightlife?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is well known for nightlife and partying. Also, Potsdam is still popular, but not quite as popular for its evening party scene.

Cologne is a popular destination for visitors looking to party into the night. 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.

If you're looking for night time activities Potsdam has a few options to choose from. The city is not far from Berlin, so head in to Germany's nightlife capital for the most famous clubs and venues. In the town of Potsdam there are cocktail bars and breweries that make for a mellow and relaxed evening.

Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for its Old Town?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is very good for its old town. However, Potsdam does not have a historic old town.

Many people head to Cologne to see the 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.

Potsdam does not have a historic old town.


Is the Shopping Better in Potsdam or Cologne?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is well known for its shopping opportunities. Also, Potsdam is still popular, but not quite as popular for its shopping areas.

Cologne is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. 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.

Potsdam has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. There are plazas and shopping streets that have the standard chain stores as well as antique shops and other boutiques.

Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for Christmas?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is very popular for its Christmas activities. However, Potsdam does not offer Christmas activities.

During Christmas, Cologne is not to be missed. 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.

Potsdam does not offer Christmas activities.

Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for Christmas Markets?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is very popular for its Christmas markets. However, Potsdam 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.

Potsdam does not offer Christmas markets.


Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for Families?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is well known for its family-friendly activities. Also, Potsdam is still popular, but not quite as popular for its kid-friendly activities.

Cologne is a very kid-friendly city. 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.

Potsdam offers lots of family activities. There are a number of playgrounds around town as well as several beaches by lakes that are fun for kids. Another highlight for families is a visit to Babelsberg Film Studios.

Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for Couples?

Potsdam
Cologne

Both Potsdam and Cologne are good destinations to visit as a couple.

Potsdam makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Exploring the city and soaking up the sights is the best way for couples to enjoy their time. There are some nice hotels and restaurants in the area that make for a great date night.

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.

Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Potsdam
Cologne

Potsdam and Cologne are good places to visit for backpackers and budget travelers.

Potsdam is popular with backpackers and budget travelers. There are a handful of hostels to choose from in town.

It's common for backpackers to visit Cologne. There are a few good hostels around town and many free sights that make this a budget-friendly destination for backpackers.


Is Potsdam or Cologne Better for Students?

Potsdam
Cologne

Cologne is well known for students. However, Potsdam is not popular with students.

Cologne is very popular with students. 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.

Potsdam is not popular with students.

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

Potsdam
Cologne

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

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 Potsdam can get you to most places easily. The city is well connected to Berlin by S-Bahn and bus.

Is Potsdam or Cologne a more walkable city?

Potsdam
Cologne

Potsdam and Cologne both are great when exploring on foot.

Potsdam is a very walkable city. It's a smaller, compact city that can mostly be explored 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.


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

Should I spend more time in Cologne or Potsdam?

How long in Potsdam or Cologne?

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

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

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

One day in Potsdam or Cologne?

In Potsdam, you'll find nightlife and food. 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.

Because Cologne is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. 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 Potsdam or Cologne?

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

Because Cologne is a large city, there are a variety of ways to spend your time. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. A weekend here is typical. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Cologne has to offer.

Five days in Potsdam or Cologne?

Potsdam is a great place to explore. 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 great place to explore. 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 Potsdam or Cologne?

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

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Cologne. Many people enjoy the museums and nightlife when visiting Cologne. 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 Coach Bus Tours in Germany, The Best Adventure Tours to Germany, The Best Cultural Tours in Germany, and The Best Vineyard & Wine Tours in Germany.


Which place is cheaper, Cologne or Potsdam?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Potsdam is €111, 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 Potsdam and Cologne in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Potsdam 60
    Cologne 91
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Potsdam 120
    Cologne 182
Compare Hotels in Potsdam and Cologne

Looking for a hotel in Potsdam 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 Potsdam


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: Potsdam Hotel Prices and Cologne Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Potsdam 28
    Cologne 19

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Potsdam

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Potsdam:

  • Berlin Airport Departure Transfer from Potsdam Hotels: $172
  • Departure Airport Transfer from Potsdam Hotels to Berlin BER Airport: $172
  • Private Transfer from Potsdam to Berlin Tegel Airport: $159

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Cologne

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Cologne:

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

Is it cheaper to fly into Potsdam or Cologne?

Prices for flights to both Cologne and Potsdam 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
    Potsdam 31
    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
  • Köln Südstadt kulinarisch – Die Food Tour: $48
  • 3-Hour Südstadt Food Tour: $479

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Potsdam 25
    Cologne 20

Tours and Activities in Potsdam

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

  • Baroque Buildings Self-Guided Mobile Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Sanssouci Park: A Self-Guide Audio Tour of the Garden's Landmarks: $5.99
  • Sanssouci Park Self-Guided Gardens Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Beautiful Baroque A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $5.99
  • Self-Guided Walking Tour of City Center: $8.41
  • Museum Barberini Entrance Ticket: $11
  • Brandenburg Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $11
  • Cecilienhof Castle Entrance Ticket: $13
  • Biosphäre Potsdam Entry Ticket: $15
  • In the Forbidden City - Potsdam Walking Tour: $20
  • City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $21
  • City Sightseeing Potsdam Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour: $22

Tours and Activities in Cologne

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

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.19
  • Original funky-fun Free Tour of Cologne: $3.19
  • Germany eSIM Tourist Roaming Data Plan: $4.26
  • Smartphone Scavenger Hunt Sightseeing Tour: $5.85
  • City Exploration Game and Tour on your Phone: $6.33
  • Cologne Scavenger Hunt and Self Guided Walking Tour on your Phone: $6.52
  • Cologne Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.53
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Best Landmarks Self-Guided Tour: $6.53
  • Highlights Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $6.92
  • Horrors of World War II Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.44
  • Aachen Scavenger Hunt and Self Guided Walking Tour on your Phone: $7.51
  • Cologne Self Guided Walking Tour Discovering the Horrors of WWII: $7.61

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Potsdam 6.70
    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
  • 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 we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Potsdam and Cologne, we can see that Cologne is more expensive. And not only is Potsdam much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Potsdam would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Potsdam and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Cologne would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Cologne than you might in Potsdam.

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


Which is Bigger, Potsdam or Cologne?

Cologne has a larger population, and is about 7 times larger than the population of Potsdam. When comparing the sizes of Potsdam 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 Potsdam or Cologne?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Potsdam or Cologne in the Summer?

Both Cologne and Potsdam are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Potsdam for the small town charm and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Cologne because of the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

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

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Potsdam. Potsdam usually receives more sunshine than Cologne during summer. Potsdam gets 232 hours of sunny skies, while Cologne receives 184 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Potsdam usually receives less rain than Cologne. Potsdam gets 52 mm (2 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 80 mm (3.1 in) of rain each month for the summer.


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

Should I visit Potsdam or Cologne in the Autumn?

Both Cologne and Potsdam during the autumn are popular places to visit. The autumn months attract visitors to Potsdam because of the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, 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.

In October, Potsdam is generally cooler than Cologne. Daily temperatures in Potsdam average around 10°C (51°F), and Cologne fluctuates around 12°C (54°F).

In the autumn, Potsdam often gets more sunshine than Cologne. Potsdam gets 114 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cologne receives 104 hours of full sun.

Potsdam usually gets less rain in October than Cologne. Potsdam gets 36 mm (1.4 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 54 mm (2.1 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Potsdam 10°C (51°F) 
    Cologne 12°C (54°F)

Should I visit Potsdam or Cologne in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Potsdam and Cologne. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Potsdam this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Cologne for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Cologne. It's quite cold in Potsdam in the winter. Potsdam is much colder than Cologne in the winter. The daily temperature in Potsdam averages around -0°C (31°F) in January, and Cologne fluctuates around 3°C (37°F).

Potsdam usually receives more sunshine than Cologne during winter. Potsdam gets 47 hours of sunny skies, while Cologne receives 43 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Potsdam usually receives less rain than Cologne. Potsdam gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 61 mm (2.4 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Potsdam -0°C (31°F) 
    Cologne 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Potsdam or Cologne in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Potsdam as well as Cologne. Many travelers come to Potsdam for the small town charm and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Cologne in the spring for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Potsdam is cooler than Cologne. Typically, the spring temperatures in Potsdam in April average around 9°C (48°F), and Cologne averages at about 10°C (50°F).

In the spring, Potsdam often gets more sunshine than Cologne. Potsdam gets 168 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Cologne receives 152 hours of full sun.

Potsdam usually gets less rain in April than Cologne. Potsdam gets 44 mm (1.7 in) of rain, while Cologne receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Potsdam 9°C (48°F) 
    Cologne 10°C (50°F)

Typical Weather for Cologne and Potsdam

Potsdam Cologne
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -0°C (31°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 3°C (37°F) 61 mm (2.4 in)
Feb 1°C (34°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 4°C (39°F) 48 mm (1.9 in)
Mar 5°C (40°F) 39 mm (1.5 in) 7°C (44°F) 63 mm (2.5 in)
Apr 9°C (48°F) 44 mm (1.7 in) 10°C (50°F) 55 mm (2.2 in)
May 14°C (57°F) 61 mm (2.4 in) 14°C (58°F) 68 mm (2.7 in)
Jun 17°C (63°F) 69 mm (2.7 in) 17°C (63°F) 76 mm (3 in)
Jul 19°C (66°F) 52 mm (2 in) 19°C (66°F) 80 mm (3.1 in)
Aug 19°C (65°F) 60 mm (2.4 in) 19°C (66°F) 73 mm (2.9 in)
Sep 15°C (59°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 16°C (61°F) 62 mm (2.5 in)
Oct 10°C (51°F) 36 mm (1.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 54 mm (2.1 in)
Nov 5°C (41°F) 47 mm (1.9 in) 7°C (45°F) 65 mm (2.6 in)
Dec 1°C (34°F) 56 mm (2.2 in) 4°C (39°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)