With Cologne's RheinEnergieStadion set to host games at UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany, get clued up on the stadium and the city in our guides.
Currently known as the RheinEnergieStadion, the 50,000-capacity stadium in the west of the city was originally opened in 1923 but most recently underwent renovations in preparation for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. It hosted five games in that tournament, as well as three in the FIFA Confederations Cup the previous year. Recognisable by its four illuminated towers in the corners of the stadium, the ground is known for its vibrant atmosphere with the stands and fans very close to the pitch.
Watch: Inside the home of Cologne
Matches to be played there:
Group A – 15 June
Group A – 19 June
Group E – 22 June
Group C – 25 June
Round of 16 – 30 June
How to get to Cologne:
Cologne/Bonn Airport is a hub for European low-cost flights, allowing easy transfers from long-haul routes into Europe. While there are no longer any direct connections to North America or beyond the Middle East, Cologne is within an hour’s train ride of Dusseldorf and Frankfurt airports, of which there are frequent, direct services. These airports do provide intercontinental flights with a number of destinations in the USA and the rest of the world on offer. Köln Hauptbahnhof and Köln Messe/Deutz are also two of Germany’s busiest train stations, located either side of the Rhine, with frequent national and international services.
How to get to the RheinEnergieStadion:
The RheinEnergieStadion is located to the west of the city centre and can be reached using line 1 of the tram system and the nearest station is called RheinEnergieStadion. It is roughly 25 minutes away from Neumarkt in the centre heading towards Weiden West.
Once in Cologne…
Things to see and do (apart from the football!):
Pretty much the first thing you see upon arriving in Cologne – or Köln, in German – is the two spires of its famous cathedral – the Kölner Dom – that dominates the city skyline. The world’s third-tallest church is one of Germany’s most visited landmarks, and you can climb the 533 steps to the top of the south tower. Although the Gothic architecture may scream German to you, Cologne is perhaps one of the least German places in the country. The people do things their own way, as evidenced in the annual Carnival – referred to as Cologne’s ‘fifth season’ – where the city turns into Europe’s party and fancy dress capital and you’ll be greeted by everyone with the local phrase ‘Kölle Alaaf!’.
Although that all culminates in one week in January, the Carnival atmosphere exists all year in Cologne, with bars and beer halls always lively hubs. But for those in search of something sweeter, head straight to the chocolate museum located on the river front to stock up on gifts to take home – if you don’t finish them off before then. The museum – one of many in Cologne that also include one of Roman ruins in the area and one looking at Nazi rule in the city inside a former Gestapo headquarters – is located next to one of the city’s numerous Christmas markets that run through November and December.
The local cuisine:
After a late night at the football, Kölner Krüstchen – a pork schnitzel (breaded escalope) and a runny fried egg atop toasted rye bread - is a great way to start the day. Mettbrötchen – raw minced meat with onions on bread – Reibekuchen (potato and onion pancakes) – and the deep-fried sweet dough, Mandelmutzen, are more classics. Asparagus season is serious business in the warmer months. Last but by no means least, beer drinkers have to try Kölsch - a top-fermented lager, served in 0.2 and 0.4 ‘Stange’ glasses. Be warned, though: the drinks will keep coming until you put a coaster over your empty glass. And never say you prefer Altbier, the beverage of choice up the river in Düsseldorf.
Check out the rest of our Euro 2024 city guides:
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