Cologne is known for many things — it’s the fourth largest city in Germany, home to 12 beautiful Romanesque churches, the gay capital of Germany, and it has an interesting relationship with scent!
The city’s relationship with scent was news to me, and maybe to you, but I should’ve guessed it — Eau de Cologne does mean water from Cologne. In 1709, a homesick Italian, Giovanni Maria Farin, decided to concoct a scent that reminded him of his Italian hometown. He aptly named it Eau de Cologne and said it smelled of an “Italian spring morning, mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain.” His scent became famous worldwide.
But, in the eighteenth century, competition arose, bringing the world the most renowned fragrance, Original Eau de Cologne 4711. Both scents are still produced in Cologne, and you can even visit the 4711 store (it is vegan and cruelty-free too).
Exploring scent might not be your thing, and that’s ok because there is plenty more to do and vegan food to eat! This vegan travel guide to Cologne is full of vegan restaurants, bakeries, hotel suggestions, things to do, and more! You’ll find everything you need to plan your adventure.
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Tip: Depending on when you visit, Cologne’s Christmas Markets are known as some of the best in Germany. The larger market takes over the city center while others pop up in various neighborhoods. The market usually kicks off in late November and runs through December.
Vegan Restaurants in Cologne
This vegan guide to Cologne is full of amazing food options — from nutrient-dense juices to greasy fries and everything in between!
Am Rinkenpfuhl 57, Cologne, Germany
This vegan Vietnamese restaurant has a huge menu — you’re in for a treat! Enjoy sweet and savory veggie beef, lucky rolls filled with crispy, house-made veggie fish, and crunchy mii noodles — plus so much more! I think it’s best to go multiple times or go very hungry!
Wiersbergstrasse 31, Cologne
With a name like that, how can you not check it out!? This little vegan pub serves a great selection of junk food like burgers, chili cheese fries, gyros, schnitzel, and more!
Venloer Str. 456, 50825 Cologne
Luckily, many Middle Eastern dishes are vegan, but Vegan Food Revolution took it one more step and omitted all animal products! You can enjoy flavorful Turkish specialties like Cig Köfte, Turkish meatballs filled with bulgur, nuts, and spices and finished with a pomegranate sauce to traditional falafel, hummus, and more.
Mauritiussteinweg 2, 50676 Cologne
Forget about basic avocado rolls; this Japanese restaurant has reinvented traditional sushi with a vegan spin! The extensive menu features a fantastic mix of colorful house-made rolls and traditional dishes.
Brüsseler Str. 29, 50674 Cologne
The charming vegan cafe is perfect for a casual breakfast or lunch. The menu features waffles, sandwiches, beautiful cakes, and more.
Am Rinkenpfuhl 55, 50676 Köln, Germany
This modern vegan Asian spot has a little bit of everything to delight its guests! Start with a mix of Asian tapas, then move on to veggie-packed bowls, noodles, and sushi. Don’t skip their house-made mochi!
Ludwigstraße 11, 50667 Cologne
The beautiful plant-based buffet is overflowing with options from fresh salads to hearty curries and everything in between at this vegan spot. Just grab a plate and start loading it up!
Hohenzollernring 21-23, 50672 Köln, Germany
If you’ve been to a Vegan Junk Food Bar location in Amsterdam or Barcelona, then you know you’re in for a treat! The veganized junk food menu doesn’t disappoint — loaded Frech fries, McCruelty Free burgers, mac-n-cheze Betterballs, and more!
Hospeltstraße 1, 50825 Cologne
This casual vegan restaurant is the perfect place to indulge in a fantastic selection of burgers — pulled BBQ jackfruit, crispy chick’n, red bean Italian-inspired burgers, and more! Make sure you leave a little room for one of their fudgy brownies!
Josephskirchstraße 25, 51103 Cologne
This cozy Japanese noodle bar features a seasonal menu of udon bowls, tempura veggies, and more.
Vegetarian Restaurants in Cologne
Roonstraße 3, 50674 Cologne
This vegetarian Indian restaurant features loads of traditional dishes, including samosas, vegan paneer, curry, and much more.
Roonstraße 36, 50674 Cologne
You’ll immediately be charmed by this pastel pink vegetarian restaurant as soon as you walk in their door. Their menu revolves around crowd-pleasing hummus — straight up with veggies and fresh bread or classic Middle Eastern favorites.
Kartäuserwall 7-11, 50678 Cologne
This long-time vegetarian café specializes in health-conscious salads, sandwiches, and small plates. The menu is well-marked for vegan and gluten-free options.
Friesenwall 29, 50672 Cologne
Experience gorgeous Vietnamese specialties at this vegetarian spot! Their menu delights veggie and veg-curious diners with savory curries, fried spring rolls, steamed bao, and more.
Vegan Breakfast & Brunch Spots in Cologne
If you’re in need of a fruity bowl of crispy waffle to get your day started, check out these awesome vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Cologne!
Ritterstraße 27, 50668 Cologne
The only cat café in Cologne serves delicious vegan breakfast and lunch dishes served by the world’s best servers — cats! Need I say more?
Brüsseler Str. 29, 50674 Cologne
This chic little café in the hip Belgian Quarter is a great place to start the day with fresh juice, hot coffee, and a golden waffle!
Klingelpütz 10, 50670 Köln, Germany
This breakfast and lunch spot is known for its colorful lineup of healthy plant-based fare! Start your day with a house-made quiche, coffee, or one of their beautiful pastries!
Friesenstr. 75, Cologne
If you’re a coffee lover, you might not want to miss this café! They say they have the finest coffee in Cologne, along with pastries, toasts, crepes, and more.
Kartäuserwall 7-11, 50678 Cologne
A vegan brunch buffet!? Count me in! Every Saturday and Sunday morning, this popular spot offers its special brunch buffet, and one side of the buffet is always vegan.
Venloer Str. 432, 50825 Köln, Germany
This vegan-friendly French-inspired café has excellent options to start your day. From a hearty full vegan breakfast feast to house-made granola with soy yogurt, you’ll find something you will love!
Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Bakeries & Ice Cream in Cologne
If you’re craving a slice of decadent vegan chocolate cake or a house-made waffle cone filled with creamy soft serve, you’re in luck; you’ll find both in Cologne!
Händelstraße 55, 50674 Köln, Germany
This cute vegan café (they also have a bakery truck!) will delight you with flaky croissants, chocolate donuts, and gorgeous house-made sandwiches.
Schillingstraße 23, 50670 Köln, Germany
You must come here when you’re craving chocolate-covered and cream-filled donut delights! This vegan donut and coffee shop has an irresistible lineup of house-made donuts — don’t miss out!
Ritterstraße 52, 50668 Cologne
You’ll find a tempting selection of rotating vegan sweets here — pastries, cakes, tarts, and more!
Kettengasse 2, 50672 Köln, Germany
You’ll want to check this bakery out if you’re vegan and gluten-free! The gluten-free bakery is very vegan-friendly; you’ll find luscious chocolates, cakes, and more! They also have an amazing vegan-friendly location in Hamburg, too!
Venloer Str. 402, 50825 Köln, Germany
This popular ice cream spot has a great selection of creamy vegan options and vegan waffle cones!
Breite Str. 29, 50667 Köln, Germany
This vegan-friendly ice cream spot is known for Instagram-worthy sweets! For something simple, go for their soy or coconut soft serve, but for something over the top, you can’t miss their vegan bubble waffle cone filled with soft serve ice cream and a gorgeous assortment of fruits!
Vegan-Friendly Hotels in Cologne
Severinstr, Kleine Spitzengasse 199, 50676 Köln, Germany
This budget-friendly, modern hotel is an easy 20-minute walk to the city center. Just outside the hotel is the Severinstrasse metro station, just in case you don’t want to walk or want to get somewhere quickly. The hotel offers a breakfast buffet with a few vegan options — fruits, cereals, and bread. Perfect if you have to get up and moving fast; otherwise, you can get something heartier at one of the many vegan cafes!
Bahnhofsvorpl., 50667 Köln, Germany
If you want to be right in the heart of the city and near the main train station, check out this ibis location (there are multiple throughout the city). The hotel chain is well known for its modern, budget-friendly rooms. Like the Mercure, it also offers a morning breakfast buffet with a few vegan options to help get you going.
What To Do in Cologne
#1 Visit the beautiful Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
You can’t miss this beautiful cathedral; it towers over the city and makes itself known from just about every vantage point. This UNESCO World Heritage site is open daily for tours but what you really don’t want to miss are the views from the South Tower. For €3, you can climb the 533 steps to enjoy impressive city views (tours of the cathedral are also available for €10). On a clear day, they say you can see the seven mountains called the Siebengebirge. Please note this is very popular. If available, I would book ahead or get in line early. Monday – Saturday, it opens at 6 am and Sunday at 1 pm.
#2 Shop & wander the streets of the Belgian Quarter
Skip buying souvenirs in the main tourist areas and head to hip and trendy, The Belgian Quarter. Filled with chic shops, street art, and cafes, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon shopping and eating. At night it comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene with many parties, events, and nightclubs.
#3 Explore the quaint Old Town
The Old Town of Cologne is a network of cobblestone alleys filled with cafes, pubs, restaurants, and more. It has not always looked this postcard-perfect; during WWII, most of the city was destroyed, including the Old Town. In 1945 the city was rebuilt and restored to its original glory and beauty.
#4 Capture Instagram worthy views of the city from Köln Triangle
Across the Rhine River, The Köln Triangle offers visitors the opportunity to go up 29 floors to see the city. The view will cost you €5, but it’s worth it, especially if you cannot get into the South Tower of the Cologne Cathedral.
#5 Enjoy the beauty of the Botanical Gardens (Flora und Botanischer Garten Köln)
If you enjoy plants and nature or want a break from the city, this is the place to come. The gardens are home to more than 10,000 native and exotic plants. Depending on the time of year you visit, there are beautiful Alpine and Dahlia gardens, with over 300 varieties of dahlias. Oh, and I buried the best part, a visit to this beautiful place is free.
How to Get Around Cologne
Cologne has an excellent public transit network; it is easy to get from sight to sight or city to city. If you’re coming from the Cologne Bonn Airport, the easiest way to the city center is by taking the S Bahn or Regional Express Train. You can get to Cologne Central Station from the airport in about 15 minutes. The ticket is approximately €8 and can be purchased at the airport train station; there are trains almost every 10 minutes.
Once you’re in the city, I suggest walking; we didn’t use the metro or tram much during our stay, just a couple of times. A single ticket is €3, and when purchasing the ticket from the kiosk, make sure to select price category 1b; this covers all of Cologne. A four-day adult ticket is €12. Tickets can be easily purchased from ticket kiosks inside the stations. Tram tickets can also be purchased on board.
As I mentioned earlier, Cologne is well connected through the network of regional and ICE trains. It is easy to plan a day trip from Cologne or tag on other stops from Cologne. For instance, we came from Heidelberg (Check out our vegan guide to Heidelberg), which is about 3 hours by train, and then continued onto Amsterdam (vegan guide for Amsterdam too!), which is also about 3 hours.
Should I Get a KölnCard
A KölnCard is an excellent option for tourists who plan to see many main attractions and want to use public transportation. The ticket is available for 24 or 48 hours and offers 50% off at many museums, restaurants, shops, and attractions and free use of the public transportation system. A 24-hour ticket is € 9, and a 48-hour ticket is €18. The tickets can be purchased online, at the Tourist Board Service Center across from the cathedral, and at all KVB and DB ticket kiosks.
Exploring More of Germany or Europe?
There are so many lovely vegan-friendly cities and towns that you must explore when you visit Germany and the rest of Europe! If you’re considering adding other stops aside from Cologne, check out our other vegan travel guides!
Vegan Ultimate Vegan Travel Guide to Munich
The Complete Vegan Travel Guide to Hamburg
Vegan Best Berlin Vegan Travel Guide
Vegan Travel Guide to Heidelberg
The Perfect Warsaw Vegan Travel Guide
11 Vegan-Friendly Hotels to Visit in London
The Complete Vienna Vegan Travel Guide
The Best Vegan Travel Guide to Budapest
The Best Restaurants for Vegan Brunch in Berlin
Where to Grab The Best Vegan Breakfast Eats in Hamburg