Video: Scenes from Bear Pride Cologne 2005
Video: Cologne Gay Pride parade 2014
Although situated in Western Germany, Cologne is sometimes called the ›most southern city of Germany‹. That is partly because the people in Cologne tend to be more easy-going and approachable than in other German cities. And they love to imitate the Southern European lifestyle – as soon as two rays of sunshine hit the city you will see some tables outside in front of many cafes and bars.
Cologne had been extensively destroyed during World War II. And the paradigm of the first after-war and ›Wirtschaftswunder‹ decades to replace everything old by something new unfortunately did the rest to prevent Cologne from becoming one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Germany. For the sight-seeing traveller it hasn't much to offer besides the Cathedral, an UNESCO World Heritage site, a wide range of high quality art galleries and museums, and a few other attractions.
But Cologne more than compensates for this with its more friendly and easy-going atmosphere. As one result Cologne became the gay capital of the western part of Germany. Its big rival in the East, Berlin, is bigger, more dynamic and vibrant, which makes the Cologne gay scene look more provincial – but also more familiar and warmer.
Our Cologne Gay Map shows the two major gay areas in Cologne: Many of the cafes, bars and clubs around Rudolfplatz have started during the last twenty years and have a rather modern style. Traditional pubs and bars for mixed ages are located mainly in the Old Town.
If you like your travel destinations crowded and with a million people partying on the streets and in the pubs, then the Carnival in winter and the Cologne Gay Pride in summer are made for you. More information on these events on our Tips page.
Other popular annual gay highlights in Cologne are the Leather Pride week in May and the Bear Pride weekend in November. In summer 2010 Cologne hosted the VIII. Gay Games, the largest gay sports event in the world.