Accommodation in Cologne

Updated 2024-03-22 12:35

Cologne is one of Germany's top destinations for visitors and expats. It is the largest city in the North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth city, by population, in Germany, making it a very attractive expat destination. Cologne is just a few hours away by road from Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France, which facilitates regular business travel within Europe. Cologne offers all kinds of study and job opportunities along with an affordable cost of living.

Finding accommodation in Cologne takes a bit of knowledge and patience. The good thing is that Cologne's developed transportation network allows you to rent a place outside the center without compromising comfort. For example, many students commute from Aachen, Wuppertal, and Bochum, which are about an hour away by public transport. 

Popular neighborhoods in Cologne

Cologne is considered safe and welcoming. The city is divided into nine districts, namely Innenstadt, Rodenkirchen, Lindenthal, Ehrenfeld, Nippes, Chorweiler, Kalk, Porz, and Mülheim. These are, in turn, subdivided into 86 neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are divided into even smaller segments (i.e., Veedel – in the Kölsch dialect), which describe the immediate surroundings of one's area. Some segments or quarters are very active and busy, while others are quiet and peaceful. Leverkusen, Bergisch Gladbach, Ehrenfeld, Neustadt-Nord, the Old Town, and Deutz are the most popular neighborhoods among expatriates. Sülz, Klettenberg, and Lindenthal are primarily residential neighborhoods.

Nordstadt is right in the inner city next to the Rhine, and it is still fairly quiet. In Neustadt-Nord, you will find not only large firms and media companies but also restaurants, nightclubs, bars, theatres, and residential buildings. It's a modern and vibrant neighborhood that regularly hosts musical and artistic events. This part of the city has many landmarks, such as the KölnTurm (i.e., the Cologne Tower), which is a skyscraper hosting media offices and a restaurant on the 30th floor with spectacular views. 

Belgisches Viertel, Ehrenfeld, Sülz, Lindenthal, and Nippes are some of the most attractive neighborhoods. Located close to the city center and organized with very good infrastructure (e.g., tram, parks, excellent restaurants, beautiful playgrounds, pubs, etc.), they offer fun for all kinds of tastes and ages. The quality of life here is higher, which is also reflected in the higher cost of living. The trendy quarter Belgisches Viertel has its own city charm and attracts hipsters, the creative and media crowd, as well as young fashion designers and artists. It's cosmopolitan and contemporary, offering everything from large and small theatres, clubs, and bars to green spaces and recreation areas for relaxation. Ehrenfeld is up and coming for its diversity, artistic, and welcoming character. The neighborhood is full of bars and exclusive restaurants.

Many locals are convinced that Südstadt is the “real Cologne” with its great pub culture, small shops, relaxed and informal atmosphere, and residents from all walks of life. The Südstadt has become a carnival center, where every year in the “fifth season” (i.e., 11 November), the people of Cologne celebrate on the streets and in their favorite pubs. Deutz, on the riverbank opposite the city center, is famous for its fairs, as well as for night events and sporting activities, which are regularly held there. Deutz also has vast green spaces and is an important business center and a transportation hub. Lindenthal, Klettenberg, and Weiden are known to be quiet neighborhoods. Weiden is accessible by public transport and has many houses, a shopping center, a golf course, and other green spaces. Lindenthal has a beautiful canal leading to the Institute of Biology of Cologne University, and Klettenberg has natural parks and small forests.

Good to know:

Some say that neighborhoods such as Chorweiler, Ostendorf, Ostheim, Vingst, and Kalk should be avoided after dark for security reasons, but this is generally just precautionary. Cologne is a safe city compared to many others around the world.

Rent prices in Cologne

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Cologne will cost you about 1100 euros, whereas a same-sized apartment outside the center will cost 750 euros on average. Student accommodation in Cologne is in high demand and relatively expensive when compared to other German cities. The good news is that Cologne offers many employment opportunities to students. Besides jobs in the hospitality industry, media students stand great chances of being employed by one of the media giants based in Cologne, such as WDR and RTL. In any case, if you want to make sure that the rent you have been asked to pay is within reasonable limits, you can check with the Cologne Rent Index, which is updated every two years by the Rheinische Immobilienbörse in cooperation with the house and landowner associations, the tenants association, and the city of Cologne.

Good to know: 

According to estimations, the population of Cologne is expected to reach 1.2 million by 2040 — about 200,000 people more than today's inhabitants. This increase will result in higher demand for housing and, therefore, higher rent prices.  

Finding accommodation in Cologne

Start your accommodation search well in advance on the internet and by checking out classified ads. Consider posting ads yourself and check local newspapers, for example, the Kölner Stadtanzeiger, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you are already in Cologne, consider registering with a real estate agency, and they will help you get to know the different areas of the city. You will thus have more chances of finding accommodation according to your criteria. The easiest research is obviously done online on popular German websites, such as the ones provided in the useful links. Be careful with scams, never sign a contract, and pay before visiting the apartment and checking the conditions of the contract. You can also contact a real estate agency, which might help if you don't know the city well. 

Useful links:






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