Climbing to the top of Cologne cathedral

The final viewing platform in the tower of Cologne cathedral is one hundred metres above street level. To get there you have to climb exactly 533 steps.

On the way, unless you choose a nice cold winter day, be prepared to get hot and sweaty. The spiral staircase is fairly narrow with just about enough space to pass but best to leave your wheely suitcase in the hotel. Especially since you’re not even supposed to be taking a backpack, although they turned a blind eye when I went up.

A couple of roomy rest stops, both near the top are a welcome and interesting break. The bell chamber contains what you might expect, while a huge vaulted ceiling at the next stop cannot fail to impress.

At the very top, the best view is North along the Rhine or out over the cathedral rooftops towards the Hohenzollern Bridge and the other excellent viewing platform in the city. That’s the one with a lift by the way. And at the time of writing it was even a euro cheaper.

Cologne cathedral always makes me look up. I don’t think you can help it. Interesting then that there are intricate carvings facing in towards the building that are only really visible to the modern day tourist climbing the tower. I find it amazing that so much effort was put in to make the towers perfectly symmetrical even when nobody was expected to see a good proportion of the sculptures.

It was also interesting to note where the building was missing substantial lumps of masonry.

As a final comfort, although on this occasion I did not need it, there is a defibrillator at the top.

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