As the FIFA World Cup 2006 descends upon the 12 host cities of Germany, some of the most prominent cities such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt will barely bat an eyelid seasoned as they are to staging events on a world stage. For other cities, this is the culmination of arduous preparation and planning and for one or two the month in the spotlight might just be enough to propel them into the league of internationally renowned cities.Cologne is Germany's longest established cities. It is a city of deep historical ties and cultural depth. The spires of the cathedral are the symbol of Cologne and one of the most recognised landmarks in Germany. As Germany's fourth largest city, Cologne is ready to promote itself on an international stage and attract some of the long weekend tourism that the aforementioned cities receive.
Tourism is alive and kicking in Cologne and peaks in the winter as bus loads from the UK, France and Scandanavia visit the city's Christmas markets. There is a feeling in Cologne that it is just perhaps not at the same level as its counterparts and that a spectacle such as the World Cup might just prove to be a tipping point in the fortunes of Cologne.Cologne will play host to 5 World Cup matches and will derive its share of the anticipated 3-4 million fans set to descend on Germany this summer. Cologne is a pleasant, attractive city with much to offer even the most casual or distracted of visitor and is well geared for tourism. With over 250 hotels in the city and additional accommodation added in preparation for the tournament the infrastructure for tourism in Cologne is on a par with any major city in Europe. Accommodation will be stretched in and around the time of the World Cup and late bookers and prospective visitors would be well advised to check out major hotel websites and the Cologne city authority site (http://www.
koeln.de ) for up to the minute information and advice.Cologne is well served by a large international airport offering domestic flights to other host cities as well as extensive destinations throughout Europe and beyond.
The city is also well served by regional train and autobahn networks and its situation in central western Germany make it a good base to follow your team by car. Most of the major car hire firms have a presence in the city and this may be a good option for those traversing the nation to follow their teams' fortunes.
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By: Sam Lowes