Walking and hiking is my only, well, sport, so I’m lucky that there are quite a few nice trails around Cologne. Some of my favourites are even accessible by tram. Line 12 goes north from Ebertplatz, through the northern suburbs and then the massive Ford factory next to the Rhine, and finally the large Leverkusener Bridge. From the last tram stop ‘Merkenich’ the river is just five minutes away and can easily be followed through the many small bays formed by the different water levels (which are also perfect for barbecues in summer), or by walking along the Kasselberger Weg riverside path. Along the way you pass the ‘Kasselberger Gretchen’, a traditional bar and restaurant where a Kölsch is always at hand if you require refreshments, a Romanic church from the 12th century with some nice facade details including small skulls, and many markers indicating the dramatic height of past spring floods – floods that plague Cologne to this day.
You can then either walk on towards Worringen and the nearest train stop through the ‘Bruch’, a nature reserve, or take a short ferry ride to the other side of the river and loop back to the tram stop in Merkenich. A pleasant walk in all weathers and seasons.