The Ultimate Gay Travel Guide
The Gay Passport is your complete Gay Travel Guide. Looking to Drink, Play or Sleep we have reviews to help. Award-winning & Updated 2023.
Cologne has the distinct advantage of being home to not one, but two gayborhoods. One is located in the heart of the Old Town (Altstadt), around Heumarkt-Mathiasstrasse. This area is most popular with older gays and bears, although you will spot some young crowds here as well. All of the city’s cruise bars are in this part of town. As well as being particularly picturesque, Altstaft is near the Rhine, the cathedral, and several museums, meaning it is a great area to stay for sightseeing.
The other gay Cologne neighborhood is a bit further west, concentrating around Rudolfplatz. The grouping of gay bars in this area is sometimes referred to as the “Bermuda Triangle”, and is mostly made up of spots popular with a young, trendy crowd. Two of the city’s gay saunas are in this area.
It’s worth pointing out that Cologne’s city center, while not small by any means, is not particularly spread out. About a 20-minute walk separates both neighborhoods, choosing one will not exactly exclude you from enjoying the other.
Legally, all hotels in Cologne are gay-friendly. Germany has generally progressive LGBT laws with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is illegal.
Cologne is one of Germany’s most liberal and open-minded cities and is home to a significant LGBT population, a thriving and vast gay scene, and a large chunk of the country’s pink tourism.
Cologne has two gayborhoods. One is located in the heart of the Old Town (Altstadt), around Heumarkt-Mathiasstrasse and the other is further west, around Rudolfplatz is sometimes referred to as the “Bermuda Triangle”. However, the two gayborhoods are only a 20-minute walk between them so choosing a hotel in either one will not stop you from enjoying the other.
Some of the hotels in this list are positioned between the two neighborhoods and will show up in both location filters. These hotels can be if ideal if you don’t have a preference or spot a bargain at your ideal hotel.
This ibis hotel is located about a 10-minute walk from the Rudolplatz gay bars and no more than 20 minutes from the other gayborhood in Altstadt. Plus, the closest tram station, Batbarossaplatz, is just a couple of minutes from the hotel. Rooms are decorated in a modern and minimalist style and are compact yet well-designed. As is usual with ibis, there is a selection of themed “MyRoom” options, for those who like their decor more unique.
This hostel stands out thanks to its incredible design, with creative themed rooms that range from the inside of a spaceship to a fairytale forest. Even the dorms are fun and unique, each based on performance arts like cinema, theater, and the circus. Choose from a single, double, triple, or quadruple room, or book a cozy bunk bed in one of the dorms. Every bunk has privacy curtains, a reading light, and a plug, and they are wider and more comfortable than most dorm beds. Bathrooms are all shared and kept in tip-top shape at all times. There are several communal spaces to mingle with other travelers, including a living room and a bar. Plus, Phoenix sauna is literally a couple of doors down the street and the Rudolfplatz gay bars are a 5-minute walk away, making this perhaps the most gay-friendly hostel in Cologne.
Hotel Esplanade is located a short 5-minute walk from all of the Rudolfplatz gay bars, including ExCorner, Exile, Die Mumu, and Hennes’ Terrace. It’s a no-frills independent hotel offering great value in a central, super gay-friendly location. Rooms are compact yet modern, clean, and very comfortable. The triple rooms make for a very affordable option for groups and some of the rooms have balconies overlooking the street.
Wasserturm Hotel Cologne (translation: Hotel in Water Tower) is a great choice for those who like something a bit different. This boutique hotel is built into a converted 19th-century water tower in the Old Town, giving the whole property a historic and unique feel. Rooms range from Singles to a charming two-level maisonette room, and are all spacious and bright. The Premium and Maisonette rooms are especially airy due to their high ceilings and large windows. The restaurant and lounge on the top floor offers panoramic 360° views of the city and an outdoor terrace – this is a great spot for an evening cocktail. Hotel Im Wasserturm is located between both gayborhoods, about a 15-minute walk from either.
This is quite simply one of the closest hotels to the Rudolfplatz “Bermuda Triangle” of gay bars: about 150m separate your room from one of the most vibrant gay scenes in Europe. It’s a no-frills, fairly old-fashioned hotel – don’t expect sleek design or fancy amenities. That said, the rooms are clean and comfortable, the staff are friendly, and the rates are very reasonable. Single, triple, and quadruple rooms are available, with the latter being particularly good value if you’re in a group. After all, chances are you won’t be spending too much of your nights in your room.
25hours Hotel The Circle is the kind of hotel that Instagrammers dream of: with a sleek retro-futuristic concept and a spot-on millennial palette of pastels and greys, the rooms here were made to populate your feed. The rooms range from “Medium” to “Gigantic”, but intelligent open-plan layouts make them all feel spacious. All rooms have super-comfy beds, Bluetooth speakers, free minibar, and either bike or MINI (yes, the car) rental as standard. Facilities include a sauna, a deli, a trendy rooftop bar, a restaurant, a co-working area, and a record shop, all (of course) impeccably designed and impossibly cool. The hotel is located about a 10-minute walk from the Rudolfplatz gayborhood and less than 5 minutes from the closest tram station.
This hotel is a favorite with gay visitors to Cologne thanks to its fantastic location, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Bermuda Triangle gayborhood. Meanwhile, the Old Town – which includes the cathedral and city’s other gay area – is just a 20-minute walk away. Rooms are polished and contemporary, featuring minimalist design with rich dark accents. All are spacious (the suite is huge) and come with good amenities like a Nespresso machine. Book a room with a cathedral view for the full Cologne experience. There’s a spacious gym with a selection of cardio equipment – no sauna, but who needs it when Phoenix gay sauna is just down the road.
This boutique hotel is located less than 10 minutes from the Rudolfplatz “Bermuda Triangle” of gay bars, tucked away on a quiet street that won’t keep you up at night. The building was once a nunnery, so it’s filled with interesting and charming architectural details. Meanwhile, the interiors have been renovated in a contemporary style blending cool minimalism with graphic art and warm, welcoming color palettes. The rooms are cozy and extremely comfortable, with singles, doubles, and quadruple rooms available.