Cologne’s best beer gardens

The Local's guide to Germany's best beer gardens heads to where they drink copious amounts of brew from tiny glasses all summer long.

In Cologne, it’s all about the local beer Kölsch, which comes in the Stange glass holding a measely amount of liquid. This regional Rhineland tradition carries over to the beer gardens, but you can always order a larger beer if you feel the need.

Aachener Weiher

Since its expansion in 2004, Cologne’s Aachener Weiher has grown into an even more popular locale along the pond of the same name. With a university close by, there’s no shortage of activity in the adjacent green spaces, including joggers, cyclists and drum circles. If you’d prefer to watch from a safe distance, however, this beer garden provides the perfect atmosphere in which to do so: a cold draft and seasonal, Mediterranean menu await. The friendly wait staff along with occasional live music performances round out the positive vibes at one of Cologne’s most beloved outdoor venues.

0.25L beer from €2.00

Open daily from 11:00 am

Hellers Volksgarten

Since the Roman Iron Age, Hellers Volksgarten has been a favourite Cologne haunt. Some 118 years after its inception, this lakefront venue and its three house-brewed beer varieties are still going strong. Though guests are no longer allowed to bring their own food, a comprehensive selection of meals and desserts are on hand at the adjacent restaurant. And if lounging carelessly on the shady terrace begins to bore you, simply grab yourself a paddle boat and venture across the lake: we would, however, recommend a paddle-partner, unless you are particularly fond of circles.

0.3L beer from €2.60

Open daily from 11:30 am


One of Cologne’s poshest beer garden experiences, Rheinterrassen wasn’t always so pristine. After its debut in 1928 as one of the city’s first major installations to the right bank of the river Rhein, it was completely destroyed in the Second World War. Though it reopened in 1957, the entire location fell into managerial disrepair over the next thirty years. Thanks to a dedicated group of investors, however, April 1999 saw the long-awaited reopening of Rheinterrassen – now one of Cologne’s premier beer garden destinations.

0.2L beer from €2.20

Open daily from 6:00 pm, 12:00 noon on Sundays

Biergarten am Rathenauplatz

The Biergarten am Rathenauplatz is a good place to escape the usual Kölschkneipen this summer and you don’t head too far from the city centre. Rest, relaxation and one of the least bitter of German beers around await at this pleasant, child-friendly urban escape. Rhineland mellowness abounds at the nearby fountain, complete with a beer kiosk, grassy knoll and plenty of young folks.

0.3L beer from €2.60

Open daily from 12 noon


It may not overtly advertise itself as such, but Stadtgarten at the edge of Cologne’s Innenstadt is a beer garden of luscious proportions. Having made it’s home in the city park of the same name, this venue has served up cold beer, warm food and cool jazz since the 1950s. The Cologne Jazz House Initiative started here in 1978, and some of the biggest names in jazz have since graced the stage here: Sun Ra, Steve Lacy and Ornette Coleman.

Open daily from 12 noon

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.