Cologne’s inner city has become a Low Emission Zone with traffic restrictions for vehicles as of January 1, 2008. Only low-emission vehicles may drive in this zone. Vehicles emitting high levels of pollutants are banned. The area is marked with traffic signs labeled “Umweltzone” (Low Emission Zone). The regulations regarding the Low Emission Zone apply for all Cologne residents and visitors, also those from abroad. This is why you should inform yourself about the regulations at your destination before your departure.
If you want to drive with your car into the center of Koln / Cologne, you need to have an environmental badge (sticker). This sticker you need to get in advance.
This applies to more and more cities in Germany. If you do not have the sticker, you risk a penalty of 40 euros.
The Rhine quays below the Dome are wonderful with their bars where you can sit and watch river barges and people. Just please don’t eat here unless you’re recommended a particular place as the quays are lined with restaurants trying to pack the tourists in and serving a mish-mash of cuisines making the food nothing particular in any cooking style.
You might also want to keep a copy of phone numbers & account numbers of any cards you have in your wallet so you can cancel them right away if this happens to you. Keep the information in your suitcase or hotel safe.