Pardon me mate, could you please take your boat out of my beer?
The Volksgarten (literally "peoples garden") in Cologne was build during the expansion of the city from 1887 - 1889, has a size of 19 hectars and incorporates Fort Paul, an eighteenth century military building which was converted to serve the general public. The garden is a impressive piece of landscape architecture surprising the hiker from every other corner with lakes, small crooks and nannies with benches and interesting flora.
The centre of the garden is an artificial lake with a small peninsula protruding into it, hosting Cologne's oldest beer garden, set up in 1891. The gardens are a traditional and very important part of south Cologne's outdoor culture, and from the moment the temperature goes above ca 17 degrees celsius and there are a couple of rays of sunshine, the place will be swarming with students and families, jogginng, playing frisbee, barbecueing and generally having a great time, doing what Colognians do best: drink and be merry and be as tolerant to their neighbour's whims as possible. In contrast to other countries, you won't find drunken brawls, violent youths or xenophobic outbursts on sunny afternoons in this extremely tolerant city, and so you'll find Nigerian asylumseekers playing footy to african music next to large turkish families barbecueing deliciously smelling lamb, sitting next to a large group of russians having a beer, and between them a rather tidy swarm of students from every faculty, in various states of drunken- and nakedness.
The Beergarden serves beer from one of the new local breweries and great food, mainly colognian specialities. Prices are civil and the crowd is just as happy and civilized as the surrounding masses, and as an extra bonus you can rent a small boat and paddle around the lake.
Do I recommend it? Does a baby go "goo"? Off you go and have a Koelsch on me.
Biergarten im Volksgarten.
50677 Köln (Südstadt);
Tel. 0221 38 26 26