Your Student’s Guide on Living and Studying in Cologne

From Kölsch to Carnival—studying in Cologne sure comes with a lot of fun! Read our student’s guide on finding accommodation, financing your studies, living in Cologne and more to get started!

5 min read

Packing up your things, finding a rental flat in Cologne, getting around in the city—your new student life has quite a few challenges in store for you. We’re sure you will master them all with the help of our student’s guide. Here, you learn where to find a student room, what to do for a side hustle, how to get from A to B on a budget and where to find some great weekend fun. So you can enjoy studying in Cologne right from the start!

How to find housing in Cologne

Even if it’s only for the short term: try to find housing as soon as possible. Just like other German cities, Cologne’s housing market is characterised by high demand and low supply. Many students therefore decide to rent a room in a shared flat or a residence hall. The upside: you can share the rent and other living expenses and make friends in a new city quickly. 

Many students sublet their room on platforms like WG-gesucht or WG-Suche when studying abroad. Alternatively, you can look for furnished rooms in student apartments run by private companies such as HousingAnywhere, YOUNIQ or JAIMEE. Naturally, short-term rentals might not be ideal. However, you’ll have a fully furnished room to begin with— plus, you can continue looking for an apartment in Cologne much more comfortably. To do so, use platforms like ImmobilienScout24, Immowelt and Immonet. We also recommend you skim through local newspapers, or check out bulletin boards at uni, Facebook groups and websites of building societies. And remember: it doesn’t hurt to ask! Sometimes fellow students, friends or family know someone that knows someone that knows someone...

How to finance your studies

Even with student financial support or help from your parents, living and studying in Cologne can be quite expensive. You have to pay the rent, the semester fee, groceries, personal care products, books for uni and much more. A student job can help you cover the costs of living and studying in Cologne. But where can you find a side hustle? A first point of reference is the Stellenwerk Köln. Simply create a profile and start searching for student jobs at private companies, uni or non-profit organisations. On top of that, you can find helpful tips and training with the University of Cologne’s career services.   

Other popular platforms and apps include Zenjob, Univativ, GoStudent or Indeed. There are lots of different job opportunities: you can do online tutoring, work as a cashier at the supermarket, check tickets at the stadium, deliver food or become a student employee at your faculty. This comes with more than one advantage: not only will you earn some extra money to cover your monthly expenses—you will gain valuable experience and might even be able to save some money!

Our top tip for saving money

With N26 Spaces, you can create up to 10 sub-accounts with individual IBAN numbers. Create a standing order with Rules to automatically transfer money each month to one of your sub-accounts. Or, you can have your wage sent directly to a Space, so you can drag and drop only part of it to your main account. This way you can start saving for your emergency fund, a long-standing wish or the upcoming settlement of your student loan. By the way: thanks to Shared Spaces, you can share sub-accounts with up to 10 other N26 users! This comes in super handy when you live in a shared flat and want to manage your budget together in a transparent, easy and collaborative way.

Things to do in Cologne on the weekend

Looking for a place, finding a side hustle, saving money—somehow life got pretty serious as a student. Luckily, you don’t have to miss out on the fun in the carnival stronghold of Cologne! Locals are known for their happy nature and love of partying. No wonder the old citys’ streets are bustling with fun and cheerful people. There are rustic bars and pubs on every corner for you to enjoy the local Kölsch beer and hearty meals or currywurst with fries. Prefer more international food and drinks? Try fruity Belgian beer and pale ale at Delirium Café and spoil yourself with the best hummus and falafel in the city at Mashery Hummus Kitchen.

Had a long night out? Take a walk along the Rhine to digest and breathe in fresh air. The river is a stone’s throw from the Old Town and worth seeing at any time of the day and year. Make sure to visit the marvellous Cologne Cathedral with its high towers and modern treasure chamber and add the Heumarkt, the Alter Markt, Museum Ludwig and The Chocolate Museum to your list of top things to see in Cologne. The Cologne Opera, the Kölner Philharmonie, Phantasialand and Cologne’s many cinemas promise even more fun and culture. By the way: with your student ID, you benefit from lots of discounts, and also your free student bank account offers you quite a few perks!

Feel a bit tired of the historic centre? Discover Cologne, Bonn, Bergisch Gladbach, Königswinter and other places by public transport! You can travel cheaply by bus, tram and train with your network-wide valid, round-the-clock VRS-Semesterticket. You can even take your bike with you for free at certain hours—perfect for planning a bike tour in nature during the summer months! You can also visit nearby Düsseldorf, the Netherlands and Belgium easily and budget-friendly with FlixBus or saver travel fares from Deutsche Bahn. Find out even more tips on student transport in this guide.


Your money at N26

Are you ready to start your new life as a student? We hope you’re gonna have lots of fun in Cologne—and we’re always here to make things easier for you! With N26, you get more than a free bank account that is just as flexible as you. You enjoy 100% mobile banking with innovative features that help you save and spend with confidence. Add your N26 Mastercard to Google Pay or Apple Pay and start paying contactless with your smartphone. Send and receive instant payments with MoneyBeam and split expenses with your friends effortlessly right in your N26 app. Statistics helps you keep an eye on your monthly spending and income—and thanks to withdrawal and spending limits you’ll make sure to stick to your budget at all times. Open your 100% mobile bank account now—it’s free of any paperwork and only takes 8 minutes.

By N26

The Mobile Bank

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