Cologne Bonn Airport

Sweet smell of Cologne ….

Koln Bonn Airport ShoppingGermany’s oldest city, with a history going back to the Roman Empire, Cologne has plenty to offer sightseers.From the dominating Gothic Cathedral to the love-locks on the railings of the Hohenzollern Bridge, history is everywhere. A favourite stop is The House of Fragrance in Cologne’s Glockengasse, home to the famous 4711 Eau de Cologne – first invented in the 18th-century by Wilhelm Muelhens – initially as a herbal drink with healing powers. Named after the number of the house that Muelhens lived in, 4711 was reclassed a healing scent in 1810 in order to protect the ‘secret recipe’. The rest – as they say – is history. The shop is worth a visit, including a fragrance museum as well as all manner of 4711 products for sale. But if you didn’t have time, then all is not lost, because the new look Terminal 1 at Cologne/Bonn airport is home to a first-of-its kind 108sq m 4711 Shop In Shop – part of a modernised Heinemann Travel Value walk-through shopping area where three separate zones have been combined into a welcoming single retail space.

The 4711 store can’t be missed, literally just through security on the left, and includes a history wall (did you know 4711 was Holly Golightly’s fragrance in Breakfast at Tiffany’s) a fragrance ingredients table, iPads with 4711 information, and – of course – a complete range of products to buy.

The 4711 store is just one of the introductions at the new expanded 230 sq m shopping offer aimed to ‘surprise’ travellers. The area now offers more branded international goods along with more services for those with time to kill, such as free make-up consultations – including quick make-up sessions – a spacious spirits Tasting Bar, and plenty of special promotional spaces for new product launches, travel retail exclusive highlights and ‘oh that’s a good idea’ impulse buys.

Heinemann shops do follow a general formula – but never fail to disappoint. Terminal 1 caters for mainly Lufthansa and germanwings flights, many within the EC and therefore not available for strictly ‘duty free sales’. Nevertheless prices are competitive with regular special offers. During our visit, 30% off various category brands included a litre of Bacardi Gold at Euros 10.90, DKNY 100ml Fresh Blossom at Euros 51.80 and 2 x 400g bars Toblerone at Euros 9.90.

While international brands are a must in any airport retail space, Heinemann is also keen to offer passengers a regional taste and the area to the left after passing security is very ‘Rhein’ orientated with local Kölsch beer, Asbach chocolates, giftware and more. This leads into the confectionery and fine foods over – if you’re into Kusmi tea, this is the place! – wine and Champagne, then spirits and tobacco. The tobacco offer is limited – again due to routings from the Terminal, but includes main brands. The spirits offer is excellent, particularly for whisky with some interesting offers such as Mackinlays recreation of a 1907 whisky and presentation at a mere Euros 130. If you’ve got a big bag and sufficient allowance, bottle sizes go up to 3 litres in some cases (Euros 185 for Grey Goose or 51 euros for Bacardi) and you won’t miss new lines being promoted – during our visit it was Absolut Karnival.Opposite you’ll find a reasonably good children’s gift offer, sunglasses and watches by the leading brands (Ray Ban, Prada, Tom Ford, Fossil, Junkers, Festina etc) plus bags, a few electronic items and a little jewellery. The bulk of space is devoted to Fragrances and Skincare and you’re spoilt for choice here with just about every main brand you can think of. New launches are highlighted, as are travellers exclusives – such as Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria – and we particularly liked the ‘pick n mix’ travellers essentials wall with hand-bag sized deodorants and creams starting from just Euros 2. If you’re looking for a gift, there’s a super range of Rituals home fragrance and body products.

While products to buy are easy to find in T1, airline information screens are not…you’ll need to either check your gate number before security, or walk down to the smokers lounge by B70/72 for screens…we understand this will be rectified.

Heinemann also runs the shops in T2 (other airlines), where the general Travel Value format is similar, just slightly more worn in!

We should also mention that Cologne/Bonn has a very varied shopping offer landside – eg prior to security. Fashion is a strong category; take your pick from the informal but stylish international fashion chain Esprit, which runs outlets in both terminals, to the trendy Tommy Hilfiger, to the more classic, formal look of Hugo Boss, which again boasts shops in both terminals. Other alternatives include Marco O’Polo (Terminal 1), which is famous for its casual shirts, and Mexx• an international fashion brand selling clothes and accessories for men, women and children. We like our gadgets here at taxfreetravel so the Pro-Idee outlet in Termina1 also caught our eye. Pro-Idee is a German retailer, which sources a wide of range of design-led products (many of them are award winners) from around the world. Jewellery, homeware, electronics, travel accessories and quirky items such as solar-powered showers are all part of the mix. What is a surprise, however, is that the airport lacks a decent electronics shop (the Mobile Phone Shop in the arrivals of Terminal 2 just doesn’t cut it in our view).

Where Cologne Bonn does score marks is in having supermarkets in both terminals (Rewe City in Terminal 1 is particularly impressive). Luxury goods and duty-free are all very well, but in an airport dominated by short-haul low-cost traffic sometimes travellers need to stock up on everyday essentials rather than fancy gifts.If you’re hungry or thirsty, there are sufficient offers both landside and airside (better landside), including Starbucks and the Sion Kölsch bar in Terminal 1, or the Kölsch & Co. bar in Terminal 2. Alternatively, sweet treats can be bought from the Kamps bakery in Terminal 1, while the Käfer Deli Lounge in Terminal 2 serves up salads, sandwiches, hot dishes and desserts with great views of the runway. Guten Appetit!

Heinemann also has an excellent website, heinemann-dutyfree.com, where travellers can pre-order their purchases before travelling and then pick them up in departures. You can also join its own regular Heinemann shopper club!

Cologne/Bonn Facts

  • Germany’s seventh largest passenger airport
  • Close to 9.3m passengers
  • One of the country’s few 24 hour airports
  • Main airline is low cost carrier germanwings, followed by AirBerlin and Lufthansa.
  • The airport offers free wifi throughout – we like that!

Tax Free Travel Related Guides …..

See our shopping overview of Frankfurt International, and our detailed shopping guides to Frankfurt Terminal 1 Tax & Duty Free Shopping and Frankfurt Terminal 2 Tax & Duty Free Shopping