The entrance to the cathedral's south tower is located on its southern side, at square Roncalliplatz
1) The underground entrance
First you have to go downstairs ...
.. and then you go through the cathedral's mighty foundations to the cash desk and there you start the tower ascent. There is no elevator! Price for adults as of August 2015: 4.00 Euro.
Exact opening times and prices on the official cathedral website
2) The spiral staircase
The spiral staircase is not very spacious, there's place for two people side by side. There are 532 steps up to the observation deck, about 97 meters. For younger children and people with circulatory problems it's not recommended to ascent. Especially on warm days, you will smell the world's sweat in the spiral staircase.
3) The belfry
At an altitude of about 53 meters, after 291 steps, you will reach the belfry. This is where the St. Petersglocke (St. Peter's bell) hangs, the Cologne people lovingly call it "Dicker Pitter" (thick Peter), for a long time the largest free-swinging church bell in the world. You can hear this bell only a few special holidays such as Easter or Christmas.
The St. Peter's bell has a weight of 24,000 kilograms and has a diameter of 322 cm.
Audition cathedral bells
all bells ringing
New!!! Animated cursor Petersglocke Animated cursor for all church bell friends. You can use it as the wait or busy cursor (instead of the hourglass or rotating circle). Download the zip-archives with the *.ani-cursor file here: Petersglocke.zip, 198 Kb, downloads.
Video: All bells ringing I have created a video showing all bells of the Cologne cathedral ringing.
Link to the video on youtube is here, duration about 12 min.
At an altitude of about 70 meters, after 386 steps, you will reach a metal staircase, which leads up to the observation deck.
5) The observation deck
When you reach the observation deck at 97.25 meters, you can look up to the spire, located at a height of 157.31 meters.
The observation deck. Since there were a lot of suicides and objects were thrown down, the deck is completely fenced now.
The observation deck with the fence as you can see it from the ground.
Overlooking the old town around square "Alter Markt", church "Groß St. Martin", town hall tower, bridge "Deutzer Brücke", bridge "Severinsbrücke" and in background bridge "Südbrücke".
View to the northwest city areas. Telecommunications tower, "Köln-Turm", Church St. Gereon.
Look at a sidewalk café near the cathedral.
Look at street "Trankgasse", at the right side parts of the north tower, angel figurines are looking around.
The spire is accessible only via a ladder outside the tower. In front of the cathedral there's a 1:1 model of the spire. Height 9,50 meters, width 4,60 meters.
Photo from 1881 by Anselm Schmitz showing the north tower after completition, source: Wikipedia
Another great observation deck you will find across the rhine river. It's the Triangle Tower observation deck. You will reach it via bridge Hohenzollernbrücke in about 10 / 15 minutes. There's an elevator which moves up the visitors to the observation deck within a few seconds, to a height of 100 meters. The view is impressive. More information and pictures you will find here