Home Infos & Tips Get into the Holiday Spirit at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

Get into the Holiday Spirit at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

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What are some recommended Christmas markets to visit in Cologne?

The Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market located in the city center is considered to be the best and most popular Christmas market in Cologne. Read more about the different Christmas markets …

What makes Cologne a good destination for Christmas markets?

Cologne is a great destination for Christmas markets due to its enchanting atmosphere, festive traditions, and wide variety of markets. Find out more …

What are the reasons to visit Cologne?

Whether it’s for the Christmas markets, cultural attractions, or simply to soak up the city’s charm, many people consider Cologne a worthwhile destination to visit.

The Christmas Markets in Cologne, also known as “Weihnachtsmärkte”, are a beloved holiday tradition in the city. Held annually in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the markets feature dozens of stalls selling festive gifts, traditional food and drink, and holiday decorations.


cologne christmas market
German Christmas markets: an authentic Christmas experience

The markets are held in various locations throughout the city, each with its own unique atmosphere and offerings. Still, most of them are in proximity and blend into one another. So, you can take a stroll through the center of the town and experience every single one of them. A special highlight is the renaissance fair-style Christmas Market close to the Chocolate Museum. (Yes, Cologne does have a Chocolate Museum.)

History of the Christmas Markets in Köln (Cologne)

The Christmas Markets in Germany have a long and storied history that dates back to the Middle Ages. Originally, the markets were held as a way for people to purchase goods for winter, including warm clothing and food. Over time, the markets evolved to include a wider range of goods and have become a beloved holiday tradition.

What to Expect at the Christmas Markets in Köln (Cologne)

Visitors to the Christmas Markets in Köln can expect to find a festive atmosphere. Twinkling lights, holiday music, and the aroma of spiced mulled wine and roasted chestnuts filling the air. Stalls at the markets offer a wide range of goods, including handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, and traditional German treats like gingerbread and marzipan.

Why going to a German Christmas Market?

cologne christmas market
The beauty of the markets in Cologne

German Christmas markets are known around the world for their festive atmosphere, delicious treats, and unique crafts. They have been a part of German holiday traditions for centuries, and they continue to draw crowds of locals and tourists alike every year.

One of the things that makes German Christmas markets special is the variety of vendors and goods available. Visitors can browse through stalls selling handmade crafts, ornaments, and decorations, as well as sample traditional holiday foods like roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, and mulled wine. The markets also offer a wide variety of unique gifts and souvenirs, making them the perfect place to do some holiday shopping.

In addition to the shopping and food, German Christmas markets are also known for their festive atmosphere. Many markets are located in historic town squares, which are decorated with twinkling lights, giant Christmas trees, and other holiday decorations. Live music and performances by local musicians and artists add to the festive mood.

Another aspect that makes German Christmas markets special is their emphasis on tradition. Many of the crafts and foods sold at the markets are made using traditional methods and recipes that have been passed down for generations. Visitors can get a taste of authentic German holiday culture by sampling these treats and talking to the vendors about their crafts and traditions.

Cologne Christmas Market

Overall, German Christmas markets offer a unique and memorable holiday experience that is hard to find anywhere else. From the festive atmosphere to the delicious food and traditional crafts, these markets have something for everyone to enjoy and are a must-see for anyone looking to experience the magic of the holiday season.

Where to find the Christmas Markets

cologne christmas market
Christmas Markets in Cologne: Find creative souvenirs!

Christmas is a magical time of year, and Cologne is one of the best places to experience the holiday season in all its glory. The city is renowned for its enchanting Christmas markets, which offer a wide variety of unique gifts, festive foods, and warm drinks to enjoy.

One of the most popular Christmas markets in Cologne is the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market. Here, visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the towering gothic structure while sipping on a cup of Glühwein (mulled wine) and browsing the various stalls that sell traditional crafts, ornaments, and other holiday treats.

Another great Christmas market to visit is the “Heimat der Heinzel” (Home of the Elves) market, which is located in the historic Old Town. This market is known for its fairytale atmosphere, with thousands of twinkling lights, handmade decorations, and at times even live performances by actors.

Tip: The markets look particularly magical at night when they are lit up by thousands of twinkling lights. Be sure to plan to visit during the evening hours to experience the full festive atmosphere.

Must-Try Foods and Drinks at the Christmas Markets in Cologne

No visit to the Christmas Markets would be complete without trying some of the delicious food and drink offers. Some must-try items at the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market include:

  • Mulled wine: Also known as “Glühwein,” this warm, spiced wine is a staple at any Christmas market. It’s the perfect way to stay warm while browsing the stalls.
  • Bratwurst: These grilled sausages are a German classic and can be found at stalls throughout the markets.
  • Stollen: This fruitcake-like bread is a holiday favorite in Germany. It’s often filled with raisins, candied fruit, and nuts and dusted with powdered sugar.
  • Lebkuchen: These spicy gingerbread cookies are a must-try at the Christmas markets. They can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are often adorned with icing and sprinkles.

Hint: While some vendors may accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to bring cash to avoid any issues with payment. There are also ATMs located near the markets if you need to withdraw money.

Christmas in Cologne: Special Events and Acitivities

In addition to the Christmas markets, there are plenty of other special events and activities to enjoy in Cologne during the holiday season. For example, the city hosts a variety of concerts and performances featuring traditional Christmas music. Also, there are several ice skating rinks open to the public.

Another must-see attraction in Cologne during Christmas time is the “Kölner Weihnachtscircus” (Cologne Christmas Circus), which showcases talented performers from all over the world in a festive and family-friendly setting.

Whether you are looking to shop for unique gifts, enjoy delicious holiday treats, or simply soak up the festive atmosphere, Christmas in Cologne is an experience you won’t want to miss. With so many special events and activities to enjoy, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming city during the holiday season.

Tips for Visiting the Christmas Markets

cologne christmas market
Markets in Cologne: Best place to find new Christmas decoration
  • Plan your visit: The Christmas Markets are popular, so it’s a good idea to plan your visit in advance. Consider what you’d like to see and do, and make a plan. That way, you ensure you have time to visit all the markets you’re interested in.
  • Dress warmly: The markets are held outdoors, so be sure to dress warmly in layers to stay comfortable.
  • Shop for unique gifts: The Christmas markets in Cologne offer a wide variety of unique gifts and crafts that you won’t find anywhere else. Take your time to browse the stalls and find the perfect present for your loved ones.
  • Enjoy the atmosphere: The markets are not only about shopping and eating, but also about the festive atmosphere. Take in the sights and sounds, and enjoy the live music, carnival rides, and other attractions.

Attention: While the Christmas markets are best to experience in the nighttime, they can get quite busy. Especially on weekends and in the evenings, you might think about having a look around earlier in the day.

While you’re at it

cologne christmas market
Cologne: a city with a lot to offer

In addition to the markets in cologne, there are plenty of other holiday activities to enjoy in Cologne. Some other things to consider include:

  • Visit the Cologne Cathedral: The city’s famous cathedral is even more beautiful during the holidays. According to legend, the magnificent reliquary contains bones of the Three Kings.
  • Visit other churches: Most churches in Cologne host display nativity scenes during the holiday season. They usually have an individual and humorous touch to them.
  • Take a boat tour: See the city from a different perspective with a festive boat tour along the Rhine River.
  • Take a walk along the Rhine River: The Rhine River flows through the heart of Cologne, and a walk along its banks offers a stunning view of the city. You can also take a river cruise to see the city from a different perspective.
  • Visit the Museum Ludwig: The Museum Ludwig is one of the best art museums in Germany, with an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. It features works by famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.
  • Experience the Cologne Zoo: The Cologne Zoo is one of the oldest and largest zoos in Germany, and it is home to over 700 different species of animals. It features a variety of habitats, including a rainforest and a large aquarium.

Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply taking in the sights and sounds of a new city, there are plenty of tourist activities to enjoy in Cologne. With its rich cultural heritage and welcoming atmosphere, Cologne is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Tip for tourists: A recommendation for tourists visiting Cologne is to take the time to explore the charming Old Town, which is known for its winding streets, cozy cafés, and one-of-a-kind shops. This historic district is a great place to soak up the local atmosphere and get a feeling for the city’s unique character.

Christmas Market in Cologne: Definitely worth a visit!

In conclusion, the Christmas Market in Cologne is a must-see attraction for anyone looking to experience the magic of the holiday season. With a wide variety of vendors, festive foods and drinks, the markets offer something for everyone to enjoy.

Visitors should plan ahead, dress warmly, and be prepared for crowds, but the experience is well worth the effort. Whether you’re looking for a special holiday treat, a unique gift, or simply to take in the festive atmosphere, the Christmas Market in Cologne is a destination that won’t disappoint.

Christmas Markets in Cologne – FAQ

When are the Christmas Markets in Cologne held?

The Christmas Markets in Cologne are typically held from the end of November to just before Christmas Day. Some span longer, until the sixth of January, the day of the Three Kings.

Where are the Christmas Markets in Cologne held?

The Christmas Markets in Cologne are held in various locations throughout the city, including at the Cologne Cathedral, in the Old Town, and at Neumarkt Square.

What can I expect to find at the Christmas Markets in Cologne?

Stalls at the markets offer a wide range of goods, including handmade crafts, Christmas ornaments, and traditional German treats like gingerbread and marzipan.