Where to start with Cologne Christmas markets?!
The first point to make is that there’s not just one, but seven Christmas markets situated across the city, each with its own unique theme and merchandise.
At the end of November every year the city goes into full Christmas market mode, the organisation is as efficient as only a German city could be, with maps, sign posts and decorations to guide you to the correct venues.
Each market is bursting with Christmas spirit, the wooden chalets are festooned with garlands, decorations, fairy lights and stars, making an evening visit simply magical!
The range of goods available across the markets is incredible, making Cologne the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping. From cookie cutters and candles to pottery and even bird houses, there’s simply too much to choose from!
Now let’s turn to the food and drink, which is in plentiful supply! Each of the seven markets includes a host of stalls selling the most incredible cuisine, from the traditional German sausages cooked over open fires, to stone baked pizzas, donuts, turkey sticks (delicious!) and waffles, you need 3 days just to sample everything on offer! Of course there are also bars on every corner providing thirsty market goers with glühwein (mulled wine) beer, hot chocolate and wine!
Two of the biggest markets in Cologne also host a range of activities to keep the younger members of your party occupied, with ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds ice rinks and a performance stage as well as many other smaller attractions.
Our two pieces of advice for visiting Cologne would be:
- Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each market and the festive activities taking place around the city. We’ve visited twice and still not seen it all!
- Plan the dates of your trip carefully, our first visit was in late November which was perfect, the markets weren’t crowded and we could get to the stalls easily and move freely around the city. Our second trip was the weekend before Christmas, and it was a very different story! Although still enjoyable, the markets were crowded and it was difficult to get a good look at anything!
For both our visits we stayed here, a great hotel and only a 10 minute walk from the centre so no need to use public transport!
Find out more about Cologne Christmas markets here