Seven Christmas markets in Cologne

Spanning the Rhine River, Cologne is a 2,000-year-old city with a lot to offer. Impressive Gothic architecture and a stunning Cathedral reaching up to the sky, a museum housing masterpieces by Picasso and Warhol and a chocolate museum that will make your mouth water, it is easy to see why Cologne would be a tempting place to visit at any time of the year, but in winter Cologne becomes a magical wonderland of a city and the streets come alive with festive cheer and scenes of Christmas traditions to make your eyes sparkle.

Feeling relaxed and enjoying the warm fuzzy feelings of winter can sometimes be marred by the pace and stress that perfecting Christmas imposes so why not escape this and visit Cologne’s seven Christmas markets, a perfect way to enjoy a magical, traditional and alternative experience in the weeks before. Finding gifts for loved ones that are totally unique, enjoying delicious sweet treats and soaking up a festive atmosphere that will ignite those warm and happy feelings to take home.

We have to start with the Cathedral Christmas Market due to the impressive backdrop this market has of the Cologne Cathedral, with its twin spires soaring skywards, 11 bells ringing out and Gothic architecture with gargoyles watching over, this market already feels dramatic before your eyes even delve into the delights set within the wooden Pavilions. With the city’s largest Christmas tree twinkling in the sky above the aromas of original mulled wine fill the air with a sense of excitement and temptation. Quality is at the forefront of design in the works produced by the craftsmen and products from Germany and Europe such as children’s toys, soaps and ceramics spill from the pavilions drawing you in. Regional specialities ensure there is plenty of tasty treats to keep you energised.

The Angels Christmas Market on the Neumarkt is the oldest market and has an enchanting atmosphere, performers dressed as angels walk the pathways sprinkling Christmas sparkle all around and the chalets selling decorative plates show the stories and tales of Christmas markets past. Locals love to wonder to the market after work and enjoy a festive moment with warming mulled wines and decadent hot chocolates, the perfect way to soak up the real atmosphere of Cologne.

In front of Colognes town hall sits the Old Christmas Market on the Heumarkt and the Alter Markt. With traditional tales such as the Heinzelmännchen (House Gnomes) playing a large part in the magic of this market, it is easy to see why this special place lights up the eyes of the young. They say that the House Gnomes played an important role in helping the people of Cologne, whether it be helping the tailor sew clothes or kneading the bread for the baker this traditional market reflects these tales and hosts crafts and wares from all. Delightful foods, luxurious accessories and quality toys can all be found on the appropriately themed alleys. With roundabouts, puppet theatre, and Santa Claus the magic of a child’s Christmas really does light up here.

The Village of St Nicholas Market on the Rudolfplatz has a dramatic backdrop that oozes history. The medieval Hahnentorburg with its towering turrets and archways provides a grand feeling to this otherwise small and cosy market. There is plenty to tempt the taste buds here especial for the grown-ups with varieties of mulled wine, brandy punch, candy floss, festive cookies and so many crafts, wares and decorations you really will be spoilt for choice.

Another small but perfectly formed market is the Stadtgarten Christmas Market taking centre stage in the very trendy Belgian Quarter. With modern creations alongside the more traditional crafts and gifts, this market has a romantic feel with its strings of lights and pretty village atmosphere. With crepes, almonds, waffles, organic mulled wine and tasty stews finding a delightful bite to eat shouldn’t be a problem. Jazz music and storytellers create an enticing environment to explore and a lovely way to embrace the magic and romance of Christmas in Cologne.

For a market with a difference head to the Cologne Harbour Christmas Market at the Chocolate Museum. With views of the Rhine River, this large but magical Christmas market has maritime influences throughout brimming with crafts, toys and edible delights to be savoured. An impressive 3 mast boat is a focal point serving mulled wine and treats from its hull. Take a moment to soak up the atmosphere as sea shanties, Christmas songs and the aromas of maritime Christmas traditions fill the air. Don’t forget to visit the chocolate museum to embrace the sugary sweetness of treats at this festive time of year.

Small but totally unique is the best way to describe the Christmas Avenue the Gay and Lesbian Christmas Market in the ‘’Bermuda Triangle’’. A totally different experience to all the other festive markets but absolutely just as fascinating and enchanting. With lights sparkling and music filling the air the pink and purple chalets light up with Christmas delights. The crafts, treats, performances and Christmas magic is welcome to all and this market has something special for everyone to enjoy.

With so many beautiful Christmas experiences to be enjoyed in Cologne, it would be impossible to leave this stunning city without feeling ready to embrace the festive season once home. Remember the special feelings of festive warmth, cheer and love shared with others, tie a bow around it and place it under the tree ready to share with loved ones on Christmas day.

To find out more about planning a trip that includes a visit to Cologne, whether during the festive period or not, contact us on 01347 825292 for advice and ideas.