If you want magic at Christmas, few nations do this better than the Germans, and when it comes to the beautiful and lively Christmas markets cologne has some real crackers to offer. These markets host millions of visitors (both local and even international) every year…. There are even plenty of coach tours from the UK which specialise in these Christmas markets.
Cologne has seven Christmas markets on offer, each filling their own little niche… and if you want to see a few of them (in particular markt der engel, weinachtsmarkt am Dom, koelner hafen weinachtsmarkt and weinachtsmarkt koelner altstadt) you can jump on the Christmas markets express which runs every 15 minutes between the 4 markets for a fee (around €10 for a round trip in 2016). It’s a really cool looking little green road train…. You can’t miss it! See more details at www.bimmelbahnen.de
Christmas markets map
Check below for my handy map of cologne Christmas markets to find the ones closest to where you will be staying (just look for the little green Christmas trees):
Weinachtsmarkt am dom
One of the cities most well known attractions and landmarks is the huge cathedral, which towers above one of the most famous markets in the city. It certainly offers a truly magical backdrop (as it is nicely lit up) for what is most likely the busiest market here. And it really does get busy – watch your pockets here.
His market offers various gift stalls as well as a huge variety of traditional market type food offerings. It is however most famous for the huge tree which is lit up with over 50,000 tiny lights next to a stage offer plenty of live music. There is Glühwein galore for adults and a carousel for the kids.
Markt der engel
This is colognes oldest Christmas market and is held in the Neumarkt area. It is one of the most popular markets for the locals due to its central location making it perfect for post work Glühwein consumption, however it’s trademark are the angels which wander through its heart spreading glitter for a true touch of magic.
Koelner hafen weinachtsmarkt
Being situated at the edge of the river Rhein this is a great little market playing homage to the maritime history of this city which has the river as its beating heart. It is decorated in a suitable style, with a large wooden ship at its centre. Whilst here it is also easy to see this heritage by the beautiful fish stalls selling some very tasty treats.
Finding this market is not difficult as it can be combined with a trip to the surprisingly interesting and fun, whilst unsurprisingly tasty chocolate museum run by Lindt. This market runs literally along its front doors!
Weinachtsmarkt nikolausdorf am rudolfplatz
This is not a huge market and is best suited for children or families, although of course, just like every Christmas market in Germany there is plenty of Glühwein for the adults. It is called the village of st Nicholas so has a huge focus on the man himself getting everyone in the mood for an indulgent, sweet Christmas period.
Weinachtsmarkt koelner altstadt
In cologne there are stories of the heinzelmaennchen, or house gnomes who prepare various tasks for the locals, and this is their Christmas market, and as such it is fittingly beautiful. It is still busy but not quite as busy as the one by the cathedral, but it is certainly our favourite.
In the past few years it has been tripled in size to accommodate its popularity having various decorations, trees, carvings, a carousel, traditional games and even ice skating, along with the usual stalls. A nice touch at this market is the more unusual stalls such as the antique or absinthe stalls.
This Christmas market is organised by and held in the heart of the cologne ga and lesbian community however everyone is welcome to join them for a unique Christmas market experience… forget wooden red stalls, these stalls are pink and purple, decorated in a modern style.
It is not the biggest market but is certainly the most unique, including in terms of what is sold here, but it’s also fun an located in an area famous for having a great party atmosphere.
Weinachtsmarkt am stadtgarten
This market has the same to offer as your average medium sized market, with around 80 stalls, including a stage with great entertainment. However what really sets this market apart is that you won’t see the same people there each visit. To keep things interesting, every week each (or at least most) stalls change who is exhibiting there…. So there are always different people selling different things to make your Christmas that much more special.