While the German city of Cologne might be known for its perfume, chocolate and imposing architecture, we also regard it as one of our top spots for captivating Christmas markets. So, if you’re after a whimsical winter that’s spent nibbling gingerbread, trudging through snow and glugging Glühwein, this is the place to be.
With Jet2CityBreaks, you can enjoy the ease of exploring somewhere sensational and resting easy, as your accommodation’s all packaged up. So, come on – let us whisk you off on a whistle-stop tour of Cologne’s Christmas markets and what’s on throughout November and December. Yule be in for a treat here, alright…
Christmas at Cologne Cathedral
Glinting in their golden tones, the fairy lights strewn across the market stalls and trees in front of Cologne Cathedral capture the quaintness of the festive season. Have a jolly good time as you hunt down local crafts and gifts and take a bite out of all the organic foodstuffs. Does it get any better?
Well, around 100 free events are laid on over the weeks at the market. So, yep, it just might! Among the lot, every Tuesday and Thursday, there’s a children's show from 4-6pm.
Heinzel’s Winter Fairytale
This one’s a must for families! In Cologne’s Old Town – known as Altstadt – this unique market is all about the mythical creatures known as Heinzelmännchen. Things stick to a cute, cosy theme and, if you get your skates on, you’ll even be able to enjoy a spell on the ice rink at Heumarkt!
More than 100 wooden huts are embellished with little elf statues for added cheekiness. Twist and turn around the lanes and piazzas, and you’ll come across oodles of artisanal trinkets to buy and refreshments to quench your thirst and fill up rumbling tums. Potato fritters or apple strudel, anyone?
Cologne Harbour Christmas Market
Thought the fairytale-style scenes across Cologne were impressively magical enough? The three-masted ship, AKA the centrepiece of the Harbour Christmas Market, really is something else. An ice-white pergoda and 70 stalls fill this particular setup, plus there’s a fun nautical angle to all the festivities. Think shanties, swashbuckling pirates and even a rustic tavern where you can sip mulled wine and frothing pints.
While you’re at it, why not have a whirl on the Ferris wheel? Soak up the sights of the city from a bird’s-eye view, then get back to ground level to peruse the market’s countless handicrafts.
All things ethereal are illuminated here at the Angels’ Market. You’ll find it right by the main shops, so you can squeeze in a bit of retail therapy before following the scattering of twinkling stars hung from the trees.
Expect an atmosphere far warmer than the wintry weather – get cosy as you don your woolliest clothes then stroll around at your leisure. And once you’ve had your fix of the outdoors, you can head into the cocktail bar and order a tipple or two.
Santa Claus is coming to town…
You’ll really feel all the warm and fuzzies as you roam around Cologne’s Christmas market stalls, but there’s no shortage of events on throughout the period. So, check the calendar and see what’s on when you’re there!
The Christmas Garden is a total must, with its promise of enchanting light displays spread across the area’s flora and fauna. Who’s for magic and mulled wine? We’ll form an orderly queue then…
If you’re going to rest your legs and hop on public transport, you might as well do it with a festive spin. Cologne’s Christmas Market Express is our favourite way to ride… you know, when the sleigh’s not available.
You can jump on and off as you please, with a round-trip ticket that takes you to four stops in total. It’s an easy way to get from one market to another. And as a bonus, you’ll also get to see lots of the older parts of the city and its many architectural delights as you journey through.
Keen to book a break to Christmassy Cologne? We thought you might be…
Posted: 16th Nov 2021. Updated: 17th Oct 2023.