Santa Claus has the right idea: visit Cologne once a year
It’s that time of year again! The festive season is upon us and the streets of Cologne are bathed in the warm glow of Christmas lights and candles. The city on the Rhine is known for its charming Christmas markets, which have attracted visitors from all over the world. We at Colonia Aktiv are also getting ready for the festive season! But before that, let’s get back on the pedals.
Would you like to get the most out of your visit, get to know the Christmas markets in Cologne and learn about the city’s history? Then immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere with us, experience the magic of the Christmas markets in Cologne, hear exciting anecdotes about the city and try roasted almonds, Glühwein, mulled wine, and stick bread – all by bike! All information about our X-Mas Lights Tour can be found here!
Want to spend a December to remember?
Use your time in Cologne to capture even more of the Christmas spirit. Here are some tips and recommendations from your Colonia Aktiv team, which might get you in the mood for our X-Mas Lights Tour:
Christmas is all around – but where to start?
Our two top choices for Christmas Markets in Cologne on tour:
“Heinzel’s Winter Fairy Tale” at Heumarkt and Alter Markt
After the fairies were driven out of the city a long time ago, they return to Cologne every year at Christmas time and transform the old town into a winter wonderland. Here you can stroll through the so-called “Naschgasse”, watch craftsmen at work or get active yourself with ice skating or curling.
“Market of hearts” at the cathedral
Arts and crafts, culinary delights, and culture: over 130 decorated stalls and over 100 free events await you at the cathedral. And right in the heart of the market, one of the tallest and most beautiful Christmas trees in NRW shines with more than 50,000 lights! Don’t miss this spectacle.
You just can’t get enough of this Christmas spirit?
In order to see as much as possible in a short time, we have devised two routes for you.
The central Route
You start at the Stadtgarten, which is transformed into a romantic village idyll at Christmas time with different exhibitors every week. Families, friends, and the hip scene of the Belgian Quarter meet here and you, in the middle of it all, sip your mulled wine from the organic vintner and listen to the unusual cultural program.
You stroll on through the Belgian Quarter to Rudolfplatz. In the shadow of the medieval Hahnen city gate from the 13th century, Rudolfplatz is adorned with countless illuminated half-timbered houses and self-designed nativity scenes that invite you to stroll and marvel. Rudolfplatz has been transformed into St. Nicholas’ village. This market is a real experience, especially for children!
Your last stop will be at the Market of Angels on Neumarkt square. You stroll along the decorated stalls under thousands of lights and stars and can try specialties such as hot cocktails, flamed salmon, or kale. And you might even come across illuminated mythical creatures such as Stellaxia or Azuro, the winter queen or the guardian angel Maurio.
The offbeat Route
This route starts at Chlodwigplatz. Small but nice is the motto here. There are only 15 stalls at the so-called Veedelsadvent, which are mainly run by traders from the neighborhood. A nice, cozy, neighborly atmosphere, right at the Severins city gate in the heart of Südstadt.
Continue to the Carthusian Church, where the city’s smallest Christmas market awaits in the inner courtyard. Delicious mulled wine, sparkling Kölsch beer, the sound of local bands and good food! And something else special: the proceeds from this market are donated to various projects.
Explored everything? Then make your way to the Rheinau Harbor, because who hasn’t always wanted to drink Feuerzangenbowle in a real Christmas tavern between the Crane Houses and the Chocolate Museum? And then maybe you’ll go up on the Ferris wheel and end the evening at a height of 50 meters with a view over the city.
And what’s so special about Christmas in Cologne?
Unique Cologne X-Mas culture!
- Different kind of Christmas markets in Cologne: In addition to the traditional markets in the city center, Cologne also offers various alternative pop-up markets, such as the Courtyard Market in Körnerstraße, the market at Bumann & Sohn in Ehrenfeld, or the “fair and recycling” market at Stollwerk.
- Have you ever heard of “Däm Zimmermanns Jupp singe Sohn”? No wonder, because such original Cologne Christmas words only exist in the city with a K!
- Cologne nativity scenes. There are various extraordinary and unusual nativity scenes to discover at over 100 stations throughout Cologne. Psst, the cribs are up until January 6th!
And last but not least:
All good things come in … three tips for Cologne at Christmas time
- Preparation is the be-all and end-all! And you don’t want to miss anything! You can find the most important information on the Christmas markets in Cologne, their opening times, themes, locations and much more on this page.
- Christmas feeling XXL – have you visited all the Christmas markets in Cologne and still want to capture more of that Christmas feeling? Then make your way through the Südstadt, the Belgian Quarter or Ehrenfeld districts with a warm drink and follow Cologne’s mulled wine trails. Here’s all the Info.
- And for dessert… transform your kitchen into a Christmas bakery and try your hand at making the delicious cookies you ate at the market. Baking inspiration can be found here.