The Christmas markets in Cologne
Between tradition and renewal
Romantic, hip or just a good time, the Christmas market is an event you can experience in many ways. Each market has the familiar range of kitschy decorations, artisanal gifts and winter gastronomic treats, but offers its own specialties as well. Guided tours available.
Where to start ?
If your arrive by Thalys, you can hardly avoid walking right into the midst of the Christmas market at the cathedral. This is the most ‘practical’ market, and one of the most popular. At the heart of downtown Cologne is the ‘market of angels’ in the Neumarkt area. Just as large and sprawling, it gathers a multitude of stands in an atmosphere that gets pretty romantic. A piece of advice? Browse the stand of Käthe Kollwitz. It’s like stepping into Santa’s workshop! Along the Rhine, you’ll find various other markets that attract the many tourists in the old city centre at Alter Markt and around the chocolate museum.
The new wave
More eccentric, less touristy (but no less popular), the less traditional among the Christmas markets are geared towards their exclusive character and standholders that are a little more innovative and/or local artisans. There’s a festive and playful atmosphere on Rudolfplatz, a family-friendly bobo vibe at Stadtgarten, an architectural hype at Rheinauhafen and even design epiphanies at ‘holy shit shopping’, so there’s ample opportunity to fill your shopping basket (and your belly) according to your personal tastes. Dates : From 26 November to 23 December (variable depending on which Christmas market), from Monday to Sunday.