Cologne (or Köln in German) is a 2,000 year old city that runs across the Rhine River in western Germany. It is a cultural heart of western Germany. Filled with gothic medieval architectural landmarks and known of its famous twin-towered Cologne Cathedral. Cologne also happens to be the 4th largest city in Germany; and once you travel here on a weekend in December you will then see. This city is bursting to the rim with travelers from all around the globe wanting to experience the ever so famous German Christmas Markets!
Getting there from Brussels:
Our journey to Cologne started off a tad rocky. Flixbus offers bus journeys throughout the majority of Europe and for €9 we were able to get the bus at 6:00AM and arrive in Cologne three hours later. Normally I am a strong advocate for Flixbus because it is so easy but when your bus is two hours late and you are standing at a bus terminal at 6:00AM in the morning before the sun with temperature below freezing it is hard to be a happy camper. Regardless, two hours later we were finally on our way to Cologne.
**there are also other options you can take to get to Colonge (train, car, etc) but being a budget traveler the bus was the cheapest option and allotted a three-hour nap**
A Roman Catholic cathedral (High Cathedral of Saint Peter) was built-in the 13th century and its iconic twin towers are one of Germany’s most visited landmark (roughly attracting over 20,000 people daily). It is no wonder why, this Gothic architecture is one the largest in northern Europe and one of Europe’s largest façade. It’s stunning beautiful will leave you standing there in awe.
Next on your Cologne to do list, explore the Christmas Markets! All the Christmas Markets, just keep strolling around the city and having a cup of mulled wine at each one. There are a total of seven Christmas Markets in Cologne, and the green Christmas train takes you all around them. Unfortunately we did not know this at the time and the only way we discovered these markets was by wandering upon them.
Alter Markt: located in the heart of the Old Town of Altstadt and about 200 meters away from the Cologne Cathedral
Take a quick break and try some pastries or four of them.
Then wander on to Christmas Market number two: Heumarkt; Heimat Der Heinzel “Home of the Gnomes”
And onwards to number three, which I am pretty sure ended up being the same Christmas Market just a block away
And don’t forget about the Mustard Museum, conveniently located across the street from the Chocolate Museum (and the Mustard Museum is free and you get a sample taste an assortment of mustards!)
Keep wandering and strolling and exploring until you come to the train station towards the next abundance of glorious christmas markets about 40 minutes south…Bonn, Germany.
Below is a picture of a map, the STARS are the hotspots of Cologne, it is worth while to attempt to walking through the city by stopping at each of these points
Until next time Cologne!