Cologne: a guide to Christmas Markets

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**

Cologne Cathedral 
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
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Until next time Cologne!

17 Replies to “Cologne: a guide to Christmas Markets”

  1. Lovely photos! I’m going to the Christmas market in Cologne for the second year in a row next week 🙂 so excited! Your photos are great by the way 🙂


    1. Thank you for your sweet words 🙂 have sooo much fun, I’m jealous! I wish I could go back and explore the rest of the markets, I had no idea Cologne had so many! Take loads of photos, I’d love to see them!


  2. I loved Cologne’s Christmas market! I don’t think the one with the gnomes were there a couple years ago…might just have to go back. It’s such a festive place, but I learned quickly that when you go to the one under the church, find an entrance that isn’t the main entrance. I felt like I was in a herd of cattle! But just walking around the market and finding another way in just made me feel a bit better 🙂


    1. I am thinking I will have to go back next year and see the rest of them haha! oh we learned that quickly as well, I had noooo idea Cologne was such a popular destination, so many people!


  3. Oh wow, this looks like just the thing to get you in the mood for Christmas! I love the look of all the food, and I’m guessing it’s a real treat for anybody with a sweet tooth!


    1. It certainly does get you in the mood for Christmas, I still can’t stop thinking about the waffles and all the sweet treats and singing Christmas carols haha!


  4. Hey! I loved the pictures and hope to get a chance to stop in this wonderful Christmas market. Beautiful post and thanks for sharing with us!


  5. I went to this market 3 years ago, so much fun and such a gorgeous cathedral!


  6. Lovely pictures. You’ve truly captured the Christmas feel right. I’d love to explore Christmas markets in Cologne as they look so lovely and lively. 🙂


  7. As somebody who’s traveled all over the world, normally around Christmas I’m somewhere different each year and I love experiencing different Christmas markets but I have to say the ones in Europe are my fave. I haven’t been to Cologne but I have friends from there and it seems like a wonderful market especially with the architecture in the backdrop. Your pictures really bring it to life, I can practically smell the food haha 😀


  8. Beautiful pictures. The cologne cathedral looks awesome. Love the whole Gothic look. And your food shots are insane. Well done!


  9. Amazing collection of pics you have here, and quite a few pics of strudels and other delicacies, almost enough to make one hungry. Love food museums that provide free samples, Yumm!
    Cannot wait to see pics of it on Christmas eve or Weihnachten as they call it there.


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