The best Christmas markets in Cologne and around

Let’s admit it – it’s hard not to fall in love with the German Christmas markets, once you experience them! Our passion for Christmas aromas, cheerful mood, and holiday smiles bring us to German-style Christmas markets all over Europe. This year we decided to head to Christmas markets of Cologne in Germany (Köln sounds better) and visit as many Weihnachtsmarkts as we can. And here are the results. Be ready to get absorbed in the festive spirit!

Cologne Christmas Markets, Germany

Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom

The cathedral in Cologne is probably the best highlight of the city. But it’s just less dark and actually quite attractive to us when it turns shiny and glittering by the nearby Christmas market that is there every year from the end of November until just before Christmas Eve. It’s normal to start your Christmas market tour in Cologne from this one so it sets the bar for everything – atmosphere, drinks, and foods, shopping, entertainment. It feels very traditional and is a must-visit Christmas market of Cologne if you are in Köln during that time of the year.

If you have friends in Cologne as we do, they will first take you to the highlights of the city anyway, so we had to start with cheers and then we may have or have not repeated this market later.

Cologne Christmas Markets, Germany

A small market nearby the Dom

We couldn’t even remember the name of this small market but it was our first encounter with the magical divine drink of Feuerzangebowle. That’s mulled wine, with some spirit (usually it’s rum) added, and they burn some sugar on top off it so it turns to the ultimate Christmas drink. Be careful – one or two of those drinks are enough to make you go wild and it’s so sugary that you need to drink water and have a bite to prevent the hangover.

We started the day strong with Feuerzangebowle, enjoyed the wooden statues and the big turning carousel of Biblical statues, and we had to continue to enjoy more well-known Christmas markets in Cologne.

Cologne Christmas Markets, Germany

Old Market Christmas (Heinzels Wintermärchen) in Cologne

Those who have an eye for design and detail will probably enjoy the dwarfs and towers, overlooking you from every angle at the market. Its location is quite good too – right at the Rathaus. We love it’s so big so you can get lost inside a few times, or just stop and try homemade marmalades or even better – mustard by a recipe of more than 200 years ago.

There is a nice ice rink and some facilities for a fun game that looks like curling. You will find it too hard to try all the drinks and foods, even half of them, but maybe the Hexen (witches) will help you make your way through the crowds and find what suits you best. The whole place is about fairytales after all.

Cologne Christmas Markets, Germany

Harbour Christmas Market at the Chocolate Museum

This market has the most scenic location – it’s kind of floating at the harbor and overlooking the Rhine river. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll probably stop by the Chocolate Museum. If you’ve had enough of sweet for the day – e.g. hot chestnuts (Heisse Maronen), you can head to try some fried in beer potatoes and enjoy the view of small boats parked in the canal. The water around definitely gives an unusual touch to the mood and the atmosphere so we highly recommend it if you’re open to trying something new and want to feel the breeze.

Cologne Christmas Markets, Germany

Neumarkt (Angel’s Christmas market)

We felt something heavenly in this market, long before we knew it’s called Angel’s Christmas market. Thousands of stars were hanging in the trees, there were songs by unknown singers and magic fingers were pointing us to the next beautiful piece of art. It was getting dark so a lot of people were enjoying the light and chatting and making their way to the next mug of warm magic, to the next steaming dish, to the next unexpected encounter. Definitely a magical Cologne Christmas market experience.

Cologne Christmas Markets, Germany

Drachenburg Schloss Weihnachtsmarkt

We were so surprised to stumble upon a Christmas market around the Drachenburg Castle situated on the Drachenfels hill. The castle itself is so worth a visit, but when you add some old-time-dressed-up people, selling souvenirs and local wines and spirits, it’s another level of Weihnachtsmarkt. There were actually a couple of different zones and markets- in the castle garden, on the winter terrace, on the lower floor of the castle, in nearby buildings too. So we literally spent the whole day browsing the old times and some new Christmas flavors.

The views were amazing, the castle was decorated for Christmas (I mean, extra decorated), there were two ladies knitting in one of the rooms, we could enjoy the splendor of the interior, the majestic exterior and all the Christmas spirit we could get. It was full of people, tasting local delicacies and enjoying a day out with their families. We enjoyed some local glühwein (it’s another level of the regular one, highly recommend trying local things everywhere), some chilly brownies, and the most amazing hot potatoes stuffed with salad, goat cheese, and sauce. We listened to some Christmas songs by a choir and later in the evening, Drachenfels Railway took us down to Königswinter.

Drachenburg Castle and Christmas market, Germany

Aachen Christmas market

If you enjoy circling around Christmas markets, Aachen is the place for you. The Aachen Cathedral is surrounded by the Chrismas mood, a huge market full of anything you can want. We didn’t like the food options this year and choose some Flammkuchen (or Tarte flambée in French), but it was a disgrace for all flammkuchen. Hopefully, Strassbourg wouldn’t understand this joke of a dish. Anyway, we managed to meet and catch up with friends, to check out the new mugs and say hi to the giant ginger cookie (it’s the market’s mascot).

Aachen Christmas market, Germany, Cologne

Düsseldorf Christmas markets

If you start walking from the Düsseldorf Hauptbahnhof to the Old Town, soon you’ll realize you just pass from one Christmas market to another, and borders between them just fade. It was our last night in Germany so we decided to treat ourselves – mulled wine, then our favorite Feuerzangebowle, then some Reibekuchen, some hot boiled potatoes with herb sauce, Flammkuchen. Nearby the Rathaus there was definitely some party going on (who cares it’s Tuesday evening), and the river promenade was inviting us to hop on the Ferris wheel or buy a gift from one of the many old-style colorful tiny houses-stalls.

Düsseldorf Christmas market, Germany, Cologne

Well, it was just enough time to enjoy all the above Cologne Christmas markets, Drachenfels Castle, Aachen, and Düsseldorf. We will be back for more next year, and until then we can just say Prost and wish you happy warm and smiling holidays! Check out our video of different Christmas markets around Europe from next year and get inspired to join the Christmas celebration with a warm mug in your hand!

Christmas markets in Cologne, Germany and around
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  1. […] Christmas markets in Cologne: Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral, Heinzels Winter Fairytale on the squares Alter Markt and […]