Cologne has some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in all of Germany. Every Christmas market in Cologne is different and offers its own special atmosphere. The Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral enchants with its location directly in front of the impressive cathedral. The Harbor Christmas market in the Rheinauhafen impresses with its location at the Chocolate Museum and the Rhine. In the St Nicholas Village (Nikolausdorf) at the Christmas market on Rudolfplatz, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the realm of St. Nicholas and his reindeer. Everywhere it smells of roasted almonds and freshly baked waffles. Thousands of lights and atmospheric music create a Christmas atmosphere. Some Christmas markets have already opened before Sunday of the Dead, others only a few days before the first Advent. In this blog post, I will introduce you to the nine most beautiful Christmas markets in Cologne.
The Christmas tree at the Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral
Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral
The Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral is the most popular and for me also the most beautiful Christmas market in Cologne. The location directly in front of Cologne Cathedral on Roncalliplatz is absolutely unique and gives this Christmas market a very special atmosphere. The approximately 130 booths and stalls have red roofs and are each decorated with a star and a garland of fir branches. They are grouped around a 25 meter high Christmas tree, lavishly decorated with stars and Christmas baubles, which stands in the middle of the Christmas market. A net of lights with 50,000 LEDs stretches from the Christmas tree across the Christmas market.
There is a large stage in front of the Christmas tree, where concerts, performances and hands-on activities take place several times a day. In addition to classically interpreted Christmas carols, you will also hear jazz, pop, swing, gospel music, Irish folk, alphorn players and Cologne Christmas hits.
In the photo box near the entrance to the Christmas market to the right of Cologne Cathedral, you can have a photo taken with your loved one under a mistletoe.
There is a separate children’s program for children in the observatory at stand 41. On Tuesdays between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM there is a Punch and Judy show with Punch and Judy and the Christmas Angel. On Wednesdays between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM, the little guests of the Christmas market have the opportunity to create and send a wish list to the Christ child. On Thursdays, also between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM, the play “Christmas in Danger” is performed in the observatory. On December 6th the children can meet Santa Claus there.
A wide range awaits you at the Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral. Here you can get the legendary, delicious cathedral speculoos and speculoos baking molds including the recipe, record clocks, cuddly sheep, handicrafts made of felt and wool, glass art, Cologne pictures, 3D puzzles and wooden toys, nativity scenes and nativity figures, ceramic light houses, copper lights and paper stars and much more.
You will also get your money’s worth in culinary terms. The offer ranges from Hungarian langos, Swiss raclette from Bergsenn, mushrooms, fried fish, sausage specialties, wraps and corn on the cob, hand bread, potato pancakes, donut balls, waffles and crêpes and many other delicacies. For vegans there are pulled jackfruit burgers at stand 89, vegan pear-ginger-coconut cakes and vegan cinnamon rolls.
- Adress: Roncalliplatz, 50667 Cologne
- Date: November 17 to December 23, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 11 AM to 9 PM, Thursday and Friday from 11 AM to 10 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 10 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The Dom/Hauptbahnhof underground station is in the immediate vicinity of Roncalliplatz. You can get there with the subway lines 5, 16 and 18. Alternatively, you can also take the Deutsche Bahn to Cologne Central Station.
- Parking garages nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the Central Station car park, in the Dom car park, in the Philharmonie car park and in the Groß St. Martin car park near Roncalliplatz.
Stalls and Christmas tree at the Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral
Christmas Market in the Old Town – Market of the Heinzel
The Christmas market in the old town is also known in Cologne as the Market of the Heinzel or Heinzel’s Winter Fairy Tale and is dedicated to Cologne’s Brownies (Heinzel). A legend says that the hard-working little journeymen used to live in the old town of Cologne and did the work of the local craftsmen at night. At the Christmas market in the old town you can see the Brownies (Heinzel) in different places.
The Market of the Heinzel actually consists of two Christmas markets; the Christmas market at Heumarkt and the Christmas market at Alter Markt. These are connected to each other by the Antikgasse with its arts and crafts stands. Here you will find cutlery art, an antiquarian bookshop, absinthe, chestnuts and other stands.
You can circle the Christmas market at Heumarkt and the equestrian monument on ice skates for more than 100 meters, because the ice rink stretches around large parts of the square. There are also several curling rinks at the Allgäuer Hütte Büble Alpe where you can do curling. From the bridge next to the polar bear hut you have a great view of the equestrian monument, the ice rink and the curling rinks. In the Goldgasse there are, among other things, amber, silver and hair ornaments. Natural wool and skins, northern lights, a hat maker and other stands await you in Wintergasse. You will get your money’s worth in the guild house (Zunfthaus) and the stack house (Stapelhaus), in the Heinzel house (Heinzelhaus) and the pancake house (Pfannekuchenhaus), in the Allgäuer Hütte Büble Alpe and in the Futtergasse. There is raclette, hand bread, potato pancakes, tarte flambée, sausage specialities, crepes and waffles as well as various other food stands.
At the Christmas market at the Alter Markt there is a Ferris wheel and a Christmas post office, the teddy land and wooden games and much more. Cribs and art from the Ore Mountains, light houses and lanterns, Christmas villages and products made from beeswax as well as other stands await you in the Weihnachtsgasse (Christmas lane). In the Krämergasse, you can buy teapots, illuminated glasses, art prints, salt stone and figurine candles as well as various other products. In the Handwerkergasse a pottery, a locksmith, a knife sharpener and a fire painter as well as other craftsmen are waiting for you. Culinary you will get your money’s worth in the Rathausgasse. There you can buy langos, mushrooms, Schupfnudeln, potato pancakes and grilled skewers. The Chipsery stand is suitable for vegans. For them, there is also garlic bread without butter but with chilli wine jelly, tomatoes and olives .
A varied program awaits you at both Christmas markets. The orchestra of the Cologne Concert Brass Band performs on the stage in front of the Jan von Werth fountain on Alter Markt from Sunday to Friday between 6.30 PM and 9 PM. At the same time as at the Christmas market at Heumarkt, there is a wind concert by the Cologne University of Music on the balcony of the Stapelhaus. A pianist plays in the Antikgasse every evening until December 23rd. The singer-songwriters Rasmus Schumacher & Taka JC sing daily in front of the Ratsschänke on the Alter Markt. After Christmas they move to the Stapelhaus on the Heumarkt. On December 7th and 14th, the Silent Ice Disco will take place on the ice rink at Heumarkt from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. From December 27th, there will be ice dancing on the ice rink every day at 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM, except on New Year’s Eve. On January 7th and 8th, 2023 you can watch an ice dance performance with the ice dancers from “Le Patin Libre” here.
There is also a lot on offer for children. Santa Claus comes to the Jan von Wert fountain on December 7 between 3 PM and 5 PM. Every Monday is children’s day at the ice rink from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Children can learn to skate in Jack’s ice skating school on the ice rink on Mondays from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM, from December 27 even daily from 11 AM to 12 PM.
- Addresses: Alter Markt and Heumarkt, 50667 Cologne
- Date: Christmas market at Alter Markt from November 21 to December 23, 2022. Christmas market at Heumarkt from November 21, 2022 to January 8, 2023 – Days off: December 24 and 25, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 11 AM to 10 PM – from December 26, 2022 from 11 AM to 9 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: You can take subway line 5 to the subway station Rathaus. Alternatively, you can take tram lines 1, 7 and 9 and buses 136 and 146 to the Heumarkt tram stop.
- Parking garages nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the Heumarkt multi-storey car park, in the Gürzenich multi-storey car park, in the Groß St. Martin multi-storey car park and in the An Farina multi-storey car park.
The ice rink at Heumarkt at the Christmas market in the old town
Christmas Market at the Neumarkt – Market of Angels (Markt der Engel)
The Christmas Market at the Neumarkt in Cologne is also known as the Market of Angels (Markt der Engel). All stands are housed in small white or natural colored Christmas houses, the gables of which are decorated with angel figures, oak stars, Christmas wreaths or other decorations. A starry sky of hundreds of white stars extends over the Christmas market. At the Christmas market you will meet white-clad angels with glitter powder, the winter queen with her snowy owl, a little unicorn, mythical creatures on stilts and St Nicholas and his Christmas angel, and not only on St Nicholas’ Day.
Piano music comes from “Stadtgeklimper” and vocals from Gospelbreeze, Kim Morales and Bernice Ehrlich. Cocajine also provides musical Christmas spirit.
Children have the opportunity to take photos with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse on December 6 and 16 from 4 to 7 PM. On other days, St. Nicholas comes to visit with his Christmas angel. There are also performances by the children’s magician Markus Poétes and the opportunity for children to have their faces painted.
As in the past, there is a larger Christmas house with Christmas decorations by Käthe Wohlfahrt at the Christmas market on Neumarkt. At the other smaller Christmas houses you also get a large selection. At one stand you can create your own gin. There is also a bakery for dog treats, oriental handicrafts, sustainable products from Weltheld, Cologne motifs on boards, pictures and other products, Kumquat hand puppets, Cologne Cathedral prints, Baumkuchen baked on site, Monschau mustard specialities, chocolates and liqueurs as well much more.
In between you can eat and drink at various stands. For vegans there is vegan spaetzle, for meat lovers there is spaetzle with game. Furthermore, the selection ranges from Alsatian tarte flambée, pasta in Parmesan dough, vegetable twister, fried fish and seafood specialties, kale, Prague ham and mushrooms, potato pancakes and Belgian fries, hearty, tipsy and sweet crêpes, original Cologne Cathedral waffles, churros and poffertjes and other delicacies. You can get drinks at the cocktail bar, at Wolke 7, at the Engelbar and at Gabriels.
- Address: Neumarkt, 50667 Cologne
- Date: November 17 to December 23, 2022 – Day off: November 20 (Sunday of the Dead).
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 10 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The Neumarkt underground and tram stop is right next to the Christmas market. You can get there by subway lines 3, 4, 16 and 18, tram lines 1, 7 and 9, and buses 136 and 146.
- Parking garages nearby: If you are arriving by car, you can park in the car parks Lungengasse, in the car park Am Neumarkt, in the car park Theater/Krebsgasse and in the car park Kreissparkasse Köln/Richmodstraße.
The Christmas Market at the Neumarkt is also called Market of Angels
Christmas Market on Rudolfplatz – St Nicholas Village (Das Nikolausdorf)
The Christmas Market on Rudolfplatz is a St Nicholas Village (Nikolausdorf) with beautifully decorated, lighted stalls and booths that look like small half-timbered houses. It is located in front of the imposing backdrop of the Hahnentorburg. Thousands of LED lights give the St Nicholas Village a Christmas atmosphere. In the village chapel, self-made nativity scenes await you, which are presented by children and young people.
For children there are free offers that change every day in the St Nicholas’ House (Nikolaushaus). St Nicholas visits St Nicholas Village daily from 4:00 PM to 4:30 PM and walks through the alleys of the village from 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM. From Monday to Friday afternoons there is a creative program for primary school classes, kindergarten and daycare groups. Musicians and artists perform regularly on the stage.
- Address: Rudolfplatz, 50968 Cologne
- Date: November 17 to December 23, 2022 – Day off: November 20 (Sunday of the Dead).
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11 AM to 9 PM, Friday from 11 AM to 10 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 10 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The underground and tram stops at Rudolfplatz are in the immediate vicinity of the Christmas market on Rudolfplatz. You can get there by subway lines 12 and 15, tram lines 1 and 7, and buses 136 and 146.
- Parking garages nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the Rudolfplatz car park and in the Sparkasse/Schaafenstraße car park.
The Christmas Market at Rudolfplatz in front of the Hahnentorburg is also called St Nicholas Village (Nikolausdorf)
Christmas Market in the Stadtgarten
At the Christmas Market in the Stadtgarten, the beautifully decorated stalls and booths are set up under the treetops, which gives the Christmas market a cozy atmosphere. The selection ranges from jewelery to handicrafts, glowing stars, handicrafts, Christmas and decorative items as well as many other accessories and Christmas gifts.
The homemade mulled wine according to the stand operator’s own recipe is considered the best mulled wine in Cologne. Otherwise, Alsatian tarte flambée, crêpes, cinnamon rolls and a few other specialties are offered.
- Address: Venloer Street 40, 50672 Cologne
- Date: November 17 to December 23, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Friday from 4 PM to 9.30 PM, Saturday and Sunday from 12 PM to 9.30 PM – on 20 November (Sunday of the Dead) from 6 PM to 9.30 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The subway station Hans-Böckler-Platz/Bahnhof West and the train station Cologne West are close to the Christmas Market in the Stadtgarten. You can get there by subway lines 3, 4 and 5, as well as some regional trains. From there it is only a few minutes’ walk to the Christmas Market in the Stadtgarten.
- Parking garages nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the Ringkarree car park, in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring car park and in the Maastrichter Straße car park.
The Christmas Market in the Stadtgarten is set up under treetops
Harbor Christmas Market in the Rheinauhafen
The Harbor Christmas Market in the Rheinauhafen is directly located at the Chocolate Museum and in the Rheinauhafen in Cologne. The stands and booths are housed in white pagoda tents that look like sails and give the Christmas market a maritime atmosphere. These are set up in front of and around the 48 meter high Ferris wheel, from which you have a fantastic view over the whole of Cologne during the ride. The handicrafts and the rest of the selection at the stands is deliberately of a higher quality and comes from Cologne and the region as well as from other countries. There is also a nativity scene built by Cologne day-care centers.
A highlight is the appearance of the “Rhine Pirates”, who present sailor’s yarn and pirate juggling. There is also a varied cultural and entertainment program. The background music ranges from shanties to classic Christmas carols. For children there are play boats and a children’s play tent.
You can get the winemaker’s mulled wine, the mulled beer and the fire tongs punch at a large original three-master wooden ship. To satisfy your hunger there is tarte flambée, original Hamburg fish rolls, steaks and other grilled specialties as well as a sweet assortment.
- Address: Am Schokoladenmuseum, 50678 Cologne
- Date: November 18 to December 23, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM – on November 20 (Sunday of the Dead) from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The Schokoladenmuseum bus stop is in the immediate vicinity of the Harbor Christmas Market in the Rheinauhafen. You can get there by bus 133. Alternatively, you can take underground line 5 to the Heumarkt underground and tram stop. From there it is about a 10-minute walk to the harbor Christmas Market at the chocolate museum.
- Parking garages nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the Rheinauhafen Nord/Bayenturm car park and in the Rheinauhafen car park.
The stands of the Harbor Christmas Market in the Rheinauhafen are set up around the Ferris wheel
Christmas Market on Chlodwigplatz – Veedelsadvent
The Christmas market on Chlodwigplatz is also called Veedelsadvent and takes place right in front of the impressive backdrop of the Severinstorburg. The vendors and restaurateurs of the 15 to 20 stalls and booths are mainly from the Veedel – as the districts in Cologne are called. Among them is a project hut, which gives the nine voluntary associations the opportunity to take turns presenting their projects. You can also buy gift items and different types of honey. For children, there is a children’s carousel.
The culinary offer ranges from potato pancakes – also vegan -, vegetarian pea stew, game and sausage specialties, fries, pasta to waffles, crêpes, churros and roasted almonds.
- Address: Chlodwigplatz, 50678 Cologne
- Date: November 21 to December 23, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday from 12.00 PM to 10.00 PM, Friday and Saturday from 11.00 AM to 11.00 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The Chlodwigplatz tram stop is located near the Christmas market at Chlodwigplatz. You can get there with the tram lines 15, 16 and 17 as well as with the buses 106, 132, 133 and 142.
- Parking nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the ampido car park Chlodwigplatz in Elsaßstraße 49, in the ampido car park on Kartäuserwall 28f and in the ampido car park on Sachsenring 33. From the car parks it is about a 4 to 6 minute walk to the Christmas market on Chlodwigplatz.
The Christmas Market at Chlodwigplatz takes place in front of the backdrop of the Severinstorburg
The smallest Christmas Market at the Luther Church in the south of Cologne
The smallest Christmas market takes place in the courtyard of the Luther Church in the south of Cologne. The proceeds of the Christmas market are donated to various charitable projects. Every evening, different bands and artists perform on the stage of the Christmas market, performing Christmas carols and Cologne hits. There is a very neighborly, almost family atmosphere. The organizer of the Christmas market is the KG Ponyhof.
- Address: Luther Church, Martin-Luther-Platz 4, 50677 Cologne
- Date: November 17 to December 17, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Saturday from 5 PM to 10 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The Ulrepforte tram stop is a 10-minute walk from the Christmas market at the Lutherkirche. You can get to the Ulrepforte stop with tram lines 15 and 16.
- Parking nearby: If you come by car, you can park in the car park at Martin-Luther-Platz 9, in the ampido car park at Bonner Wall 114 and at the ampido car park Chlodwigplatz in Elsaßstraße 49. From the car park it is about a 1 to 7 minute walk to the Christmas market at the Luther Church.
The Christmas Market in the courtyard of the Luther Church is the smallest Christmas Market in Cologne
Winter Magic (Winterzauber) at the Eigelstein
Winter Magic (Winterzauber) at the Eigelstein in front of the impressive backdrop of the Eigelsteintorburg only takes place on five consecutive days at the end of November. During this time, St Nicholas visits the Christmas market every day and hands out sweets to the children. There is also a children’s carousel for the little visitors. Every evening there are live concerts by local musicians on the small stage in front of the Eigelsteintorburg. The Winter Magic at the Eigelstein is organized every year by the Bürgerverein Kölner Eigelstein e. V. The entire proceeds from the sale of food and drinks will benefit the Veedel. Among other things, this is used to finance the Christmas lights at the Eigelstein.
- Address: Eigelstein-Torburg, Eigelstein 136, 50668 Cologne
- Date: November 23 to 27, 2022.
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Friday from 2 PM to 10 PM, Saturday from 12 PM to 10 PM and Sunday from 12 PM to 9 PM.
- How to get there by public transport: The Ebertplatz underground station is close to the Eigelstein. You can get there with the underground lines 12, 15, 16 and 18. The Eigelstein is a 5-minute walk from Ebertplatz. Alternatively, you can take the S-Bahn lines S6, S11, S12 and S19 as well as the regional train RB25 to Hansaring station. From Hansaring it is about a 5-minute walk to the Winter Magic on the Eigelstein.
The Winter Magic (Winterzauber) at the Eigelstein takes place in front of the Eigelsteintorburg
My Opinion on the Christmas Markets in Cologne
I hope I was able to give you a good overview of the Christmas markets in Cologne. If you are in Cologne for the first time during Advent, you should concentrate on the four large Christmas markets at the Cologne Cathedral, in the Old Town, at Neumarkt and the Christmas market on Rudolfplatz. For your second visit, I recommend the Harbor Christmas Market and the Christmas Market in the Stadtgarten. If you come to Cologne more often, you should make a detour to one of the other Christmas markets.
I myself love the Cologne Christmas markets. Even after many years, my absolute favorite Christmas market is still the Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral. But I also like to visit the Christmas market on Neumarkt, the Nikolausdorf on Rudolfplatz and the Christmas market in the Old Town every year. At the Harbor Christmas Market, I like the location right next to the chocolate museum and the Rheinauhafen, as well as its maritime atmosphere. I actually visited the Christmas market in the Stadtgarten as well as the Christmas markets at the Eigelsteintor, at Chlodwigplatz and at the Lutherkirche for the first time this year. The Christmas market in the Stadtgarten inspired me. What I like about the three smaller Christmas markets is the family atmosphere, the reference to the respective Veedel and the fact that the proceeds are donated to a good cause.
Have you ever been to the Cologne Christmas markets? Which Christmas market did you like the most? I would be happy if you leave me a comment.
Luminous stars at the Christmas market on the Rudolfplatz in Cologne
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