Cologne Christmas Market

The Cologne Christmas markets give visitors the choice of 7 main markets, each with individual charm.

The main Christmas Market takes place against the backdrop of the Gothic Cathedral and you will find a fascinating array of high-quality arts & crafts with many gift ideas, delicious food and drinks as well as more than one hundred stage events under the resplendent starlight tent. This particular market attracts millions of visitors each year and features over 150 stalls. Located in the shadow of one of the biggest Christmas trees in the world, with live music complimenting the sound of the cathedral bells, it's sure to melt even Scrooge's heart.

Located within the ancient walls of the Old Town is the "Heimat der Heinzel" or "home of the elves" market which, according to Cologne fable, was originally where many elves lived. The market takes on the enchanting story based upon these little master craftspeople with the stalls selling a wonderful range of hand-crafted gifts, puppets and toys. The elves keep a watchful eye over the market as statues are placed on every stall and can be seen getting up to mischief in various different places around the square. This market features a beautiful carousel, ice-skating rink and is a perfect place to take the kids.

Another worthwhile visit, if you like something slightly more unique, is the Santa's Village Christmas market at Rudolfplatz. This market is situated near the Neumarkt. Not only does it look like Santa's Village, it also features a walkthrough house of Santa, a factory in which children can create presents and a Christmas bakery. With its reindeer and elves, this Christmas market is very appealing to kids.

There is also the Christmas Market of Angels at Neumarkt, offering many stalls with arts and crafts and tasty food and many attractions for kids, and the Cologne Harbour Christmas Market, situated right in front of Cologne's famous Chocolate Museum. With about 80 white marquee pagoda tents, culinary delicacies and pirate shows, a nautical atmosphere is created.

The Christmas Avenue is Cologne's first gay and lesbian Christmas market. It offers colourful stalls and is located in the centre of the "scene-quarter" Bermuda Triangle near the Rudolfplatz. The market features quality products, culinary delights and cabaret shows in a sparkling and atmospheric ambient. Everyone is welcome to celebrate Christmas together.

The Christmas market at Stadtgarten is located in the city garden and has a romantic and cozy atmosphere. Many of the products are handmade. This Christmas market combines different characteristics and is artful, attractively different, ingeniously stylish and yet bound to nature and tradition.

Things to do and see

Go ice skating in the heart of the beautiful Old Town at the rustic and cozy market “Home of the Elves”.

Visit Cologne Cathedral. The number one attraction in Germany, it is still the third largest Cathedral in the world.

Enjoy a glass of local Kölsch, together with some of Cologne’s traditional cuisine such as a “Halver Hahn” (a bread roll with Dutch cheese and mustard), “Himmel un Ääd” (Heaven and Earth – apple and mashed potato) or “Kölscher Kaviar” (black pudding).

Visit Museum Ludwig, Wallraf-Richartz Museum & FC, the Romanic-Germanic Museum and the ever-popular chocolate museum.

Enjoy a festive dinner cruise along the Rhine or head to the lookout point on top of the south tower of the cathedral.

Along the Hohenzollernbrücke (Hohenzollern Bridge) you will find more than 40,000 colourful ‘love locks’, put there by happy couples, families and friends. The locks, marked with their names, are attached to the bridge and the key is thrown into the river as proof of eternal love.

Additional Information
Nearby markets worth visiting
Useful Information
  • Flight time from London: 1hr 15mins
  • Koln - Bonn Airport: 15km from the city centre, transfer time about 40min by train.
  • Nearest Railway station: Koln HBF
  • Currency: Euro
Hotel Recommendations

Maritim Hotel Cologne 4*

Why we like it: The glass-covered hotel hall with exclusive boutiques and elegant restaurants. Location: On the bank of the river Rhine and in walking distance of the historic old town. Features: Restaurant, bar, lift, fitness area, indoor pool, sauna, parking. Accommodation: 454 spacious and air-conditioned rooms with en suite facilities, satellite TV, telephone, minibar, safe, Wi-Fi. (Wheelchair accessible rooms are available).


Tryp by Wyndham Köln City Centre 4*

Why we like it: Great location in a quiet part of Cologne. Location: This first class hotel with spacious rooms is ideally located in central Cologne and just a short walk from the main cathedral, many of the cities museums and restaurants. Features: Lift, bar, terrace, fitness area, sauna, parking. Accommodation:: 85 rooms with en suite facilities, satellite TV, telephone, minibar, safe, Wi-Fi.


Hotel Cristall 3*

Why we like it: A boutique hotel with a homely feel. Location: Within walking distance of Cologne Cathedral, central station, river front, major museum and the pedestrianised shopping centre. Features: Hotel bar, free Wi-Fi in lobby. Accommodation: 97 rooms all with en suite facilities, minibar, hairdryer, satellite TV, telephone.

Deck The Stalls Christmas Has Come Early
Now is the perfect time to book your festive trip to one of Europe's beautiful Christmas markets. Here's a look at a few of them in more detail.