If you like variety when it comes to Christmas markets then Cologne is a great choice as it offers up to seven different areas where you can search for souvenirs, gifts and festive treats amongst the stalls. There are four main markets, the most impressive of which sits in front of the iconic Gothic cathedral and features the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland.
Venture into the Old Town and you will discover a market that’s watched over by the mythical Heinzelmännchen. These little people are intertwined with Cologne’s folklore and are there to ensure everything runs smoothly and no mass market products are sold. That’s one reason why each of the craftsman selling their wares here has to demonstrate their work regularly for all to see.
Other markets include those in the harbour area and on the Neumarkt. The former is located close to the chocolate museum on the banks of the Rhine and features tented stalls that look like a ship’s sails. Sailors sing sea shanties and the mischievous ‘Rhine Pirates’ will be telling tales and performing for the crowds.
In contrast, the Christmas market at the Neumarkt is named in honour of the angels that glide through its aisles sprinkling magical dust in their wake. The stalls here can be described as slightly more upmarket and this is the perfect place to relax with a mug of mulled wine.