Cologne Christmas Markets Guide 2023

Cologne Christmas magic unfolds as December arrives, transforming the city into a picturesque canvas painted with vibrant colors and lively festive spirits. Each Christmas market scattered across the city becomes a truly unique place, bursting with enchanting lights, inviting aromas, and delightful sounds, embodying the warmth of the season!

Before we embark on a festive journey through the enchanting Christmas markets of Cologne, let’s whet our appetites with some intriguing insights: dive into our Fun Facts Cologne article to discover the lesser-known yet fascinating aspects of this vibrant city, and continue reading here to explore the winter wonderland that awaits in its historic streets during the holiday season.

Immerse yourself in a festive wonderland with our guide!

Where the enchanting aromas of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts pave the way through the city’s vibrant squares, illuminating your holiday spirit amidst a kaleidoscope of twinkling lights and heartwarming traditionsūüĎáūüĎáūüĎá

Top Cologne Christmas Markets

#1ūüéĄCologne Cathedral Christmas Market¬†

Located at Roncalliplatz and veiled under the magnificence of Cologne Cathedral, this iconic market remains open from November 23 to December 23, 2023. Add this market to your must-visit list and enjoy the majestic cathedral as its backdrop, and the joyful spirit in every nook and corner. Find special crafts, culinary delights, and loads of… festive spirit.

#2ūüŹõÔłŹ Heinzels Winterm√§rchen in Cologne’s Old Town 

Find this market in Cologne’s Altstadt (Old Town) at Alter Markt from November 24 to December 23. It tells the beautiful tale of the legendary Heinzelm√§nnchen, mythical creatures from Cologne‚Äôs folklore. Immerse yourself in history, mythology, and vibrant cultural displays.  

Cologne Christmas Markets Guide 2023 - Heinzels Wintermärchen
Immerse yourself in the twinkling lights and festive charm of Heinzels Winterm√§rchen in Cologne’s Old Town

#3ūüėá Heavenly moments at the Angels’ Christmas Market 

Stationed in the Neumarkt Square, a bit away from the immediate city center, the Angels’ Market offers you an ethereal vibe from November 20 to December 23. It’s one of the original markets that reinstated the Christmas market tradition in Cologne back in the 1970s. 

#4ūü§∂ Get cozy in the Stadtgarten 

Running from November 17 to December 23, this market, nestled in the Stadtgarten‘s restaurant beer garden, gives you a snug and somewhat intimate vibe away from the larger, more bustling markets. The blend of handcrafted goods, gourmet treats, and a warm, inviting atmosphere is simply amazing.  

#5‚öď Nautical Vibes at the Harbour Christmas Market 

From November 23 to December 23, this market on the banks of the Rhine with its harbor view, and scent of scrumptious sweets and delicacies, is truly something special.  

Cologne Christmas Markets Guide 2023 - Harbour Christmas Market
Cozy festive vibes meet riverfront charm at Cologne’s Harbour Christmas Market

If we’ve awakened your festive spirit, keep reading our detailed guide to activities you can enjoy while exploring the Christmas markets in Cologne!

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Top Activities during Christmas in Cologne

ūüéĀ Buy unique Christmas gifts¬†

As you stroll through the bustling market stalls, you’ll find exquisite, handcrafted items, a specialty of Germany. From wooden crafts to artisanal creations, these skilled craftsmen can tell you the story behind each piece. Consider spreading some German Christmas joy by purchasing handcrafted gifts for your loved ones back home. 

ūüćĶ Warm up with some Gl√ľhwein 

Imagine bottling up the warmth and festive vibes of Cologne’s Christmas markets and turning it into a drink ‚Äď that’s Gl√ľhwein. This classic German winter beverage combines red wine with a blend of spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. It warms you from your lips to your toes. If you fall in love with it, grab a bag of the spice mix to enjoy with friends during future Christmas gatherings. 

Cologne Christmas Markets Guide 2023 - Gl√ľhwein stand
Gl√ľhwein warmth at Cologne’s Christmas markets

‚õłÔłŹ Ice Skating Fun 

The holiday season is incomplete without a bit of ice skating, even if you spend more time wobbling than gliding. If you’re up for it, head over to the ice-skating rink near the Neumarkt market. If you’d rather watch, cozy up with a cup of Gl√ľhwein on the sidelines and cheer on your friends or fam! 

Gl√ľhwein - Ice skating boots on ice
Ice skating charm at Cologne’s Christmas markets

ūüĎĎ Explore the Shrine of the Three Kings 

A hidden gem for first-time visitors is the Shrine of the Three Kings in the grand Cologne Cathedral. The relics of these wise men are a significant part of the Christmas story. You can join the celebrations during December with two special masses, one at 5 PM and another at midnight. 

ūüéľ Sing Christmas carols along the Rhine 

Cologne sits along the Rhine river, making it a super picturesque spot to enjoy a day trip or a short cruise during the winter holidays. Winter cruises last around three hours and offer you a great Christmas buffet with German specialties and festive tunes. 

Cologne Christmas Markets Guide 2023 - view of the Rhine and Cologne landscape at night
Nighttime allure: The Rhine River shimmering against Cologne’s illuminated skyline

ūü•Ć Give curling a try 

Germans are passionate about outdoor activities, even in winter! One sport gaining popularity is curling, similar to indoor bowling but with a strategic twist. While in Cologne, you can join the locals and try your hand at curling, usually located near an ice-skating rink. Friendly locals are often happy to show you the ropes. 

ūüćĽ End the day with a local brew 

After a day filled with adventures, it’s time to experience a crucial part of German culture: the Brauhaus. These traditional meeting places have been integral to German cities for generations. Along with the local K√∂lsch beer, you can try traditional German dishes, too. 

Cologne Christmas Markets Guide 2023 - Biers selection
Prost! A diverse beer selection showcases Cologne’s rich brewing heritage

‚ú® Summing up‚Ķ 

Cologne offers you a chance to create truly magical moments during the festive season. From charming markets to exclusive activities throughout the city, your Christmas in Cologne will be filled with new memories, heartwarming connections, and the joyful spirit that defines the holiday season in this German city. 

After immersing yourself in the festive spirit of the Cologne Christmas markets, navigate through the historic and lively city with our comprehensive guide, One day in Cologne, Germany, ensuring your adventure continues beyond the twinkling lights and charming stalls.

8 Reasons to Visit Cologne This Christmas: FAQs

What awaits me at the Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market?

Oh, it's a splendidly festive scene! Under the magnificent Cologne Cathedral towering over Roncalliplatz, I’m enveloped by inviting aromas, enchanting lights, and a lush festive atmosphere from November 23 to December 23.

What’s special about Heinzels Wintermärchen in Cologne's Old Town?

This market tells the beautiful saga of the legendary Heinzelmännchen, mystical beings from Cologne’s folklore, and I can immerse myself in a world of history and lively cultural displays from November 24 to December 23 at Alter Markt.

What's the vibe like at the Angels' Christmas Market?

Like a heavenly dream! Located in the Neumarkt Square, a bit away from the direct city center, the Angels' Market offers an almost ethereal atmosphere and truly gives a touch of heaven from November 20 to December 23.

How cozy does it get in the Stadtgarten?

Unexpectedly intimate and snug! In the beer garden of the Stadtgarten restaurant, where the market takes place from November 17 to December 23, I can enjoy handicrafts, gourmet delicacies, and a warm, inviting atmosphere.

What does the Harbour Christmas Market offer with its nautical vibes?

Something truly special! From November 23 to December 23, on the banks of the Rhine, the scent of delicious sweets and delicacies fills the air, offering a truly special experience with its harbor view.

Where can I find unique Christmas gifts?

As you stroll through the bustling market stalls, you discover exquisite, handcrafted items, a specialty of Germany. You can bring some German Christmas joy to your loved ones back home with handcrafted gifts and hear stories from the skilled craftsmen.

What's special about the Gl√ľhwein at Cologne's Christmas markets?

Imagine bottling up the warmth and festive vibes of Cologne's Christmas markets into a drink ‚Äď that's Gl√ľhwein. This classic German winter beverage combines red wine with a blend of spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves, warming me from my lips to my toes.

Where can I enjoy a bit of ice skating?

The holiday season is incomplete without a bit of ice skating, even if you spend more time wobbling than gliding. you can head over to the ice-skating rink near the Neumarkt market or cozy up with a cup of Gl√ľhwein on the sidelines and cheer on my friends or family!

How can I experience the Three Kings in the Cologne Cathedral?

A hidden gem for first-time visitors is the Shrine of the Three Kings in the grand Cologne Cathedral. The relics of these wise men are a significant part of the Christmas story. you can join the celebrations in December with two special masses, one at 5 PM and another at midnight.

How do I experience festive cruises along the Rhine?

Cologne sits along the Rhine River, making it a super picturesque spot to enjoy a day trip or a short cruise during the winter holidays. Winter cruises last about three hours and offer me a great Christmas buffet with German specialties and festive tunes.

Can I give curling a try?

Yes, and how! Germans are passionate about outdoor activities, even in winter! Curling, similar to indoor bowling but with a strategic twist, is gaining popularity. While in Cologne, you can join the locals and try my hand at curling, usually located near an ice-skating rink.

Where I you wind down the day with a local brew?

After a day filled with adventures, it’s time to experience an essential part of German culture: the Brauhaus. These traditional meeting places have been integral to German cities for generations. Along with the local Kölsch beer, I can also try traditional German dishes.

ūüõéÔłŹ Where to stay in Cologne? 

Book your festive stay at the MEININGER Hotel Köln West and dive into the magical world of the Cologne Christmas markets!

Address: Stolberger Str. 347, 50933 Cologne, Germany

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