Whether you are traveling for the first time to Köln or you’ve been here before during the month of December there is without a doubt a need to check out the Xmas markets.
So when the first opportunity presented itself, I was all over both playing the tourist and enjoying all of it.
The biggest Christmas market in Köln (and Europe!) is the one near the Cathedral: massive, impressive and super packed, which meant I had to strategize. It was a windy day but full of Christmas spirit. Susan was ready to embrace the Xmas markets at 11 AM sharp, and it turned out to be the perfect time to head out. Not too many tourists and the lineups for the different huts selling food and merchandise were also quite decent.
The inaugural mulled wine followed along with many tasters from different stands and after, of course, a bit of shopping. One suggestion for all: the cup in which the mulled wine is served can be yours for the small price of 2.50 Euros. May I highly suggest you keep the cups as each year they have a different design and they can come very handy for many needs at home such as hot chocolate, more mulled wine and coffee :).
Shopping at the markets is great because everything is authentic, locally made and of excellent quality. A few classic purchases would be Lebkuchen (gingerbread cookies) made from almonds, tree decorations of all sorts, and knitted items.
After we had perused the entire market, and listened to a bit of carolling, and with our purchases in hand, we decided to find a nice cozy place to settle into!
If you are looking for a slightly smaller market bunched around a skating rink, then the market at Heumarkt is your best bet, although I suggest wearing shoes you don’t really care about because inevitably someone will step on your feet no matter what time of day you go there!
And if you are here in Köln and have a couple of days to spare then the Christmas market in Bonn is certainly also worth checking out.
Such a delightful visit it was and Susan will be missed!