First piece of advice, wrap up warm and wear some comfortable shoes as the markets are spread all round the city, so whether you're there for a day or a couple of days you will cover some kms. The Catehdral Christmas Market has perhaps the most impressive backdrop to its 150 wooden stalls. The markets open at 11am, so try and get there early, as the day progresses the city gets busier and its not so easy to see all that the stalls have to offer.
Perhaps the prettiest of the markets is the one on the Alter Markt in front of Cologne's town hall. Young children will really enjoy this market, with its nostagic children's roundabout and many toy stalls. Right in the centre of the city's Altstadt, this is one market not to miss.
Cologne's oldest Christmas Market, Markt Der Engel (Angel's Market) is held on the Neumarkt, the city centre market in the shopping district.
At the entrance to the Market of Fairytales you'll find one of the largest Santa Claus that I've ever come across which makes him a very popular photo opportunity as you'll see below.
If you don't get a chance to visit Cologne during the period of the Christmas markets, its still a great destination for a short city break with lots to do and see, check out www.cologne.de for more information on the city. Below are some more images of Cologne....
If you fancy visiting Cologne's Christmas Markets in the run up to Christmas 2012, they are open until the 23rd December from 11am to 9pm, extended to 10pm on Friday and Saturday. So if your thinking about Christmas Shopping its not a bad place to go, enjoy!