Monday, December 3, 2012

Cologne's Christmas Markets

We're just back from a great break in Cologne to visit it's world famous Christmas Markets. Every year the city centre of Cologne comes alive with the majic of Christmas, when the markets open their gates on the last Monday before Advent. Christmas music, arts, crafts and toys along with some great food and drink help to create a wonderful atmosphere in which to explore the markets and the city. We joined our good friend Elke to explore all that the city has to offer as Christmas approaches. We took the opportunity to visit the visiting David Hockney exhibition, the afternoon before at Cologne's Ludwig Museum before hitting the markets the following morning. The Ludwig Museum is easy to find as its located right behind the Cathedral which is hard to miss.

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 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!