Best Christmas Markets in Cologne, Germany, You Need to Visit (2023)

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2024-01-25

Are you going to visit the Christmas Markets in Cologne Germany in 2023 and looking for travel tips? Then you are in the right place!

I have to say that these are some of my favorite European Christmas markets, and they will take place between November 20th and December 23rd, 2023, with some markets turning into New Year’s Markets and lasting until the beginning of January 2024.

The Christmas Markets in Cologne, Germany, are famous and delight visitors.

I don’t know if it was the contrast of the cold I felt in the streets with the warmth of the mulled wine, the brightness of the small lights that adorn the city or the friendliness of the Germans I met along the way (true story), but the atmosphere in the markets Christmas in Cologne is truly unforgettable.

In this article, I’ve gathered some relevant information for anyone going to the Cologne Christmas Markets in 2023 for the first time, including the location of each market and what to see in each one.

As I am passionate about local cuisine, I cannot fail to mention some examples of typical German food that you can find on market stalls, but also hot drinks that help withstand the cold characteristic of this time of year in Germany.

I’ve also included some tips for finding cheap flights to Cologne, as well as relevant information on how to get from the airport to the city center.

Finally, I present some suggestions for accommodation in Cologne, including budget hotel options and other alternatives. I hope this information makes your visit to the Cologne Christmas Markets an amazing experience!

Discover the Best Christmas Markets in Cologne, Germany!

Cologne is known for its many Christmas markets, which delight visitors with their festive atmosphere and unique artisanal products.

Thus, with several markets spread across the city, you will have the opportunity to have different experiences in each of them.

One of the best things about the Christmas markets in Cologne is that they are relatively close to each other.

So this means you can easily walk from one market to another, exploring all the wonders each one has to offer.

However, when choosing the hotel, it is recommended to consider the location to facilitate access to the markets that interest you most (more details below).

It’s important to note that each market has its own opening date and opening times, which will provide you with different opportunities to experience the magic of Christmas at different times.

Also, keep in mind that Christmas markets may feature special attractions on certain days, such as live music performances, choirs or other surprises.

Anyway, below we present information about the location of each Christmas market in Cologne and what you can expect when visiting them. So, prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience of shopping, gastronomy and joy and join this Christmas tradition!

Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom (or the Cathedral Christmas market)

The Cathedral Christmas Market is the most central in Cologne and, as the name suggests, is located next to Cologne Cathedral.

The characteristic red stalls come to life as night falls in the city and a giant star with yellow lights lends a Christmassy atmosphere to this place.

In addition to the traditional craft stalls, there are many food stalls.

For example, waffles, crepes, caramelized apples, nougats and dried fruits covered in sugar were some options for those with a sweet tooth, and for those who enjoy savory dishes, German sausages, kebabs, different types of sausages and cheese were not left out.

However, I was particularly drawn to a stall where they were smoking salmon.

As it was cold, I went to a stall where they sold Glühwein, a mulled wine flavored with spices that quickly warms us up.

To accompany, and since it was still early, I opted for reibekuchen, a dish of fried potato and onion, served with apple puree

Opening dates: From 23-11-23 to 23-12-23
Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday from 11:00 to 21:00
Thursday-Friday from 11:00 to 22:00
Saturday from 10:00 to 22:00

Nikolausdorf auf dem Rudolfplatz

For us, this market is truly the most magical of all, also known as Aldeia de São Nicolau.

Upon crossing the entrance portal, we are warmly welcomed by an animated reindeer and a friendly snowman, who seem to bring this Christmas fairy tale to life.

The setting is beautiful, making us feel as if we were entering a fairy tale.

The atmosphere of this market is really unique, as the soft lights and carefully crafted decorations transport us to an environment of pure magic, where all Christmas wishes seem to come true.

St. Nicholas Village, located on Rudolfplatz, offers an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Take the opportunity to stroll through the streets of this market, enjoying the handcrafted decoration and local specialties that evoke the true spirit of Christmas.

Opening dates: from 20-11-23 to 23-12-23
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11:00 to 21:00
Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 22:00

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Markt der Engel

Located in the Neumarkt area, more specifically in Neumarkt Square, the Angel Market, known as “Markt der Engel”, has its own charm that comes to life when night falls and the lights come on.

During the day, it may seem like an ordinary market, but it’s at dusk that its magic reveals itself. The angel-shaped light decorations illuminate the room, creating a truly special and unique atmosphere.

As the night progresses, glowing angels beautify the landscape and transport visitors to a fairytale world. It’s the perfect time to stroll through the market’s alleys, explore the stalls and appreciate the delicacy of the decorations.

The Angel Market in Neumarkt is an unmissable experience for anyone who loves the magic of the Christmas markets in Cologne.

Enjoy the beauty of this place, and let yourself be enveloped by the Christmas spirit as the angels illuminate your journey.

Opening Date: from 20-11-23 to 23-12-23
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday from 11:00 to 21:00
Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 22:00

Kölner Hafen-Weihnachtsmarkt

Located close to the Chocolate Museum, the port market enchants with its themed decoration, featuring stalls with roofs that remind us of boats and pirate boats.

The nautical style permeates the entire environment, also reflected in the products available for sale.

In fact, it was the only place where we found seafood for sale, a truly unique option.

However, opting for a more traditional choice, we indulged in sausages and fries, enjoying the wide variety of typical sausages that Germany has to offer.

The Kölner Hafen-Weihnachtsmarkt provided us with an excellent experience, combining the festive spirit of Christmas with the maritime charm of Porto.

In other words, strolling through the stalls was like embarking on a nautical adventure full of German delights and traditions.

Opening dates: from 23-11-23 to 23-12-23
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11:00 to 21:00
Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to 22:00

Kölner Altstadt “Heimat der Henzel” – The Enchantment of the Gnomes

We spent a lot of time at the gnome market because it was really beautiful.

The entrance was decorated with representations of the little creatures.

Many people were having fun skating on the ice rink, we thought about trying it, but the speed with which they moved around the rink made us change our minds.

The crafts and food stalls were similar to those we had seen in the cathedral market, but what caught our attention were the wooden sculptures that were on display.

They were approximately the size of a person and the detail was impressive.

Opening date: 24-11-23 to 23-12-23
Opening hours: Every day from 11:00 to 22:00

Note: Heumarkt is open from November 24th to January 7th 2024 (closes on November 26th and December 24th/25th).

Best Gastronomy and typical German foods at the Christmas markets

Throughout the article I have already indicated some typical dishes that we tried, but as a summary, here are the ones that I think you should try.

So, being in Germany, be sure to try German sausages.

There are several types, including poultry and vegetarian if you prefer lighter options. In any case, I don’t mind trying the traditional ones, with cucumber pickles and mustard or curry, as long as they are accompanied by a local beer.

Cheeses are another essential thing, at least for me! The cheeses are quite strong, and for this reason they are not to everyone’s taste.

My trick is to let myself be led by my nose… for me the best cheese is the one that can be smelled from a distance and if you smell a strong aroma, follow it and you will probably find a huge cheese melting under a hot spot and on top of a toast of bread. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

Reibekuchen is a type of fried potato and onion cake accompanied by apple puree that can be found in several stalls.

I didn’t really like the combination of fried and apple, but as it’s typical of this region, try it and decide if you like it or not.

Best accommodation in Cologne close to the Christmas markets

As I mentioned, your choice of hotel in Cologne can greatly influence how you enjoy the Christmas markets.

So, in my opinion, the best area to sleep in the region is close to Cologne Cathedral and close to the central train station.

If you value the comfort of a 4-star superior hotel with a SPA, the Hotel Mondial am Dom Cologne MGallery is an excellent choice, while the City Apartment am Dom is a more economical option, especially if you are traveling as a family.

Furthermore, both the Eden Hotel Früh am Dom and the Hotel am Museum Köln are accommodation alternatives with good value for money.

If you don’t like any of these options, check the link and map below to see the availability and prices of all accommodation in Cologne (Germany) and remember that the markets are open from November 20th to December 23rd, 2023, so book the hotel as soon as possible.

Hotels in Cologne

Video about Köhl Christmas Markets

Check out this older video to get a glimpse of what the Cologne Christmas market has to offer!

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