Weihnachtskugeln und Lichterketten in einer Nahansicht
Lights, glitter and baubles, here at the Christmas market in the Stadtgarten, set the mood for the festive season. Photo: Lena Kirchner

Not so silent nights: Christmas in Cologne

Cold weather, snow, faces full of anticipation – people associate lots of things with December. Some see the winter temperatures as a welcome chance to snuggle up on the sofa, while others venture outside to join in the Christmas festivities in Cologne. In the middle of all the hustle and bustle and off the beaten (and the full) track, the aroma of mulled wine and baked apples awakens the festive season from its year-long hibernation. From a more contemplative vibe at a bar in the Ehrenfeld district to Christmassy sports action on Ebertplatz square, Christmas in Cologne has a lot to offer. Here are six places you should definitely have on your Christmas list.

1. Bumann & Sohn: a quaint Christmas market with a bar-like atmosphere 

Innenansicht einer Bar mit vielen Menschen vor dem Thresen
Christmas in Cologne: Bumann & Sohn has more than just mulled wine. Photo: Bumann & Sohn

What this Christmas market lacks in size, it makes up for in variety. Local businesses will again be presenting a selection of their products in the courtyard of the Bumann & Sohn bar in Cologne’s Ehrenfeld district. If you haven’t done your shopping yet and don’t want to end up giving people any old thing, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find something here. They’ve also got lots of food and drink to choose from. If you’ve had enough mulled wine, try the festive creations made of hot apple juice, cinnamon, vodka and vanilla for a change. And listen to a range of different live music acts while you soak it all in.

2. Stadtgarten Christmas market: old but gold 

das Gesamtkunstwerk Ma'alot von Dani Karavan von vorn
The magical atmosphere at Stadtgarten’s Christmas market. Photo: Lena Kirchner

Even though everyone knows about the Stadtgarten Christmas market now, we had to include this once secret gem of local Christmas culture in our list. Located in the hip Belgian Quarter, it’s a popular meeting place for locals and offers a wide array of goods. Every week up until 23 December, 60 different traders set up shop with a range of art and design work. A smorgasbord of dishes and artisan, organic mulled wine rounds the experience off perfectly. While the fairy lights in the trees shine gently above the leisurely atmosphere of the market, friends, families and work mates meet up in the delightful setting beneath to enjoy a hot mug of non-alcoholic punch or mulled wine together.

3. Körnerstraße courtyard Christmas market – community spirit 

For those who prefer more reflective Christmas experiences on a smaller scale, the courtyard market on Körnerstraße in the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood offers the ideal alternative to the larger affairs. Visitors can browse the local shops’ products at stalls set up in residents’ drives, windows, gardens and hallways. The market is a privately organised event, with no admission fee and the idea is, “We’ve decorated the street, we’re ready to celebrate Christmas – drop by for a real community experience!”

4. Seasonal festivities on Ebertplatz square

Zwei Geigenspieler von hinten spielen vor einem Publikum, um sie herum Nebel.
Enjoying a Christmas concert on Ebertplatz square. Photo: “Unser Ebertplatz” project

Cologne’s Ebertplatz square gets a Christmas makeover too, sprucing itself up for a wide-ranging programme of events from 24 November to 31 December, organised by the city council and various partners. This year, there’ll be Eisstockschießen (a special type of curling), a fire show, video and sound art, table mini golf, music and even a shop-window competition for kids – something for everyone, young and old. And the requisite hot drinks for this time of year will be there too, of course. Take a look at this year’s programme, if you don’t want to miss out.

5. Voodmarkt: Cologne’s first vegan Christmas market 


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If you like good food and wide variety, head for Voodmarkt in Rugby Park in Cologne’s Klettenberg district on 16 and 17 December. From soups and stews, potato fritters and tartes flambées, to cheesy spaetzle, wraps and waffles, they’ve got everything. Once you’ve satisfied the hunger pangs, there are stalls selling sustainable and regionally produced clothing and jewellery to explore. All against a backdrop of live music and a light show.

6. Blackfoot Beach: Christmas on the shore in Cologne 

Baking bread around a campfire, flying across the lake on a sledge, listening to stories, trying your hand at archery in the light of the flames or making unique presents – it’s all possible at Blackfoot Beach in the north of Cologne, which will again be transformed into a winter wonderland in December. Hot drinks will be served at the winter beer garden and fire pits dotted along the beach will welcome frozen guests with their warming flames. There are lots of sheltered areas too, where you can find a comfy spot and enjoy a snack from the wide assortment on offer. Admission to Blackfoot Beach costs six euros for adults and four euros for children and teenagers. Six-and-unders go free.

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