Cologne Christmas Market 2022: Everything You Need to Know
So, you’re finally planning a wintery trip to Germany to visit the Cologne Christmas Market. Here’s your ultimate guide to Cologne at Christmas and everything you need to know to visit the Christmas markets, Cologne Germany.
Generally known to be the best Christmas Market in Germany, Cologne is a center of Christmas cheer in the weeks running up to Christmas. The Christmas market Cologne Germany is a remarkably festive and atmospheric place, full of travelers and locals alike, shopping and having a good time before Christmas finally comes along.
Located in and around some of Cologne’s most iconic sights, the Christmas markets are a place of floating Christmas lights, stunningly decorated stalls, and a festive atmosphere that’s difficult to forget once you get home. Visiting them is one of the best things to do in Cologne at Christmas.
After spending almost a week visiting Cologne in winter and exploring the best Christmas markets in Germany, here is your practical guide to the Cologne Christmas markets. Find out more about the best Christmas markets in Cologne, what to expect, and some top tips for visiting to make sure you have the perfect, festive trip.
Read more: 12 Best Christmas Markets in Germany You Can’t Miss
*This ‘Cologne Germany Christmas market’ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
When to Visit
The best time to visit Cologne and Cologne Christmas Market is in the months of November and December. Of course, if you’re not too bothered about the Christmas markets and you want to see the city of Cologne, summer is also a great choice.
During these weeks in the run-up to Christmas the city lights up in colorful lights and decorations and people take to the streets to drink gluhwein and to hang out with friends. It’s a busy time of year in Cologne. If you prefer to explore the markets with fewer crowds make sure to head to the Cologne Christmas market in November rather than closer to Christmas.
Also, you’ll want to avoid weekends when things really fill up. The markets in the center of town also get very busy in the evenings so if you can, come during the day as well as in the evening.
Cologne Christmas Market Dates for 2022
Cologne Christmas Market 2022 official dates are 17th November until 23rd December 2022. The markets are open daily from 11 am until 9 or 10 pm depending on the market and the day of the week. They are open 7 days per week.
Where to Stay for Cologne Christmas Market
When thinking about where to stay when visiting the Cologne Christmas Market you’ll want to choose a hotel close to all the action for ease of moving around. Hotels or Airbnbs in Aldstadt (the old town) are a great idea as are those in the city center.
One of my favorite areas in Cologne is the Belgian neighborhood (Belgisches Viertel) however it is a little further from the most central Christmas markets.
Ruby Ella Hotel – One of the best boutique hotels in the city, this is the perfect stay for design-focused travelers. With sleek and bright rooms, and a modern bar, and a lounge, this hotel has everything you need for a perfect stay in the city. Great staff and breakfast too. The location is a little outside the city center but very close to Nikolausasdorf Christmas Market. Check rates and availability here.
Excelsior Hotel Ernst am Dom – For those looking for 5-star luxury and an unbeatable location right across from Cologne Cathedral then look no further than the Excelsior. With large, plush rooms, extremely comfortable beds, and 5-star service, there are few options in Cologne that beat it. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Sion– A great budget option for those seeking a comfortable and modern stay in the center- near all the best Christmas markets in Cologne. The rooms are cozy and bright and the breakfast is great too, however, nothing beats the location. Check rates and availability here.
To find the best stays in Cologne for all budgets and locations, use the map below.
Need to Knows before Visiting
↠ Many stalls take cards but others don’t so make sure to bring cash. There are many ATMs located around the city and at train stations making getting cash out in Germany very easy.
If you don’t bring cash it’s not the end of the world but you might be a little limited with what you can buy. Having said that, Cologne is one of the most card-friendly Christmas markets we visited.
↠ Drinks at German Christmas markets do not come in plastic or disposable containers but instead in mugs or glasses. This is an amazing way to keep waste down.
When you order your first drink at a market you’ll need to ‘buy’ the mug/glass which costs just a few euros. If you like the cup and want to keep it as a souvenir (each market has its own cup design) then you can. Otherwise, when you’re done drinking you bring back the cup and get your deposit back.
With each round you buy all you need to do is bring the cup back and they’ll refill it for you. Note that each Christmas market in Cologne has its own cup design so you can’t use one cup in all markets. You’ll need to pay a cup deposit for each market that you drink at.
↠ Most of the food available at Cologne’s Christmas Market is traditional, yes, but sadly not healthy. Luckily there are several great, health-orientated restaurants around the city to take advantage of while at the Christmas markets.
By all means try the food at least once, but then feel free to eat at other restaurants instead. Some of the best health-orientated cafes and restaurants in Cologne city center are Takumi Ramen Cologne, 1980 Cafe, Sattgrün – Mitte, and Well Being II.
A Guide to the Christmas Markets in Cologne
One of the biggest mistakes that foreign visitors make when coming to Cologne for the Christmas market is assuming there is just one.
There are in fact many Christmas markets dotted around the city. Luckily the city center is fairly compact and visiting them all in one day is possible (but not recommended). There are also a few different neighborhood markets that also pop up around the city.
In this post, I’ve listed the main Cologne Xmas markets that are must-visits when heading to the markets in Cologne.
Where to Find the Markets
In Cologne at Christmas, it feels like there is a Christmas market just about everywhere and there are many markets dotted around the city, from the most famous Cathedral Market right outside Cologne Cathedral to Angel’s Market further west on Neumarkt.
Use the Cologne Christmas Market map below to find the location of all the main Cologne Christmas Market 2022. Feel free to save the map and pin some more must-visit places in Cologne.
Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market
Probably the most famous market in the city and one of the most beautiful due to its cathedral backdrop, the Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral is a must-visit when in the city during the festive season.
Located in the square to the right of the cathedral, just in front of the Romano-Germanic Museum, this Cathedral market is full of vibrant stalls, sparkling fairy lights, and pretty Christmas trees.
Most visitors start their Cologne Christmas market tour here in Roncalliplatz and I would definitely recommend it. While you’re here you can also take a peek inside the stunning Cologne Cathedral. Wander in and out of the red-draped stalls and shop for gifts or Christmas-themed souvenirs while sipping on glühwein.
At the center of the market, you’ll find a giant, sparkling Christmas tree and a stage- where you can catch some festive performances, live music, and songs each evening that the market is open.
While this was not my favorite market in terms of decor, the market does have an amazing array of products to buy, drink and eat.
Given its incredible location, it also gets extremely busy in the evenings and on weekends so I recommend coming early. Try also, to schedule your Cologne Xmas market trip on weekdays as it tends to be A LOT less crowded.
Heinzels Wintermarchen Christmas Market Koln (Old Town Christmas Market)
A short walk away from the Cathedral Christmas Market, you’ll find Heinzel’s Wintermarchen, Cologne’s Old Town Christmas market. It’s one of the largest and best markets in the center of town and this was one of my personal favorites for both decor and the variety of things to do.
Stepping around the corner and into Alter Markt is like walking into a real-life fairytale Christmas movie. The market is full of warm Christmas lights, the scent of spiced gluhwein, and beautiful trees and decorations beckoning you to come in.
This Cologne Christmas Market is themed around the Heinzelmännchen- Cologne’s legendary elves who are believed to help locals with their housework as they sleep. As you walk around you’ll be able to spot many references to them- including on the cute mug designs.
The market is split between two locations- Alter Markt and Heumarkt. Luckily it takes just minutes to walk between the two and you can use the same gluhwein mug in both locations. Alter Markt is best for crafts and shopping while Heumarkt is better for eating, drinking, and entertainment.
Here you can Christmas shop for hours for intricate ornaments, traditional Christmas figurines, scented candles, and winter wear. Warm up on hot snacks like reibekuchen (fried potato cakes) and the delicious mulled wine in between conversations with friends and market entertainment.
Heinzels Wintermarchen is also the only market in the city with an ice rink- perfect for the more adventurous and the little ones and you’ll also find an ice stock rink for more group fun. There’s also a carousel, entertainment through the evenings, and cozy wooden chalets to hide from the cold.
For more information about what’s on and schedules check their official website here and make sure not the miss the House Elves’ Winter Christmas market- it’s one of the best in the city.
The Heinzels Wintermarchen is open until 8th January too- a little longer than some of the other markets.
Neumarkt/Angel Christmas Market
In the center of Cologne’s shopping district you’ll find the Neumarkt Christmas Market. Also known as Angel’s Christmas Market, this is another magical Christmas market in Cologne’s center.
With white, wooden stalls and chalet-style gluhwein bars, carousels, and souvenir stalls, this gorgeous market has something for everyone. The trees above sparkle from hundred of illuminated stars that look like they are falling from the sky. People dressed up as angels walk around the market on stilts while locals chat with friends over steaming cups of gluhwein.
Also on offer, you find a range of traditional Christmas market foods such as bratwurst and Krakauer, pretzels, crepes, reibekuchen and more. You’ll find everything here from handmade Christmas ornaments to jewelry, candles, rugs, and more.
For those in search of a real romantic yet Christmasy atmosphere, this is the market to head to.
For more information check the Angel Market’s official website here.
Nikolausasdorf Christmas Market
Set in Rudolfplatz, right beneath the historical Hahnentorburg Gate, one of the old entryways into the city, Nikolausasdorf or St Nicholas Village is a small but amazing Christmas market.
With a heavy focus on local gifts and handmade crafts, this is the market to head to for some Christmas shopping. Made to look exactly like a small village, the market consists of a high entryway and many two-story half-timber houses.
Decorated in hundreds if not thousands of fairy lights, being here will immediately get you into the Christmas spirit.
At Nikolausasdorf Christmas Market you’ll find several chalet-style bars, wooden stalls, a chapel, and even a children’s workshop hut. While is it focused more on gifts you’ll still find plenty of snacks, drinks, and sweets to get your fill as you explore.
Stadtgarten Christmas Market
For those looking to escape the crowded Christmas markets of the center, you’ll want to check out the Stadtgarten Christmas Market. The market is located in Stadtgarten- Cologne’s oldest park- in the Belgian Quarter of the city.
With lots of well-illuminated stalls, low-hanging tree branches decorated with lights and a local atmosphere this is is great off-the-beaten-path Cologne Christmas market. You’ll find many different stalls selling decorations, handicrafts, jewelry, and fashion items and there’s also plenty to eat and drink here too.
The market is on every day until 9.30 pm.
Cologne Harbour Christmas Market (Hafen Weinhnachts Markt)
Located on the Rhine next to the Chocolate Museum, the harbor market is another of Cologne’s Christmas markets worth exploring. You can pop by after visiting the Chocolate Museum or while taking a walk along the river bank- a walk from the unique Kranhäuser Rheinauhafen blocks up to the Cathedral makes a very scenic walk.