Christmas in Germany is called Weihnacht and some of Europe‘s finest festive markets are hosted there. Held every year from around mid-November to 26th December, Christmas Markets get livelier with each passing day. Gluhwein, creamy eggnogs, traditional sautéed mushrooms, sugar coated almonds and gingerbread men are the Christmas markets specialties and enchanting fairy lights make the entire atmosphere very dreamy. These markets are great for shopping and busy vendors sell gourmet coffee, sausages, hand woven or knitted items, customised leather goods to traditional Christmas ornaments from traditional Budens or quaint wood log huts. Cut outs of reindeer and snowflakes adorn them and the winter nights can be seen from above the canopy of dazzling lights. It is a magical marketplace filled with glass blowers, craftsmen, wine makers and chestnut roasting pits. Laughter, gossip and delicious aromas of baked goodies permeate the cold December air and Cologne, being Germany‘s fourth largest city hosts some of the best Christmas markets in the country.
The most beautiful one is in front of the gorgeous Dom. Set amidst the impressive backdrop of the Cologne Cathedral, this market is aptly named as the Cathedral X-MAS market. The highlight of the Cathedral X-MAS market is the 25 meters high Norman fir and a big, bright tinsel stars glitter on top of it. Cologne‘s city centre hosts two of the most important Weihnachtsmarkts and they are held at Neumarkt and Alter Markt. The Angel‘s Christmas Market at Neumarkt is famous for the sale of handmade traditional decorative plates with illustrations and angels dressed in white scatter glitter through the crowd. The Old Market at Alter Markt is held in front of the Cologne town hall. Famous for having house gnomes, the Old Market comes with a charming story too. According to legends, the citizens of Cologne used to have many Heinzelmännchen (gnomes) who helped them in performing many chores. These tiny helpers prepared sausages for the butchers, sewed clothes for the tailor, helped in baking bread and thus the winding alleys of the ‘house gnome market’ is differently themed too.
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The most picturesque Weihnachtsmarkt of Cologne is probably the Harbour market and it is held on the banks of the Rhine. Located close to the Chocolate Museum, it is famous for snow white pagoda tents with wooden board floors and pointy roofs, stalls selling fish dishes and lively harbour atmosphere. Then there is the Stadtgarten Christmas Market which is hands down my personal favourite. Located in the very hip Belgian Quarter, it is cozy, lively and exudes a very intimate feeling. Though relatively small in size, exhibitors sell fine handcrafted exclusive products and the Christmas stage feature puppet shows, jazz concerts etc. Last, but not the least, is the Village of St Nicholas at Rudolfplatz and it is held in front of the historic Hahnentorburg. The most fun Christmas Market is perhaps the one held between Schafenstrasse and Pilgrimstrasse. Also, known as the gay and lesbian Bermuda Triangle, this Christmas is glorious in pinks and purples. Cologne is Germany‘s gay and lesbian capital and the city pays its tribute to its lively citizens. From purple pottery, penis shaped chocolate lollipops and really chic designer items, the Bermuda Triangle Christmas Market is a sight to behold.
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Cologne‘s Christmas Markets attract millions of visitors each year and whether you prefer idyllic, homely or racy, this Rhine city caters to all kinds of Advent spirits. Come, join me as I take you on an enchanting journey to Cologne Christmas Markets. Come, savour the magic of Advent spirit.
P.S – This blog post is part of the weekly series called the Cologne Diaries. Every week, Maverickbird will take on a new theme, emotion and beauty of an expat life in Cologne.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE