Christmas in Cologne
Like most German cities, the Christmas market in Cologne draws in visitors from all over Europe. The Cathedral marks the heart of the action, where handmade decorations, arts and crafts, and festive foods are all on offer. And if you head a little out of the city centre, you’ll find plenty of smaller spots that have popped up in Cologne’s neighbourhoods, not to mention the Christmas Garden which takes over the city’s zoo for the holidays.
Christmas Garden Köln is a winter oasis where friends, couples and the whole family can spend an evening in a relaxed atmosphere. The Christmas Garden takes visitors on a two-kilometre tour of Cologne Zoo, a zoo steeped in tradition, with numerous glittering illuminations that transport them into a magical Christmas world. Those who would like to round off the idyllic winter stroll in an atmospheric way can enjoy delicious hot food or drinks on site and take a spin on the nostalgic carousel.
Food Glorious Food
Cologne has many tasty delights on offer throughout the city but here are some of our favourites that you must try! Kolsch is a pale beer that has been brewed for more than a century and is exclusive to this part of Germany. You can find it in several places, but for the real deal, it must have been brewed within 30 miles of the city.
Currywurst is up next – this tasty treat may have originated in Berlin, but you can find it in all cities across Germany, and no matter where you are it’s a must-try. The dish is made up of fried sausage that has been chopped up into small chunks and smothered in curry ketchup, often served with a side of chips or bread roll.
Rievkooche are a delicious sweet and savoury treat. The potato pancakes are often served with a topping of apple sauce or sugar beet syrup. If you want to get your hands on them, they’re served in taverns all over the city, but only on specific days, so you may need to hunt them out!
Your Must-Do Hit List
Museum Ludwig is an art museum which is home to a diverse collection of art including pieces from a wide range of artists from Dali to Warhol to one of the world’s largest Picasso collections. Even if you’re not a huge art fanatic, seeing some of these famous artists’ work up close is definitely worth it if you get the chance.
Cologne Zoo has more animals than any other zoological park in Germany. It also boasts an aquarium, as well as the largest elephant park in northern Europe. With more than 10,000 animals and over 800 species, it’s sure to be a great day out for the whole family. Penguins, hippos, elephants, lemurs and so many more animals to learn about, you’ll be taken on a trip around the world when strolling through this zoo!
Kids, adults, anyone who loves sugar will be in their element at the chocolate museum! The museum shares 5,000 years of cocoa’s cultural history, as well as modern chocolate production. For us, the best part of the visit has to be the Chocolat Grand Cafe where you can indulge yourself in delicious cake and other chocolate specialities.
Cologne Carnival takes place every year in the city, and traditionally begins on 11th November (11th month) at the 11th minute of the 11th hour…try saying that after too much Kolsch! After a brief pause for Christmas and New Year festivities, the main Cologne Carnival events, which are called the “crazy days”, begin on Weiberfastnacht, the Thursday prior to Shrove Tuesday, and end on Ash Wednesday. Cologne Carnival is Germany’s craziest party, so crazy in fact, that it makes Oktoberfest seem tame.