A Weekend At The Christmas Markets In Cologne
Updated: Jan 3, 2019
At the start of December I took a trip to Cologne.
I've been meaning to take a European weekend break to the Christmas markets for quite some time and after asking around, Cologne seemed like the best option. It's a stunning city, a hop and a skip from Dublin and gluhwein is flowing a plenty - which I was hankering for!
Of course, no trip of mine is complete without some exploring, mountains of munchies and all the photos.
Here are some of my top picks:
WHERE I ATE:
This is one of my favourite places I've eaten in abroad.
Shaka Zulu is a funky South African-inspired tapas joint. Inside is vibrant, there's an amazing buzz and there's quirky art all over the walls made from recycled material.
The food is presented as a street food tapas, small portions ideal for those who like to try everything on the menu. My friend and I ordered a set menu and we got about 10 small dishes - all super tasty!
You'll find exotic cocktails, hear ethnic rhythms, house & grooves and you'll get to try something new.
Deffo my top pick for foodies visiting Cologne.
The Great Berry
After over-indulging in churros, pancakes, hotdogs, eggnog and anything else you can find in the market stalls, it can be tough on your tummy.
The Great Berry is the perfect spot to get your fruity/healthy fix. They serve the most beautiful smoothie bowls I've seen, in every flavour you can imagine.
(Their cacao nibs are the best!)
Best of all, the bowls are super filling so they'll keep you going for the day AND the café is dog friendly - there was the most beaut Dalmation there when I visited.
Bring cash with you - so few places in Cologne take card!
Hans Im Gluck
This trendy burger joint is a hotspot with toursits and locals alike.
You can customise your burger how you like or pick from several delicious options on the menu.
Try to book this spot in advance because it can get super busy.
I've never felt more Christmassy than I did at the Christmas markets in Cologne. Nothing beats the smell of fresh cinnamon, the twinkle from the fairylights above and the sound of trumpets playing carols as you pace around looking at the delicate ornaments and freshly baked goods.
If you want to pick up some unique, thoughtful gifts for the ones you love, there's no place better.
The Angel Market is one of the prettiest spots I've seen.
Each of the stalls has its very own decorations, there's a crib, the staff walk around with wings and halos and there are stars hanging from all of the trees above.
I picked up some dainty decorations for my tree, each costing a euro or two but you can get some really intricate and delicate ones costing up to €20.
Cathedral Christmas Market
This market is my top pick for food lovers.
There's tonnes of stalls from currywurst to toasted nuts, Baileys hot choccy, gluhwein and teeny tiny pancakes - you'll want to wear elasticated pants for this one.
There was a live orchestra playing Christmas songs, I had a mug of gluhwein and my heart was full - that's a memory I'll keep forever.
The Old Market is one of the smaller markets in Cologne but it's a great place to gather with a group of friends, have a few drinks and be the kind of merry you hear about in Christmas songs.
If you want to shop, you'll be able to pick up cookie-cutters, lanterns, decorations and figurines.
WHAT I DID:
Climbing to the top of the Cathedral is a must.
From the top, you'll get the best views of the city and you'll be able to see the crowds swarming around the red roofed markets below.
It's about a 15 minute up windy stairs to the top (I won't lie, I was a little breathless!) and it costs €4 - well worth it.
You could see and do everything in Cologne in a day or two, luckily I had a third day on my trip, so myself and Caoimhe headed to the picturesque city of Bonn.
This is such a fab spot for a stroll and to soak up some German culture.
I had the best churros I've ever tried in a tiny stall down a market corner while I was here.
Bonn is also the birthplace of Beethoven and you can visit the house where the musical sensation spent his childhood years.
It's only a half hour on the train and a great place for a day trip.
If you're thinking of visiting the Christmas markets in Europe I couldn't recommend Cologne more.