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Ultimate Guide for the 2022 Cologne Christmas Market in Germany

Okay, I know I haven’t been to all the Christmas markets out there, but from the ones I have been to (more than a dozen), the Cologne Christmas market in Germany is my favorite so far. Yes, my favorite!

Hopefully you’ll feel the same after reading this post…and eventually going to the market(s) yourself.

Everything you need to know about the Cologne Christmas Market, including maps, mugs to keep an eye out for, and the best foods to eat!

I’ll get to all of this below, but here are the highlights and what makes it a favorite for me: the Cologne Christmas market isn’t just one market—it’s actually comprised of six* smaller markets sprinkled around Cologne. *There is typically a seventh, but it’s not happening this year (2022).

But that’s just the tip of the Christmas tree (if you will); you can actually take a little train to/from each market, and each market is themed with something unique and fun. Like gnomes and angels.

Awesome, right? Okay, now let’s dive into the good stuff. I hope this 2022 Cologne Christmas Market guide will help you plan your trip this season.

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The Important Stuff About the Cologne Christmas Market

Before we get to the fun stuff, here’s what you need to know if you’re going to check out the Cologne Christmas market in 2022.

*The content below is the info I’ve gathered, along with my own opinions, tips, and suggestions. Due to the possibility of covid regulations changing, I urge you to double-check opening hours/dates with the direct websites provided before heading out to the Cologne Christmas market.

Is this your first Christmas Market experience? Check out my first-timers Christmas Market guide here with tons of helpful tips!

How to Get there

Cologne is located about an hour from where we live in the German state called North Rhine-Westphalia; it’s a major city along the Rhine.

Arriving with a Car:
I recommend parking here at this parking garage next to the cathedral. It’s big enough for a van and you’ll pop out at the cathedral, which is a great starting point for the markets.

Arriving via Train:
Get off at Cologne Central Station and you’re just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral.

And speaking of taking the train, check this out…

Cologne offers a Christmas train to get to all the markets, and I highly recommend it. Yes, you can absolutely walk to, from, and in between each market, but going by a little Christmas train is so much more fun!

It’s genius and I wish some of the other cities had this, too. Here’s a map of where it goes:

train map for the cologne christmas markets

PRO TIP: Take the mini train between each market! It’s hop-on/hop-off style and leaves every 15 minutes. We picked it up for the first time in front of the cathedral. See the cost and read more about it here.

Cologne Christmas Market 2022 dates

PRO TIP: If you intend on hitting all six markets, get there early, like right when they open!

Since the Christmas Market in Cologne is actually six markets spread throughout the city center, they all actually run individually and independently of each other.

I’m going to do something slightly different compared to my other Christmas Market guides, and include a tiny review for each market below, including each market’s individual start date.

A few of them begin on the 17th or 18th, but by 21 November 2022, all of the markets in Cologne will be open. If you want to know if one will be open before that, keep on scrolling.

About Each Christmas Market in Cologne

Each of the six Christmas markets in Cologne has its own theme and vibe and I highly recommend spending a full day exploring all of the markets.

Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market

Logically we should’ve started with this market since it was right there when we popped out of the parking garage, but we decided to end with it instead. We hopped on the mini train (mentioned above), and then made this market our final stop.

Honestly, it was one of my least favorites of all of them—there are a lot of stalls, but they’re all crammed together and in a strange layout that makes you wonder if you missed some.

However, the view of the cathedral right there is STUNNING, and if you can catch some live music playing on stage, then you’re in for a treat.

cologne cathedral market map

Cologne Cathedral Christmas Market 2022 Dates:

Opens 21 November until 23 December
Hours: opens at 11 am (Sunday—Friday); 10 am on Saturdays
Located right next to the Cologne Cathedral
More info here

Heinzels Wintermaerchen (AKA: The “Gnome” Market)

Ahhh this is my favorite market! The gnome market is just so gosh darn fun! It’s separated into two sections: the Alter Markt, which has more artisans and things to buy (there is also a little Ferris wheel here), and the Heumarkt with all the extra fun stuff, including an ice skating rink, a carousel, and food. Lots of delicious food.

But the magic comes from the gnomes.

Look at everything from the entryway into the markets to the decorations around the ice skating rink, and everywhere in between.

They’re everywhere, and I love them.

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Cologne’s Gnome Christmas Market 2022 Dates:

Opens 21 November until 23 December (the section with the ice skating rink stays open until 8 January)
Hours: opens at 11 am
Located in Cologne’s “Old Town” about 200 meters from the cathedral
More info here

Markt der Engel (The Angel Market)

Surprisingly, I found a lot of things to buy at this market. It was unique and felt more sophisticated (at least after coming from the Gnome market). It’s also gorgeous with the white lights and would be beautiful to see in the evening.

There are plenty of food options at this particular market, so come hungry. (See more about what we ate in the food section below.)

I also liked the different drinks and cocktails offered at some of the stalls. The Warmer Apfelstrudel was pretty darn tasty, just FYI!

angel market drink menu

And if you’re lucky, you may even see an angel “floating” around on horseback!

Here’s a map of the Angel Market for 2022:

map of cologne's angel christmas market

Cologne’s Angel Market Christmas Market 2022 Dates

Opens 17 November until 23 December (closed on 20 November)
Hours: opens at 11 am
Located at Neumarkt
More info here.

Cologne’s Hafen Weihnachtsmarkt (The Harbor Market)

the harbor market boat at the cologne christmas market

This particular market was a very quick walk-through for us and much smaller than most of them.

There were a few artists selling handmade goods and some food, but it felt more “fair” as opposed to a Christmas market, and the stalls lacked the traditional huts.

However, it’s close to the Chocolate Museum, so if you have kids this would be a fun break to check out during the day.

Cologne’s Harbor Christmas Market 2022 Dates

Opens 18 November until 23 December
Hours: daily from 11 am
Location: Next to the Chocolate Museum
More info here.

Cologne’s Nikolausdorf (the Nicholas Village)

They have the meats! That’s what stands out to me in this market; the meat booth.

There’s a big stall that sells allllllll the meat. They have these at a lot of markets, but it can be pretty filling, so keep that in mind.

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We were there just after sunset and you could tell it was a hub for people getting off work.

Cologne’s Nicholas Village’s Christmas Market 2022 Dates:

Opens 17 November until 23 December
Hours: daily from 11 am
Location: Rudolfplatz
More info here.

Cologne’s Stadtgarten Christmas market

We didn’t actually make it to this particular one last year, so I can’t speak from experience, but the photos make it look great. If I was short on time I would go to this one instead of the Harbor one.

Cologne’s Stadtgarten Christmas Market 2022 Dates

Opens 17 November until 23 December
Hours: opens at 4 pm (Monday-Friday); noon (Saturday and Sunday)
Located at the Stadtgarten; Venloerstrasse 40, 50672 Cologne
More info here.

Note: The popular LGBTQ-friendly Heavenue Market will be closed in 2022. See more here.

All About the Mugs

Mugs are a huge deal at markets. If you’re not familiar, here’s a quick rundown on how the Christmas market mugs work:

When you get a drink at a Christmas market, they typically* come in a festive and unique mug—each market has its own design (and sometimes they’ll have multiple to choose from). You pay a deposit for the mug with your payment for the drink. Then, you get your money back when you return your mug…unless you don’t return it.

The mugs are excellent souvenirs and fun keepsakes to remember your time at the markets.

*Some places, mostly in countries outside of Germany (France and Belgium at least), serve their drinks in reusable plastic cups. Some of them will have the town’s name on them, and some of them won’t.

Mugs at the Cologne Christmas Market

If you read through the info above then you now know that there are six separate markets at the Cologne Christmas Market, and—surprise, surprise—each market has its own mug…and some have multiple versions and varieties to pick from.

At the Gnome Market, for example, you can ask to see a sheet with 12 different gnome mugs available. Yes, a whole dozen for you to internally debate about which one you’ll bring home.

The Angel Market has mugs at a couple of locations (one is clear and the other has angels on it).

If you get one with an angel check and see what dates are on it; they’ve been trying to get through past years before handing out some from the current year. Just something to keep in mind.

What to Eat at the Cologne Christmas Market

With so many markets in Cologne to choose from, one thing is certain: arrive hungry and you’ll find something delicious to eat.

The Gnome Market has a raclette stand that is delicious, and the Angel Market will make pasta in a cheese bowl.

They also sell Baumkuchen at the Angel Market; it’s delicious but pricey. Baumkuchen is a very thinly-layered cake that’s decadent and light. The bigger layers are cut into rings and then stacked to look like a tree. If you ask nicely they’ll let you try a piece! They also sell bite-size containers to go.

Also in the Angel Market, look for the waffles shaped like the Cologne Cathedral! We were stuffed by that point, but gosh did they look neat! *I’m just now realizing, after looking at the photos together, that they’re both from the same cafe in Cologne!

What to Buy at the Cologne Christmas Market

Each market has traditional handicrafts and original trinkets and goodies for sale. I liked picking up some unique cookie cutters at the Angel Market (fun stocking stuffers!), and some wood-carved ornaments and sandals at the Gnome Market.

The Cathedral Market had some awesome nutcracker-type figurines that I bought, too. (Note to self: find out what these are called this year!)

Plus, you can’t ever go wrong with getting a ceramic house! (I actually collect one from each market I visit.)

My Thoughts on the Cologne Christmas Market

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I loved how big this market is, but how each section felt like its own space. I also liked that each place had its own special artisans and things didn’t overlap too much.

The themes at each market are so well done that you feel like you’re in a little world of its own.

One fantastic feature (that I wish more of the larger markets offered) is the little train. Yes, it’s simple to walk to most of the markets, but after a full day of being on your feet, having transportation is perfect. Plus, it makes it that much more fun!

Have you been to any of the Cologne Christmas Markets? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it…and what you got to eat and drink.


More Christmas Market Fun

Check out more guides for Christmas markets around Europe:

2 Comments

  1. Great your comments, thanks a lot, just one question ???? You can pay with pin or just in cash ?

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