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Hello Friends! How are your holidays going so far? Have you managed to take a little time for yourself amidst the hustle and bustle? Last week I went to visit the Cologne Christmas market again, and it was so much fun that I wanted to share the recap with you. Would you like more recaps of my adventures in addition to practical guides and destination information? Let me know in the comments!
My Wonderful Day at the Köln (Cologne) Christmas Market
Getting to Cologne and parking
For me, Cologne is an easy drive of just over an hour. I left around 11 am so that I could arrive in time for lunch. I set the Cathedral as my GPS destination, knowing that one of the main Holiday Markets was nearby.
I forgot that the parking in the garage attached to the Cathedral is pricey. For the 6 hours I was there, it was about 11 Euros. For those looking for a less expensive option, there are several outdoor parking lots about ½ a kilometer away where you can easily park and walk over. Parking there is usually 3 euro for the day. But if you plan to buy a lot, the parking garage connected to the Cathedral is very convenient to stash your goodies throughout the day.
Place to eat
Cologne has an excellent selection of local and vegetarian friendly restaurant. I want to go back sometime and try the vegan burgers at Bunte Burger (Hospeltstraße 1), but they are closed on Tuesdays so I missed out. I ended up eating at a newly opened Well Being restaurant that served a variety of vegan dishes. It was actually their opening day, so they were so eager to help! They labeled each dish with all possible food allergens, so this would be good for anyone with sensitivities.
While wandering through the market later, I did discover one food stall serving sausages and potatoes had an extensive vegan sausage menu. That would be fun to try the next time. There was also a stall exclusively dedicated to baked potatoes, which they roasted over coals on the spot and served with whatever topping you could imagine. That would be fun to try too!
Shopping the Market
After lunch we headed for the holiday market. It was smaller than I remember from last year, but also had a greater variety of items. There were the expected restaurant stalls serving a variety of sausages and beer, and the stall selling beautiful wooden toys.
But there were also stall selling incredible alpaca sweaters, exquisite eastern European pottery, and even intricate nativity scenes made out of paper. I loved the beeswax candles, the pottery, and the brightly colored wooden toys. There were stalls selling organic tea that was fun to sample as well. There were even little wooden toys on springs that bounced cheerily from the ceiling. Honestly, they would be fun not only for children but also for stressed-out co-workers.
Finally, there was re-pourposed silverware turned into jewelry, precious stone jewelry, blown glass ornaments, and cozy woolen items. And the sweets, ah the incredible sweets. Seek out the ones that will give you samples. The tiramisu flavored cannelloni were one of the most amazing things I’ve ever tried – incredible!
There is a speaker system set up throughout the market that connects to a stage in the center. While we were there, there were a variety of performances, from what looked like a local elementary school group, to a professional pianist. There was also a carousel for children to ride and of course, many large beautifully lit up holiday trees. It was a jolly and festive atmosphere.
Wrapping up the day
We wandered around the market for a few hours, trying to run from stall to stall whenever it started raining. I picked up a few of the pottery serving bowls as gifts as well as some wooden teething toys for my cousins’ babies. Afterwards, we stopped in a small café across the square from the cathedral with an ATM outside. I am including this detail because the latte I had was especially delicious, and the atmosphere cozy to warm up.
If you have a chance, stop by the Cologne holiday market and join in on the fun. For me it was a wonderful day to escape for a few hours from the pressure of responsibilities, but not so far away to take the whole day. I’d love to hear: where have you been that was fun and festive for the holidays?
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