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Monday, 5 December 2016

Cologne Christmas Markets: What To See and Where To Stay

Rudolfplatz Cologne Christmas MarketSo, we're just a few days into December and already the festive season has been completely magical! Last week I spent a few days in Germany at the heart of Cologne as per annual tradition.  Having visited at Christmastime each year for as long as I can remember, the city now holds a very special place in my heart, and I've been so looking forward to sharing this year's experience with you.  Considering how festive markets (weihnachtsmarkt) are becoming increasingly popular, I've divided this travel diary into a guide through my favourite Christmas Markets in Cologne, as well as my personal recommendation on where best to stay.  Enjoy!


Located at the interchange station Rudolfplatz (surprise, surprise), the Fairytale Market is brilliant for easing yourself into the festive action.  As shown above, the stalls are traditionally German combined with an air of fairytale.  It's approximately a 15-20 minute walk from Cologne Cathedral, seeing you pass hundreds of shops along the way - perfect for building an appetite!  Due to its location, you can expect to find large groups of office workers enjoying a drink as it gets dark, so arrive early if you're looking for a calmer experience.

Perfect for: a brief day-time visit to begin your time in Cologne - plus, there's also a huge pharmacy located on the corner should you be in need of one!
Travel blogger list of the best Cologne Christmas Markets
Sweet German Christmas market food


Arguably the most popular Christmas market in Cologne, the 150 cookie-cutter wooden pavilions sit directly next to (Roman Catholic) Cologne Cathedral.  It's magical by both day and night, though if you're looking to immerse yourself in a buzzing atmosphere filled with thousands of twinkling lights and the sound of live music, be sure to visit the Kölner Dom market once it's dark.  Besides the stunning cathedral backdrop, another standout feature is the illuminated Christmas tree positioned in the middle of the market.  Just beautiful.

Perfect for: sampling a wide range of food, getting gorgeous photos and for enjoying an entire evening after having soaked up the tranquility of Cologne Cathedral.
Christmas Market next to Cologne Cathedral
Kölner Dom illuminated Christmas tree
Christmas market Cologne Cathedral by night


I'm hesitant to say which market is my favourite as it seems to change with every year; however this year, Heimat der Heinzel well and truly took my breath away!  There's something to see at every turn and it's evident as soon as you step through the arch that a lot of time and effort has gone into creating a festive and entirely magical space.  A lot of the roofs feature fun, festive designs such as chimneys and reindeer, while lights are strung from the surrounding trees (similar to Markt der Engel).  With regard to shopping, in my opinion this is the best market for actually finding some fabulous gifts.

Perfect for: shopping, ice-skating, socialising and having an all-encompassing, beautiful experience of Cologne at Christmastime.
Heimat der Heinzel Cologne Christmas market
Europe Cologne best Christmas markets
Cologne Christmas market floating decorations
Christmas market ice rink at Cologne Market


Possibly the most romantic of markets, the Angel Market features 1000 star lights in the trees around Neumarkt - which is worth visiting for alone!  No matter how crowded it becomes, Cologne's oldest market somehow manages to remain peaceful, making it the ideal spot to meet up with friends/family or anyone you may have travelled with.  Items sold from the chalets are at times slightly more luxurious than other markets, though food is still priced the same.       

Perfect for: winding down on your last night with a couple of hot chocolate and baileys, picking up artisans' gifts and experiencing a moment you'll never forget.
Cologne Markt der Engel Christmas market
Christmas market decorations for sale Germany

Colourful festive Christmas votives


Having stayed at a handful of hotels at the heart of Cologne, it quickly became clear it's best to stay as close to Cologne Cathedral as possible.  That way, your entire festive experience can be enjoyed on foot in an approx. 30 minute radius.  It also means if you encounter difficulties locating your hotel, it's easy to get navigations back to Kölner Dom from locals!  My current favourite is the Hilton Cologne, an 'upscale city centre hotel' just a block from Köln S-Bahn station and a 4 minute walk to the Cathedral.

Hilton Cologne
Marzellenstrabe 13-17
Cologne urban sunset view from hotel
Sunset view from Hilton Cologne
Best modern hotels in Cologne for Christmas markets
As much as I enjoy the quirks and surprises that come with independent hotels, our annual visit to Cologne has proven to work best when we know exactly what we're returning to each evening.  The beauty of Hilton hotels is the guaranteed level of modernity, cleanliness and amenities.  The Hilton Cologne is, in my opinion, the perfect hotel to act as base for ventures out to the city's Christmas markets.  What it lacks in German traditionalism, it makes up for with style and comfort.  It's also home to IceBar, the 'hottest cocktail bar in town' featuring over 100 types of vodka.  Alternatively, you can enjoy a drink in the adjoining hotel bar to the sound of live music (a Rosé Spritzer to the sound of a piano and flute duet proved to be the perfect end to my stay!).
Modern bedrooms Hilton Cologne Hotel in Germany
Hilton Cologne interior design travel blogger
Luxury travel blogger guide to Christmas markets in Cologne


As I've no doubt you're aware, just like every other city, Cologne has one million and one things to offer.  However, if you're there purely for the Christmas markets, before you leave be sure to visit Cologne Cathedral; the interior is just as breathtaking as the exterior.  Plus, just across the street on the corner, a bakery (Kamps) can be found - perfectly convenient for picking up a couple of filled rolls or oversized cakes to munch on the journey back to the airport!
Kölner Dom Cologne Cathedral in winter
Large sweet cake from Kamps Bakery Cologne

What to wear in winter in Cologne fashion blogger
It's safe to say I've got one massive crush on Cologne - I literally have to drag myself away at the end of each visit!  Two or three nights is all you need to soak up the festive atmosphere and sample a little of everything.  So, if you're looking to experience authentic Christmas markets at their best, I can't recommend the city enough for a December break!

The Christmas Advent Markets in Köln run from 21st November to 23rd December 2016.

With love,

Gabrielle x



  1. I actually fell in love with your clothes, with your pictures and the holiday season your pictures brought out which is approaching. Girl, you so sexy and gorgeous.

  2. Oh my goodness, what a magical place!! I need to go there someday!!

    Renee | Life After Lux

  3. Yay! I've been so excited about this post, and you didn't disappoint! These photos are seriously so dreamy, I'm in awe. I've got to do this someday.

    Amber | y a c h t s m a a n

  4. Wow looks so amazing!! Beautiful photos :) x

    Nev | Miss Nev

  5. Hello,

    So lovely ! :D


  6. I love the star lights at the Angel Market, they look so atmospheric! Did you do any ice skating?

  7. Next year I am 100% going to the Christmas markets in Germany! It just looks so magical and there's nothing more perfect to get you in the festive spirit! I'm glad you had an amazing time and I loved looking at all your photos and reading about your time in Cologne :) x

  8. Oh girl your pictures are simply breathtaking! I've found it hard feeling festive having spent the first few days in Thailand but this post has made me SUPER excited for Christmas! <3

    Hayley xo

  9. I love the Christmas atmosphere given through your pictures and I like to see you smiling.

    Hugs from Alexandra ~ Impavid Blog

  10. Incredibly beautiful you and magazine cover-worthy images AS ALWAYS!!!
    Kira Is Wearing

  11. How cute and festive! I love these shots, lady- and you look gorgeous!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  12. Oh man! What a beautiful girl in such a beautiful place! I can't help but think how Xmas in New York is special but European cities seem to totally one up it each time! Thanks for sharing these awesome photos. I hope you had a wonderful time, it looks like you certainly are.

    kellmenow |
    Instagram |

  13. Amazing look and obessed with your cute coat darling. Great styling as always.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Much love, Len

  14. Omg it looks like such a beautiful trip! The Cologne cathedral looks absolutely stunning! I would definitely like to visit there some day. Glad to hear you had such a wonderful, festive trip :)

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

  15. That market seriously looks like it was taken straight out of a fairytale. Maybe it's the inspiration for all holiday movies? That's so cool that you got to go there cuz now you have me bitten with the travel bug. Lovely photos and the food looks delicious!!!!

    Danielle | <3

  16. so loved visiting cologne this summer and it looks absolutely beautiful right now!! hope to visit soon around this time and i will take all the tips from u gabrielle!

  17. what a magical place ! Amazing photos!

  18. wow the place looks like a fairy tale. We have one here in NY but it is nothing like this one (insert heart eyes emoji)

    Life is just Rosie

  19. I'd love to visit a German Christmas Market one day. I love your photos.

  20. I remember your previous holiday time visits to Cologne Gabrielle! It definitely looks like the perfect place to celebrate the magic and wonders of the holiday season. I also don't really like the surprises that sometimes come with independent hotels so staying at a well established chain is always a safe bet. Your accommodations certainly appeared both cozy and luxurious!

  21. WOw... I really want to go to Cologne it looks absolutely stunning , the pefect place for someone feeling as Christmassy as me :) The cathedral look beautiful and I'm loving all the pretty starlights !

    lots of love, Marianne xxx

  22. It looks like a winter wonderland. I really wish it felt like a wintery Christmas here for once! I will have to experience the festive season over there one day! Your photos are so beautiful! As always.


  23. such a lovely photos!

    Printspirational and stylish wall art for your home!

  24. What gorgeous pictures, it looks so pretty! Also, love your cosy jacket in the last picture!!
    Have a lovely day :)
    Rosanna x
    Rose's Rooftop

  25. this is so perfect for christmas!!

  26. Oh my goodness. How festive! This makes me want to go out and head to the nearby Christmas market stat. As always, your photos are gorgeous. :) | Bloglovin' | Instagram

  27. I really want to visit Cologne now after reading this wonderful post! It looks absolutely magical!! I'm too late for this year but I'm definitely going to put it on the Christmas travel wish list for next year!

  28. I literally gasped looking at these photos. How magical and beautiful is it there! The ice skating rink is adorable and that cathedral is just breathtaking!


  29. Cologne seems like an absolute dream! I so badly want to visit. Absolutely perfect for the holidays. PS: you are one stunning traveler, as usual!


  30. Cologne is a dream seriosuly..... What a beautiful place! The Christmas celebrations luks so fab....xoxo, Neha

  31. Oh wow this is amazing! All the Christmas lights are just so pretty!

    Gemma x

  32. what a beautiful village--so very festive!

  33. Cologne looks so gorgeous!! I love all of the Christmas decorations!

  34. Gorgeous photos missy, and you look absolutely amazing! It looks so beautifully christmassy and amazing, especially those bakery goodies!


  35. I've only been to Cologne once and that was during the summer years and years ago! The city looks gorgeous in the winter and I love how festive and photogenic the Christmas market looks! I definitely need to visit Cologne again, hopefully around Christmas time! :)

    Olivia x | Liviatiana

  36. I have never been to a Christmas market in Cologne even though I don't live too far away from there. Looks like everyone is in the right mood; the atmosphere is so festive.


  37. Gaby, this post is just wonderful. I will keep this post because one day I would like to go to the Cologne Christmas Market. Oh, I almost forgot, you look very happy in these photos, even your eyes smile. This is so cute.

  38. Now I'm having all types of sweet cravings, haha! I've never traveled to your Europe before, so prior to discovering your blog, I had no idea about these common markets. I remember you sharing last year and being amazed then and I'm equally amazed now. Whenever we are able to travel to Europe, I'll have to try and schedule a stay during this time of year, which seems so magical; these markets have so much to do and so many delicious looking food! Thanks so much for sharing, beauty, and I hope you're having a great week so far!



  39. Ohhh that cathedral is so gorgeous! I would love to see that one day! Absolutely stunning.

    Hope you have a wonderful rest of your December!

    xo, mikéla /

  40. This place looks so magical, especially all the lights at night. I haven't been to Cologne but the Christmas market at Monschau is lovely - I've been there a few times. Love your fur jacket! x

    Kate Louise Blogs

  41. I can see how much you love Cologne in your writing! It is evident that this place is special for you. I'm truly blown away by these photographs. The cathedral looks so stunning under those lights...a really magical place.Surely if one visits the city, that is one of the must see places.

    The Christmas markets look pretty fabulous too. I will remember your recommendation- just in case that I have the chance to visit. Personally, I'm a big fan of Christmas markets. I loved them as a kid and I still love them. They're one of those essentially Christmasy things for me:) So nice of you to share the best place for shopping with us...and you know I did found some cute Christmas presents in the past this way- on Christmas markets!!

    This year I only experienced advent in Mostar and Split but I heard that the one in Zagreb is pretty impressive too. In Mostar this year, the christmas market is really nice! Nothing too grand, but really charming and eventful... Much better than previous years. Interestingly enough, a day before it was officially opened we went to check it out and happened to meet the guy who organized it this year (my husband knows him from somewhere) and he said that it was his dream for years to organize something like this- Well, I'm glad he got the chance:)

    That fur coat is so cute. Wonderful jeans and bag chic<3 I love cropped coats- they're so flattering, especially when paired with an tailored item- or skinny jeans:). You look stunning dear!!!!

  42. Aww it's funny how after following your blogs for a while I actually remember that visiting Cologne Christmas markets is your annual tradition :) And I can totally see why, that place looks like a real Winter wonderland! It seems like there's a joyful festive spirit in every corner of the city. Oh and the Cathedral is simply breathtaking, wow!
    Thanks for sharing this lovely tradition of yours with us for another year, dear! <3

  43. It looks breathtaking! Germans and Austrians have the best Christmas markets.


  44. Your trip to Cologne looks absolutely magical! What a gorgeous Weihnachtsmarkt - love the look of Heimat der Heinzel and Angel Market. Very clever to stay close to the Cathedral - the Hilton looks lovely as well!


  45. Wow! It looks like Christmas exploded there! Magical and quite cozy! My husband and I should add this to our bucket list :)

  46. Oh these are gorgeous Gabrielle, the Christmas lights look so pretty against the night sky and your outfits are nice and cosy looking too. I love the magic that comes with Christmas markets and I've got very fond memories of drinking mulled wine and wandering around the Christmas markets at Bath so I must visit Cologne sometime in the future to experience this! - Tasha

  47. looks so pretty and festive!

  48. That coat you have on is so gorgeous! The food is incredibly delightful and makes you feel so cozy. The ice skating looks like so much fun as you look at the lovely lights, I just love this time of year :)

  49. I can imagine how magical that place could look, Gabrielle. Love traveling during Christmas time. You look wonderful in these outfits.
    Nina's Style Blog

  50. Looks like such a great place!

  51. Damn it, can someone do all my assignments and get me there haha! Cologne looks like Christmas central and so festive!! Have a lovely week :)

  52. Wow darling it looks like you had a fabulous time! Baci, Valeria - Coco et La vie en rose FASHION & BEAUTY

  53. Oh my gosh these pictures are incredible! This post has just made me feel incredibly festive - one thing on my bucket list is definitely to visit the German Christmas markets!
    Amy xx

  54. Such gorgeous photos!! Looks so amazing!! Xx

  55. Wonderful photos!

  56. I've been on a few business trips to Cologne and was really pleasantly surprised. It's such a beautiful, lively city. I'd like to go back during the Holidays, it looks magical!

  57. They all look amazing! I bet you had a lovely time! I think that Heimat der Heinzel is my favourite, it looks extra magical! :) xx

  58. Oh dear! cologne looks so wonderful during Christmas time. i've been there only once in my life and you captured so many nice impressions!!

    enjoy your day!

    ❥ Vicky | The Golden Bun - Instagram TGB-

  59. wow! What a magical place and photos! <3 I wish I could go there :)


  60. OMG Christmas markets are the best thing this year! I am crazy for them! I just went on a trip to Vienna, Budapest and Prague and the atmosphere was amazing! I loved it.

    I love the photos you took, the decorations and lights are so beautiful!:D

  61. Amazing pictures of Cologne! So glad you loved the Christmas markets. I went to school really close to the Cathedral so this brings back a lot of memories.
    Christina ★

  62. Wow, your pictures are absolutely stunning! I've always wanted to visit the Christmas markets in Germany and after seeing your pictures and reading your posts I know it's a must! Thanks so much for sharing, can't wait to check out your other posts :)
    Jaz xoxo

  63. Cologne is always so pretty! I love the Christmas Marketplace! The decor is gorgeous and I love the ornaments. I love your jacket Gabrielle. Beautiful fur.

  64. These photos are stunning! Cologne looks gorgeous to visit especially during Christmas! Those markets are so adorable I'm having major travel envy! You look gorgeous as always too!


  65. Thank you so much Gabrielle for sharing with us such a beautiful post. I enjoyed reading it and looking at every pictures. What a beautiful city to stay and enjoy a magical Christmas atmosphere. The Cathedral looks gorgeous from outside alone! I also loved your recommendations.


    Aurelie |

  66. I was looking forward to this post! Glad you had fun in Cologne girl!
    Lots of love,



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