Cologne in Germany’s North Rhine Westphalia is one of the most historical, interesting and medieval towns of Europe. At the same time, it remains a destination perfect for day trips from the Netherlands, Belgium and the bigger German cities surrounding it. It can easily be reached by train or by air travel.
The city is inhabited by about 3,5 million people and combines that unique architecture of the old with that of modern times.
If there is one thing Cologne is famous for, and is other than the majestic Cathedral in its city center, is the warm, cozy atmosphere of Christmas and which is almost around every corner throughout the city during November and December.
Within the city one can visit the big and small Christmas markets and join the crowds that buys, dances and sings while holding a mug of the famous Glühwein or a bottle of the local beer Kölsch. Later on, a visit to the chocolate museum is a must and one will discover the ‘secrets’ of this word famous sweet treat as well as even try some versions.
What you are going to see:
A. The Christmas Market beside the Cathedral of the city.
Cologne is the capital of the German Christmas markets. During the time of the holidays, the city transform into this big festive party, lighting up thousands of lights and flooding from amazing smells while the Mulled Wine flows in every corner you turn. Among all the famous Christmas Markets, there is one that holds the reins of the festivities and is famous of its size as well as its unique location.
This Market can be found beside the Cathedral – the Kölner Dom – and its known as the Weinachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom. It includes: 150 wooden stalls and houses with red rooftops, more than 100 musical and theatrical plays, a gigantic Christmas tree covered with 50.000 lights, delicious food and treats and of course the magnificent building of the city shadowing the location with its beauty.
Of course, you will easily find beautiful gifts made of wood, fabric or other material for your loved ones and they all look like they were made in Santa’s workshop!
B. Cologne’s Angel Market.
A sea of twinkling stars on trees and Christmas angels await visitors in this market in Cologne. It is located in the square of Neumarkt, just by the shopping district of the city. The broad lanes invite everyone to stroll and linger, shop and enjoy good food and drinks between the lavishly decorated stands. In addition, mythical creatures on stilts and angels can be seen circulating among the visitors.
C. The Cathedral of Cologne.
It is considered to be one of the most famous sights of German and it is indeed breathtaking. The cathedral of Cologne, also known simply as The Dom is a World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 1996 and it attracts over 20.000 visitors on a daily basis during all seasons of the year.
This beautiful Cathedral of Gothic architecture stands at 157 m. height and is – officially – the most famous church with the twin bell towers, the second tallest church in Europe and the third tallest in the world. It continues to mesmerize people since 1880, the year during which it was completed.
The Dom’s construction began in 1248 but all works stopped around 1560 only to resume years later and more specifically in 1840. Finally, the church was completely 40 years after. During the night, the illuminated church looks more like something from a fairytale and it is just as magnificent inside. It houses some very important Christian works of art.
D. The Cholocate Museum.
With its view the river Rhine, the museum of chocolate tells the whole story of the most famous sweet in the world.
How does a bean from a tall tropical tree in the area of the Amazon gets collected and travels to the factories and until the big and small markets of the planet? That’s definitely a journey for all young and old while enjoying a piece of chocolate and coming across retro and modern things related to this product. In addition, the golden fountain that pours chocolate is something to look at and enjoy. Even with that little waffle piece that one can dip in and taste the famous chocolate by Lindt.
E. The Altstadt (Old Town).
Cologne is a medieval town of northern Europe and it shows with all its meaning. So, a strolls through the old town is not something to be excluded here. Take a walk through the smaller streets and enjoy the beautiful and colorful buildings. Have a coffee in the cobble stoned squares and take a picture or two.