The most beautiful time of the year is not complete without a stroll through a traditional Christmas market. A cup of hot Glühwein, the enticing fragrance of gingerbread and lovingly decorated stalls filled with artisan craftwork will guarantee a worthwhile expedition.
The Rhineland region offers some exceptional Christmas markets and it is perhaps worth spending 2-3 days in the area exploring several to really make the best of them. Dusseldorf, Cologne (Köln), Aachen and Bonn are four of the best in the region.
Dusseldorf Christmas Market
In Dusseldorf, the streets and squares of the city centre are lined with illuminated stalls, culminating in the magnificent backdrop of the town hall on the market square with a traditional 100-year-old merry-go-round providing nostalgic rides. In all there are seven locations around the city centre that host this sprawling Christmas Market, so there is plenty to see and do.
Opening times: 20 November to 23 December 2014, daily from 11 am to 8 pm (Sundays to Thursdays) and to 9 pm (Fridays and Saturdays).
Köln Christmas Market
In Köln you can get you right into the bustle of the traditional Christmas market around the cathedral. But you can also visit the floating Christmas Market – Europe’s biggest floating Christmas fair with more than 45 stalls and a lovely view over the old town centre – within no time at all. It is really special to see.
There are 10 special events around the city of Köln throughout Advent:
- Cathedral Christmas Market: In front of the impressive backdrop of Cologne’s landmark, the Cathedral christmas market awaits visitors with its 160 attractively designed wooden pavilions.
- Angel’s Christmas Market: Cologne’s oldest Christmas market is held on the Neumarkt, the city centre market in the shopping district. Visitors will be enchanted by this lovingly decorated Christmas marktet.
- Harbour Christmas Market: In a picturesque setting overlooking the Rhine, the Cologne Harbour Christmas market at the Chocolate Museum will bring again the gateway to the Rheinauhafen to life and give festive Cologne a maritime flavour.
- Old Christmas Market: Probably the most attractive christmas market is the one on the Alter Markt in front of Cologne´s town hall. Children in particular, will find here their Christmas paradise.
- Village of St. Nicholas: Next to the historic backdrop of the medieval Hahnentorburg the Christmas Market on the Rudolfplatz takes you to the world of Christmas.
- Stadtgarten Christmas Market: Now in its 8th year, the Christmas market in the Stadtgarten continues to exude charm, attracting both locals and visitors alike. Slap bang in the middle of the hip Belgian Quarter, it has a romantic, village-like feel to it.
- Gay & Lesbian Christmas Market: Longer opening times and more stalls are just two of the many new things awaiting visitors on the “Christmas Avenue” – Cologne’s 2013 gay and lesbian Christmas market. The pink and purple stalls will be open until Christmas Eve.
- Nativity Scenes: For the 19th year running, visitors can view Cologne’s magical nativity scenes laid out at around 110 different places in the city from the 24th November 2014 until the 6th January 2015.
- Christmas Market Express: The Christmas-market-Express drive through the streets of the old city of Cologne which are decorated for Chirstmas and go directly to the most beautiful Christmas Markets.
Opening Times: Most markets are open daily from 24 November till 23 December. 10 am until 9 pm (10pm on weekends).
Aachen Christmas Market
Did you know that the Aachen Christmas Market, with more than one hundred merchants, craftsmen and caterers, is one of the three biggest in Germany? Whilst there you should try Aachener Printen, the famous traditional gingerbread biscuits.
This glorious fair in the city centre fascinates both the young and the old. The enormous selection of original, stylish and handmade goods provides an enchanting display of tempting goods. It is really no wonder why the Aachen Christmas Market has become an absolute “must” for over 1.5 million visitors each year.
In fact, the Aachen Christmas Market is famous far beyond the boundaries of the Aachen region. Thanks to its cosy and familiar atmosphere, people come to the Christmas Market from all over the world in order to meet their friends and families during this wonderful celebration of Advent.
Opening Times: Daily from 21 November till 23 December. 11 am until 9 pm.
Bonn Christmas Market
The Bonn Christmas market offers a vast and unique choice of delicacies, with ranges of regional produce complemented by Hungarian specialties.
Every year this traditional fair conjures up a festive atmosphere on Münsterplatz and Bottlerplatz, on Windeckstrasse, Vivatsgasse, Friedensplatz and Poststrasse. The beautiful illuminated facades around the Münsterplatz form the festive scenery for the dozens of traditional market booths and create a fantastic backdrop to the celebrations.
Enjoy the unmistakable aromas of a traditional christmas market; a mixture of gingerbread, potato pancake, fried sausage, burnt almonds, Koelsch beer and Glühwein Delicious!
Opening Times: Daily from 11 am. to 9 pm.
If you want to visit one or more of the Rhineland Christmas markets then it’s recommended that you stay overnight so you can experience more than one and discover the cities too. For great value, centrally located accommodation on a budget DJH city hostels in Cologne and Dusseldorf offer an ideal option, even for those travelling with families. Experience comfortable, modern rooms in a relaxed atmosphere. And the best thing is that that there is also a multitude of other interesting leisure activities to enjoy as well!