Christmas (market) time is here!

All over the world, people have started getting into the Christmas spirit. In Germany, especially, this is done through the festive Christmas Markets known as Weihnachtsmarkt, which coincide with the observation of Advent.

Essentially, you can think of a Christmas Market as a cross between a state fair (think fried foods and small carnival rides), an arts and crafts event (think hand-woven mittens and knick-knacks for your kitchen), a beer garden (that serves mostly warm wine and spiked cocoa), and a winter wonderland!

Not to be missed are the candied nuts and Glühwein (mulled wine). To be missed: my Christmas nemesis – Eierpunsch (egg punch) – which literally tastes like hot alcohol derived from egg, not the eggnog I was expecting.

nuts

Mmm candied nuts.

This past weekend Craig and I went to visit one of the top-rated Christmas Markets in the world in Cologne, Germany! Cologne has a ton to see  – with 7 markets in total – and definitely lives up to the hype.

The Cathedral Market

Adjacent to the Cologne Cathedral (a spectacular sight!) is the Cathedral Market, adorned with festive red roofs. Here you will find all of the Christmas Market classics, as well as a huge Christmas tree and a stage with surprisingly entertaining performances.

fullmarketChristmasTown

tree

The Cologne Dom (Cathedral)

The Altstadt

By far my FAVORITE of all of the Christmas Markets I’ve seen is the adorable gnome-themed market at Cologne’s Old Town Square. Along with several statues of these little workers, you will also find a child’s paradise, complete with a ferris wheel, a curling area, and an ice skating rink!

altmarktgnomesferriswheelskislopes

Curling

Look at that kiddo curl! …ok his form is off, but he’s definitely having fun.

The Angel’s Market

Located in Cologne’s New Market (Neumarkt), the all-white Angel’s market makes you feel like you are in heaven. On a side note: we went all over trying to find the best Cologne Christmas Market mug for the year to take home as a souvenir, and we eventually landed on this one.

AngelMarket

mug

Best Mug of Cologne 2015

The Village of St. Nicholas (Nikolausdorf)

The St. Nicholas-themed market is exactly what I imagine Santa’s hometown to be. This place screams Christmas with a giant advent calendar and plenty of glühwein to keep you jolly. What makes this market particularly special is that it is against the backdrop of the Hahnentorburg, a 13th century gate that was used to protect the city of Cologne.

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Nikolaus

Christmas markets against the 13th century Hahnen gate

The Gay and Lesbian Christmas Market

We visited this rather small market in the morning so it was quiet when we were there, but I got the impression it becomes a happening dance party at night. This place is plastered with colorful lights and mylar buildings and is the only place you can find gay-themed food (so you know, just food).

gaymarket

gayburger

What is a gay burger?

Not pictured: the Harbour Christmas Market (not really worth a visit, in my opinion) and the Stadtgarten Christmas Market (which we didn’t have time to visit).

All in all, I’d say the Cologne Christmas markets are definitely worth a visit. For pictures, it’s best to go in the daytime, but to truly experience the Christmas magic, you need visit at night when everything is lit up and the glühwein is flowing 😉


Where is your favorite Christmas market?

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