Robin and I have been doing a “nieces and nephews” project over the past few years where we’ve invited them one-at-a-time to visit us in Europe for a week or so. When we discussed this with our niece Julie, she indicated that a winter trip that would allow her to visit one of the Christmas Markets would be her preference. Since it had been a couple of years since Robin and I went ourselves, this quickly became the plan. We chose Cologne once again for its easy access and large number of markets (seven major ones).
Like our other trips to Cologne, we took the ICE train direct from Amsterdam Centraal to Cologne Hauptbahnhof. For our hotel this time, I booked us into the Günnewig Kommerz Hotel, just north of the train station. This proved to be a very convenient location for the Christmas markets.
We arrived in Cologne around 9:15 pm and after dropping our luggage off at the hotel, we took a quick spin around the Christmas Market at the Dom (Cathedral) and had just enough time for a quick gluhwein before calling it a night.
On Saturday, we did a big wide clockwise loop through four of the markets:
- Christmas Market on the Alter Markt
- Neumarkt Christmas Market
- Christmas Market on the Rudolfplatz (new to us; a smaller market but it stood out as having significantly different stalls (food, shopping) than the other markets)
- Stadtgarten Christmas Market (also new to us; very much a local market)
We were joined for the day by a work colleague and his wife and had a terrific day of looking, shopping, eating and drinking. After dropping our purchases back at the hotel, we had a good dinner at Brauhaus Sion of good solid German food before one last trip through the Christmas Market at the Dom.
On Sunday, we headed out to the remaining two markets:
- Harbour Christmas Market (nice location)
- Christmas Avenue (probably better at night than when we saw it in the rain in the afternoon)
We also visited the Chocolate Museum around which the Harbour Christmas Market is located. It seemed like every other visitor to Cologne has the same idea; it was packed.
We caught the 5:46 pm train back back to Amsterdam to finish off a great weekend. Great idea, Julie!