The Yearly Christmas Market in Cologne or Koln is our favorite, we go every year. There are actually many different markets in the city and they are all connected my a cute little “train”. I would have loved to ride around on it but there was no room for the stroller. Maybe next year.
We generally only go to the largest 2 of the markets. I don’t know why we never went to the others before we had kids, I suppose we spent so much time at these 2 that we never got around to the others. Now we only go to the 2 because we have kids.
My kids have about a 3 hour window where they are happy. After 3 hours everyone is tired and grumpy and wants to go home.We left the house a little later than I had planned, it’s hard getting out the door first thing but we made it to Cologne just before lunch time.
The parking garage we normally parked at moved the entrance because of construction so we had to find somewhere else to park. The garage we found was actually in a much better location because instead of being directly under one of the markets it was more centered between the 2. Unfortunately although it gained in location it also gained in scary. It was a spiral that went directly up so it a series of left turns that people were taking a little to fast. There was no elevator so my husband and I had to carry our giant stroller down the stairs with my 1 1/2 year old in it. The place also reeked of urine. At one point my 3 year old said “eeuuuww Mommy, someone peed in here” . Oh well. It was a good location!
First we went to the Market directly outside the Dom ( German for Cathedral). This market is small but really lovely. Stalls full of great food and lovely objects set against an amazing backdrop of the church. Here we started out food adventure.The food is absolutely the best part!
We started with deep fried potato pancakes served with apple sauce, these are my favorite
then we moved on to French Fries, special request from my son. Honestly, they were the best fries I have ever had! Covered in mayo, of course.
Then we had pork on a stick. Because everything is better on a stick!
There is also a cut little carousel that we had to ride!
Of course I got my Gluhwein and my souvenir cup!
We went inside the cathedral because the kids were cold and I’m really glad we did. The kids really enjoyed exploring and I really enjoyed the warm. Plus it is a really beautiful church and I haven’t been inside in years.
Then we took a short walk to the next market. This one is my favorite. Its bigger and everything is carved in wood. It has a very rustic, old world feel and I love it. It’s at the Stadthaus, In case anyone goes looking for it.
In this market we drank gluhwein and ate the wonderful open faced cheese sandwiches. We ate and wondered. So many lovely things!
And there was a Ferris Wheel and another carousel! Great fun!
And then everyone was really tired and ready to go home. We were in Cologne a little longer than I thought we would be, it was pushing 4 hours when we left. The kids were exhausted and very ready for a break.
Luckily we brought our carrier so my son didn’t have to walk. He was able to ride in the carrier while my daughter was in the stroller. Or being carried.
It was a really good day. I really love the market here and look forward to going every year.
My tips for next year:
Bring more drinks for the kids. I brought 1 juice box (these are only given out on special occasions) for each kid and their water bottle and they still ran out. I was able to buy water for them in the market but it was served in a real glass. Not very good for kids
More snacks. My son is going through a picky eating phase. All he would eat all day were those french fries. He was a tired puddle of exhausted low blood sugar on the way back to the car.
Investigate parking before you go. If your anything like me, lack of planning will end up in a fight a fight with the hubby.
Get there early. This is always the plan but it rarely ever works out.
This was the only Christmas market we were able to visit this year and we almost didn’t go. I’m so glad we did!