Cologne's Christmas markets are a yuletide tradition
Christmas shopping is one of the most time-honored American traditions, but there are some places that put the United States to shame. This is the case in Germany, where the country's Christmas markets have become legendary. One standout for this yuletide shopping tradition is the city of Cologne, which has become a staple of many winter tours of Germany.
The appeal of Cologne during the holiday season is hard to deny. There are six markets that spring up throughout the city, but the one in front of the iconic Cologne Cathedral stands out from the rest. For starters, the cathedral is among the most recognizable structures in Europe and during the holiday season it is home to arguably the biggest Christmas tree in the region.
Once the tree comes up, around 160 pavilions come with it, each has its own specialty. Whether you're looking to pick up some local candy, native wine or anything in between as a Christmas gift, you'll certainly bring home a piece of Germany.
Though the market located the Cologne Cathedral may be the city's most famous, it's not the only one you can visit during your Germany tour. The Christmas Market on the Alter Markt, for example, is just about 650 feet away from the cathedral, but offers a different experience. Specifically, the market on Alter Markt is known for its puppet theater and Santa Claus' grotto.