Europe Travel News

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.

Recommended Tours

Baltics Highlights

7 days from $1,764 pp*
Custom Private Tour
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
More Info

Budapest, Vienna, Prague Signature

7 days from $2,023 pp*
Custom Private Tour
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
More Info

Highlights of Eastern Europe

10 days from $2,770 pp*
Custom Private Tour
The rhythmic trot of your horse and the soft crunch of your carriage wheels upon cobblestones is a seductive soundtrack to accompany the stunning ancient architecture of Vienna’s charming Ringstrasse.
More Info
Kensington Advantage
Personalized itinerary with private guide & driver. Award winning value.
  • Personalized itinerary that fits like a glove
  • Full attention of your own private guide & driver
  • In-country offices for 24/7 peace of mind
  • Multi-award winning
  • 30,000 delighted clients

With the inside track on the new, the old, the off-the-beaten track and the out-of-this-world, you won't find a more knowledgeable team of destination specialists.

Meet Our Experts
Curators of extraordinary experiences, you won't find a more skillful team.
30,000 Delighted Customers
"Kensington, you've done it again...perfection!"

Don't take our word for it.
Here's what our clients say.

"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent."

Newsletter Subscription
Have our hand picked trips, news & specials delivered to you.
Thank you for signing up!

Your details have been received and processed successfully.
Travel + Leisure : World's Best Award 2014 Family National Geographic Traveler : 50 Tours of a Lifetime Travel Leisure Award 2015