8 December 2017

Cologne Christmas Markets

I'm going to Berlin today for a long weekend and realised I never shared the photos from our lovely festive few days in Cologne last year...  No one does the Christmas markets like they do in Germany.

Cologne Christmas market - UK travel & lifestyle blog

We had an early morning flight, the day after my work Christmas party (I was not a happy bunny getting up at 4am...) but after sleeping on the plane I felt just about human as we landed at 9am ready for three days of exploring.  Located in western Germany on the Rhine river, Cologne - or Köln - is the fourth largest German city, with a reconstructed old town, an incredible cathedral, medieval history, and a decent art scene.

Cologne Cathedral - UK travel & lifestyle blog

We stayed in the trendy Mülheim district in a minimalist Ipartment block.  I love a classic luxury hotel, but it was cool to stay somewhere edgy and different: the gender-neutral decor focuses on pure materials and simple design elements: concrete walls, wooden furniture, industrial lighting, white bedding and a walk-in shower.  Fuss-free, simple, yet quirky.

Cologne Mülheim modern hotel - UK travel & lifestyle blog

The most impressive sight in the city is undoubtedly the gothic cathedralGermany's most-visited landmark is a beast of a building with huge twin spires and the most stunning stained glass windows I've ever seen.  Designed by contemporary German artist Gerhard Richter to replace the originals destroyed in World War II, the 65-foot tall windows are made with 11,500 squares of colourful antique glass displayed as pixels.  I loved the contrast of something so modern in this grand, 13th century UNESCO World Heritage monument.  We visited Museum Ludwig for a dose of pop art, and the famous Mäurer & Wirtz flagship store to check out the world's first cologne 4711 (which has been produced in Cologne for over 200 years), strolled through the leafy, peaceful Melaten Cemetery, and visited the Kölner Philharmonie to hear soprano Hanna-Elisabeth Müller and the WDR Symphony Orchestra perform Gustav Mahler.

Cologne Christmas market biscuit tins - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Now onto the main event: the Christmas markets...  There's a massive one in the shadows of the cathedral, and lots of little ones dotted around the city.  I think we may have visited them all.  We spent hours wandering around traditional wooden huts sparkling with fairy lights, watched live bands, bought pretty little biscuit tins and stocking trinkets, ate wurst, pretzels and local chocolates, and kept warm with mugs of glühwein.  I'm looking forward to another weekend of exactly that, in one of my favourite cities - follow me on Instagram for festive snaps from Berlin over the coming days.

Read other Germany features & travel posts

Cologne Cathedral stained glass windows - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Cologne Christmas market weekend - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Koln Christmas market - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Russian dolls at the Cologne Christmas market - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Cologne Mülheim Ipartment minimalist apartment - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Kölner Philharmonie Orchestra, in Cologne - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Melaten Cemetery, Cologne - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Cologne Mülheim Ipartment minimalist hotel - UK travel & lifestyle blog

The Cologne Christmas market - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Glass baubles at the Cologne Christmas market - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Cologne Mülheim Ipartment modern apartment - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Keeping warm, Cologne Christmas market weekend - UK travel & lifestyle blog

White Christmas tree in Cologne - UK travel & lifestyle blog

Kölner Philharmonie Orchestra, weekend in Cologne - UK travel & lifestyle blog


Koln Cathedral - UK travel & lifestyle blog
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