Holiday spirit sparkles in seven Christmas markets in Cologne, Germany. Give yourself ample time to explore them, and keep these tips in mind to make the best of your visit.
Set aside time to tour the inside of the Cologne Cathedral, a World Heritage site, when you visit the Christmas market next to it.
Go hungry! Gorge yourself grilled sausages, German potato pancakes, giant pretzels, fried apple rings, waffles made to order and more.
Dress in warm layers. Be prepared for cold, sleet, rain and snow. Wear shoes that are both waterproof and comfortable for walking and standing.
Wander the markets during the day to see details and the night to enjoy the romantic glow of holiday lights.
Check the stage by the Cologne Cathedral for the schedule of live entertainment.
Bring cash. Vendors do not take credit cards.
Get active at the Alter Markt. There’s ice skating and curling.
Justify lots of gluhwein (a hot spiced red wine) and hot chocolate to keep warm. Feeling brave? There’s cold Kolsch beer.
Collect mugs from each market. When you order a beverage, the price will include a modest deposit to cover its cost.
Add a shot of amaretto to your gluhwein to round out its flavor. Buy buy it from a vendor or bring your own flask.