Hello my lovelies, or should I say Gutentag! As promised here are the pictures from my recent trip to Cologne to visit the christmas markets <3. Cologne is such a pretty city at Christmas time and it definitely lived up to our expectations. The people were super friendly, the markets were adooorable and oh-so-festive and homely and the food was amazing! It was quite hard to take pictures of all of the cool stuff in the markets as they were very busy indeed so I couldn’t really stand still long enough to get great shots but – fear not! I was able to do some filming while I was walking around so check out my Cologne vlog here if you want a better look!
I think Cologne is a really scenic city during the Holiday season. It’s quite industrial looking but that’s part of it’s charm and some of the architecture is really cool. It’s easy to get around as they have tram links which are pretty easy to follow if you have a city map like we did and as with most European countries most people there speak English as a second language so there’s always someone who you can ask for help if you do get lost.
There’s a really great festive atmosphere at the markets and they’re great for families although they do get quite busy so I wouldn’t recommend taking very small children as you’ll just end up carrying them all day. The stalls sell a whole rang of goods, many of them handmade. Off the top of my head I remember seeing… candles, cheeses, chocolates, knitwear, bags, lanterns, cookware, tree ornaments, sweets, brushes and LOTS of food. The markets are all really easy to get to by tram links which are everywhere but don’t be tempted to ride the tram without a ticket as if you’re caught there’s a €40 fine! We managed to get around to five markets in two days as well as doing some sightseeing but to be honest the markets are all quite similar so I think as long as you see at least two you can feel like you’ve done well.
If you’re looking to do some sightseeing I’d recommend visiting Cologne Cathedral. It’s a magnificent building and it’s worth taking a look inside to see the pretty stained glass windows and the people dressed in tradition Catholic robes.
|Cathedral in the day|
|Catherdral at night – spooky huh!|
If you’re feeling brave you might want to climb the 509 steps inside the cathedral to see the awesome view from the top. *Warning!!!* – this is not for the feint hearted! I was sooo out of breath about three quarters of the way up and we all had to stop for a breather (you can actually stop about halfway to see the Cathedral bells but we forgot to do this!) and to make it worse there’s just one tiny spiral staircase all the way up with people coming up and down it so most of the time you’re clinging to the pillar in the centre trying to let people pass you. But I would say that once you do reach the top the cool view is definitely worth it. You’re not actually on the roof at the top as we thought but rather at the highest point inside the Catherdral and there’s a cage around the windows so it doesn’t feel quite as scary as you’d think.
|The pretty red tops of the Christmas market stalls|
|The architecture of the cathedral is stunning|
|Cool graffiti building in Cologne|
About 50% of the stalls are selling delicious foods like German sausages ‘wursts‘, fried fish, waffles, hot chocolate, beer, mulled wine of course and sooo much more! At a lot of places you pay a deposit of around €2 for the festive mugs of hot beverages so that you can keep them as a souvenir if you want or return them when you’ve finished your drink and get your deposit back.
Super cool right? This is Hohenzollern bridge in Cologne where couples come to leave their love locks. If you haven’t heard of love locks it’s a phenomenon in many countries where couples have padlocks engraved with their names and/or love messages and affix them to a structure (usually a bridge) and throw away the key into the water to symbolise their everlasting love. I think it’s an incredibly sweet idea as they can go back in many years time to find their locks and be reminded of how much they loved each other – awww!
|I was very excited to be in Germany!|
|Coat: Quiz, Leggings: Quiz, Boots: FFP, Bag: Primark, Scarf: H n M, Earmuffs: Primark, Gloves: H n M|
This outfit kept me super snuggly and warm in Cologne. I’m not ashamed to admit that this is what I have been/will be looking like this pretty much everyday this winter just with different bottoms on (and a different top underneath too obviously but I always have my coat on so you never see this). This coat and accessories are soooo comfy I just don’t want to switch them out. I wish I had some more winter shoes to wear as I’m wearing these boots too much and it’s boring but my only other winter boots are my pink wellies which are a bit to ‘loud’ or my UGGs which are absolutely useless if it rains/snows which is always a risk here.
|We tried oysters!!|
You can watch the video of my first taste of oysters on the vlog channel!
If you can only get around to one market I would recommend … as it was huge and also had the most adooorable (word of this post I know) little ornament shop in it which melted my heart. They sold everything from little wooden peg tree ornaments for €2 to these magnificent carved candle holders which ran up to about €1000!!
|Proud of my pretzel!|
So my Top Tips for going to Cologne are…
1. Don’t feel like you have to visit every market but if you’re only going to do one make it…as it’s the biggest and most festive
2. Eat a small breakfast! – There’s so much food at the markets you want to make sure you have room to try it all
3. Always have your passport on you as the police to random ID checks and if you don’t have it on you you can be fined. Also some attractions will as for your passport as a deposit (don’t ask me why…) but you get it back at the end of your ride/turn.
4. A great place to stay on a budget in the Black Sheep Hostel where we stayed. It’s about 20 euros per night I believe and it’s clean, nicely decorated with good facilities and the owners are really friendly
5. Compared to the UK I found Cologne to be a little bit cheaper. You can find a good dinner in a nice restaurants for around 10 euros and a pint of beer costs around 3 euros. Beware of buying food when you’re travelling too and from Cologne though as service stations and ferries are always going to charge premium for the convenience so pack a lunch!
|1. Yummy drinks 2. Pretty Christmas lights 3. Delicious German waffles 4. Pretty market merry-go-round 5. Bubble Tea! 6. Monster Schnitzel! 7. Baileys Hot Chocolate 8. German Super Sausage 9. Market Archway|
A super enjoyable trip overall and I definitely want to go back!!
x Jade x
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