Most of Christmas Markets start their activities by end of November and continue till 3rd or 4th week of December (There are some exceptions that Christmas Markets are still open in January). I would recommend to check it out before driving :). Personally I like this period of the year which brings some positive mood into dark, grey winter.
This year I have decided to check two very popular Christmas Markets in Germany. On Saturday-Aachen and on Sunday Cologne.
Christmas Market Aachen
Every year before Christmas the squares and streets round the Cathedral and the Aachen Town Hall are transformed into a paradise of lights and colours, festive sounds and seductive smells. The glorious fair in the Christmas City, which has been erected with great care and sentiment, fascinates both the young and the old. It is really no wonder why the Aachen Christmas Market has become an absolute “must” for all people of Aachen and Aachen fans as well.
The Aachen Market has become famous far beyond the boundaries of the Aachen region. This is due to its pleasant and familiar atmosphere. People come to the Christmas Market in order to meet their families, friends, acquaintances and colleagues. Potato frites are eaten at all times of the day. Naturally you will find a large variety of Printen and other Christmas cakes and biscuits, “Domino Stones”, gingerbread, “Spekulatius” and marzipan bread. These are distributed all over the world by Aachen bakeries. However in the Aachen Christmas Market they come oven fresh and taste particularly delicious.
The organizers of the Christmas Market are proud of approx. 1.5 million visitors every year. Amongst them you can find guests from the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom.
This way the choices of culinary delicacies as well as that of beautiful works of arts and crafts have increased with every year. The visitors are faced with a great deal of choice and this is why they come to see the colorful stands and stalls.
Practical info about Christmas Market in Aachen
The Aachen “Christmas City” closes its gates on the day before Christmas Eve in the afternoon. Then the Market and the small streets will remain somewhat empty, abandoned and silent. The stands are open max till 21.00.
Christmas Market in Cologne
Cologne is a bigger City than Aachen you can see the difference in Christmas Markets too. In Cologne you can find in 2015 nine Markets in many places around the city center, which is touched by the magic of the festivities in the run-up to Christmas.
The Cologne cathedral Christmas Market
Beneath the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland, you can choose from numerous sweet delicacies, watch artisans at work and enjoy the “Original Christmas mulled wine” out of the festively decorated Christmas mugs.
The Cologne cathedral Christmas market lies centrally between the Roman-Germanic Museum, the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall and the famous Dom Hotel.
Large variety of gift ideas
Regional products and organically certified food are an important component of the market concept, all of a high level of quality. Quality is a priority even with the numerous craftsmen. The large variety of gift ideas such as woodcarvings, glass balls, ceramics, accessories, children’s toys, soaps, etc. come mainly from Germany and Europe.
The varied stage programme with 100 Christmas performances of music and entertainment is unique for a Christmas market. There is plenty to do even for the younger visitors: for example the traditional carrousel or the children’s wheel of fortune.
At a glance
23rd November – 23rd December 2015
Daily from 11 am – 9 pm
Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 10 pm
Saturday from 10 am
Christmas Market on the Alter Markt
The house gnomes will be opening their traditional Christmas market in the heart of Cologne’s old town. Just like in years past, the diligent little helpers have been busy getting things ready on Heumarkt and the Alter Market to spread the Christmas spirit in Cologne.
Legend has it that the Heinzelmännchen (house gnomes) performed all sorts of different jobs for the locals of Cologne: they prepared the sausages for the butcher, sewed the clothes for the tailor, and baked the bread for the baker. And so the winding alleys of the “house gnomes Christmas market” are differently themed, just like the guilds of days past. From treats, toys, and items to waken that feeling of nostalgia, through to handicrafts and Christmas products – here you’ll find everything your heart desires.
My opinion about Christmas Markets in Aachen and Cologne
Aachen didn’t make big impression on me. This year I didn’t find many new attractions compared to last year. The prices were much higher than last year what was disappointing.
Cologne has much more to offer. We could try cheese fondue, smoked salmon, do ice-skating, taste many different beers and buy original presents.
Aachen 6/10 and Cologne 9/10. If you have time go and visit Cologne!!!