Christmas Market and Skating Rink
in Cologne Old Town
The Cologne Old Town is once again home to the "Heimat der Heinzel" – the “Home of the Gnomes” – the biggest and most traditional of Cologne’s Christmas markets. The cosy wooden booths stretch all the way from Alter Markt to Heumarkt, creating a wonderful fairytale world with their loving decorations and enchanting light effects.
Just as each city street used to be the preserve of a particular guild in the past, each street or alley at the Christmas market is devoted to a particular theme. At intervals, the streets open on to friendly squares, where traditional-style inns invite the visitors to come in, refresh themselves and have a good time. The air is full of the scent of baked apples and the sound of barrel organs playing Christmas carols, and everywhere, gifts and Christmas decorations gleam and glitter on the stalls, vying for attention.
On Heumarkt, the market has yet another seasonal attraction to offer: a spectacular ice rink, with room for a spacious skating area, extended runs, and alleys for playing Eisstockschiessen - a form of curling - plus also a bridge across the ice from which to watch the goings-on.
Those responsible for all this festive radiance in the Old Town are Cologne’s famed and fabled house gnomes - the Heinzelmännchen. They maintain the traditional Christmas market customs and see that all newfangled gadgetry is kept away. From their hiding places, they always keep a close eye on the seasonal hustle and bustle - and also the skaters on the ice rink. After all, the little fellows’ favourite pastime is ice skating...
Cologne’s Old Town is situated approximately 200 m from the cathedral and main station. From the neighbouring Christmas market by the cathedral, descend the southern steps and walk towards the Old Town’s alleys on the other side. The Christmas market Cologne in the Old Town can be reached in just a few minutes.
Opening hours Christmas Market Cologne Old Town:
The Christmas market in Cologne’s Old Town opens on the fourth Monday in November each year and closes on 23rd December. During this period, the stands are open daily from 11 am – 10 pm.
We recommend that you use the Park+Ride parking spaces located just outside the city centre, thus avoiding the need for an emissions decal for your vehicle. From the Park+Ride, you can take a tram to the Haymarket (“Heumarkt”) or main station (“Hauptbahnhof”) stops, a journey of just a few minutes. Alternatively, use the electronic parking guidance system in the city centre and park in the nearest multi-storey car parks: Dom, Philharmonie, Groß St. Martin or Heumarkt.