For over 200 years Cologne has hosted a hive of festive cheer and spirit in its vast expanse of Christmas markets that in the winter season coat the city. Christmas food, Christmas decorations, Christmas lights and Christmas clothing; these markets encapsulate the essence of Christmas. The joining of communities in jest and joy with some sort of hot food or beverage is exactly what these celebrations are about and were about this December 2023.

On the 20th of December, a brisk evening of only 2 degrees the chilling cold was countered by the warmth of fires, food and people filling up the streets of central Cologne. A large café decked head to toe in holly and decorations stood grand in the centre of one of the biggest markets in Cologne. There was a feeling of warmth in the market, both physically from hot foods and beverages but mentally a joyous warmth of Christmas spirt; fuelled by the playful laughter of people dancing around the large ice rink, the clink of mugs of glühwein for the adults and hot chocolates for the children and a wafting smell of baked goods floating through the city.

These markets provide a rejuvenating essence to anyone who walks in them, the struggle of dark and dismal Octobers and Novembers are lifted by the wonderful communal spirit of joy and festivity which these markets are able to exert. Tourist Simon Ives described the seven markets as having “an excellent festive atmosphere” with a nice air of authenticity “and not overly commercialised markets” making a “fantastic trip to Cologne”. A testament to the outreach of Colognes Christmas joy and spirit. A wonderful, place and event in the most wonderful time of the year.