Alternative Christmas markets in Cologne
In the runup to last year’s Christmas I was in town to explore some alternatives to the more traditional Christmas markets. Here are my favourite finds!
Der Super Weihnachtsmarkt
It doesn’t get more local than this. The creative heads behind Der Super Markt, Anna Böss and Lena Schröder, are designers, both with their own labels, and launched this event series in 2013. Here in the former 4711 perfume factory, the choice of lovely personal gifts is so huge it’s impossible to decide what to buy – the best first-world problem you could ever have! The atmosphere is mega relaxed and people are very laid back, as is the tradition in Cologne. Best to start the tour with a mug of steaming mulled wine; you’ll instantly get in the mood.
Update for 2018: The Super Weihnachtsmarkt will take place in Cologne’s Südstadt in Bürgerhaus Stollwerck.
Ehrenfeld Christmas market
When I asked one of the bearded stallholders in lumberjack gear if he considered himself a hipster, I thought I caught a mischievous glint in his eye. Whatever: here, in the heart of Ehrenfeld, three guys have created what is probably the smallest and coolest Christmas market in town. The few stalls are hammered together by hand, creating a pop-up store atmosphere. There’s some yummy food – they serve “superwurst” and delicious mulled wine with all-natural ingredients. Plus their wares have the potential to become your friends’ best gifts ever. Go!
Stadtgarten Christmas market
Probably the most “normal” alternative Christmas market in Cologne is the one in Stadtgarten in the Belgian Quarter. That said, there are some features that make this one special: for one, many stalls have a pop-up store air about them and switch every week; for another, the market is in a garden, so the atmosphere is more congenial than that of a large-scale market on a square. My personal favourite was the tarte flambée stall – a delicious way to round off a visit!