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Christmas Holiday in Cologne


VRO6MO
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We visited Cologne on the way back from Berlin this summer.

Never, ever again.

Think Manchester with Germans, and you're probably on the right track.

It was ridiculously busy, too - took us absolutely ages to walk down the main shopping street back to our hotel. Drove me nuts.

I'd love to do German christmas markets - but I think I'd go to Berlin as first choice - but I also really like Bonn.

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I went to Cologne and the Christmas markets in 1990.

I didn't like the people, I thought the City was very disappointing and the hotel was absolutely awful (2 nights).

But...

The Christmas markets (and it is plural, there are more than one) are superb though. So much so that you've reminded me I'd quite like to go back for them now I'm older. The feel and atmosphere is excellent and the Stadtgarten market has the most Christmas-time feel of anywhere I've ever been. It helped that it was snowing mind you. The lights, music and everything about it was very well done in my opinion.

Personally I'd not be going to see much in the City because you've got to remember that whilst there are old places like the University that look good (it's very very old).....the British wiped a good deal of Cologne out in WWII. The whole City underwent massive reconstruction because it probably only played second place to Dresden in terms of the battering it took. What used to be an ancient City was pretty much obliterated. The whole centre was wiped out.

Nonetheless, I reckon it's worth it for the Christmas markets. Just don't expect much elsewhere and you'll have a good trip.+++

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To be honest I've only been to Cologne.

I was meant to go to Oberammergau another time but it got cancelled. That's meant to be the most "Christmassy" of all because of it's Alps location. However, it's nothing like Cologne in terms of size etc. In fact it's very small by most standards (it is just a village, after all), but the atmosphere is said to be very special.

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Vienna Markets as JimDiesel says are nice, Oberammagau is really nice too, but not on a huge scale.

Munich has many Christmas markets and is a really friendly place and a nice (IMO) city. They have a big skating rink.

I've been to the Prague markets a few times as well - they are good, not as nice stuff in them as the German markets but a nice atmosphere. Last year I had a quick stop too in Bratislava at the start of December for work and went to one market - again good but the stuff was quite 'cheap' compared to the German ones.

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After this thread I can't imagine for a minute that the OP is still going to go to Cologne. I really don't get the excitement around the Xmas markets. The wine is hot, the stuff for sale is tacky sh1te and the food is utterly gopping.

Some of the smaller markets in germany especially, have some really really nice stuff - wooden hand made decs etc - admittedly some of it is really cheapy tacky carp, but especially in the less touristy markets there is some really nice stuff to be had, too.

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  • 3 months later...

Have only been to the Frankfurt Christmas market myself and must admit its brilliant. We brough lots and lots of stuff, we drank some hot wine and ate some huge sausages, we brought lots of German chocolates and candles for Xmas presents. I must say, it's the place to visit for Xmas spirit, shopping and festivity. Only be careful when traveling with a van on a ferry as you might get charged freight rates which are more expensive, you need to tell them when booking that it is for personal use and not business (that's providing that you arent actually on bussiness lol). Great time - next year probs go again!

Edited by SmokeyPokey
typos
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