Every last Monday just before Advent, bright lights, lively Christmas carols, and magical festivities officially signal the start of the year’s Christmas holidays in Cologne, Germany. Known as the Christmas Markets, it is one of the busiest times of the year in the already crowded city. Millions of tourists from the four corners of the globe flock to Cologne to bring home Christmas goodies sold at the numerous Budens that dot the city center. There’s music, toys, arts, and crafts galore for everyone from kids to the oldies. If there’s one particular Christmas night market you’d have to visit before your time, this is it. To make the most of your Christmas markets adventures, make sure to bring these 5 things with you.
It would be senseless to go shopping at the 7 major Christmas markets in Cologne without the official currency of Germany, the Euro. As the Cologne Christmas Markets is a collection of 7 different markets, it is often advisable to take the Christmas Market express to take you to all of the markets for just 10 Euros for anyone older than 10 years old and 5 Euros for those below 10. For single trips, the cost is around 3 Euros and 1.5 Euros, respectively. Of course, you can decide to walk.
2. Jacket or Coat to Keep You Warm
While the lights from the market stalls and the substantially large crowd can increase the temperature a bit, it never goes above 9 degrees Celsius in Cologne at this time, often averaging in the 5 and 6 degrees Celsius. That is why you need to bring with you your winter clothing just to keep you warm.
3. An English to German Phrasebook
Unless your German is passable, you will need an English-German phrasebook to help you haggle or negotiate with market vendors. While a majority of Germans can speak English, don’t expect that every other stall in the 7 markets will be able to speak to you in your native tongue. If carrying a phrasebook is a hassle, try to get a friend who knows the language by heart.
4. A Large Bag
While you may not necessarily be hording everything you see at the market, it will be utterly more convenient if you can bring a folding bag with you. While a backpack may seem a nice choice, it may not be able to contain some bulkier items.
5. Your European Health Insurance Card
Whatever you do this tiny card is one thing you don’t want to leave behind in your hotel room. You’ll never know when you’ll need emergency medical services. Accidents do happen when you least expect them. It’s a lot better to be prepared. With the EHIC (Which can be obtained through the NHS or My Ehic), you’re guaranteed emergency and necessary medical services from German public health institutions when you really need them.
The Cologne Christmas Markets is a much-anticipated event, not only in Cologne but also the rest of the world. Just don’t forget these 5 things to bring with you should you decide to partake in the festivities.