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Advent time in the region: Covid rules and details for Cologne Christmas markets

Advent time in the region : Covid rules and details for Cologne Christmas markets

Christmas markets in the region will be opening in the second half of November. Cologne offers quite a few different choices. But which Covid regulations will be in place at the Christmas markets in Cologne and what are the opening dates and times? Here is what we know.

If you're looking for something a little different from the Christmas markets in Bonn and the surrounding region, you're sure to find what you're looking for in the many different ones offered in Cologne. But what can visitors expect in terms of Covid regulations? We have summarized the current information available (as of November 5). But you are still advised to find out about any possible changes just before your visit.

First of all, according to the current Corona Protection Ordinance of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia dated October 29, a 2G or 3G rule (vaccinated, recovered, tested) is only required for outdoor events attended by more than 2,500 people at the same time.

For large city festivals, where admission control is difficult to implement, there is a special regulation: 3G rule and random checks are sufficient.

Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral

The Christmas market at the cathedral opens up on November 22 with 130 Christmas stalls. And this time around, after ten years of renovations have been completed, visitors even have a completely unobstructed view of the city's landmark, which is now no longer encased in scaffolding.

"As of now, we plan to have the 3G rule in place with random checks," says Birgit Grothues from the organizing group “Kölner Weihnachtsgesellschaft”. They now have to arrange staffing for the random checks. In addition, the organizers recommend wearing a mask.

Opening hours: Sunday to Wednesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday to Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Address: Roncalliplatz, 50667 Cologne, Germany

Website: koelnerweihnachtsmarkt.com

Harbour Christmas Market at the Chocolate Museum

Located directly at the Rhine, the Hafenweihnachtsmarkt (Harbour Christmas Market) at the Chocolate Museum will take place again this year from November 19 to December 26. The place is recognizable from afar by the luminous Ferris wheel "Europa", which is 55 meters high.

"Because we don't have 2,500 people at one go, there are no restrictions on us," says Edwin Kroll, managing director of Eventleute, the company that organizes the market. "But we do recommend people wear a mask when they step up to a booth."

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday of the Dead, Nov. 21; closed Dec. 24 and 25

Address: Am Schokoladenmuseum, 50678 Cologne

Website in English: hafen-weihnachtsmarkt.de

Nikolausdorf (St. Nicholas village) on Rudolfplatz

In Nikolausdorf on Rudolfplatz, small half-timbered structures are lined up next to each other. The Christmas market opens from November 22 to December 23.

"No Covid restrictions are planned so far," the organizer says. The rules will be adjusted to the ongoing Covid situation and the NRW Corona Protection Ordinance. Because of the pandemic, however, there will be larger open areas this year.

Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Address: Rudolfplatz, 50968 Cologne

Website: nikolausdorf.com

Heinzels Wintermärchen (Heinzel’s Winter Fairy Tale)

With about 120 stands and an 1,800 square meter ice landscape, "Heinzels Wintermärchen" is the largest Christmas market in Cologne. On Alter Markt, artisans sell their products from November 22 to December 23. On the Heumarkt, visitors can enjoy winter sports (e.g. ice skating) until January 9.

All visitors this year must be vaccinated, recovered or tested negative for Covid, according to the organizers. There is no access control, but there will be random checks. In the Allgäuer Büble Alpe on the Heumarkt and the adjacent curling rinks, the 2G rule (recovered or vaccinated) applies.

Opening hours: daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; from Dec. 26, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Address: Alter Markt, 50667 Cologne

Website in English: heinzels-wintermaerchen.de

Christmas market in the Stadtgarten (City garden)

The cozy Christmas market in the Stadtgarten, Cologne's oldest park, opens from November 18 to December 23. There are around 80 Christmas stalls here, with different exhibitors offering special crafts and handicrafts each week. Info on corona rules at the market is not yet available.

Opening hours: Monday through Friday 4 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 12 to 9:30 p.m.

Address: Venloer Str. 40, 50672 Cologne, Germany

Further information: weihnachtsmarkt-stadtgarten.de

Markt der Engel (Market of angels)

The Markt der Engel at Neumarkt opens from November 22 to December 23. Angels in white robes and glitter powder and mythical creatures on stilts parade through the market. Info on Covid rules is not yet available.

Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily; Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

Address: Am Neumarkt, 50667 Cologne

Further information: markt-der-engel.de

(Orig. text: Christine Ludewig / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)