Shopaholics planning a visit to Germany will be delighted to hear that Cologne is home to 38 weekly food markets, not to mention the weekly, monthly and one-off antique and flea markets in the city. Here are seven that are worth making a beeline for.
Once a month, from early April until the middle of November, the Tanzbrunnen fish market on the right side of the Rhine River is alive with creatures of the sea. The opening day differs each month, so be sure to check the master schedule before planning a visit. If fish isn’t your thing, the market also has cheese, wine, fruit and vegetables, flowers and pastries available – and, since this is Germany, those ever-present sausages.
Every third or fourth weekend, the Cölln Konzept event company puts on a flea and antique market on the Rhine Promenade right in the old town. One of the most beautiful in Cologne, the market is also famous for its top-quality antiques and well-preserved pieces – new products are not allowed. After shopping, head to one of the many breweries nearby for a restorative beer or two.
From Monday-Saturday, 7am-1pm (2.30pm on Saturdays), Wilhemplatz is packed full of vendors shouting “One kilo, one Euro”, a pricing structure that applies to a jaw-dropping number of fresh fruit and veg. Grandmothers pour from the nearby Florastrasse Ubahn subway stop with their trolleys, and fill up for the week. The flower seller in the northwest corner is an absolute delight.
For your more bourgeois food needs, there’s the Ökomarkt – the organic food market. It moves around town: Tuesdays & Fridays at Südstadt, Thursdays at Agnesviertel, and Wednesdays & Saturdays at Rudolfplatz, the main event right in the centre of town. There’s no 1 kilo, 1 Euro at this market – instead, there is heaps of organic, local produce.
For three weeks beginning at the end of April, Neumarkt is a riot of colour, when the flower market offers any sort of plant that could possible grow in the local climate on a balcony, terrace or even in a proper garden. A great place to scout possibilities, it’s a delight even if you don’t have space to plant anything. Open daily from 9am-7pm, Sundays 11am-6pm.
Twice a year, in Hans Böcklerplatz, the Supermarkt gives stylish bargain hunters a chance to add a little (more) design to their lives. Design, fashion, art and music items are accompanied by drinks and ice cream and, because this is the super-cool Ehrenfeld neighborhood, a DJ. The vibe is chill and the deals are sweet. Check the schedule here.
Cologne’s Christmas market season runs from the last Monday before Advent – which falls this year on November 27 – until December 23, during which time the air around town is full of the tempting smells of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and raclette. There are seven major markets, each with their own theme, products and food on offer. Though it’s hardly possible to be in the city centre and not run into two or three, a full map is here.