The Best Places to Buy Souvenirs in Cologne

The Cologne Cathedral CC0 Pixabay
The Cologne Cathedral CC0 Pixabay
Evelyn Smallwood

Cologne has been welcoming tourists for more than 1100 years, with a vast number of visitors on a pilgrimage to see the Dom and the bones of the Three Kings on any given day. So if there’s one thing you can buy in this town, it’s a souvenir. Even corner stores in the outer suburbs have keychains with Dom or city crests. Here are a few suggestions for places to buy your mementos during your visit.

The basics

For straightforward souvenir shops, try anywhere in the immediate vicinity of the Dom or main train station. There’s a popular gift shop in the basement of the Dom, the lobbies of the two big museums nearby will have arty stuff in addition to the standard fare and, of course, the immediately adjacent shops selling nothing but souvenirs.

The main themes are of the Dom, the Three Kings (Wisemen), beer, the Kölsch language, the city crest – which is three crowns (for the Three Kings) – and the tears of 11,000 virgins (it’s a long story).

Also, anything red or white possibly with a shark or a goat on it. The Sharks are the local hockey team and the goat is Hennes, the Köln FC mascot.

In December, the various Christmas markets in town are a good spot to buy something more imaginative (and well-made). A Christmas star lamp is something Cologners hang in their windows and is a little bit more special than a chocolate wiseman. The electrical parts are usually sold separately though, so don’t forget these!

Depending on your itinerary, a case of beer could be the right choice. Kölsch doesn’t travel especially well, but it is bottled and easily bought in singles or a case at any grocery store in the city. Cologne’s own Rewe chain, which is liberally dotted around the city, is usually open ’til midnight – perfect for the last minute panic purchase.

Sensible and thoughtful

Perfume is always good, considering the stuff is literally named after the city. Also, it lasts for a long time – so the recipient can remember your thoughtfulness every time they wear it. There are two to choose from: Kölnische Wasser No. 4711 and the slightly more refined Farina. Souvenir shops will definitely have 4711. The Farina is best grabbed straight from the museum shop in the old city.

Eau de Cologne

Advanced level

Buy some mustard. Seriously. Germans love mustard, particularly the sharper-than-Dijon style that sits on the table in every Brauhaus or Kneipe. Those expecting it to taste like American mustard will remember the mistake for a long time to come, which makes it the prefect prank present for the friend or sibling on your list. The standard stuff can be procured at any grocery store or go fancy at the Cologne Mustard Museum. It’s worth it simply to have a good story to tell later and you might just learn something.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,665 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

X
close-ad
Edit article