If you are fortunate enough to be in the area in the four weeks before Christmas, you can't miss some of the local markets.  Make sure to check for opening times as some are open only on weekends, and sometimes not even every weekend.  Learn more about this wonderful German tradition!  You can also get details out about markets further all over Germany and Europe at Christmasmarkets.com, and germany-christmas-market.org.uk

Of course, you must visit the markets in Bonn and Bad Godesburg, but in addition, there are some really unique markets nearby that are worth the trip.


Middle Ages Market in Siegburg

This town  sets up a medieval market. It is very popular so prepare to expect crowds.  It opens every day from 11.


Distance20 minutes east of Bonn

Entrance Fee? No

Burg Satzvey

Burg SatzveyA market in a castle! It is also somewhat medieval, but it also has more modern stands. They also sell a lot of nativity sets and they have a live creche every hour or so where you can watch actors speaking old German complete with camel and donkey.  This market is usually open on weekends only. (See the Castle Markets page for more ideas of markets in Castles)

Distanceabout an hour west of Bonn

Entrance Fee? yes

Hotel Dreesen

Hotel DreesenFor a couple of weeks, the Hotel Dreesen sponsors a traditional market in their glass garden.  There is an entrance fee to get in, but you are protected from the weather and can enjoy crafts and food from the Erzgebirge - the German area famous for the traditional nutcrackers, smoking men, pyramids, etc. It is usually open only the first two weeks of advent, and there are programs as well, so check the schedule.

Distance: Rungsdorf on the Rhine, just south of Bonn

Entrance Fee? yes


Halfway up to the top at the Drachenburg Schloss, there is a a Christmas market that also opens up the castle for a fee to a theatrical presentation.

Kommern Open Air Museum

KommernThis museum located about an hour west of Bonn in the Eifel has traditional farms and homes.  During the weekends in Advent, they celebrate with traditional crafts, activities, decorations and visits from Saint Nicholas.  It is magical at night when the entire park is lit only by candles.

Distance: about an hour west of Bonn

Entrance Fee? yes

Bad Hoenningen

Bad Hoenningen Market

The Nostalgic Christmas Market in Bad Hönningen is famous for its cosy and nostalgic atmosphere, which welcomes its visitors with live music and a festively decorated town centre and makes their shopping for Christmas presents a special event.

A historic merry-go-round, story hours, pony riding, hot punch for children, the aroma of gingerbread and roasted almonds wafting through the streets lined with Christmas trees, straw covered walkways and Santa Claus handing out gifts to the little ones enchant adults and children alike.

Distance: about 30 minutes south on the east bank of the Rhine

Entrance fee? no



The narrow little streets with their quaint romantic houses make the perfect Christmas market setting.

On the first Saturday in advent about a 100 swimmers plunge into the freezing cold water of the Moselle, each has a burning torch in his hand. they are followed by oarsmen, in an decorated skiff, as they accompany the bishop of St. Nicolas, on a large boat, standing underneath an illuminated wreath.

Arriving at 6pm in Bernkastel, St. Nicolas distributes chocolate gifts to the little ones. Every day at 5.30 pm a new advent door is opened in the regions largest advent calendar.

Distance:  about 1 hour 30 minutes south

Entrance fee?  no



The Lucia market in the picturesque wine-growing village in the Ahr is a one-weekend Christmas market with artisans and merchants such as woodcarvers, broom-maker, potters, blacksmiths, beekeepers, farmers and bakers and many others.  To celebrate the Swedish Santa Lucia day, at dusk  on the final day, girls in simple robes walk with lights singing through the village. As this market is only one weekend (the second weekend of Advent), it is best to check the schedule ahead of time.  It is usually the first week of December, and the town gives a complete schedule of the events for the weekend.

Distance: about 30 south on the Ahr river



Cologne actually has 6 Christmas markets!  Most are free and within walking distance of the Dom.  Have you tried the maritime market at the harbor by the Chocolate Museum? How about the one in the Stadtgarten? The Angel Market Nicholas Village?  The Gay and Lesbian market? Lots to try here!


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