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8 Tricks to Make the Most of your Carnival in Cologne

8 Tricks to Make the Most of your Carnival in Cologne. Welcome to Europe’s greatest occasion. I’m certain none of you might be strangers to the revelries of Carnival, to fancy gown parades, large floats and the insanity occurring earlier than Lent begins. Carnival may be dated again to Roman instances, and each metropolis, city and village in Europe celebrates its personal method.


I’ve been touring Carnival celebrations for years now, and nowhere have I seen it celebrated with as a lot ardour and sentiment as in Cologne – domestically generally known as Kölner Karneval.

Therefore, the city is actually swept away in a sea of colours, music and dance for six days. Over one million individuals take the streets and locals gained’t miss the celebration for something on this planet.

8 Tricks to Make the Most of your Carnival in Cologne

It’s the occasion to finish all events – and listed here are 7 suggestions so that you can take pleasure in Carnival in Cologne at its greatest.

See additionally: A Information to Visiting Cologne, Germany

Scenes from the Carnival in Cologne, Kölner Karneval
Scenes from the Carnival in Cologne, Kölner Karneval

1. Select when to go to

Carnival parades in Cologne occur over a course of 6 days, with daily completely different celebrations. Festivities kick off on the Thursday earlier than Ash Wednesday with ‘Ladies’s Carnival’, and conclude with the burning of the ‘Nubbel’, a straw determine, on Tuesday evening.

On Friday there are events and parades throughout city, and on Saturday night the ‘Ghost Parade’ takes place, the one parade the general public is allowed to affix. Sunday is Household Day, when teams of schoolchildren from throughout Cologne march across the metropolis with their floats. The largest parade is the one occurring on Rose Monday, with over 70 giant floats from Cologne’s official carnival teams.

The Rose Monday parade is unquestionably spectacular, with marching bands and teams of cheerleaders opening every float, however crowds may be overbearing. Sunday is one other nice day to go to because the environment is extra subdued.

2. Select the place to observe the parade

Being near the parade is a part of the enjoyable. You’ll get to understand the colourful floats and costumes, the music and festive environment, with individuals screaming Kolle Alaaf – the carnival motto, which means Cologne above all – and throwing Kamelle (sweets) to bystanders. Be sure you carry some baggage alongside to take all of the Kamelle house with you!

With as much as one million individuals within the streets, choosing a great place to observe the parade could be a problem. The world across the Dom is certainly scenic, but it surely’s additionally the place crowds are at their worst. We suggest avoiding the Dom and the Heumarkt space, and heading as a substitute to the backstreets simply off Neumarkt, or close to the start of the parade. Verify this map for the small print of the carnival parade.

3. Choose a elaborate gown

You merely can’t go to carnival with out fancy gown. You’ll be able to carry your individual or lease/purchase one whenever you get to Cologne, and even simply seize a wig or a foolish hat from one among many stalls across the metropolis heart. In the event you go for a full-blown fancy gown, keep in mind you’ll be in your ft for many of the day, so select one thing sensible – an 18th century Venetian-style gown will most likely be laborious to handle.

Additionally, don’t neglect that Carnival occurs in the midst of winter so be ready for temperatures that may dip under zero – a Monsters Inc model jumpsuit or cavemen’s outfit ought to do the trick!

4. What to do at evening

The parades occur within the afternoon, and after they’re over the occasion continues at just about each single bar, restaurant and residential across the metropolis. Events in bars and restaurant often comply with the same format – copious quantities of Kolsch, Cologne’s very personal beer, streamers and confetti and Carnival music enjoying all evening lengthy. In the event you converse a little bit of German, don’t fear when you can’t make any head or tail of the songs – they’re all in Cologne dialect.

Bars across the metropolis heart are prone to be packed – head out of the town heart to a spot like Agnesquarter, Südstadt or Ehrenfeld for a extra manageable state of affairs.

5. What to eat and drink throughout Carnival

Would you like the quick reply? Eat avenue meals (suppose currywurst, doner kebab, falafel and the like) and drink Kolsch, Cologne beer served in tiny glasses. There will probably be stalls serving beer everywhere in the metropolis, or you possibly can choose up some bottles at a nook retailer.

In the event you’re planning on partying the entire day and entire evening, be sure you eat an excellent breakfast as these Kolsch add up actually shortly and also you don’t need to get too drunk too quickly!

See additionally: Conventional Beer and Meals in Cologne

6. Burn the Nubbel

On Carnival Tuesday, the Nubbel is ceremoniously set ablaze in Cologne. This straw effigy should take accountability for all wrongs dedicated through the carnival season.

Individuals congregate outdoors quite a few pubs to absolve themselves of their previous transgressions- setting fireplace to this figurine symbolically relinquishes them from any misdeeds they could have indulged in all through that interval, as per fashionable superstition.

7. Attending to Cologne and round

Carnival is tremendous excessive season in Cologne, and flight costs are usually steep. We suggest taking the practice as a substitute (seek for tickets on Kayak) – the town is a really busy railway hub with a lot of trains coming from each nook of Europe, in order that they’re not prone to be offered out. Most German trains don’t require reservations – we travelled into Cologne from Copenhagen and out to Paris and didn’t must e book our seats upfront.

To get round Cologne you should use the wonderful public transport system, with trams and U-Bahn reaching each nook of the town. The carnival space is compact sufficient to be navigated on foot – it takes about 20 minutes to stroll from Neumarkt to Heumarkt, and an extra 15 to achieve the Dom and Hauptbahnhof.

8. Is carnival in Cologne secure?

The environment of Carnival in Cologne is festive, relaxed and welcoming, and locals will probably be greater than prepared that can assist you when you’ve misplaced your method or your group. I’ve by no means felt threatened or endangered in any method – there’s a lot of police and safety across the parades.

Nevertheless, as at all times with crowds, pickpockets are rife, so preserve your belongings shut.

See additionally: Straightforward Tricks to Outsmart Pickpocketing in Europe

  • The Crowded Planet

    The Crowded Planet

    We’re Margherita and Nick, a author and photographer from Italy and Australia, long-term travellers and lovers of nature, wildlife and the outside.
    We will’t fairly cease travelling. We could select doubles over dorms, and benefit from the comfort of getting an ensuite toilet (not too typically, although!) However apart from that, our travelling model is similar because it was 15 years in the past.




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