Cologne Carnival Guide: 7 Tips to Make the Most of Your Carnival in Cologne

Welcome to Europe’s best party!

I’m guaranteed none of you are strangers to the revelries of Carnival, to fancy gown parades, big floats and the madness occurring ahead of Lent starts. Carnival can be dated again to Roman situations, and every single metropolis, city and village in Europe celebrates its very own way.

I’ve been touring Carnival celebrations for a long time now, and nowhere have I found it celebrated with as significantly passion and sentiment as in Cologne.

The city is basically swept away in a sea of colours, music and dance for six times. Around a million persons choose the streets and locals will not miss out on the celebration for anything in the entire world.


It’s the celebration to stop all functions – and in this article are 7 tips for you to enjoy Cologne Carnival at its greatest:

1)    Choose when to stop by

Carnival parades in Cologne occur around a program of 6 times, with just about every working day unique celebrations. Festivities kick off on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday with ‘Women’s Carnival’, and conclude with the burning of the ‘Nubbel’, a straw figure, on Tuesday evening.

On Friday there are events and parades all in excess of town, and on Saturday evening the ‘Ghost Parade’ requires position, the only parade the public is permitted to be part of. Sunday is Loved ones Working day, when teams of schoolchildren from all around Cologne march all over the metropolis with their floats. The major parade is the just one occurring on Rose Monday, with about 70 substantial floats from Cologne’s formal carnival teams. The Rose Monday parade is absolutely amazing, with marching bands and groups of cheerleaders opening every float, but crowds can be overbearing. Sunday is a further good day to pay a visit to as the atmosphere is extra subdued.


2)    Select exactly where to watch the parade

Getting shut to the parade is part of the fun. You may get to enjoy the colorful floats and costumes, the audio and festive environment, with men and women screaming Kolle Alaaf – the carnival motto, which means Cologne higher than all – and throwing Kamelle (sweets) to bystanders. Make positive you carry some luggage together to just take all the Kamelle dwelling with you!

With up to a million people in the streets, choosing a superior place to view the parade can be a obstacle. The spot all-around the Dom is indeed scenic, but it’s also the place crowds are at their worst. We endorse keeping away from the Dom and the Heumarkt region, and heading as an alternative to the backstreets just off Neumarkt, or in close proximity to the starting of the parade. Test this map for the route of the carnival parade.


3)    Decide a extravagant gown

You basically cannot go to carnival without extravagant gown. You can provide your possess or lease/buy one when you get to Cologne, or even just seize a wig or a foolish hat from one of several stalls close to the metropolis centre. If you choose for a entire-blown extravagant dress, don’t forget you can be on your feet for most of the working day, so choose one thing realistic – an 18th century Venetian-design and style costume will probably be difficult to take care of. Also, don’t neglect that Carnival transpires in the center of wintertime so be ready for temperatures that can dip under zero – a Monsters Inc type jumpsuit or cavemen’s outfit need to do the trick!


4)    What to do at night

The parades occur in the afternoon, and right after they are about the celebration carries on at fairly considerably every single one bar, restaurant and house all-around the city. Functions in bars and cafe ordinarily comply with a comparable format – copious amounts of Kolsch, Cologne’s incredibly individual beer, streamers and confetti and Carnival audio playing all night extended. If you talk a little bit of German, will not be concerned if you won’t be able to make any head or tail of the tunes – they’re all in Cologne dialect.

Bars all over the city heart are possible to be packed – head out of the town middle to a place like Agnesquarter, Südstadt or Ehrenfeld for a a lot more manageable problem.


5)    What to take in and consume for the duration of Carnival

Do you want the short remedy? Take in road food stuff (assume currywurst, doner kebab, falafel and the like) and drink Kolsch, Cologne beer served in tiny eyeglasses. There will be stalls serving beer all more than the town, or you can select up some bottles at a corner retail outlet, also called Kiosk. If you might be preparing on partying the total working day and whole night time, make positive you take in a very good breakfast as people Kolsch incorporate up genuinely quickly and you never want to get too drunk also shortly!


6)    Obtaining to Cologne and all around

Carnival is tremendous substantial season in Cologne, and flight price ranges are likely to be steep. We suggest having the train in its place – the town is a really busy railway hub with loads of trains coming from just about every corner of Europe, so they’re not most likely to be bought out. Most German trains you should not require reservations – we travelled into Cologne from Copenhagen and out to Paris and failed to will need to e-book our seats in progress.

To get around Cologne you can use the fantastic general public transportation technique, with trams and U-Bahn reaching each individual corner of the metropolis. The carnival place is compact more than enough to be navigated on foot – it takes about 20 minutes to walk from Neumarkt to Heumarkt, and a additional 15 to arrive at the Dom and Hauptbahnhof. The Experience Cologne: KölnCard provides you absolutely free entry to general public transport for 24 or 48 several hours.


7)    Is carnival in Cologne protected?

Cologne received some poor push due to the fact of some incidents transpired on a New Many years Evening, but enable me notify you, there is nothing at all to stress about, at the very least in my knowledge. The ambiance of Carnival in Cologne is festive, peaceful and welcoming, and locals will be far more than ready to assistance you if you have missing your way or your group. I have never ever felt threatened or endangered in any way – there is certainly lots of law enforcement and stability about the parades. On the other hand, as constantly with crowds, pickpockets are rife, so continue to keep your possessions near.


Tip: Make guaranteed to e book your lodging in Cologne in advance as inns fill up immediately!


Travel suggestion shared by The Crowded Earth for Vacation Dudes.

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