32 Unmissable Festivals and Holidays in Cologne, Germany

Updated on October 20, 2023  


Welcome to Cologne, where calendars are packed with holidays, festivals and events all year round.

From the Cologne Carnival, where the whole city breaks out in lively parades, colorful costumes, and street parties... to the world-famous Cologne Christmas Markets, there's always something new waiting around the corner!

So keep reading to discover 32 of the biggest festivals and holidays in Cologne.

Festivals & Holidays In Cologne, Germany

New Year’s Day (January 1)

Don't be surprised if you see red toadstools, marzipan pigs or chimney sweeper figurines everywhere on New Year's Day.

In Germany, many of us exchange or display small good luck charms to bring in good luck in the new year. [1]

Celebrations for New Years Day start on German Silvester, or New Year's Eve, as the city comes alive with firework displays and parties taking place across town.

Things can get so crazy that there are "fireworks-free zones", such as the Cologne Cathedral.

But you want to watch fireworks on New Year's Eve, I suggest heading either to Hohenzollern Bridge, or the right bank of the Rhine in Deutz. Just be careful that it may be crowded, and try not to stand too close to those setting off their own fireworks!

On the actual day of January 1st, most shops and many restaurants may be closed - so keep that in mind!

Three Kings Day (January 6)

Celebrated on the twelfth day of Christmas, Three Kings Day (Dreikönigstag) marks the arrival of the Magi (or Three Wise Men) in Bethlehem, to present gifts to baby Jesus. [2]

The Cologne Cathedral is believed to house the relics of the Three Wise Men, brought by the Archbishop Rainald von Dassel. While you can view a magnificent shrine of the Three Kings inside the cathedral, the actual relics are not visible.

three-kings-day festival in cologne germany