Cologne, Germany in January (Weather, Temperature and What do Do)

Updated on November 7, 2023  


As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Why You Should Visit Cologne In January

Cologne, the vibrant city in western Germany, transforms into a winter wonderland during January. As one of Europe's cold weather destinations, it offers travelers an array of unique experiences and attractions without the typical tourist crowds.

One reason to visit Cologne in January is to attend IMM Cologne, one of the largest interior design events in Europe that brings together designers and enthusiasts from around the globe.


Another compelling reason to explore Cologne during this time is its budget-friendly nature. Winter travel can be cost-effective as flights from London to Cologne are often more affordable compared to peak seasons.

Additionally, you'll find fantastic deals on accommodations throughout the city due to lower demand from tourists.

Finally, visiting Cologne in January allows you to indulge your senses while staying warm indoors at cozy restaurants or Brauhaus pubs serving Kölsch beer amid fireplaces adorned with festive holiday décor .

Weather And Climate In Cologne In January

Average Temperature And Precipitation

Visiting Cologne in January means experiencing the coldest month of the year, with an average maximum daytime temperature of 4.6°C (40.28°F). The city's low temperatures generally dip to around -0.6°C (30.9°F), making it essential for travelers to bundle up during their trip.

Despite this seemingly dreary weather, Cologne remains a delightful destination throughout January for those who appreciate winter landscapes and indoor activities.

Dressing For The Weather

Dressing appropriately for Cologne's January weather is crucial in ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience during your trip.

january cologne germany

With average temperatures hovering around 3.0 °C and dipping to a chilly minimum of 0 °C, it's essential to pack warm clothing items such as thick coats, scarves, gloves, and hats to help shield yourself from the cold weather.

With Cologne experiencing a rainy climate in January, waterproof jackets or umbrellas will also come in handy to stay dry during intermittent showers.

However, keep in mind that indoor spaces like shops and museums are often heated to sometimes stifling levels; therefore, dressing in layers is highly recommended.

Opt for easily removable outerwear combined with lighter garments underneath so you can adapt your outfit according to varying temperature settings comfortably.

Cologne January Holidays And Events

New Year’s Day (Neujahr): January 1

Cologne ushers in the New Year with a festive spirit as Neujahr, or New Year's Day, is celebrated on January 1st. As a public holiday in Germany, this day allows travelers to witness enchanting customs and traditions that highlight German culture.

Among the many unique German traditions during Neujahr is lead pouring (Bleigießen), where people melt pieces of lead and pour them into cold water, creating fascinating shapes that are then interpreted to predict what awaits them in the coming year. [1]

Three Kings Day: January 6

If you're planning a January visit to Cologne, don't miss Three Kings Day (Heilige Drei Könige) on January 6, a major holiday in Germany and many Latin American and Caribbean countries. [2]

The holiday commemorates the biblical tale of the Three Wise Men or Magi who brought gifts to baby Jesus after his birth. In Cologne, it's celebrated with a procession featuring three men dressed as the Magi and is observed as a public holiday.

Top Things To Do In Cologne In January

Explore The Cologne Cathedral

Visiting the Cologne Cathedral is a must-do activity while in Cologne, especially in January. This landmark of Gothic architecture and German Catholicism is Germany's most visited attraction and a World Heritage Site. [3]


The cathedral's twin towers stand at an impressive 515 feet tall, making it the largest Gothic church in northern Europe. Visitors can marvel at its stunning stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and detailed masonry work while learning about its rich history.

Indulge In The City's Culinary Delights

One of the top things to do in Cologne in January is to indulge in the city's culinary delights. German cuisine is world-renowned, and you can sample some of its best offerings during your trip.

From traditional staples like sausages and schnitzel to seasonal favorites like Glühwein (mulled wine) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread), there are plenty of delicacies to satisfy any palate.


In addition, there are several food festivals throughout the month that celebrate local specialties and international flavors. The Street Food Festival takes place at the beginning of January, featuring a wide variety of dishes from around the world.

Immerse Yourself In The City's History

Cologne's rich history can be seen all around the city, making it a great destination for visitors interested in learning about the past. The Cologne Cathedral is a must-visit historical landmark that has stood tall for over 700 years.

This impressive Gothic-style cathedral was once the largest in the world and holds significant religious value as well.

For those who prefer to learn about history through art and artifacts, there are numerous museums in Cologne showcasing different aspects of German culture and history. The Fragrance Museum serves as an ode to traditional perfumery while providing insights into how fragrances have evolved over time in Germany.

Ice Skating And Other Outdoor Activities

Cologne is an ideal destination for travelers who love outdoor winter activities. The city offers a wide range of options, including ice skating at Heumarkt Square, which has a beautiful backdrop of the Cologne Cathedral.

ice-skating-cologne-germany january

Visitors can enjoy other adventures like winter hikes, river cruises, and exploring local beer gardens. For those looking to experience the festive atmosphere in January, there are cultural festivals like Three Kings Day and New Year’s Day celebrations that offer plenty of entertainment.

Travelers can also head out to nearby mountains for more snowy destinations or take part in fun outings such as hot air balloon rides over scenic views.

Discovering The Remaining Christmas Markets

When visiting Cologne in January, one of the top things to do is exploring the remaining Christmas markets. December festivities may be over but that doesn't mean all holiday markets have vanished.

Tourists can still find winter festivals and seasonal markets dotted across the city with unique themes, serving traditional German food and drink, handmade crafts, and gifts.


Apart from the well-known Christmas market at Cologne Cathedral, there are other hidden ones worth discovering like Stadtgarten Market or The Markt der Engel (Market of Angels).

Indoor Activities In Cologne In January (When It Snows)

Enjoy A Relaxing Spa Day At Claudius Therme

After a busy day of exploring Cologne's indoor attractions and outdoor activities in January, there's no better way to unwind than by indulging in some pampering at Claudius Therme.

This popular spa is located right in the heart of Rheinpark and boasts stunning views of the iconic Cologne Cathedral. Whether you're looking for thermal baths with whirlpools or grottoes that cater to families, this place has it all.

Plus, even on public holidays like New Year's Day, opening hours are standard, so there’s no need to stress about scheduling your visit.

Explore Museum Ludwig's Impressive Art Collection

Museum Ludwig in Cologne is a must-visit for any art enthusiast. The museum houses an eclectic mix of modern art, including Pop Art, Abstract and Surrealism, and one of the world's largest Picasso collections.

museum-ludwig cologne things to do

Founded in 1976 with a donation of 350 works by collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig, it now features artworks from renowned artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Gerhard Richter. [4]

Visitors can explore the museum's permanent collection or attend exhibitions showcasing emerging contemporary artists from across the globe.

Visit The Cologne Chocolate Museum

Indulge your sweet tooth and explore the Cologne Chocolate Museum during your visit in January.

This interactive museum is a must-see for both children and adults, with opportunities to learn about the history of chocolate, how it's made and harvested, modern day advertising, and even includes a tropical greenhouse.


During the tour, visitors can sample chocolates including a scoop from the gigantic chocolate fountain which is truly impressive.

Practical Tips For Visiting Cologne In January

Saving Money With The Cologne Card

The Cologne Card is a great way to save money while exploring everything this historical German city has to offer.

This city pass includes free public transportation within the city, as well as discounts of up to 50% off various tourist attractions such as museums and boat tours.

It’s perfect for budget travel or even just a weekend getaway, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in all that Cologne has to offer without worrying about breaking the bank.

Before purchasing a KölnCard, travelers should ask themselves important questions like how much they plan on using public transportation or visiting tourist attractions during their stay in order to determine if it's worth investing in.

Be Prepared For Possible Snowfall

If you're planning a trip to Cologne in January, it's essential to be prepared for potential snowfall. While it doesn't typically snow heavily in Cologne, visitors should still expect rain and possibly some light snow during the winter months.

To stay warm and dry while exploring the city, make sure to pack waterproof shoes or boots with good traction, a warm coat, gloves, and a hat. Layers are also essential for staying comfortable as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day.

Despite the possibility of colder weather during your visit, there are plenty of fun indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy in Cologne during January. You can go ice skating at one of the city's rinks or explore its many museums and historical sites like the famous Cologne Cathedral.

Check Out The City's Public Transportation Options

Getting around Cologne in January is easy and convenient thanks to the city's excellent public transportation network. The KVB train, tram, and bus lines run all year round with frequencies of up to 10 minutes during peak hours.

Tourists can easily plan their travel using the KVB website or downloading their app available in English. [5]

For those planning on exploring the city extensively, a tourist ticket called KölnCard offers unlimited free travel within Cologne’s public transport system for one or two days depending on your choice.

By taking advantage of public transportation options while visiting Cologne in January tourists can not only save money but also have more mobility options while exploring all that this vibrant city has to offer.

Weather In Cologne In January: FAQs

Does It Rain In Cologne In January?

January is a wet month in Cologne, with an average of 3 inches of rainfall over 5 days. It rains for 18 days in January, with an accumulated precipitation of typically 62mm (2.44").

The chance of rain in Cologne during this time is around 59%. However, the lowest chance of rain occurs around early January, with almost no days of precipitation on average during the first week of the year.

What’s The Best Time Of Year To Visit Cologne?

If you're planning a trip to Cologne, it's important to pick the right time of year for your visit. While each season in this charming city has its own allure, summer is undoubtedly the best time of year to explore all that Cologne has to offer.

From mid-June through early September, visitors can enjoy warm and sunny weather ideal for outdoor activities like sightseeing and exploring the city's parks and gardens.

This is also peak tourist season, so be prepared for larger crowds at popular attractions like the Cologne Cathedral and Museum Ludwig.

When Is The Shoulder Season In Cologne?

The shoulder season in Cologne falls in late spring and early fall, with May and September being the ideal months to visit. During this period, the weather is milder than in winter, with average temperatures ranging from 12°C (53°F) to 20°C (68°F).

The city is also less crowded during the shoulder season compared to peak tourist season, which means shorter lines at popular attractions and more budget-friendly accommodation options.

Whether you're interested in exploring its rich cultural heritage or indulging in its culinary delights, Cologne has a lot to offer year-round.

How Cold Is It In Cologne In January?

Travelers visiting Cologne in January should prepare for cool temperatures. The average temperature during January generally ranges from -0.6°C (30.9°F) to 5.4°C (41.7°F).

It's typically the coldest month of the year, and visitors should expect daily temperatures around 6 °C (43 °F).

With that said about how to dress up when traveling to this city during winter, travelers will still find many exciting things to do indoors and outdoors since there are several events and festivals happening throughout January!

Is It Sunny In Cologne In January?

While Cologne in January can be quite chilly, it's not unusual to have sunny days. However, the chances of catching sunshine are slim.

It is worth keeping in mind that daylight hours are short during this month; therefore, visitors should aim to plan their outdoor activities accordingly and bring appropriate warm clothing and accessories such as gloves, scarves, and jackets to keep themselves warm.

What Is The Average Temperature In Cologne In January?

Cologne in January can be quite chilly, with an average high temperature of 5.4°C (41.7°F) and an average low temperature of -0.6°C (30.9°F). It's the coldest month in Cologne, but if you come prepared with warm clothing, you'll still find plenty of things to see and do in the city.

The mean temperature average in Cologne in January 2024 is expected to be around 38°F so it’s important to bundle up before venturing outside.

Should I Go To Cologne In January?

If you don't mind the chilly weather, January can be a great time to visit Cologne. While it may not be as popular with tourists during this time of year, there are still plenty of things to see and do in the city.

From exploring the stunning Cologne Cathedral and indulging in delicious German cuisine, to ice skating and checking out the remaining Christmas markets, there are plenty of activities for travelers to enjoy.

And if you're looking for indoor attractions or relaxing activities, check out Claudius Therme for a spa day or Museum Ludwig's impressive art collection.

Can You Go To Cologne In January?

Yes, you can definitely visit Cologne in January, but be prepared for the chilly weather. The city may not be as lively during this time compared to peak tourist months, but there are still plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy such as visiting museums or ice skating.

It's also worth noting that Cologne has a milder winter climate than other parts of Germany, with temperatures averaging around 37°F (3°C), making it a great destination for those who want to experience winter without freezing temperatures.

Just make sure to pack warm clothing and check the possibility of snowfall before your trip.

Are There Any Major Cologne Holidays In January?

Although January is not known for its major holidays in Cologne, there are a few notable events worth checking out. The most significant of these is New Year's Day (Neujahr), celebrated on January 1st with festive fireworks and parties all over the city.

Another important day is Three Kings Day (Heilige Drei Könige) on January 6th, which marks the end of the Christmas season with processions and parades throughout the city.

In addition to these holidays, visitors can also enjoy winter festivals like Karneval and explore remaining Christmas markets before they close in early January.

Are There Mosquitoes In Cologne In January?

Mosquitoes are not commonly found in Cologne in January due to the cold and dry climate. However, it is important to note that mosquitoes thrive in wet and hot environments, so they may be present during warmer and more humid weather.

When traveling to Cologne, it's always a good idea to pack mosquito repellent as a precautionary measure, especially if you plan on exploring the city's outdoor attractions or attending events that take place indoors with open doors or windows.

Conclusion: Cologne in January

Cologne in January is a winter wonderland full of exciting activities and attractions for travelers. From exploring the historic Cologne Cathedral to indulging in traditional German cuisine, this city has something for everyone.

Take advantage of various indoor and outdoor options, such as ice skating at Heumarkt Square or relaxing at Claudius Therme thermal bath. Don't forget to experience the famous Cologne Christmas markets before they close after Three Kings Day on January 6th.

With a rich history and culture waiting to be explored, Cologne is an excellent destination for winter travel.

Key Takeways

  • During January, Cologne experiences cold temperatures with an average high of 4°C (39°F) and an average low of -1°C (30°F), as well as occasional snowfall.
  • In addition to New Year's Day, Cologne celebrates Three Kings Day on January 6 with a colorful parade and vibrant festivities that showcase the city's cultural diversity.
  • Explore the Cologne Cathedral and marvel at its Gothic architecture, indulge in the city's culinary delicacies, immerse yourself in the city's history with a visit to one of its many museums, enjoy outdoor activities like ice skating or discovering remaining Christmas markets.
  • Enjoy a Relaxing Spa Day at Claudius Therme, explore Museum Ludwig's impressive art collection, or visit the Cologne Chocolate Museum to indulge your sweet tooth.
  • Save money and make the most of your trip with the Cologne Card, be prepared for potential snowfall by packing warm clothes and waterproof shoes, and familiarize yourself with the city's public transportation options to avoid getting lost in unfamiliar surroundings.


1: As The Lead Cools, Some See Their New Year Take Shape, retrieved from
2: Why is Three Kings Day celebrated? What to know about the holiday's cultural and religious meaning, retrieved from

About the Author

Stephan Drescher, founder of, is a German travel expert and insider, providing trusted tips and advice for a perfect trip to Germany. Born & bred German.