Why You Should Visit Cologne In November
Cologne really comes alive from November! One of the most compelling reasons to visit during this time is the thrilling lineup of festivals and unique seasonal traditions.
For example, Cologne hosts one of Germany's biggest festivals – the Cologne Carnival – in November. This event kickstarts a string of celebrations, merry-making, townsfolk in colorful costumes and dancing on the streets till February!
Late November is also the start of the Christmas season, which runs through December. Cologne's famous Christmas markets start popping up, teeming with delicious German treats like gingerbread cookies and mulled wine.
If you dislike crowds, then visiting Cologne in November means you escape the summer crowds, while still enjoying the best of the city!
Weather And Climate In Cologne In November
Average Temperature And Rain
Visiting Cologne in November offers the advantage of experiencing the city's transition into winter, with a cool and crisp atmosphere.
The average temperature during this month is 6.6°C (44°F), ranging from a minimum of 3.8°C (39°F) to a maximum of 9°C (48°F).
While November may be chillier than October - which has an average high temperature of 15.1°C (59.2°F) - it also brings about moderate rainfall that adds to the charm of the season.
With a rain chance of 55% and an average precipitation level of 68mm, it's wise for you to come prepared with waterproof gear like umbrellas or raincoats during your stay in Cologne.
Dressing For The Weather
As a traveler visiting Cologne in November, it's essential to be prepared for the chilly weather and frequent periods of rain.
To stay warm and comfortable while exploring this charming city, pack layers that can easily be put on or taken off as needed.
Don't forget winter accessories like hats, gloves, scarves, and warm boots to protect yourself when temperatures dip.
Many people ask me about snow. Well, snowfall is generally light and infrequent in Cologne - it just doesn't get cold enough for snow to form. That's why it rains a lot more.
Dressing appropriately will help you stay cozy, and allow you to enjoy all Cologne has to offer during its brisk November days!
Cologne November Holidays And Festivals
All Saints' Day
All Saints' Day, celebrated on November 1st in Cologne and other regions of Germany, is a "silent" public holiday dedicated to honoring Christian saints.
Established in the mid-eighth century by Pope Gregory III, this is also a day Germans commemorate loved ones who have passed away.
St. Martin's Day
Cologne observes St. Martin's Day on November 11th. It brings to mind succulent roast goose, bonfires and German children parading with beautiful candle-lit lanterns!
Stick around town in the evening and you can catch the adorable procession singing traditional "lantern songs" paying homage to St. Martin. 
Short Film Festival Cologne
One of the most exciting events in Cologne in November is the Short Film Festival Cologne!
This festival showcases some of the best international and German short films, including those from Cologne and films made for kids.
Organized by Kurzfilmfreunde Köln e.V., this festival is funded by the city of Cologne and Film und Medien NRW. 
The German competition section is also a source of pride. It features outstanding independent films from Germany, giving local filmmakers a chance to share their work with the world.
Museum Night Cologne
Another popular attraction during November in Cologne is Museum Night!
Once a year in November, more than 50 museums and art venues in Cologne stay open past dark, for a night of adventure and art exploration. 
You could go from admiring an art exhibit to attending a live concert, listening to a reading, or even trying your hand at an art workshop all in one night.
Plus, they throw in a public transport pass for the night, which is handy!
Start Of Cologne Carnival
If you're looking for a reason to visit Cologne in November, the start of Cologne Carnival on November 11th is definitely it!
Known as "the fifth season of the year" by locals, this traditional Cologne festival kicks off precisely at 11:11 am.
Want to catch the celebrations? Head to the Old Town. It'll be turned into a carnival with fancy floats, dance troupes, marching bands, and performers throwing sweets at shouts of "Kamelle!"
The party usually lasts until late in the night, in pubs and restaurants around town, but you MAY have to make reservations.
While very little else happens after this until early February, November 11th is still a very important date!
Top Things To Do In Cologne In November
Explore The Cologne Cathedral
Don't forget to include the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, the Kölner Dom, on your list of places to visit in Cologne.
The Cologne Cathedral has a rich history, dating back to its construction in the 13th century. Over 700 years old, the ancient church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
Even just looking at it from the outside, it can take your breath away. The towering height and intricate details of the Gothic cathedral create a beautiful sight.
It's free to enter and explore, but if you want to climb up one of the twin spires for breathtaking views of the city, there's a fee.
The cathedral is also home to several art treasures, including medieval sculptures and stained glass windows.
Treat Yourself to Local Winter Dishes
The food in Cologne is consistently delicious throughout the year. However, it's particularly special in November!
First of all, November is when Cologne starts to gear up for the upcoming holiday season.
The Christmas markets begin to set up, and the air fills with the aroma of Flammkuchen, Glühwein, Reibekuche and other mouth-watering snacks.
The chilly weather also makes you crave hearty Cologne comfort food!
Drop by any of the pub restaurants and order yourself a serving of Himmel und Ääd, Rheinischer Sauerbraten, potato dumplings, or Hämmchen with suure Kappes. Mmm!
A real piece of Cologne!
If you're craving something sweet, you have to visit Cologne's chocolate museum! Here, you can watch how cocoa is made here, and watch expert chocolatiers craft these handmade treats in front of you.
Uncover the City's 2,000 Year Old History
Cologne is rather unique as its roots can be traced back to the Roman Empire when it was known as "Colonia".
This legacy is everywhere, with some of the rarest Roman ruins found around the city in plain sight - from the Romans' Northern Gate to the Praetorium!
Similarly, while most German cities have an Altstadt, or Old Town, Cologne's is a little more special.
Despite enduring 34,000 tons of bombs during World War II, Cologne's Old Town has been meticulously restored. You can still stroll through its cobblestoned streets, photograph 19th-century gabled houses, and explore ancient shops.
Ambling around the Old Town, you'd quickly notice several Romanesque churches scattered around. In fact, there are 12! Rich families and religious groups often built these churches to show off their piety and meet the growing Christian population.
If you're keen on Roman history, you can drop by the Roman-Germanic Museum.
This archaeological museum houses a large collection of Roman artifacts from ancient Rome, which is unmissable for anyone interested in Cologne's storied past.
Just a ten minute stroll away is the Fragrance Museum (Farina Haus) - offering a glimpse into the history of the original Eau de Cologne!
Open-Air Ice Skating at Heumarkt
Late November offers a picturesque setting for outdoor ice skating fun! The skating rink at the Heumarkt Christmas market stands out as one of Germany's most beautiful.
Legend has it that Cologne's mischievous elves, Heinzelmännchen, crafted the rink, and you can spot elf figurines sprinkled around the market, adding to the magic!
Besides ice skating, winter-themed boat rides on the river Rhine are extremely popular, and often sell out fast.
These special cruises are decorated with a Christmas theme, and feature live holiday music and seasonal snacks onboard.
Visit Germany's Most Enchanting Christmas Markets
If you happen to be in Cologne in November, typically a month before Christmas, you should not miss the Christmas markets!
Festivities begin early, and brings an abundance of Christmas decorations and market stalls scattered throughout the city.
You'll also spot Advent calendars, for those who prefer to start the holidays (or chocolate-snacking) ahead of time.
Just taking a stroll through the streets, let me warn you that it's impossible to resist being drawn by the food stalls from adorable Cathedral-shaped waffles to roasted chestnuts!
When it's time to warm up, there's also mulled wine or hot chocolate.
Now, Cologne is home to many Christmas markets, each with its own unique charm and atmosphere, so don't hold back from visiting different ones!
Indoor Attractions And Activities In Cologne In November
Recharge with a Warm Spa Day at Claudius Therme
Escape from the chilly November weather in Cologne at the tranquil Claudius Therme.
Located at Rheinpark, you'll discover a luxurious spa with warm thermal pools, equipped with soothing jets and bubbling whirlpools.
Also take a chance to visit one of the saunas. They are a BIG part of German culture, and seen as good for health and vitality.
Sitting inside the saunas on the heated benches, you can feel the tensions in your muscles slowly dissipating and feeling recharged. Just remember to place a towel under you for hygiene!
Oh, and did I mention most saunas require full nudity? Better check with the front desk first if you want to remain clothed!
After pampering yourself with spa treatments or sweating it out in the saunas, you can head to the cafe for a snack before continuing your day.
Explore Museum Ludwig's Impressive Art Collection
Located near the Cologne Cathedral, this impressive art museum holds an huge collection of modern art.
As a matter of fact, the museum is said to own "Europe's most extensive collection of Pop Art" and "the third-largest Picasso collection in the world"...
You can also admire works by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Roy Lichtenstein, and many other famous artists. 
Museum Ludwig's temporary exhibitions throughout the year always promise something unique, from established and emerging artists from around the world.
It's conveniently located near the Cologne Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge, Wallraf-Richartz Museum and Cologne Central Station, so it's very easy to plan an itinerary hitting these attractions all in the same day.
Explore History & Art At The Wallraf-Richartz Museum
The chilly weather and proximity to Cologne Central Station is also the perfect opportunity to explore the famed Wallraf-Richartz Museum.
Not only is entry very affordable, the museum is HUGE.
You can spend hours admiring impressionist and neo-impressionist paintings by the likes of Monet and Renoir to Baroque, and 19th century collections including artists like van Gogh, Bonnard and Munch.
It also home to some of the world's most famous medieval paintings, including Stefan Lochner's famous Madonna of the Rose Bower.
P.S. You can get 20% off your tickets for the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Museum Ludwig if you have the KölnCard!
Visit The Cologne Chocolate Museum
There's something about winter and wanting to nibble on some chocolate. Well, you can do it in this museum!
Enjoy complimentary chocolate, peek at a towering 3-meter fountain cascading with velvety chocolate, and gape at chocolate-making machinery like in a Willy Wonka movie...
Kids and chocolate lovers will love this museum!
"(The Chocolate Museum) was a very nice experience... weather was very depressing that day so inside was quite refreshing and cozy with all the chocolate smell we visited the museum with our two years old son and he enjoyed it so much therefore I can suggest the museum for families with kids!"
- Oktay T.
Practical Tips For Visiting Cologne In November
Do You Have The KölnCard?
Not many travelers to Cologne know about the KölnCard, or they find out about it but it's too late. Don't let that be you!
This handy little-known card offers steep discounts on many attractions you might visit in Cologne - museums, shopping, restaurants, the zoo and more.
For example, with the KölnCard you'd shave 20% off tickets at Museum Ludwig, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, and the Chocolate Museum.
With this card, you can take advantage of discounts at amazing eateries like Brauhaus zur Malzmühle too.
But the best part is really free unlimited travel on all public transportation within the city.
Whether you're traveling alone or in a group, the savings from buses and trams can add up, especially if you like to move around.
TIP: Choose the KölnCard "group" card if you're traveling in a bigger group, as it's more economical.
You can purchase your KölnCard at the tourist information office at Cologne Cathedral, or order it online from this page.
Be Prepared For Possible Snowfall
November is the transition month to winter, which means that snowfall can happen in Cologne.
However, it is not common, and it's more likely to rain than snow in November.
November will be cold, so it's a good idea to bring warm clothes such as thermal underwear, heavy jackets, hats, gloves and sturdy boots if you plan on exploring the city on foot.
Don't forget to also pack an umbrella too.
Check Out The City's Public Transportation Options
Getting around Cologne is easy and efficient thanks to the city's extensive public transportation network.
The KVB, or Cologne Transport Authority, operates a tight net of train, tram, and bus lines that connect every 5-10 minutes throughout the day. 
You can save both time and money by using the public transport system instead of relying on taxis or private transfers.
In addition to being budget-friendly, taking public transport offers an added advantage of seeing various parts of Cologne that you may have missed had you traveled by car.
Weather In Cologne In November: FAQs
Does It Rain In Cologne In November?
November in Cologne is known for its chilly and wet weather, with an average rainfall of 69mm (2.7 inches) and around 16 rainy days throughout the month.
However, it doesn't rain all day every day, so you can still enjoy outdoor activities such as ice skating or exploring the Christmas markets on dry days!
It's wise to pack accordingly for this type of weather - bring a waterproof jacket and shoes to keep yourself comfortable and dry.
What’s The Best Time Of Year To Visit Cologne?
The best time to visit Cologne largely depends on your preferences. If you're looking to soak up the city's festive spirit, then February might be the perfect choice due to its colorful Carnival celebrations.
The temperature during these months ranges from 60-70°F (16-21°C), making it perfect for outdoor activities such as exploring some of Cologne's Roman ruins or the Rhine Boulevard.
Keep an eye out for shoulder season months like October when there are plenty of outdoor activities happening around the city before winter settles in.
Click here for more information on the best time to visit Cologne!
When Is The Shoulder Season In Cologne?
The shoulder season in Cologne is during the fall, which includes November. This is an excellent time to visit because the temperatures are mild, and there are fewer tourist crowds.
The Oktoberfest in Germany runs until late September/early October, making November a unique month. With average highs of 49°F (9°C) and lows of 37°F (3°C), it's important to pack for colder weather.
Additionally, October tends to be drier than September and November, so it's a great time for outdoor activities in Germany before winter sets in.
How Cold Is It In Cologne In November?
Cologne is rather cold in November, with temperatures ranging from 39°F to 48°F.
This is relatively mild compared to other parts of Germany during this time of year. However, it's still important to pack warm clothing as temperatures can drop quickly at night or when it's raining.
It's possible for snowfall to occur in November, but not common. It's more likely to rain, so bringing a waterproof jacket is recommended.
Is It Sunny In Cologne In November?
Nope, it's not very sunny in Cologne in November. With an average of just 1.8 hours of sunshine per day, you'll want to pack for chilly and cloudy weather.
But don't let that deter you from experiencing all that this amazing city has to offer! Despite the gray skies, Cologne is bustling with life, from the enchanting Christmas markets to the city's charming Old Town.
What Is The Average Temperature In Cologne In November?
The average temperature in Cologne in November is quite mild, with an average high of 9°C (48°F) and an average low of 3.8°C (39°F).
While it can be chilly in the evenings, the daytime temperatures are generally still comfortable for sightseeing, ice-skating or exploring the city's on your feet - as long as you're wearing warm layers and have a waterproof coat ready.
Should I Go To Cologne In November?
Yes, Cologne is worth visiting in November if you're looking for bustling streets, lively festivals, and a city that's still enjoyable despite the chill in the air.
It's not the peak tourist season, so you get to avoid the crowds too.
If it gets too cold, Cologne has plenty of indoor attractions that are just as exciting, regardless of the weather outside.
With its world-class museums, heated cruises along the Rhine river, and warm pubs with mouth-watering dishes, you'll find that much of Cologne's charm is "weather-proof"!
Can You Go To Cologne In November?
Absolutely! While November may not be considered the "popular" season, there are plenty of reasons to visit Cologne during this time.
The weather may be chilly, but it won't freeze your nose off if you know what I mean. There's no doubt you'll enjoy the city if you're dressed right for the weather.
Plus, you’ll find that crowds are thinner in comparison to other months.
If you aim for late November, you can make strolling through the world-famous Cologne Christmas markets part of your itinerary!
Are There Any Major Cologne Holidays In November?
November is not known for major holidays in Cologne, but it still has some exciting events. St. Martin's Day, celebrated on November 11th, will see children parading on the streets with candle-lit lanterns, singing, paying homage to St. Martin.
Other noteworthy events include the Short Film Festival Cologne, where you can enjoy screenings of international short films, and Museum Night Cologne, where several museums open late into the night with special events.
November also marks the start of Cologne Carnival on November 11th, with a massive parade and celebrations in the middle of town!
Are There Mosquitoes In Cologne In November?
No, mosquitoes aren't typically a concern in Cologne in November.
The colder temperatures during this season make it an inhospitable environment for mosquitoes. However, if you plan to spend time outdoors in wetland areas, it's good to carry some insect spray.
Conclusion: Cologne in November
What can I say? Cologne is amazing in November! It's the start of winter and that also means Christmas is on the horizon. The city slows down a bit, as if it's taking a breath before the Christmas rush.
You're also outside the "tourist season", which means you can explore with fewer crowds. And while it can be chilly, if you're comfortable with wearing warm layers, this isn't a problem.
By late November, streets and squares will begin to light up with holiday decorations, and Christmas markets will begin popping up. The air will carry the delicious smells of mulled wine and freshly baked treats.
Even if it gets cold, there's a wide range of indoor attractions, including museums, galleries, historic landmarks, and cozy pubs. These are perfect for enjoying regardless of the weather!
- In November, Cologne experiences chilly weather with an average temperature of 44°F (6.6°C) and a high temperature of 48°F (9°C), making it necessary to dress warmly when out exploring the city.
- Experience the city's vibrant culture and traditions during November with holidays and events such as St. Martin's Day, the Short Film Festival, Museum Night, and the start of Cologne Carnival on November 11th.
- Explore the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, dine at any of the pubs at Old Town, explore Cologne's Roman history, enjoy outdoor activities like ice skating and visit as many Christmas markets as you can.
- Take part in the German tradition of saunas at Claudius Therme, explore Museum Ludwig's impressive art collection or visit the famous Cologne Chocolate Museum to keep warm indoors while having fun in Cologne.
- Save money with the KölnCard, and get free unlimited public transport rides and discounted entry to major attractions.
1: How to celebrate St. Martin's Day in Germany - The Local, retrieved from https://www.thelocal.de/20191111/15437
2: KFFK / Short Film Festival Cologne, retrieved from https://www.kffk.de/en/home-en/
3: Museumsnacht Köln, retrived from https://www.museumsnacht-koeln.de/
4: Cologne Cathedral - UNESCO World Heritage Centre, retrieved from https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/292/
5: History of the Museum Ludwig from 1976 to the Present, retrieved from https://www.museum-ludwig.de/en/museum/the-museum/history.html
6: Kolnner Verkehrs-Betriebe AG, retrived from https://www.kvb.koeln/en