Are you wondering if it will snow in Cologne? And will there be enough snow to build a snowman? Or what clothes should you pack? What temperatures and type of snow can you expect? And what's the best time to visit if you love snow???
In this blog post, you'll find out the answers to these questions and more!
Climate In Cologne During Winter
Winter in Cologne occurs between December to February, and it can get quite cold. Temperatures range from 0 to 6 degrees Celsius (32 to 43 degrees Fahrenheit).
It's not uncommon for temperatures to drop below freezing, especially during the nighttime. So pack layers you can put on and take off!
If you're making your travel plans, take note that December, January, and February are the coldest months of the year, with January being the chilliest.
The city's climate is influenced by its location in western Germany, approximately 45 kilometers east of the Belgian border. Throughout history, events like the Little Ice Age altered Europe's climate conditions resulting in cooler temperatures across the continent and more frequent snowfall occurrences. 
Type of Snowfall
Within the city, you can expect to see snow on only a handful of days during the winter season, with light to moderate snowfall. This results in a thin layer of snow covering the ground.
When our friends visited, and they were all excited about the possibility of snow. Well, it did snow, but it was just a dusting, barely enough to cover the rooftops. We couldn't help but laugh. You're more likely to get rain rather than snow during a Cologne winter!
However, if you venture further away from the city and into the surrounding areas like Monschau in the Eifel Mountains or the Moselle Valley area, you are more likely to encounter a decent amount of snow.
The best part? They are accessible via convenient day trips from Cologne!
Does It Snow In Cologne?
Yes, it does snow in Cologne, particularly during the winter months from December to February. However, while snowfall is frequent, it's not heavy. The snow doesn't usually stay for more than 24 hours.
Best Chance Of Snowfall In Cologne
Within these 3 months, January is when you can expect the most snowfall in Cologne.
How Much Snow To Expect
While snowfall is not uncommon in Cologne, the city typically only sees light dustings of snow. In January, there's only an average of 7.5 snowy days throughout the month, and an accumulation of just 0.9 inches of snow.
So although there's a likelihood of snow, hopes of building a snowman are pretty slim... but not impossible!
The good news is you don't have to worry about snowstorms messing up your plans. For example on New Year's Eve the weather forecast said there might be some snow. It turned out to be just a light sprinkle and we partied the night away!
Why Is There Less Snow In Cologne?
There's less snow in Cologne because temperatures simply don't get cold enough. Colder temperatures are necessary for snow to fall instead of rain. You can still walk along River Rhine in January, bundled up, without freezing your nose off.
Another reason is climate change in recent years. This has led to rising temperatures and increased rainfall rather than snowfall in some regions of Germany.
Best Time To Visit Cologne For Snow
Months With Higher Chances Of Snowfall
If you want to experience snow in Cologne, your best bet is to visit between December and February. Historically, January has the most snowfall in Cologne.
Winter Activities And Attractions In Cologne
Cologne is a beautiful city to visit any time of year, but during winter you can feel an unmistakable sense of merriment in the air, and many exciting activities await...
The Christmas markets are arguably the biggest draw in Cologne during the winter months.
They take place all over the city including Alter Markt, Neumarkt, and Hafen-Weihnachtsmarkt. The most iconic is the Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom, right in the shadow of the magnificent Cologne Cathedral.
Beyond the markets, there's plenty more to explore too! For an exhilarating view of the city, don't miss the Cologne Ferris Wheel – it's like a bird's-eye tour of the winter wonderland below. It's right next to the Chocolate Museum, which is worth a visit too.
Or if you need to relax, nothing beats a dip in Claudius Therme's outdoor thermal pools while surrounded by snow-capped trees.
In February, Cologne holds its biggest party yet. Kölner Karneval, also known as the Cologne Carnival, is one of Germany's most famous carnival celebrations. Elaborate parades wind through city streets, with colorful floats, locals and visitors in costumes, and marching bands!
Tips For Packing And Preparing For Winter in Cologne
Packing warm clothing is an absolute must when visiting Cologne in November, December, January or February and maybe March.
Layering your clothes is also recommended, so you can add or remove layers as needed. While snow isn't heavy here, I know travelers who underestimated the chill here - and let's just say their trip wasn't too comfortable.
It's important to keep an eye on the weather forecast too. Winds can get pretty strong here, and icy rainfall can be common. Make sure your winter jacket is waterproof and windproof to stay dry and warm outdoors.
Recommended Packing List
Thermal or long-sleeve undershirts.
Sweater or fleece.
Insulated jacket or coat.
Waterproof and windproof winter coat.
Hat or beanie to keep your head warm.
Thermal or long underwear.
Warm, insulated pants (e.g., jeans, lined trousers).
Waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry.
Hands and Feet
Insulated, waterproof gloves or mittens.
Warm, waterproof boots with good traction for slippery surfaces.
An umbrella can be handy for rain or snow.
Hand warmers or pocket warmers for extra warmth in extreme cold.
Conclusion: Does It Snow In Cologne?
Yes, it does snow in Cologne between December to February, although snowfall isn't heavy. Winter is pretty mild here, although it can get extra cold when the wind blows at night.
January is typically the coldest month of the year in Cologne, and it's also when you're most likely to see light snowfalls dusting the streets and rooftops. You shouldn't expect thick layers of snow, as it usually disappears within a day.
You should absolutely pack for cold temperatures (0-6°C or 32-43°F) and throw in a windbreaker.
Although it doesn't snow a lot, it's certainly a city that knows how to make the most of the season. From the world-famous Christmas markets to the eagerly anticipated Cologne Carnival are just two of the reasons why Cologne is our favorite winter destination!
1. Does Cologne receive snowfall during the winter season?
Yes, Cologne does receive snowfall during the winter season. However, the amount of snowfall is lower compared to the northern and eastern regions of Germany, which tend to experience colder temperatures.
2. When is the best time to visit Cologne if I want to experience snow?
The best time to visit Cologne for experiencing snow is typically between December and February when temperatures are at their coldest and chances of snow are higher.
3. How often does it snow in Cologne?
Snowfall frequency in Cologne varies from year to year, but on average, there are around 15-20 days of snow per year.
4. Is it possible for a heavy snowstorm or blizzard to occur in Cologne?
While rare, heavy snowstorms or blizzards have occurred in Cologne before due to extreme weather conditions and can cause disruption to transportation as well as other daily activities.
1: Little Ice Age (LIA) | Britannica, retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/science/Little-Ice-Age