Welcome to Europe’s finest get together!
I am certain none of you might be strangers to the revelries of Carnival, to fancy costume parades, big floats and the insanity occurring earlier than Lent begins. Carnival will be dated again to Roman instances, and each metropolis, city and village in Europe celebrates its personal method.
I have been touring Carnival celebrations for years now, and nowhere have I seen it celebrated with as a lot ardour and sentiment as in Cologne.
The city is actually swept away in a sea of colours, music and dance for six days. Over 1,000,000 individuals take the streets and locals will not miss the celebration for something on the earth.
It is the get together to finish all events – and listed here are 7 suggestions so that you can take pleasure in Cologne Carnival at its finest:
1) Select when to go to
Carnival parades in Cologne occur over a course of 6 days, with day by day completely different celebrations. Festivities kick off on the Thursday earlier than Ash Wednesday with ‘Ladies’s Carnival’, and conclude with the burning of the ‘Nubbel’, a straw determine, on Tuesday evening.
On Friday there are events and parades throughout city, and on Saturday night the ‘Ghost Parade’ takes place, the one parade the general public is allowed to affix. Sunday is Household Day, when teams of schoolchildren from throughout Cologne march across the metropolis with their floats. The most important parade is the one occurring on Rose Monday, with over 70 massive floats from Cologne’s official carnival teams. The Rose Monday parade is unquestionably spectacular, with marching bands and teams of cheerleaders opening every float, however crowds will be overbearing. Sunday is one other nice day to go to because the environment is extra subdued.
2) Select the place to observe the parade
Being near the parade is a part of the enjoyable. You may get to understand the colourful floats and costumes, the music and festive environment, with individuals screaming Kolle Alaaf – the carnival motto, that means Cologne above all – and throwing Kamelle (sweets) to bystanders. Be sure you carry some luggage alongside to take all of the Kamelle residence with you!
With as much as 1,000,000 individuals within the streets, selecting a great spot to observe the parade could be a problem. The realm across the Dom is certainly scenic, but it surely’s additionally the place crowds are at their worst. We advocate avoiding the Dom and the Heumarkt space, and heading as a substitute to the backstreets simply off Neumarkt, or close to the start of the parade. Examine this map for the route of the carnival parade.
3) Choose a flowery costume
You merely can’t go to carnival with out fancy costume. You may carry your individual or hire/purchase one while you get to Cologne, and even simply seize a wig or a foolish hat from certainly one of many stalls across the metropolis heart. For those who go for a full-blown fancy costume, keep in mind you may be in your ft for many of the day, so select one thing sensible – an 18th century Venetian-style costume will in all probability be onerous to handle. Additionally, remember that Carnival occurs in the midst of winter so be ready for temperatures that may dip under zero – a Monsters Inc model jumpsuit or cavemen’s outfit ought to do the trick!
4) What to do at evening
The parades occur within the afternoon, and after they’re over the get together continues at just about each single bar, restaurant and residential across the metropolis. Events in bars and restaurant normally comply with the same format – copious quantities of Kolsch, Cologne’s very personal beer, streamers and confetti and Carnival music taking part in all evening lengthy. For those who converse a little bit of German, don’t be concerned if you cannot make any head or tail of the songs – they’re all in Cologne dialect.
Bars across the metropolis heart are more likely to be packed – head out of the town heart to a spot like Agnesquarter, Südstadt or Ehrenfeld for a extra manageable scenario.
5) What to eat and drink throughout Carnival
Would you like the brief reply? Eat road meals (suppose currywurst, doner kebab, falafel and the like) and drink Kolsch, Cologne beer served in tiny glasses. There might be stalls serving beer everywhere in the metropolis, or you’ll be able to decide up some bottles at a nook retailer, additionally referred to as Kiosk. For those who’re planning on partying the entire day and complete evening, be sure you eat a superb breakfast as these Kolsch add up actually shortly and you do not need to get too drunk too quickly!
6) Attending to Cologne and round
Carnival is tremendous excessive season in Cologne, and flight costs are typically steep. We advocate taking the prepare as a substitute – the town is a really busy railway hub with a number of trains coming from each nook of Europe, so they are not more likely to be bought out. Most German trains do not require reservations – we travelled into Cologne from Copenhagen and out to Paris and did not must ebook our seats prematurely.
To get round Cologne you should utilize the superb public transport system, with trams and U-Bahn reaching each nook of the town. The carnival space is compact sufficient to be navigated on foot – it takes about 20 minutes to stroll from Neumarkt to Heumarkt, and an extra 15 to achieve the Dom and Hauptbahnhof. The Experience Cologne: KölnCard offers you free entry to public transport for 24 or 48 hours.
7) Is carnival in Cologne protected?
Cologne received some dangerous press due to some incidents occurred on a New Years Evening, however let me let you know, there’s nothing to fret about, no less than in my experience. The environment of Carnival in Cologne is festive, relaxed and welcoming, and locals might be greater than prepared that will help you if you happen to’ve misplaced your method or your group. I’ve by no means felt threatened or endangered in any method – there’s a number of police and safety across the parades. Nevertheless, as all the time with crowds, pickpockets are rife, so preserve your belongings shut.
Tip: Be sure that to ebook your lodging in Cologne prematurely as resorts replenish shortly!
Journey tip shared by The Crowded Planet for Journey Dudes.