Welcome to Europe’s greatest occasion!
I am certain none of you might be strangers to the revelries of Carnival, to fancy costume parades, big floats and the insanity taking place 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 one million individuals take the streets and locals will not miss the celebration for something on the planet.
It is the occasion to finish all events – and listed below are 7 ideas so that you can get pleasure from Cologne Carnival at its greatest:
1) Select when to go to
Carnival parades in Cologne occur over a course of 6 days, with every single day totally different celebrations. Festivities kick off on the Thursday earlier than Ash Wednesday with ‘Girls’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 taking place on Rose Monday, with over 70 massive floats from Cologne’s official carnival teams. The Rose Monday parade is certainly 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 ambiance is extra subdued.
2) Select the place to look at the parade
Being near the parade is a part of the enjoyable. You will get to understand the colourful floats and costumes, the music and festive ambiance, with individuals screaming Kolle Alaaf – the carnival motto, which means Cologne above all – and throwing Kamelle (sweets) to bystanders. Ensure you convey some baggage alongside to take all of the Kamelle residence with you!
With as much as one million individuals within the streets, choosing a great spot to look at 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 an alternative to the backstreets simply off Neumarkt, or close to the start of the parade. Check this map for the route of the carnival parade.
3) Choose a elaborate costume
You merely can not go to carnival with out fancy costume. You’ll be able to convey your individual or lease/purchase one once you get to Cologne, and even simply seize a wig or a foolish hat from one among many stalls across the metropolis heart. For those who go for a full-blown fancy costume, keep in mind you will be in your toes for many of the day, so select one thing sensible – an 18th century Venetian-style costume will in all probability be laborious to handle. Additionally, remember that Carnival occurs in the midst of winter so be ready for temperatures that may dip beneath 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 occasion continues at just about each single bar, restaurant and residential across the metropolis. Events in bars and restaurant normally observe an analogous 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 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 quick reply? Eat avenue meals (suppose currywurst, doner kebab, falafel and the like) and drink Kolsch, Cologne beer served in tiny glasses. There shall be stalls serving beer everywhere in the metropolis, or you’ll be able to decide up some bottles at a nook retailer, additionally known as Kiosk. For those who’re planning on partying the entire day and complete evening, be sure you eat a great 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 usually steep. We advocate taking the train as an alternative – town is a really busy railway hub with numerous 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 e-book our seats prematurely.
To get round Cologne you should use the superb public transport system, with trams and U-Bahn reaching each nook of 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 additional 15 to achieve the Dom and Hauptbahnhof. The Experience Cologne: KölnCard provides you free entry to public transport for 24 or 48 hours.
7) Is carnival in Cologne protected?
Cologne obtained some unhealthy 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 expertise. The ambiance of Carnival in Cologne is festive, relaxed and welcoming, and locals shall be greater than keen that can assist you in the event you’ve misplaced your method or your group. I’ve by no means felt threatened or endangered in any method – there’s numerous police and safety across the parades. Nevertheless, as at all times with crowds, pickpockets are rife, so hold your belongings shut.
Tip: Be certain to e-book your accommodation in Cologne prematurely as inns refill shortly!
Journey tip shared by The Crowded Planet for Journey Dudes.