Heinzel’s Winter Fairytale is a unique Christmas and winter attraction in Cologne. Since 2008, Cologne’s Heinzelmännchen (little elves) have been taking visitors on a journey to rediscover a childhood of bygone days by creating a wonderful fairytale world in the old city centre of Cologne. A magical opportunity to experience the world of the Heinzelmännchen and see how they live and what they enjoy doing. Across an area of around 10,000 square metres, the “Home of the Heinzel” is the biggest Christmas market in the cathedral city of Cologne. And it’s not just the historical theme that is unique, but also the way it’s presented. This can be seen in every facet of the market: in the rustic design of the little stalls, in the countless beautifully decorated details, in the fairylike lighting, and in the traditional artisans’ stalls.
As it used to be with the historical alleyways of the craft guilds around the Old Market and the Hay Market – according to legend, the place where the industrious Heinzelmännchen set to work every night – the alleyways around the market are divided up into various themes. This means that visitors can easily find their way around and can be sure that they won’t miss anything as they walk around the market.
2013 – the Christmas fairytale becomes a winter fairytale
In 2013, an extra winter attraction was added to the market: a spectacular ice-skating area. As the Heinzelmännchen love ice-skating, they have built what is considered to be Germany’s most beautiful ice rink out in the open air on the Hay Market. So the Christmas fairytale has now also become a winter fairytale, and the world of the Heinzelmännchen now stretches across two squares:
Alter Markt – a paradise if you’re looking for unusual gift ideas
The Old Market is dominated by traditional crafts. Here, the little elves present traditional hand-crafted goods – in some cases, you can even watch them being made. From the wood sculptor who forms huge sculptures from tree trunks with a saw and the blacksmith who makes horseshoes with an anvil over an open fire, through to the sweet factory where all kinds of sweets are created from a hot mass of sugar – there’s always plenty to discover here. With such a diversity of artisans from across the whole of Europe demonstrating their skills, the “Home of the Heinzel” really is unique. Winter Fairytale
Heumarkt – winter fun right through into January
On the Heumarkt, the focal point is winter sports, accompanied by swing music. The 1,800 square metre ice landscape, which includes more than 100 metres of straight runs and a circuit around the city’s imposing equestrian monument, provides lots of great ice-skating fun for young and old alike. The ice rink and its Bavarian curling lanes fit in perfectly with the festive atmosphere of the historical Christmas market and – just like the market on the Hay Market – will stay open well into January.