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Cologne Events

Carnival Cologne

One of the biggest events on the calendar, carnival sweeps across the city each year as a vibrant display of how to have a good time. Expect lots of fancy dress, plenty of parties, parades and not an awful lot of sobriety. There’s ceremonial burning of straw figures, bouquets of flowers and cries of “Kölle Alaaf”. (‘Long Live Cologne!’).

Date: 05 January 2018 - 13 February 2018
Venue: Streets of Cologne.
Website: http://www.koelnerkarneval.de
Cost:

Free to most events.


Romanischer Sommer

Cologne has some of the finest Romanesque churches in the world and every couple of years they gather together to produce a summer festival of music performed at a variety of different churches. Expect a range of classical music, from string quartets to organ concertos and both solo and choral singing events. Piano recitals also feature, as do explorations of Chinese music.

Date: 01 June 2018 - 30 June 2018
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Romanesque churches across Cologne.
Website: http://www.romanischer-sommer.de

SummerJam

For three days revellers can get down to the bass-heavy sounds of reggae music at the largest event of its kind in the country. Performances take place on different stages at the festival site on an island on Fuhlinger lake on the outskirts of Cologne. This fun event attracts some of the biggest names in reggae - past performers have included Asian Dub Foundation, Gregory Isaacs, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff and Ziggy Marley.

Date: 06 July 2018 - 08 July 2018
Venue: Fuhlinger lake, Fuhlinger See.
Website: http://summerjam.de
Cost:

Most events are free.


Cologne Pride/Christopher Street Day

Hundreds of thousands of revellers pack the city streets for the annual Cologne Pride/Christopher Street Day parade. One of the largest gay and lesbian events in Germany, the celebration aims to raise awareness and social acceptance of lesbians, gays, bi- and transsexuals. The main event is the huge parade consisting of dancers, floats and sounds systems that makes its way through the city's streets. Other events take place throughout the city during the weekend. The event now attracts about a million visitors each year.

Date: 06 July 2018 - 08 July 2018
Venue: Various venues and locations.
Website: http://www.colognepride.de
Cost:

Most events are free.


Kölner Lichter Musical Fireworks

For a bit of razzle-dazzle, head to Cologne in the summer to witness its extravagant firework display called Kölner Lichter. Watch from the river banks or from the river itself as the sky over Cologne’s Old Town lights up to the sound of music as the evening progresses.

Date: 21 July 2018 - 21 July 2018
Venue: Above Cologne's Old Town.
Website: http://www.koelner-lichter.de
Cost:

Free to watch from the river.


Lange Nacht der Kölner Museen (Museum Night Cologne)

Lange Nacht der Kölner Museen, (Long Night of the Cologne Museums), takes place each November and involves a coordinated throwing open of doors of the city’s museums. Between 7pm and 3am, up to 45 different museums welcome in every kind of night owl while putting on a show that involves live music, tours, readings and films. Even better: you only need a single ticket to access all that’s on offer.

Date: 01 October 2018 - 30 November 2018
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Across the museums of Cologne.
Website: http://www.museumsnacht-koeln.de
Cost:

 From 19 euros. Children up to the age of 15 go free.


Cologne Marathon

Like any self-respecting city these days, Cologne has its own marathon route. Over 27,000 participants pound the streets each year as they rack up their self-inflicted quota of 41.9 kilometres (26.22 miles.) It’s the third most popular marathon in Germany (the other two taking place in Hamburg and Berlin) so there’s something of an atmosphere in the air. Plus, as a spectator, there’s a good chance of catching sight some world-class athletes in action.

Date: 07 October 2018 - 07 October 2018
Venue: Streets of Cologne.
Website: https://koeln-marathon.de/
Cost:

Free to spectate.


Kunstsalon – Musik in der Häusern der Stadt

This cool music festival takes its inspiration from a simple yet effective formula: to let private hosts provide platforms for young and emerging artists to express themselves by performing in private venues. Coordinated across Cologne, Hamburg, Bonn, Mannheim and beyond, the annual festival creates an intimate atmosphere for appreciating new music as well as drawing the cities together.

Date: 13 November 2018 - 18 November 2018
Venue: Throughout the city.
Website: http://www.kunstsalon.de/festivals/musik-in-den-haeusern-der-stadt

Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas Markets)

Six markets offering food, drink and crafts plus events and Advent boat trips.

Date: 20 November 2018 - 23 December 2018
Venue: Around the centre of Cologne.
Website: http://www.germany-christmas-market.org.uk/cologne_christmas_market.php
Cost:

Free.