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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Alter Markt (Old Market)

The city’s former marketplace is now a lively spot known for its café culture and carnivals.

Alter Markt, which means “old market” in English, is a focal point of Cologne. The square is located just steps from the Rhine River and Cologne’s main shopping precinct, and is overlooked by the City Hall. Pull up a chair at one of the many cafés lining the square and enjoy a locally brewed beer.

The area was once a large medieval market and the site of jousting tournaments. Today, visitors will find traditional German architecture and old monuments dedicated to the city’s founders. Outdoor café terraces and open-air concerts fill the square in the warmer months. Thousands of tourists come for the annual Christmas market, held here in December, when there’s a skating rink, fairy lights and food stalls. Kids will particularly love the attractions at these daily markets, including a carousel and puppet theater.

In the very center of the square you’ll see a fountain constructed in 1884 to commemorate Jan von Werth, a successful army general who served in the Thirty Years’ War. Reliefs tell the story of von Werth and Griet, a woman who he had fallen in love with as a young man and who rejected him as he wasn’t from a wealthy family. Von Werth left Cologne and joined the army. When he returned years later, after marrying a noblewoman, he saw Griet, now an old woman, alone and full of regret about what could have been.

Look up at the top of the façade of house No. 24 and you’ll find a more lighthearted sculpture, the Kallendresser, a bronze depiction of a man with his trousers down. It was created in 1956 by sculptor Ewald Mataré, though its meaning is unknown. Some believe it to be a political statement directed at the adjacent City Hall.

Alter Markt is a short walk south of Cologne Cathedral. The closest U-Bahn stations are Heumarkt and Dom/Hauptbahnhof.


Guide to Exploring around Alter Markt


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Best Lodging Options Near Alter Markt

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Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln $103
Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln

Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Köln

Pipinstrasse 1, Cologne, NW
     
    5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Alter Markt, and City Hall. Romano-Germanic Museum and Great St. Martin Church are also within 10 minutes. Heumarkt U-Bahn is only a 3-minute walk and Neumarkt U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

    Hyatt Regency Cologne $169
    Hyatt Regency Cologne

    Hyatt Regency Cologne

    Kennedy-Ufer 2a, Cologne, NW
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cologne Triangle Panorama and Musical Dome. LANXESS Arena and Museum Ludwig are also within 15 minutes. Deutzer Freiheit U-Bahn is 8 minutes by foot and Deutz Koelnarena U-Bahn is 9 minutes.

      Steigenberger Hotel Köln $84
      Steigenberger Hotel Köln

      Steigenberger Hotel Köln

      Habsburgerring 9-13, Cologne, NW
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Neumarkt, Cologne Cathedral, and City Hall. Alter Markt and Chocolate Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km). Rudolfplatz U-Bahn and Moltkestrasse U-Bahn are within a 5-minute walk.

        Cologne Marriott Hotel $100
        Cologne Marriott Hotel

        Cologne Marriott Hotel

        Johannisstr. 76-80, Cologne, NW
           
          5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Innenstadt, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Musical Dome, Cologne Cathedral, and Museum Ludwig. Cologne Zoo and Alter Markt are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cologne Central Station is only a 5-minute walk and Ebertplatz U-Bahn is 11 minutes.

          AZIMUT Hotel Cologne $72
          AZIMUT Hotel Cologne

          AZIMUT Hotel Cologne

          Hansaring 97, Cologne, NW
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of MediaPark and Cologne Cathedral. Cologne Zoo and Musical Dome are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cologne Hansaring Station is only a 2-minute walk and Ebertplatz U-Bahn is 8 minutes.

            Lindner Hotel Dom Residence $110
            Lindner Hotel Dom Residence

            Lindner Hotel Dom Residence

            Stolkgasse/ An den Dominikanern 4a, Cologne, NW
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Cologne Cathedral, Romano-Germanic Museum, and Museum Ludwig. Cologne Philharmonic and Great St. Martin Church are also within 15 minutes. Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 7 minutes by foot and Cologne Central Station is 6 minutes.

              CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom $77
              CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom

              CityClass Hotel Residence am Dom

              Alter Markt 55, Cologne, NW
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is steps from City Hall and Cologne Philharmonic. Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and Cologne Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Heumarkt U-Bahn is only a 5-minute walk and Cologne Central Station is 7 minutes.

                Eden Hotel Früh am Dom $122
                Eden Hotel Früh am Dom

                Eden Hotel Früh am Dom

                Sporergasse 1, Cologne, NW
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Innenstadt, this hotel is steps from Wallraf Square, Hohe Strasse, and Cologne Cathedral. City Hall and Chocolate Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Heumarkt U-Bahn is 8 minutes by foot and Appellhofplatz Breite Strasse U-Bahn is 9 minutes.