Traditionally kicking off on the 11th of November to mark the "fifth season," this is Cologne's all singing, all dancing carnival extravaganza.
- When? 11th November 2017 - 14th February 2018
- Where? Throughout Cologne
- Price: keep an eye on the official website for ticket release dates.
Most of Europe makes do with four seasons, but Colognians have decided it's far more fun with five. We can't say we blame them. Traditionally kicking off at 11 minutes past 11 on the 11th of November (in the 11th month of course), this festive event marks the "fifth season" - known and celebrated by many as Cologne's all singing all dancing Kölner Karneval. Yet, the best period of the festival runs in February - we guess that's why they call them 'the crazy days'.
The modern festival as it stands today dates back to 1823, when it was reorganised by a Cologne committee who introduced the popular grand street parade finale. The festival spans five calendar months (running until Ash Wednesday) so there are plenty of chances to join in the celebrations. The party takes a break for the Christmas period but the fun picks up again in full force after advent, with the street carnival kicking off on the Thursday before Rose Monday. Expect balls, shows, parades and club nights throughout the city.
Post Christmas, one of the most popular events of the season - the crazy days - takes place. This week-long extravaganza is Cologne's Mardi Gras celebration and you'll see the locals out in their thousands in fancy dress and masquerade costumes. Who said winter was bleak - just add another season and you've got a recipe for a great year.
- Get there: You'll probably be able to walk between most events but if you need to go further afield use the U-Bahn system.
- Stay: Check out accommodation in the Old Town.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!