Carnival in Cologne

It’s time for another huge cultural festival: Carnival in Cologne, Germany! Do you fancy costume parties? Want to get submerged into an ocean of colour, while listening to folkloric music and drinking traditional german beers? Oh, but you don’t want to spend too much money on this? Well haven’t we got the thing for you! This is for sure one of the most joyful and crazy experiences that Germany has to offer. Carnival in Cologne is the biggest Carnival in Western Europe with more than 80,000 people all dressed up in funny costumes and having a great time. On the 11th of November the Carnival season is kicked off and with this huge inauguration on the main square in Cologne.



Carnival is probably one of the most ancient traditions in the world. It is said that some Carnival traditions even date back to the Romans and Greeks. Every year they celebrated the Saturnalia and Bacchania, during which slaves were released for 7 days. For those 7 days they were allowed to mock their masters whilst their masters were wearing disguises and masks to avoid the spotlight.

However, Carnival as we know it was traditionally celebrated by the Catholics during the days prior to Ash Wednesday – the first of 40 days of Lent (until Easter). During fasting people had to abstain from alcoholic drinks, meat and sex. That’s why in a period of one week and especially on Shrove Tuesday (also known as ‘Pancake Day’ or in Maastricht as ‘Vasteloavend’ – the evening before fasting) people said “Carne Vale” which means ‘goodbye meat’. The true goal was to really get rid of all the meat and drinks that the city had left because otherwise they would go to waste, but it became a crazy party! 

The masquerade often took on drastic forms, very much to the displeasure of the church (back in the days) and the city council (nowadays)!


Practical info


The departure time and locations to Cologne on Sunday the 11th of November depend on each city you depart from:

Amsterdam at 06:45
Utrecht at 07:15

Departure from Cologne back home: Sunday November 11th at 20:00

The package

Everyone can sign up via the ticketing link down below. The cost for the ticket is
only €29 which can be picked up at the ESN Maastricht office.

The package includes the following:

  • Transport back and forth
  • A booklet with all the information you need
  • A city map
  • City tour of this awesome city
  • A great team of guides that will make sure you have a great time

If you still have a question concerning the package, send us a message at

We will see you there!

Alaaf Alaaf Alaaf!