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Journey to Cologne

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In the 100km around Cologne, businesses can reach more than 17 million customers and have made the region one of Germany’s most important logistical locations. Ten million passengers use Cologne-Bonn airport annually and Germany’s second biggest freight airport has a goods turnaround of 700,000 tonnes. Two further international airports (Düsseldorf and Frankfurt) are also within easy access, via the Inter City Express, in just under one hour. More than 250,000 passengers and 1,200 departures/arrivals daily make Cologne’s central train station one of Europe’s most important transport hubs.

Thanks to its infrastructure and its central location, the city of Cologne can be reached fast and without any problems - whether by land, water or from the air. The airport Cologne/Bonn is an international hub for German as well as international air traffic. The city can be reached with ICE trains on several railway stations, main station, Deutz and the airport station.

Over motorways Cologne can be reached fast and easily by bus as well as with your own car, although you always have to reckon to get stuck in a traffic jam.

Even by ship travelling to Cologne is possible. On a trip on the romantic Rhine even the journey here becomes an unforgettable experience.

More infos





The Cologne Bonn Airport is the largest low-cost hub in Continental Europe. Over 10 million passengers take off from here to about 130 destinations. In terms of total air traffic, i.e. passenger and freight taken together, Cologne Bonn is the fourth largest airport in Germany.

Included in the biggest ever building project in the history of the Cologne/Bonn airport is a new terminal with subterranean intercity (ICE) and suburban (S-Bahn) railway stations, two multi-storey car parks and a re-designed arrival and departure system.
In the summer of 2000 the new terminal 2 was put into operation. With this terminal the airport company was reacting to the enormous increase in passengers in the past few years. Starting from early 2004, the first high speed (ICE’s) and suburban trains pulled into the airport’s own railway station.



Centre of low-cost airlines

While DBA (founded by British Airways, now part of Air Berlin) touched down at Cologne/Bonn Airport (CGN) since the nineties on a regular schedule, in late autumn 2002 two new »No-frills carriers« have been established in Cologne - Germanwings (with Deutsche Lufthansa holding a controlling interest) and Hapag-Lloyd Express as a venture of the German tourist group TUI (renamed to TUIfly in March 2007).
Charter airlines have opened their reservation systems for flight-only passengers, too.

So Cologne/Bonn Airport can be considered as the German centre of low-cost airlines increasing considerably its passenger volume within the next years. At the same time, Cologne is going to become a premiere low-cost destination for city tourism in Europe.

Arrival / Departure

Low Cost Airlines

Travel24 - Low-cost tarifs and destinations
Traveljungle - many low-cost flights and last minute offers
qfly - all low-cost flights in Europe

Colone's Main Station


ICE-/IC net


NRW regional traffic


Following three years of renovation, Cologne's main railway station has been sparkling with a new gleam since spring 2000; it is now brighter, more spacious, and more modern. Where for decades, in the »heart« of the railway station, lines of baggage rolled and parcelled goods were stored, there is now a shopping mall which invites passengers to stay a while with its diverse range of cafés and restaurants.

With its historic steel and glass construction, Cologne's main railway station is far and away the most important rail junction in Europe. Each day, more than 1,300 trains link Cologne with the rest of Germany and abroad, including 14 high-speed links with the »Thalys« via Brussels to Paris, London and Amsterdam. Four times a day, the luxury train »Metropolitan« travels to Hamburg. Almost 150 other ICE, IC and EC trains stop in Cologne.
Since August 2002, a new high speed railway connection between Cologne and Frankfurt shortens the travel time for both cities to only one hour. An underground railway station at the Cologne/ Bonn airport was completed in 2004. In addition to the ICE, regional express trains and S-trains stop there, too.

Direct services to Cologne Main Railway Station by InterCity (IC), EuroCity (EC), InterCityExpress (ICE) Eurostar/Thalys, Metropolitan DB Nighttrain, DB Cartrain:

Rail transport of goods is also to be found in Cologne. The largest inland railway container and transhipment station is »Bahnhof Eifeltor«. Here, well over 300 wagons are loaded daily. In Gremberg also, an average of 5000 goods wagons are shunted per day. In total, 6 million tonnes of freight pass through Cologne by rail annually.

Departure Main station

Arrival Main station



Map arriving by bus


With the Cathedral as Germany's most visited sight, it's no wonder many bus companies offer journeys to Cologne on a regular basis.
For foreigners there even are long distance regular busses from several European cities.

In Cologne there are several bus terminals. Near the Cathedral, busses can stop for about 15 minutes, so tourists can start their sightseeing tour in the city's centre.

In the neighbourhood of the port Niehl, the biggest bus park can be found, with space for about 80 busses. And the Lanxess Arena offers its own bus terminal, but parking space here is quite limited.

 Motorway crossing Cologne East









Mobile parking






Map green zone


Today Cologne, the city of millions, also has one of the top traffic infrastructures in Europe. 10 main branches of the European motorway network meet in Cologne. Although the closed motorway ring circulating the city is exemplary, traffic jams are commonplace, not only during the rush hour or at the beginning of the main holidays. The A3, for example, the eastern section of the Cologne circular motorway experiences the highest ever traffic density in Germany.


Aachen (AC) - 91 150 80 134 259 149 70 212
Bonn (BN) 91 - 120 77 105 175 63 27 84
Dortmund (DO) 150 120 - 63 34 264 190 83 35
Düsseldorf (D) 80 77 63 - 29 232 158 47 29
Essen (E) 134 105 34 29 - 249 175 68 36
Frankfurt (F) 159 175 264 232 249 - 137 189 236
Koblenz (KO) 149 63 190 158 175 137 - 115 162
Köln (K) 70 27 83 47 68 189 115 - 55
Wuppertal (W) 121 84 63 29 36 136 162 55 -

Distances in km

Parking in Cologne

ParkleitsystemA traffic guide system has been set up as a pilot scheme which displays information about the current traffic situation in the city on the motorways surrounding Cologne and on the link roads. Parallel to this, a parking guide system simplifies travel in the inner city of Cologne for motorway drivers. Around 30 multistorey car parks are linked to the system. The position and space-situation of car parks are displayed on large, partly electronically controlled road-report signs.

ParkleitsystemSince the beginning of 2008 parking fees can be paid via mobile phones. One call is enough and only the time you actually parked is counted.
In Cologne, but also other cities, mobile parking is possible. Different companies offer this service for which you have to be registered in the internet beforehand.

Cologne's environmental green zone

UmweltzoneOne of the first environmental green zones was coming into force as of January 1, 2008 in Cologne. As of now, you are able to order the environmental badge online from your home country. The traffic signs that mark the entrance to an environmental zone belong to the general traffic indicators in effect for everyone and also apply to foreign vehicles. Generally, at the same locations as all registered vehicles in Germany a tag can be acquired; at the vehicle registration office, the engineers' associations, such as the Technical Inspection Authority or Dekra and at all workshops in Germany licensed to do an EI (Emissions-Inspection). It is of course easier to order the tag online, for example at the city of Cologne directly.










MS Loreley

Ships & ferries

Part of a classic visit to Cologne - at least, on a first visit, but also later every now and then - is a boat trip on the Rhine.

The best selection is provided by the »White Fleet« of the traditional shipping company, Köln-Düsseldorfer Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt (KD). It offers round trips, evening excursions with music or, from Easter until well into autumn, longer excursions to the Drachenfels, the Loreley or as far as Rüdesheim. Rhine trips along Cologne's enchanting Old Town panorama or to the old fishing village of Rodenkirchen in the South are also offered by smaller shipping companies in Cologne like the Kölntourist Personenschiffahrt am Dom. The landing stages are upstream and downstream of the Hohenzollern Bridge.

...more about Rhine Tours

Although crossing by ferry, as an alternative to the Rhine bridges, is no cruise, it is always an experience. Decisive here is naturally whether you are on foot or have come by car. Below is a description of the individual ferries and their use.
Travel times always refer to the summer months. The prices are all reasonable, varying between one and two Euros for a single journey. In general, taking a bike costs a little extra.