Aachen Hautbahnhof (main railway station) is about 15 minutes' walk to the south-east of the city's historical centre.
Like all German railway stations (in my experience) it is well-signed, with a big electronic departure board in the entrance foyer as well as good electronic platform signage. It's really hard to go wrong if you read the signs......and you don't need German to do so.
The entrance has a couple of coffee & snack places, one of which (Hoberg) offers a wide variety of rolls, pastries, cakes and sandwiches and has very decent coffee indeed. It's clearly a popular place to grab a take-away, even if you're not a rail traveller (as the photo shows).
There's a ticket office as well as ticket machines. Ticket office staff speak at least good-enough English. Note that even if there are no queues you still need to take a ticket with your queue number (see photo). The lady behind the counter was most insistent that I did so, even though I was the only person in the ticket office at the time apart from 3 staff sitting behind their windows. :-)
Be warned that using the (very clean) toilets will cost you 1 euro. You'll get a 50 eurocents voucher back, which you can spend at station shops/cafes...but only if you spend more than 2.50 euro.
There are lifts up to the platforms as well as steps so access is pretty simple.
There are taxis waiting to the right of the station entrance as you leave the building.
May 14 to May25, 2015
We haven't rented a car in years, but for this trip we really needed to, as we were going all over the place - in the Netherlands and to Aachen, Germany for the VT Meet
Hans did a lot of research before we decided on DOLLAR SCHIPHOL.
When we arrived at Schiphol, we had to wait for the "Dollar" Shuttle Bus to take us to an off-site office in Hooffdorp which took about 15 minutes.
They gave us a beautiful Renault Captur which was an automatic and had GPS ( no charge). Most companies charge daily for a GPS so that was a bonus.
We told them we were going to Germany, so they charged us an extra 50 Euros for the privilege - rip off! The total price for rental was 260 Euros and we had it for about 11 days. We put about 1500 kilometres on it and we brought it back in perfect condition - PHEW!
By the way, having the GPS was awesome. I programmed it for each trip and it worked out wonderful. I would never drive in Europe without one. But I still brought my maps and did some mapquests just in case the GPS failed.
Although we drove the car the Aachen, we did not drive it around Aachen. We just left it in the safe and secure parking garage of the IBIS for which we paid 7 Euros per day (21 Euros).
By train to Aachen
I travelled to Aachen from London by train - first on the Eurostar to Brussels and changing there for a through train to Aachen. It was a very pleasant way to make the journey, and without the need for lengthy check-ins (just 30 minutes at St Pancras Station in London), nor to take a train from airport to city centre, it is not really any slower than flying - in fact, if anything it is faster. Boarding the train in London just before 11.00 AM saw me alighting in Aachen a little after 3.30 PM - about three and a half hours allowing for the time difference.
The train from Brussels Midi to Aachen was with Deutsche Bahn, the German rail operator. There had been train drivers’ strikes in Germany in the run up to my trip, and another strike scheduled for that week, although I had been assured that these particular trains were driven by Belgian drivers and would run on time. In any case, the strike was called off and there were no problems or delays. In fact, both legs of the journey were comfortable and uneventful, and although we were a little unsure about having only 15 minutes to change trains at Brussels Midi it proved to be ample time. I would definitely opt for train travel again on any future visit to Aachen.
You can book a through ticket from London to any destination in Europe on the Eurostar website (see below) although it’s worth also checking prices for separate bookings. I got a good deal booking right through on the outward leg of my journey but on the return (when I was travelling from Koblenz via Cologne) I found that booking separately for the Deutsche Bahn and Eurostar segments gave me a better price and allowed me to opt for a longer and more relaxed layover at Brussels Midi.
Train from Aachen to Cologne
Train option from Aachen to Cologne (Koln)
There are the faster ICE and Thalys trains and then the regional trains. I found options to purchase all on b-Europe but it didn't make sense that the local trains were slower but more expensive.
Based on advice received, we will probably just wait to buy our tickets when in Aachen, the regional trains take less than an hour and are usually are more scenic. Departure from Aachen Hbf hourly at :51, travel time 53 minutes. Single ticket is EUR 17,00 (VRS tariff price level 7). A mini group day ticket (TagesTicket 5 Personen) is EUR 41,00. Besides the regional trains these tickets cover furthermore all local public transport in Aachen (buses) and Cologne (S-Bahn, Stadtbahn, trams and buses). You can buy these tickets on spot from the ticket machines.
For www.b-europe.com Aachen to Cologne is an international trip for which a different tariff applies. For this trip the VRS tariff price level 7 applies.
VRS is a local public transport association. Their tariff is binding for all local public transport inside the covered area.
Will update when I take the trip.
Cycling in Aachen
Although Aachen is not one of Germany's outstanding bicycle cities, they do have 290 kilometers of signposted bicycle routes, and the city has started various projects to encourage people to cycle to work, school or university.
Aachen also has an active chapter of the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) which lobbies for a better cycling infrastructure.
Since 1983 the ADFC Aachen has been publishing a magazine called Luftpumpe (Air pump), the first cycling publication for Aachen and vicinity. The second issue of 2012 is online here.
Aachen Main Station (Hauptbahnhof)
In 2009 I arrived in Aachen on a Regional Express train from Mönchengladbach (north of Aachen) and left a couple days later on a Regional Express going east to Cologne. Both of these Regional Express lines run all day on an hourly schedule, with local trains running in between.
In 2012 I came to Aachen on a local bus from Maastricht and left on an ICE (InterCityExpress) train going to Frankfurt am Main.
I have also been through Aachen a few times on the high-speed Thalys trains which run six times a day between Cologne and Paris by way of Brussels, all stopping in Aachen. These Thalys trains are a joint service of the Belgian, French, Dutch and German railways. They look like French TGV trains, which essentially is what they are.
GPS 50°46'5.27" North; 6° 5'27.76" East
- Arts and Culture
DB Call-a-Bike in Aachen
The German Railway System DB has recently expanded its Call a Bike program to include a small number of bikes in Aachen.
The one unusual thing about this is that Aachen was the first city to have e-bikes (pedelecs) on offer. As of the summer of 2012, there are fifteen pedelecs available at three stations, one at the main railway station, one in the city center and one at the technical university.
At present only two German cities have e-bikes on offer through the DB Call-a-Bike program, namely Aachen and Stuttgart.
I have used the normal (non-electric) Call-a-Bikes in several Germany cities. See for example my tips on the Call-a-Bikes in Karlsruhe and in Dresden.
Aachen does not have any tram lines, but they do have an extensive system of local and regional bus lines with frequent service.
As in most parts of Germany, it is possible to use the same ticket on the bus and on local trains in the region.
For a typical single bus trip within the city of Aachen you could expect to pay EUR 2.50 (as of 2012), but your ticket would also be valid for the neighboring towns of Vaals (Netherlands) and Kelmis (Belgium).
You can buy your ticket from the bus driver or from ticket machines at some of the larger bus stops.
Bus 50 from Maastricht
There is no direct train service between Aachen and Maastricht (Netherlands), but these two cities are only thirty kilometers apart and are connected by the local Veolia bus line number 50, which runs four times an hour on weekdays, twice an hour on evenings and weekends.
The journey takes just about an hour, making all stops along the way. In 2012 I paid € 5.50 for the trip. As on any local bus, you just get on at a bus stop and pay the driver.
It is a pleasant journey through a region of gently rolling hills, not flat like the rest of the Netherlands. The route is a two lane highway with bicycle paths on both sides, separated from the highway by a wide strip of grass.
From and to Aachen/Maastricht airport
Aachen in Germany & Maastricht in The Netherlands share one airport.
As border cities the developed very good network connections within the EuroRegio ( Germany,Netherlands & Belgium)
That makes travelling from Aachen to the airport very easy as there is Airport Exress bus serving the city and the airport.
To accordate the passengers the timetables is made according the flights timetable. Frst bus is at 6:30am from the main Train station in Aachen.
More details can be found at:
Aachen is easy to get to by train from pretty much anywhere in Europe. The city is on the main high speed line between Paris and Cologne and cross border connections take you to Liege in Belgium and Heerlen in the Netherlands.
As well as the high speed international services there's also regular regional trains to Dusseldorf and Cologne.
The main station (Hauptbanhof, Hbf for short) is located about 15 minutes walk from the historic centre or you can catch the local buses from the front of the station forecourt. The station itself has all the facilities you'd expect of a city terminus and especially useful in my case (literally) was the left luggage lockers where I left my bag for the afternoon.
- Budget Travel
By Rail to Koeln
From my recommended hotel it is a short walk to the station at Aachen.
There are ticket machines inside the hallway, but if you are a couple (or more) go to the ticket office and ask for the best deal. we qualified for a 'family return' which was considerably cheaper than two individual tickets. We could have also taken a couple of children too, but I was not quick enough to catch any on that day :-) Getting old :-(
The trains are swift and comfortable and travel this way means both can enjoy the excellent beverages served in Cologne with no need for anybody having to drive a car afterwards.
Check schedules online for seasonal variations in price and times.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Beer Tasting
ASEAG (Local Bus Network)
ASEAG is the designation of the local bus network in Aachen. Buses are the main means of public transportation within the city of Aachen.
I took the bus once -- to Carolus Thermen Bad Aachen. I purchased my ticket at the bushof (bus station) on Peterstrasse. There, I purchased a round trip ticket to Carolus Thermen Bad Aachen which has its own stop.
From what I could tell, the bus network was a good way to get around the city. For more information and routes, I would check out the website link included with this tip.
The Aachen Hauptbahnhof is the city's central train station that is integrated into the long-distance European train network. It is also abbreviated to Aachen Hbf.
From Maastricht (NL), I took a train to the Aachen Hbf. with one stop in Heerlen (NL). The trip lasts about an hour. After arriving at Aachen, I first attempted to walk to my hotel. Even with a map that I printed from the internet, it was a little confusing because some streets have different names in different places. After losing my way a couple of times, I decided to flag down a taxi which I took to my hotel for a small fee.
When I left Aachen, I walked from my hotel to the Aachen Hbf. Now that I was more familiar with the city, it was a simple and pleasant walk of about 15 minutes. There are sidewalks for the entire way - on which I wheeled my luggage. After arriving at the station, I purchased a ticket for a regional train that traveled directly to the Cologne Hbf. The duration of the trip was 36 minutes.
To get around Aachen is easy by foot, but should you travel with your old parents (the station is uphill on returning) or want to venture further out, buses are frequent and even go as far as Eupen in Belgium and to several Dutch villages as the border is only kilometres away which you realise by looking at the bike path signs everywhere. If you're travelling on a Land ticket by train from Cologne you can go on the city buses for free.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip