Baggage checking machines
The Cologne Main Station now has several automatic baggage checking machines like the one in Freiburg im Breisgau.
Instead of finding an empty locker, if there is one, and hoping it is big enough for your luggage, you simply insert four Euros (double the old locker price!) into one of these machines, take out the card with the magnetic stripe and wait for the door to open. Then insert your luggage, and it disappears. To get it back, insert the card again and wait 30 to 40 seconds till the door opens, and there's your luggage.
I'm not sure how it works, but the actual storage takes place in the basement, because the machines take up hardly any space on the ground floor. In Cologne they have over a thousand baggage compartments downstairs.
They don't seem to have had any security issues with these machines. None that I know of, in any case.
GPS 50°56'34.12" North; 6°57'30.85" East
Train Station in 1950
The train station is right next to the cathedral. I think we got to Cologne in 1950 from Amsterdam. I know that when I went to Europe in 1964, I landed in Cologne and took the train down along the Rhine to Frankfurt. I got some kind of sausage sandwich for lunch there before I left. I was traveling on a Eurail pass.
Now, the station is enormous and has a large shopping mall called the Colonaden.
Transportation from the Cologne Central Train Station:
To the Cologne-Bonn Airport:
Train: S13 every 20 minutes approximately
Bus: 670 every 20 minutes approximately
To other railway stations from the Cologne Central Train Station:
Train: S6, S11, S12, S13
Cities commonly traveled to from this station:
Trains that use this station
City Night Line
* Telephone stands
Location: main concourse
International Code: 011
Country Code: 49
City Code: 221
* Wi-Fi service: Hotspot
Cologne Tourist Office
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 10 pm
Saturday & Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm
Baggage consignment: Available
Lost & Found:Available
Eateries are available throughout the station.
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
Boat Trip on the Rhine
We took a trip down the Rhine from Cologne in 1950. My father was fascinated by the ruined castles and vineyards, and he also took photos of various bridges and boats. We also saw the famous Loreley Rock where the legend says the legendary beautiful mermaid combed her long blonde hair and sang, luring fishermen to their death onto the rocks, but if we have a photo of that, I haven't found it.
You can also take a round trip from Cologne down the river a little way and then come back to Cologne.
The trip was too slow for me - I liked the train trip better
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
Waterfront is definately my favourite environment, I was born and grown up in the coastal town and it must be in my blood and soul. No matter if seashore or riverbank it makes me feel good and relaxed if around.
Rhine is really huge, didnt expect it to be so wide. I regret not to have take boat tour along the river but unfortunatelly it was really too cold for me. A fellow Vter told me there are nice cabins on the boats, warm and comfortable, but I just can't stay closed in a cabin if on the boat. It has nothing to do with klaustrophobia, its just that I must feel wind on my face if on the boat.
From Köln To ----->
The transportation is very easy in Köln. The train connection to neigbouring cities is so practical. You don't need to ask to anyone, just go to Hauptbahnhof (Central Train Station) and have a look at the schedule list which can be found everywhere. In addition, there are DB digital-machines at Hauptbahnhof, in which you can find very detailed information. Please note that, there are four languages options in these machines. (English, German, French and Turkish)
If you have a match ticket, whole public transportation in through the city is free. It starts three hours before the match until midnight. On the other hand, it provides free travelling among Nordrhein-Westfalen region except IC & ICE.
- Budget Travel
Cologne has its own airport, the Cologne/Bonn airport. But there are many nearby airport that are very accessible too, so it's worth shopping around for the best deal. Dusseldorf also has a major international airport, with destinations on four continents, and you can be in Cologne in about 30-40 minutes from there. Less accessible is Weeze Airport, popular with budget airlines, especially Ryanair. Even Frankfurt airport, the second busiest in Europe, is only about an hour away by direct ICE express train.
Cologne/Bonn airport isn't as busy as Dusseldorf but it's a little more convenient and has a lot of destinations served by two of Germany's high quality budget airlines: Air Berlin and Germanwings. These serve a host of major European cities, including Budapest, London and Copenhagen. They are joined by a number of other budget airlines, like EasyJet and Wizz Air, as well as a small number of national airlines, including Turkish Airlines, Air France and even Iran Air.
To get to Cologne from the airport take S-Bahn Line 7 to Porzmarkt and then Bus 161 to the airport. For Bonn just take Bus SB60.
Rent a Bike Please!
Koln has many assets. However one that makes it particularly pleasant is its flatness and many bicycles lanes. While not quite as apparent as Amsterdam or Brussels, Koln has many bicycle lanes that make seeing some of the sights like the many churches and museums very quick.
There are several sites within downtown to rent from and expect to pay approximately 2 euros an hour, 10 euros a day, or approximately 40 euros a week and up depending on the bike you choose. An excellent list with maps of bike tours in and around Koln is provided at the following web site;
Be particularly careful when riding your bike on one of the cities bridges. For some reason, the pavement is particularly slippery on these.
As everywhere make sure you rent a secure lock if you park the bike in the Koln.
Helpful Tourist Information
Conveniently located not far from the train station is the Cologne (Koln) Tourist Information Centre (Koln Turismio). The office is located at Unter Fettenhennen 19, Cologne, 50667, Germany, DE
(Tel: +49 0221 2213 0400) and several of the staff there speak English. One of the things they will recommend purchasing there is the Koln Card. While the card offers many discounts to museums and other places in Koln if you there for just a day or two I really don't think it is worth it. However add up the places you want to go, figure the cost and decide on your own!
- Budget Travel
Inconvenient traffic conditions
One better travel into Cologne city by train, airplane, helicopter, parachute or anything but car.
But if one like to stick to one's car (like I did), one better forget about parking spots in that city's center. There are parking houses but they are very tiny, and ok only for those that drive small vehicles. Yet there are comfortable parking places along Aachener Strasse, which is way out of town's center (around housing numbers 300 to 400). Cost is up to 4 euro for 4 hrs. To get into town after parking the car there, one can jump on the tram (direction Heumarkt) that rides along Aachener Strasse. Take a look at BillNJ's Transportation tips, link below.
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
Located next to the Cathedral, the Cologne Hauptbahnhof (central train station) is an important local, national and international transportation hub. The Hauptbahnhof is an extremely busy place with trains and trams arriving and departing on many different platforms. The station's building also hosts a large shopping mall, the Colonaden.
The station broadcasts instructions and information in both German and English. Also, the personnel at the information desk in the station are fluent English speakers.
- Road Trip
A great way of travelling around Cologne is on the jolly little miniature train - Wolters Bimmelbahnen. It's actually not a train because it runs on large rubber wheels but the ride is a lot of fun, albeit bumpy, as it threads its way through the streets of Cologne. You can buy a ticket for a single destination or a 'hop on, hop off' all day ticket. It starts in front of the Cathedral and you buy tickets from the driver. There's the "Schoko-Express" which visits the Chocolate Museum, the "Zoo Express" and at Christmas, the "Weihnachtsmarkt-Express" which visits the four Cologne Christmas markets. Further details are available from the Cologne Tourist Office, also situated in front of the Cathedral.
Cologne is the centre of a massive regional network of trams, trains, buses and metros. You can buy regional tickets to cities like Dusseldorf and Bonn. In fact Bonn is considered to be basically a part of Cologne and operates on the same network. You can buy daily and weekly tickets that cover both. Just remember that a ticket for Bonn city centre doesn't cover you for Cologne as well - you need a region 4 ticket for both.
Cologne Train Station
Arriving in Cologne by train is impressive. Not only do you exit straight onto the Cathedral, probably Germany's most famous landmark, but even the train station itself is a architectural masterpiece. The station is very busy and its location in one of Europe's most populated regions means there are plenty of places within a few hours journey. Even London is less than 5 hours away by train.
Direct connections exist for major cities and capitals, including Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Innsbrucke, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Munich and Vienna.
A million bicycles in Cologne
1. Cycling in Cologne
2. Cycling by the river
The Cologne city government estimates, on its website, that there are at least a million bicycles in Cologne,"as far as they can even be registered in the statistics".
They say that "bicycle riding in Cologne is totally the trend" and that "the bicycle has already re-conquered an important place" in the street traffic of the city.
The Cologne chapter of the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) is less euphoric.
"Bicycle riding could be even more beautiful," they write, "if cyclists were at least accepted as equal partners in city traffic. But many traffic planners and politicians still conduct a one-sided promotion of the automobile. They often have too little comprehension of the needs of un-motorized traffic participants."
Barge traffic on the Rhine River
Just about any time you cross one of the bridges or walk along the riverbank, you can expect to see large barges carrying heavy cargoes like coal, coke, grain, timber and iron ore.
Lately there has also been an increase in the movement of containers by barges along the Rhine. This is encouraged by the German government in hopes of reducing the heavy truck traffic on German freeways.
River-borne transportation also has the advantage that it is free of the restrictions placed on truck traffic at night and on weekends. On the other hand, barge traffic occasionally has to be suspended at times when the water level is extremely low or extremely high.
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