Reaching the Centre
Ok from Cologne Bonn airport there are two main options of getting to the centre:
BUS: Take the number 170 from the bus station outside Terminal 2 to the central railway station (Hauptbahnhof). Buses run frequently (every 12 minutes during the day) from 5am to 11.30pm. The journey takes about 20 minutes. Tickets: €5,50.
TRAIN: Catch the S13 every 20 mins Mon-Fri from 5.23am-1.33am. Weekend services start at 5.33am then every 30 mins until 1.33am. Alternatively the R8 departs from 7.07am Mon-Fri and runs every hour until 21.07pm. The Saturday R8 departs from 7.08am every hour until 20.07pm and on Sundays from 10.07am-21.07pm.
Not sure what the cost is (much less than taxi anyway) as we had a pass for the day when we travelled back to the airport.
I'd opt for the S-bahn (the line to the airport was a new extension in summer 2004) it was really easy. and journey time was less than 15 minutes. The train station is right by the cathedral in Cologne and from the S-Bahn platform at the airport the escalator brings you right up into the departure lounge with just a very short walk to the check in desks. Simple and efficient - all airports should be like this.
S - Bahn
The S - Bahn offers fabulous transportation links into the city of Cologne, we used the service from the airport to the main train station.
If you will also be taking this journey, then this information is for you!
The S - Bahn leaves from the airport itself, there is a station on the ground level, the tickets are 2 euro one way per person and you have 90 minutes to use the ticket from purchase.
You must buy your ticket in a self service machine, that acceps notes, coins and credit cards.
There are language options on the machine and it is really easy to use.
The S-Bahn 13 travels the short 20 minute journey time into Cologne Hauptbahnhof - the main train station....also stopping at a few other small stations and the other main station - Deutz.
Maps are available from the Tourist Information.....
The trains run every 20 minutes or so, they are not 24 hour however, and I think that the service ran from 0430 - 0030...please correct me if I am wrong on this!
Cologne Bonn Airport
In May 2008, I flew in and out of the Cologne Bonn Airport (aka Köln/Bonn Flughafen). Starting in May 2006, Continental Airlines has been providing daily direct flights to Cologne Bonn from Newark, New Jersey.
This airport is the ultimate in convenience. After leaving the plane, it was only a few steps to the German Customs checkpoint. Then, after clearing customs, it was only a few steps to the baggage claim. Most importantly, there is a train station directly in the airport -- where the S-Bahn train S13 makes the approximately 15-minute journey between Köln/Bonn Flughafen (airport) and Köln Hauptbahnhof (central train station) up to three times per hour. On my visit, the fare was 2.30 Euro.
These cute little taxis were a popular choice for hiring to cross the bridge to the other side of the Rhine. They can be found by the museums at the start of the Hohezollernbrucke. No idea how much it was as we used our feet rather than the taxi driver use HIS feet!
The main train station in Cologne is on the Dom side of the Rhine, the german name for this station is "Hauptbahnhof", there is another station in Cologne which is called Cologne Deutz - but I only passed through there.
The station is very easy to use, but if you speak absolutley no German you may find it a bit difficult...buying tickets is relativley easy - use the automated ticket machines and they have various language options.
There are plenty of shopping facilities at the train station, and unusually for a major train station the area around it is still very clean and safe.
By train from the airport to the city center
The cheapest way to get to downtown Cologne is by S-Bahn (S 13) or regional train (RE 8) from the Koeln-Bonn airport railway station.
If you want to use an ICE train, then it costs more. A one way ticket for the S-Bahn costs 2.30 Euro (July 2007). Tickets can be bought from the ticket machines before you go down to the platform. There are up to four trains per hour and the journey only takes 14 minutes.
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
Cologne has trams although you may not easily see them when you arrive at the train station. I encountered them at the Neumarkt station. Since I was only sightseeing/shopping in the very center, I didn't actually get to ride on them.
Public Trnsportation in Koln
As in many German cities public transportation in Koln is a delight and highly efficient.
Firstly a word about cost. If you expect to use public transport a fair bit I would suggest buying a welcome card. These are available for 24/48/72 hour durations. and give discounts on various tourist attractions and museums BUT also give you free travel on all forms of public transportation for the period paid for.
for more info see:
I used the 72 hour one which cost me € 19 an absoloute bargain I'm sure you will agree.
The underground/trams are easy to use and at the stations there are generally boards advising what the next dozen or so departures are , which line number and destination.
There are frequent services and it's a breeze to use the system.
Again as is the case in many German cities they use the honour system ie you are not required to show a ticket unless you get an inspector on the train/tram. However if caught the penalties are severe - I think they hang you, shoot you, cut your head off and then shoot you again, then they give you a hefty fine and tell you not to do it again. Come to think of it , it may just be the fine and lecture thing and the rest may just have been for comedic effect.
I would suggest picking up a city map at the tourist office, there is one at the airport too, which has the public transportation map on the back too.
The welcome card can also be bought at the aiport and will cover your journey from the airport to the city - this journey at time of writing costs € 2.00.
A Train for Tired Tourists
If you are too exhausted to walk from one Christmas market to the next, you can take a little "train". It's running between the markets and takes people down to the chocolate museum as well. The drivers do a terrific job! They manage to drive their "train" through the crowds without actually running someone over. It's hard enough to walk in these crowds, let alone drive there.
Prices are 5 Euro for a round trip.
- Family Travel
This is like a train on wheels...its probably a tourist trap! I did not actually use it...but I saw it in various tourist areas of Cologne including by the Dom, the zoo and the chocolate museum.
From what I gather...it travels from the zoo to the chocolate museum.
- Family Travel
Cologne/Bonn airport is located approx 20 minutes south of the city, it is a small airport that carriers such as easyjet and German wings use to fly to the UK, along with various other airlines to various other destinations.
It is clean and very modern. We used Terminal 2 for our flights, there is a small tourist information desk here that where very helpful - providing maps and information about the city.
One thing that I did notice was that there was not the usual foreign exchange facilities offered here, on something like the third floor there was a bank and this is where we changed our money, there was also an ATM...this is where the tourist information desk directed us when I asked about foreign exchange....but beware that it is not open all of the time...so it will help if you bring some Euro with you until you get into the city.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
The U Bahn in Cologne is very efficent as was everything in Germany in my experience!
The U Bahn are located all over the city and act as an underground and overground system.
In my opinion Cologne is a small enough city to walk in, but after a night on the town the U Bahn certainly comes in handy!
- Budget Travel
Getting to and from Cologne has never been so easy. We flew easyjet from Liverpool in under 1hr 30 mins and at a very low cost - in fact cheaper than some rail journeys in the UK we'd undertaken recently :-S Cologne/Bonn airport is modern and efficent with good rail and bus connections. We were met by Sabsi at the aiport but if you need to use public transport its no problem (see next tip)
- Budget Travel
Just outside the Cathedral (in the square behind) these tellow tourist trains can be boarded to two main tourist attractions - the zoo and the chocolate museum which are in opposite directions. The chocholate train does a nice little tour through the old town and past the Rathaus on its way. We didn't do this only having a few hours but I noticed the price was 4 euros for the round trip of either tour.