FOLLOW US

World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > Germany > Cologne

Cologne Weather

13°C

Local time Cologne

Currency

Travel to Cologne

Flying to Cologne

Airlines that fly to Cologne include Austrian Airlines, eurowings, Lufthansa, Ryaniar, SWISS and VLM. Prices are reasonable throughout the year, but you're likely to grab the best deals by booking well in advance.

Flight times

From London - 1 hour 25 minutes; New York - 10 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 13 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 10 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 25 hours (including stopovers).

Travel by road

Germany is covered by an excellent and extensive system of roads and toll-free Autobahnen (motorways). In Cologne, traffic drives on the right and the minimum age for driving is 18 years. Generally, there are no speed limits on Autobahnen but individually marked speed limits appear on a large percentage of motorway miles. A maximum of 130kph (81mph) is recommended. Speed limits of 130kph (81mph) or 100kph (62mph) apply outside built-up areas and 50kph (30mph) in towns.

Foreign drivers require proof of insurance and their national driving licence - a Green Card is strongly recommended. A country identification sticker must be displayed on the vehicle. The main German automobile association is the Allgemeine Deutsche Automobil Club - ADAC (tel: +49 800 510 1112; www.adac.de).

Emergency breakdown services

ADAC (tel: 0180 222 2222, in Germany).

Routes

Cologne is linked to the rest of Germany by fast Autobahn (A) routes. The A1 leads north to Hamburg, forking east to become the A2 to Berlin; the A3 leads southeast to Frankfurt; the A4 leads west to Belgium via Aachen; the A61 (off the A4) leads due south towards Switzerland. Driving from Dover, UK to Cologne is about 500km (311 miles) via Calais.

Cologne is a Low Emission Zone (LEZ). As a result, only motor vehicles equipped with green 'Low Emission Labels' may access the city centre and parts of the boroughs of Deutz and Mülheim. (Business travellers might like to note that the visitor parking at Kölnmesse and the LANXESS arena lies outside the environmental zone, so no sticker is needed.) For more details and information on where to obtain stickers, visit www.umwelt-plakette.de. Or simply use the city's Park-and-Ride system.

Coaches

The city's a coach terminal (www.koeln-bonn-airport.de/b2b/fernbusterminal.html) is located next to Terminal 2 of Cologne Bonn Airport. From there regional, domestic and international destinations can be reached with bus operators like Eurolines and Flixbus. Flixbus runs coach services to Cologne, including a direct overnight service from London (journey time - 11 hours 30 minutes).

Time to city

From London - 7 hours; Paris - 5 hours 20 minutes; Berlin - 6 hours 20 minutes; Rome - 14 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Trains from all over Europe run to Cologne, terminating at the main central station, Hauptbahnhof (Hbf), Trankgasse 11. Its satellite station, Köln Messe/Deutz station, on the opposite side of the river Rhine, is located next to the Messe (trade fair grounds). Both are connected to the city's U-Bahn (underground railway) and S-Bahn (overground light railway) network. In fact, some of the U-Bahn network also runs overground.

Cologne Bonn Airport has its own railway station which is served by suburban trains, regional trains and highspeed ICE-trains connecting the airport with domestic and international destinations. 

Operators

There is no direct rail link between the UK and Cologne. However high-speed Eurostar (www.eurostar.com) trains link London St Pancras with Brussels Midi/Zuid in around two hours.

From Brussels, high-speed Thalys (www.thalys.com) and German ICE (www.bahn.de) run trains to Cologne. Pay close attention to the transfer time in Brussels as that’s the part that can make or break your journey to Cologne by train.

Journey times

From London - 4 hours 20 minutes (including change); Berlin - 4 hours 40 minutes; Paris - 3 hours 15 minutes; Frankfurt - 1 hour 20 minutes; Brussels - 1 hour 50 minutes.

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

Hilton Cologne

Set in a quiet side street by the cathedral, this smart, sophisticated hotel has all the quality you'd expect from a large chain. Its trendy IceBAR, which serves its signature shot in a glass made of ice, and onsite Konrad restaurant are popular meeting places for locals.

Hopper Hotel St Antonius

This very reasonably-priced design hotel is housed in a historic journeyman's hostel and set within walking distance from the main railway station and the banks of the Rhine. It comes complete with an excellent restaurant, original modern artworks and one of Cologne's most popular private theatres.

Stern am Rathaus

Nestled in the heart of the Altstadt, between the Rathaus and the Dom, this small family-run hotel couldn't wish for a more central location. There are only ninw rooms here, but each is spotlessly clean, modern in design, and equipped with everything you'd expect from an international chain hotel.

Savoy Hotel

The individually designed rooms in the Savoy are themed around different world destinations. So whether you're slumbering in the San Tropez suite or sleeping in the Samurai room, this smart boutique hotel allows you to travel the world without wandering any further than the wardrobe. It also has an excellent restaurant and spa facilities.

Excelsior Hotel Ernst

This grand dame of accommodation in Cologne continues to impress with its sweeping spiral staircases, great service and central location. Rooms come in beige and earth tones or calming blue and white. Taku, one of Cologne’s most exciting restaurants, is housed here and the Piano Bar offers an interesting range of cocktails.

Hyatt Regency Cologne

If you're looking for luxury and arresting views, Hyatt Regency Cologne fits the bill perfectly. The spacious, well-appointed rooms look out onto the Rhine and towards looming towers of the Dom. It also has an indoor pool, fitness club and spa, and a restaurant housed in a panoramic glass atrium.