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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.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

Book Accommodation

Featured Hotels

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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.

Grand Hotel Schloss Bensberg

Visitors are easily dazzled by the Grand Hotel Schloss Bensberg. Housed in a renovated baroque palace, each of the 120 rooms and suites maintains a sense of grandeur while supplying all the mod cons. Look out for the midnight blue ceiling above the swimming pool and spa. It's a way out of town but the payoff for that is the easy access to horse riding and golf.

Centro Hotel Conti

Rooms at this cheerful hotel in the Belgian quarter are on the basic side, with a bed, small cupboard and small TV. The decor is no-frills as well, but it is good value and sits above a great Thai restaurant. It is also close to other restaurants and shops and has its own car park.

Hotel Engelbertz

A family-run hotel in the centre of Cologne, the Engelbertz has clean rooms, each equipped with a satellite TV. But do come prepared for some noise after dark as revellers stumble home outside.