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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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.