Are you wondering if the Koln Card, or Cologne Card, is worth it?
Wondering where you can buy the Koln Card for the best price?
In this blog post, we'll answer all your questions about the Cologne Card.
Köln Card Benefits and Where to Buy
The Cologne Card, also called KölnCard, is a special card for tourists. It helps you save money when you visit museums, attractions, take tours, go shopping, or eat at restaurants in the city. Plus, it lets you ride on public buses and trams for free.
You can choose between two options: a 24-hour card for €9 or a 48-hour card for €18.
Here's a list of all the KölnCard discounts (click category to see full list):
Is a Koln Card Worth It?
Yes, the Koln Card is worth it. Some of these discounts might seem small at first, but if you plan to visit several attractions in a day, you'll quickly save more than the €9 cost of the card.
For instance, if you're a museum enthusiast and you visit:
- the Museum Ludwig (saving €2.20),
- the Roman-Germanic Museum (saving €1.80),
- the Farina Fragrance Museum (saving €2.50),
- the Chocolate Museum (saving €2.88) all in one day,
You would have already saved more money than what you paid for the Cologne Card. And that's without even using the free public transport or food discounts included in the card.
Additionally, discounts for experiences like river cruises and events can be significant, potentially making the Cologne Card well worth the price.
Just remember to plan your day ahead to make the most of these savings!
Should You Get the Cologne Card?
Whether you should get the Cologne Card or not, depends on a few factors like the number of people in your travel group, how much you want to walk, what activities do you plan to do.
Let's take a look at some of the factors.
How many people are in your group?
If you're traveling in a group of up to 5 people, there's a special deal for you. You can buy the 24-hour Group Cologne Card for €19 or the 48-hour card for €38. When you split the cost among 4 or 5 people, it can be as low as €3.80 per person, making it a fantastic deal.
Alternatively, you can get a Group Ticket (an all-day public transport ticket by KVB) for 5 people at just €12.90 (which is €2.58 per person).
However, if you plan to visit even one museum where you can get a discount with the Cologne Card, it's likely to be a better value for your group. So, if you're exploring attractions, the Cologne Card is probably the better choice for your group.
How much do you want to walk?
One important thing to consider before getting a Cologne Card is how much walking you're willing to do.
One of the biggest advantages of the Cologne Card is that it gives you free access to Cologne's public transportation system (KVB). The KVB includes subways, trams, and buses that run throughout the day and into the night, making it easy to get around.
Many of the popular tourist spots and neighborhoods in central Cologne are within walking distance of each other, but "walkable" in Cologne can still mean up to an hour's walk from one area to another because it's a fairly large city.
So, if you enjoy exploring the city on foot and don't mind walking, you might not need to buy a Cologne Card.
However, if you think you'll be using public transportation occasionally, like visiting the Cologne Zoo or Aqualand Cologne, the Cologne Card is a great choice.
A regular all-day KVB ticket costs around €8, so for just an extra €1 a day, you not only get unlimited transportation but also access to a range of fantastic discounts, making the Cologne Card a valuable investment. 
Is it Winter or Summer?
Another important question to consider when deciding whether to get a Cologne Card is the time of year you're visiting Cologne.
For example, if you're visiting Cologne during the warmer summer months, you might be more inclined to explore the city on foot, and you might not use the free public transport as much.
However, if you're traveling during the less pleasant weather months, like the cold and rainy German winter, having the Cologne Card can be a real lifesaver. You'll appreciate having the option to hop on public transport when the weather is not so inviting.
Additionally, the Cologne Card offers discounts on bike rentals and river cruises, which can be great alternatives for exploring the city during the summer months.
Where are you staying?
Your choice of accommodation location in Cologne can also influence whether the Cologne Card is a good value for you.
If you're staying in Altstadt-Nord, the historic city center, you'll find yourself right in the heart of Cologne, with many of the main attractions within easy walking distance.
In this case, you may not need to rely much on public transportation, and the Cologne Card might be less essential for you.
On the other hand, if you're looking to save money by staying outside the inner city or prefer a different neighborhood as your base, you might find yourself using public transport more frequently to navigate the city.
In such cases, the Cologne Card becomes a better value for money, as it provides unlimited access to public transportation and discounts on various attractions and services.
How long are you in Cologne for?
The choice between a 24-hour or 48-hour Cologne Card is another important factor to consider when deciding if it's right for you.
If you're planning a short visit, like just a day or a weekend in Cologne, the Cologne Card is a practical choice.
You'll likely be cramming a lot of activities into a short timeframe, so having the card will allow you to use public transport to get around quickly and make the most of the attraction discounts during the card's valid period.
However, if you're staying in Cologne for an extended period, like several days or more, buying multiple Cologne Cards to cover your entire stay can become costly.
In such cases, it might not be worth getting the card for the entire duration of your trip. Instead, you could consider getting it for one or two days and using it on those days when you plan to visit attractions with the best discounts.
Your Cologne Itinerary
Your specific interests and plans for your trip to Cologne are a crucial factor in determining whether the Cologne Card is a good fit for you.
If you have a packed itinerary that includes visiting numerous museums, taking tours, attending sporting events like ice-hockey matches, and exploring the city's top attractions, the Cologne Card can provide excellent value for money. Its discounts and free public transportation will likely be beneficial.
However, if your goal for the trip is to relax, enjoy beer houses, and take leisurely walks along the river while focusing on photography, you may not make full use of the card's benefits. In this case, it might not be the most cost-effective option for your particular style of travel.
Some of the best discounts include…
Museums and galleries:
- 50% off the Farina Fragrance Museum
- 25% off the Chocolate Museum
- 20% off Cologne Cathedral Treasury
- 20% off Museum Ludwig
- 20% off EL-DE Haus
- 20% off the Römisch-Germanisches Museum
Tours and experiences:
- 50% off numerous city tours
- 20% off segway tours
- 20% off boat cruises
- 20% off bike hire for the day
- 20% off Ice Hockey tickets
- 15% off Cologne Zoo
Plus discounts on a number of shops and restaurants around the city.
It's worth considering your travel preferences and the activities you have planned to determine whether the Cologne Card aligns with your trip goals. For those who prefer a more relaxed or specific type of experience, the card may not be necessary.
So, should you get the Koln Card?
To sum it up, your decision to get the Cologne Card should align with your specific travel plans and preferences.
If you're making a quick weekend trip to Cologne during the winter (or even the summer), intending to use public transport extensively, and want to explore numerous museums and tourist attractions, the Cologne Card is a great investment.
On the other hand, if you're planning a more leisurely week-long visit during the summer, focused on enjoying restaurant terraces, cocktails, and relaxed strolls through the city, the card may not be the most cost-effective choice. You might consider getting it for just one day when it would provide the most value.
Ultimately, the Cologne Card's value depends on how you intend to spend your time and whether its benefits align with your travel plans.
1: Ticket Prices and Price Categories for Buses and Trains in Cologne | KVB, retrieved from https://www.kvb.koeln/en/tickets_prices/prices.html