Getting From Cologne Airport to City Centre: Fastest & Cheapest Ways

Updated on October 23, 2023  


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If you're landing at Cologne Airport and wondering how to reach the city center, don't worry – it's a common traveler's question! In this blog post, we'll explore all transportation options from Cologne Airport to city centre, making your journey hassle-free.

How far is Cologne Airport from the City?

Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN) is located 15 km away from the city of Cologne and 23 km away from Bonn. It takes just 15 minutes to reach Cologne city center.

Pro Tip: Get a KölnCard

If you plan to explore Cologne and use public transportation, you should definitely get the KölnCard. This card allows you to use all public transport in the city for free and gives you discounts at attractions, museums, tours, and restaurants.

Cologne Airport to Köln-Hauptbahnhof (Cologne Central Station) by S-Bahn Train

Jumping onto the S-Bahn train from Cologne-Bonn Airport is a fast and reliable way to get yourself into the heart of Cologne. The train station, aptly named Köln / Bonn Flughafen, can be easily found in the middle of the terminals.

Two specific lines serve this route - S13 and S19. I've found these trains exceptionally swift as they whisk you away to your desired destination within approximately 14 minutes. 


With trains available every 20 minutes on weekdays and every 30 minutes on weekends, I rarely worry about waiting times or missed connections.

It's convenient for both frequent travelers like me and first-time visitors alike!

Online ticket purchases aren't available for the S-Bahn since it's part of the local DB (Deutsche-Bahn) transport system. Instead, you'll need to buy your tickets from the vending machines at the station.

But, if you have a KölnCard that you got in advance, you can just use that. The fare from the airport to Köln-Hauptbahnhof is approximately €3, or it's entirely free if you have a KölnCard!

Cologne Airport to City Centre by Regional Express (RE) Trains

Opting for Regional Express (RE) Trains is another convenient way of commuting from Cologne Airport to the city centre. The RE trains, specifically RE6 and RE8, offer a direct route that connects the airport with Cologne's heart efficiently and quickly.

It's worth noting that the journey only takes about 11 minutes because these express trains make fewer stops compared to other forms of public transportation.

You'll find the Köln / Bonn Flughafen train station conveniently located in the middle of the passenger terminal at Cologne-Bonn Airport. This makes catching an RE train straightforward after you've landed or before your departure.

Just keep an eye out for either RE6 or RE8; these are your main lines connecting you to downtown Cologne.

Cologne Airport to City Centre by Intercity-Express (ICE) Trains

The Intercity-Express (ICE) is the quickest airport-to-Cologne train, taking just 10 minutes, but it's pricier at €8 per person. [1]

Paying €5 more for just one minute faster than the Regional-Express (RE) doesn't seem worth it, so we'll opt for the RE train!

However, if your destination is elsewhere in Germany, such as Dusseldorf or Frankfurt, or even in Europe, like Amsterdam or Brussels, then the ICE trains are the speedy long-distance options you should consider. Keep in mind that you can't use the KölnCard for ICE trains either.

Cologne Airport to City Centre by Bus

If you stay at one of the hotels nearer to the airport, you can consider taking Bus No. 161 which runs from the airport to Porz Markt district. Keep in mind that Porz Markt station is not very close to the city center, so you'll need to catch another bus or train to reach the Hauptbahnhof (main train station).


Bus line 161 runs from the airport to Porz Markt train station every 30 to 60 minutes from 4:18 am to 11:48 pm. This bus ride takes approximately 15 minutes and costs €3, which is the same as the train fare. 

Cologne Airport to City Centre by Taxi

Traveling from Cologne Airport to the city center by taxi is a convenient option. The journey typically takes around 20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The taxi fare from the airport to Cologne city center is approximately €30.

However, it's important to note that both the travel time and cost may vary based on your final destination in the city.

Taxis provide a comfortable and direct transport option, allowing you to reach your destination without any transfers or waiting time. Whether you're traveling alone or in a group, taxis can accommodate your needs.

Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride as you make your way from Cologne Airport to the vibrant heart of the city..

Getting from Cologne Airport to City Centre by Uber

Uber is a convenient option for getting from Cologne Airport to the city center. With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can request a ride and be on your way in no time.

Uber drivers are available at the airport and can provide comfortable transportation directly to your destination in the city center.

This is a great choice if you prefer the convenience of door-to-door service and want to travel in comfort. This is also great if you don't speak German because you can simply set your pick-up and drop-off points in the app, so you don't need to communicate with the driver to tell them where you want to go!

In Germany, Uber doesn't let just anyone with a car become a driver like in some places. Instead, it works more like a way to book regular taxis from licensed taxi companies

Keep in mind that fares may vary depending on factors such as distance and demand, so it's always a good idea to check the app for an estimate before booking your ride.

Cologne Airport to City Centre by Rental Car

If you prefer the convenience and flexibility of having your own transportation, renting a car is a great option for getting from Cologne Airport to Cologne City Centre.

There are several rental car companies located at the airport where you can choose from a variety of vehicles to suit your needs. Or better yet, book it online in advance here.


Once you have picked up your rental car, it's an easy drive into the city center using the well-maintained highways. The journey takes approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

With a rental car, you have the freedom to explore not only Cologne but also other nearby attractions at your own pace. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with local traffic rules and parking regulations before setting off on your journey.

Cologne Airport to Cologne Centre by Private Transfer

Private transfers provide a convenient and comfortable option for getting from Cologne Airport to Cologne City Centre.

By pre-booking your transfer, you can ensure that a reliable English-speaking driver will be waiting for you at the airport.

This eliminates the need to navigate public transportation or hail a taxi.

One of the advantages of private transfers is their ability to accommodate larger groups or families with luggage. With spacious vehicles available, you can travel together without worrying about cramped spaces or multiple trips.


Additionally, private transfers offer door-to-door service, saving you time and eliminating the hassle of transferring between different modes of transportation.

Another benefit of choosing a private transfer is the flexibility it offers in terms of pick-up and drop-off locations. You have the freedom to choose where you want to be picked up from and dropped off at, making it convenient for your specific travel needs.

With private transfers, you can enjoy a stress-free journey from Cologne Airport to Cologne City Centre, knowing that professional drivers are providing reliable transportation tailored to your preferences.

Arriving at Cologne Airport Late at Night

Cologne Airport is open 24/7, so if you're arriving very late, especially with low-cost airlines, you can still rely on the RE and S-Bahn trains because they operate throughout the night, with trains coming roughly every half an hour to 45 minutes.

If you prefer not to wait for the next train, taxis, Uber, or private airport transfers are also available at any time during the night.

Pro Tip: Cologne Card

We've talked about the Cologne Card quite a bit, so here's some more information. The Cologne Card is a handy tourist pass that gives you the freedom to travel around the city for 24 or 48 hours. It includes free access to public transport and offers discounts of up to 50% at various Cologne attractions, museums, restaurants, guided tours, and shops.

If you're staying in Cologne for a few days and plan to use public transport to explore the city, getting the Cologne Card is a smart choice. Plus, it covers bus and train travel to and from the airport!

Conclusion: Getting from Cologne Airport to City Centre

In conclusion, there are several convenient transportation options to get from Cologne Airport to the city center. You can take the S-Bahn train for a quick and affordable journey, or opt for a regional express train if you prefer more comfort.

Buses and taxis are also available for those looking for alternative modes of transport. Additionally, rental cars and private transfers offer flexibility and convenience. Choose the option that suits your preferences and enjoy exploring Cologne upon arrival!

Key Takeaways

  • S - Bahn trains (S13 and S19) are a fast and reliable option to travel from Cologne Airport to the city center, with a journey time of approximately 14 minutes.
  • Regional Express (RE) trains (RE6 and RE8) provide a direct route to downtown Cologne in about 15 minutes, making fewer stops than other forms of public transportation.
  • Bus No. 161 connects the airport to Porz Markt district, offering an affordable way to reach the city center and access other bus and train lines.
  • Taxis, Uber, rental cars, and private transfers are also available for convenient transportation from Cologne Airport to Cologne City Centre.


1. What are the transportation options for getting from Cologne airport to the city centre?

The transportation options for getting from Cologne airport to the city centre include taxis, public buses, and trains.

2. How long does it take to travel from Cologne airport to the city centre?

The travel time from Cologne airport to the city centre depends on the mode of transportation chosen, but it typically takes around 15-30 minutes.

3. How much does a taxi ride cost from Cologne airport to the city centre?

The cost of a taxi ride from Cologne airport to the city centre can vary depending on traffic conditions, but it is usually around 25-35 euros.

4. Are there any direct bus routes from Cologne airport to the city centre?

Yes, there are several direct bus routes available that connect Cologne airport directly with the city centre.

5. Can I use public transportation tickets for traveling between Cologne airport and the city centre?

Yes, you can use public transportation tickets such as single-use tickets or day passes for traveling between Cologne airport and the city centre.


1: InterCity Express (ICE) train tickets, routes, timetables | Rail Europe, retrieved from

About the Author

Stephan Drescher, founder of, is a German travel expert and insider, providing trusted tips and advice for a perfect trip to Germany. Born & bred German.