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Cologne’s traditional neighbourhoods and glorious architecture attract a large number of visitors every year, many of whom arrive at Cologne Bonn Airport, which is located in the Portz district, nine miles from the city centre. One of Germany’s few 24-hour airports, the complex has its own rail station serving S-Bahn trains to the city’s main rail station as well as high-speed ICE express rail links to Cologne and Frankfurt. Other options include buses, taxis and self-drive with car hire in Cologne Bonn Airport, one of the most popular visitor choices for touring the region.
Who to Book With
Hertz, Avis, Europcar and Sixt all offer car rental at Cologne Bonn Airport at rental desks on Terminal 2’s ground floor level. For a fast getaway and convenience, there’s a petrol station on the complex.
Need to Know Essentials
Drivers will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- A valid UK/EU photo driver’s licence or home country licence
- The credit card used when the reservation was made
- A passport or utility bill confirming the driver’s ID
- Confirmation of booking
Although Germany drives on the right, motoring here presents no challenges to experienced drivers as the roads are in good condition and have similar speed limits to those in the UK. The autobahns are the exception, with 80mph, the recommended speed, ignored by most Germans driving fast cars. Traffic in large cities such as Cologne is heavy during the morning and evening rush hours, and best avoided by visitors, although there are large city centre car parks. Petrol stations are everywhere, with most taking card payments. Must-carry items include a warning triangle, a first-aid kit and replacement bulbs. Seatbelts are compulsory, as are hands-free kits for mobile phone usage while driving.
Although car rental booked in advance is the most convenient way to exit the airport and arrive in Cologne via the A59, the complex’s ICE train station’s fast trains are perfect for those not wanting to drive. Bus, taxi and hotel shuttle transport are also options, with taxis the most expensive mode of travel.
The train terminal is located between car parks 1 and 2 in the Terminal 1 area just behind the terminal building itself. State-of-the-art DB Intercity expresses run to Frankfurt and S 13 S-Bahn trains whisk passengers to Cologne’s central station in 15 minutes. The S-Bahn service runs every half-hour from early to late, with tickets costing just under £2.
A number of taxi companies serve the airport from stands outside the Arrivals exits and the drop-off and departures entrances at each end of the main terminal building. All taxis are licensed and metered, and a convenient, if expensive, means of getting around. A transfer to Cologne city centre takes around 25 minutes dependent on traffic and time of day.
Cologne Bonn Airport to Cologne city centre city centre is about £25
Cologne Bonn Airport to Bonn city centre is about £35
Cologne Bonn Airport to Dusseldorf is about £70
Cologne Bonn Airport to Wuppertal is about £85
Although most bus services from the airport have been withdrawn since the airport rail link opened, bus stops at the airport are just behind the train station. Getting to Cologne city centre by KVB or VRS bus is a slow option. Airport shuttle buses run to Cologne’s central districts, taking at least half an hour, and to Bonn, taking around 40 minutes. Bus service SB60 runs to Bonn’s main train station, taking just over half an hour and costing £6.
Cologne Bonn Airport has three terminals, 1B, 1C and 2D. Terminal 2D deals with most of the international carriers’ overseas flights, with 1B serving Germanwings and 1C Lufthansa. Over nine million passengers a year use the facility, with UK visitors arriving from London’s Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted via EasyJet and Germanwings. Germanwings also flies to Edinburgh, Manchester and Dublin, as well as to large number of domestic and European destinations.
Both short- and long-term, multi-storey car parks surround the terminals, with a further long-stay, open-air car park located at the edge of the complex. Total capacity of P1, P2, P3 and PN adds up to over 12,000 parking bays, with P1 and P2 the closest lots to the terminal entrances. Short-term parking for less than 2 hours costs £1.25 per 15 minutes, with a daily rate of about £20. P2 contains women’s and disabled persons’ parking areas at a rate of £2.50 per hour or £80 per week.
Free Wi-Fi internet access is available across all terminal areas.
Information desks are located in Terminal 1B’s landside Departures area.
Service Centre: +49 22 340 4001
Disabled travellers are requested to contact their airline and the airport in advance for assistance. Facilities include dedicated parking bays located close to the terminals, adapted toilets in all areas, an adapted phone service in the airport’s hotel, wheelchairs, lifts and ramps, special seating areas and attendance throughout the process, if requested.
Restaurants and Bars
The airport offers a wide choice of eateries, cafés and bars in its various terminal areas, with several franchises, such as Burger King, Café Bistro and Cafetiero, set in more than one location. The public area is well-supplied and features a piano bar as well as a Starbucks and several café-bars. Beyond security are Subway, several snack bars and a Kolsch and Co outlet with German beer, regional food and a cosy, pub-type ambience.
Airport Business Lounge
Money and ATMs
ATMs are found in terminals 1B and C and in Terminal 2D Arrivals and Departures lounges. Currency exchange desks are located in the landside area of Terminal 1B’s Departures lounge and are open between 07:00 and 20:00.
A good choice of duty-free goods is offered beyond security in Terminal 2D, with a selection of stores in the public areas offering books, magazines, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. For fashionistas in the Departures lounges, there are Boss, Mexx and Esprit stores, as well as Glamour and Style’s quirky accessories and jewellery.