Cologne (Köln) is a major city in Germany and is located in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. It is around 230km south-east in distance from Amsterdam.
Are you looking to travel between Amsterdam and Cologne? Let’s consider the transport options between the 2 cities by train, air and bus. Note that there have been some significant changes to service frequencies due to the ‘coronavirus’ measures.
1. Amsterdam-Cologne by Train
The best way to travel between Amsterdam and Cologne is by rail. Travel by train gives you centre-to-centre convenience, no check-in or security lines and a regular direct train service.
Cologne Central Station (Köln Hauptbahnhof) is next to the imposing Cologne cathedral (Kölner Dom) and close to the banks of the river Rhine.
Modern ICE International trains run up to 6x daily from Amsterdam Central Station to Cologne Hauptbahnhof (Hbf). The journey takes just 2 hours 38 minutes. The train is jointly operated by DB (German Railways) and NS (Dutch Railways).
The ICE train makes stops in Utrecht and Arnhem in the Netherlands then crosses the Dutch-German border at Emmerich. On the German side it stops at Oberhausen, Duisburg and Dusseldorf before arriving in Cologne. It continues onward to Frankfurt.
The cheapest one-way ticket price for Amsterdam-Cologne in 2nd class is just €19. This is the Supersparpreis Europa fare which is only valid on the particular departure time selected and is non-changeable/non-refundable. It can be easily found if booking 2-6 months in advance.
There are more flexible fares available. The Sparpreis Europa fare from €25 one-way is changeable/refundable for a fee and includes a City ticket for Cologne public transport. The fully-flexible Flexpreis fare starts from €65 one-way and also includes the City ticket component.
1st class Amsterdam-Cologne one-way fares start from €40 (non-changeable), €45 (changeable/refundable for a fee) and €106 (full-flex), respectively.
2nd class fares do not include a reserved seat on the ICE. You can reserve a seat for €4 per person for each one-way trip. It is not obligatory to make a seat reservation, however it can be worthwhile if the train is busy. ICE seats are in a 2-2 configuration.
1st class fares include seat reservation as standard, with seating in a 1-2 configuration.
With reasonable prices, a quick journey time, comfort and convenience we highly recommend the ICE train for travel between Amsterdam and Cologne.
How to book online: Amsterdam-Cologne train tickets can easily be booked at the NS International site. By booking online you avoid any booking fees charged at the international service desks at stations.
When searching for trains try to stick with the direct ICE trains which require no changes. There are other longer options such as Amsterdam-Brussels-Cologne by Thalys/ICE trains or taking Intercity/regional trains with various changes.
2. Amsterdam-Cologne by Coach
German coach company Flixbus operates up to 10x direct coach services daily from Amsterdam Sloterdijk to Cologne.
Currently most Flixbus buses are serving Cologne-Bonn airport. There are also less frequent buses stopping at nearby Leverkusen and at Cologne East, Refrath at Wickenpfädchen 11.
The Amsterdam-Cologne coach journey with Flixbus takes around 4-5 hours and singles start from around €17.
3. Amsterdam-Cologne by Air
There are no direct flights between Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) and Cologne-Bonn airport (CGN).
This article was originally published in 1 April 2019, last update 23 September 2020.