How to get around with Cologne public transport

Marle

Mar 25 • 6 minute read

5 in the morning, Cologne's clubs close their doors and there's one thing you can count on: Cologne's public transport. With Cologne's train and bus network, you can get from A to B every ten minutes, whether in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening.

But how exactly does Cologne's public transport work? And what's more, how can I get around the city smartly as an international and on which tickets? It's good that we have everything you need to know about Cologne's public transport at a glance!

Getting from A to B with Cologne's public transport system

60 lines, 380 trams and 320 buses: Cologne's infrastructure could hardly be any better connected, getting you anywhere in Cologne by bus, underground and S-Bahn. From the airport, you can quickly get to the main station by S-Bahn, and from there, underground trains and buses will take you to the Cologne neighbourhood of your choice.

Want to move around Cologne in an even more eco-conscious way? Then switch from public transport to cycling. With the well-developed cycle paths, cycling is the fastest way to get from A to B in the city centre. And if you're an expat in Cologne, you don't even need your own bike: the Kölner Verkehrs - Betriebe (KVB) have their white and red bikes spread all over the city. If you want to use your bike all day, the 'Radstation' or NextBike is also worthwhile.

The zones for public transport in Cologne

Do you live in the city centre of Cologne? Then the 1b Cityticket is probably all you need if you travel more than four stops. As in many other cities, the ticket system is divided up by distance and the zones are grouped in different colours:

  • 1b City Ticket
  • 2b City Plus ticket
  • 3 - 6 Regioticket

There are two types of fares in the neighbourhoods within the heart of Cologne, red and orange. If you travel within one zone, it's the colour code 'a', if you travel across several fares, it's 'b'.

How much does public transport cost?

Alright, let's see how little (or how much) do you have to spend to get around Cologne. That all depends on how often you use the trains and which ticket suits you.

Occasional passenger Single ticket: For a single journey in the selected price category

  • Short distance (4 stops) = 20 minutes
  • Price level 1 = 90 minutes
  • Price level 2 = 120 minutes
  • Price level 3/4 = 180 minutes
  • Price level 5 = 360 minutes
  • Price level 6/7 = 360 minutes

Single 4-trip ticket: Four single trips, for one or more persons

  • Short distance (4 stops) = 20 minutes
  • Price level 1 = 90 minutes
  • Price level 2 = 120 minutes
  • Price level 3/4 = 180 minutes
  • Price level 5 = 360 minutes
  • Price level 6/7 = 360 minutes

24-hour ticket: For 1 or up to 5 persons, valid for 24 hours for any number of journeys in the selected price category

KölnCard: Free travel on all public transport and up to 50% discount in art, culture and restaurants

  • KölnCard 24 hours: 1 person € 9.00, up to 5 persons € 19.00
  • KölnCard 48 hours: 1 person 18,00 €, up to 5 persons 38,00 €

QueerTicket:

  • 24 hours ticket: 1 person 9,00 €, up to 5 persons 19,00 €
  • 48 hours ticket: 1 person 18,00 €, up to 5 persons 38,00 €
Ticket Type1a1b2a2b3456
Single ticket€2.50€3.00€3.00€4.00€5.30€8.20€11.90€14.80
Single 4-trip ticket€10.00€12.00€12.00€16.00€21.20€32.80€47.60€59.20
24-hour ticket€7.30€8.80€8.80€11.10€13.90€19.10€25.90€27.60

Frequent traveller Without subscription

  • Weekly ticket: Valid for seven days, at any time of the day, with a flexible entry day
  • Monthly ticket: Valid for one month, at any time of the day, with a flexible entry day
  • Formula9Ticket: Valid for one month, in the morning from 9 a.m., with a flexible entry day
Ticket Type w/o subscription1a1b2a2b3456
Weekly ticket€20.40€28.20€28.80€35.30€42.80€63.20€77.10€90.80
Monthly ticket€78.10€105.50€105.50€133€160.70€240€289.90€306.60
Formula9Ticket€56.10€75.10€75.10€86.10€106€126.30€152.40--

With subscription

  • Monthly ticket: Around the clock for everyone
  • Formel9Ticket: Riding from 9 a.m. onwards
  • Aktiv60 Ticket: For active passengers aged 60 and over
Ticket Type with subscription1a1b2a2b3456
Monthly ticket€68.10€89.40€89.40€113.10€136.40€201.70€241.70€252.50
Formula9Ticket€48.20€64.50€64.50€73.90€90.50€107.80€130.30--
Aktiv60 Ticket€46.40€62€62€69.60€84.50€100.50€117.70€131.60

Students

  • Semesterticket: Students at college or university in Cologne receive a semester ticket from their university. Throughout NRW with all buses, trams, light rail and local trains - and for free!

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