Getting around Cologne

Subway, Tram, And Bus

Cologne has a very good subway, tram, and bus network "KVB" (Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe). Cologne's subway and tram-system (U-Bahn) is a mixture between both systems. A subway line can go on street-level and end up as a tram or vice versa. 

  • One-day and weekly tickets are available, as are single-ride and four-ride tickets. The tickets are valid for subway, tram, and bus within the KVB-network.
  • Trips within the city limits require zone 1b tickets (single-ride: €2.80, day-ticket: €8.50). For short trips of up to four stops on subway, tram, or bus there is also the less expensive "Kurzstrecke" (short trip ticket) . A map of the network can be found at any station, and official Kölner Verkehrsbetriebe Cologne station maps are available online in multiple languages.
  • There are vending machines or ticket-offices at larger stations. Tickets can also be purchased at newsstands throughout the city. When purchasing tickets from the vending machines, please be aware that they only take change.
  • Once purchased, a ticket must be validated. Tickets must be validated at the beginning of a trip, and can be validated at machines inside the subways, trams, and buses. KVB police periodically patrol the system to see peoples' tickets, so be sure to validate yours.
  • The KVB website provides:

Regional Trains

Regional Trains are known as "S-Bahn," "Regional-Bahn," and "Regional Express." Most of them don't have ticket vending-machines so remember to buy a ticket at the station.

Call A Bike

Like Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt, Cologne uses a Call A Bike system. After you register for an account online, it will charge your credit card a per-minute fee. You can pick up or drop off one of the silver-red bikes anywhere in the city. It is also possible to rent a bike at many different places; by bike is maybe the best way to go around in the city.


On the whole, the center of Cologne is not that big for a city of one million. It is entirely feasible to walk from one end of the center on foot in half an hour. Most people simply use the Cologne Cathedral as their guiding landmark.