Brussels is a fabulous city to visit if you’re seeking some culture, delicious food or just a capital city that still enjoys a laid-back vibe. But we really don’t think any city break is complete without a train journey, after all, Brussels has a great train station too and we think it’s worth a visit. But where to? Well, if you’re looking for chilled-out yet vibrant cities, then we think Cologne is a great accompaniment to a Belgian escape. It’s just under 2 hours away as well, so there’s no reason not to enjoy a speedy train trip over the border. Thalys and Deutsche Bahn trains do the honours, with spacious seating and free Wi-Fi to ensure a great experience.
Grab a box of Belgian chocolates before starting your train journey. Not that you’ll be lacking chocolate in Cologne - it has its own chocolate museum! Cologne Cathedral will give you a grand welcome and the Belgian District is a fantastically fitting place to toast your journey across the border, with hip bars and restaurants aplenty. Get ready for an unforgettable trip, start with our FAQs below!
The Deutsche Bahn Group is owned by the German State and controls the majority of rail traffic in Germany as well as in many border regions of the country. Every year, Deutsche Bahn transports several billion passengers and many stations in Germany are served exclusively by DB trains, including the ICE, IC and EC fleet.
Thalys is the railway company connecting four European countries – France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Thalys trains run at a speed of up to 300km/h and have three comfort classes on all services called – Standard, Comfort and Premium (equivalent to the First Class, with access to the Thalys Lounge). All Thalys trains have a car restaurant (called Thalys Welcome Bar) and a free WiFi connection.
The high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn, with a maximum speed of 330 km/h, the ICE connects major cities and is also used for international travel to neighbouring countries such as Austria, France and Denmark. This train is equipped with air conditioning, a dining car, a children's compartment and power sockets. Passengers enjoy a free WiFi connection throughout the duration of the ICE trip.
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Brussels to Köln Hbf by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
Take a look at Tarjetas de descuento Renfe to check when European train operators release their special deals and offers to see if you can find cheap tickets for your journey.
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time by train between Brussels and Köln Hbf is 3 hours and 5 minutes, with around 18 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The fastest journey time by train from Brussels to Köln Hbf is 1 hour and 41 minutes.
Train tickets from Brussels to Köln Hbf can start from as little as €18.50 when you book in advance and are usually more expensive when purchased on the day. Prices can also vary depending the time of day, route and class you book.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Brussels to Köln Hbf without having to change trains. There are 12 direct trains from Brussels to Köln Hbf. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Brussels to Köln Hbf leaves at 06:33. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Brussels to Köln Hbf leaves at 23:08. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from Brussels to Köln Hbf cover a distance of around 183km during the journey.