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 million 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 186 mph (300 km/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.
ÖBB is the major railway company for Austria, subdivided into several subsidiaries, responsible for certain areas of transport, such as long distance and local transport, the operation of postal buses and the transport of goods. Railjet is ÖBB's high-speed train, which travels at speeds of up to 143 mph (230 km/h) and connects the main Austrian cities with Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Italy.
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!
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 55 minutes, with around 21 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 ticket prices from Brussels to Köln Hbf can start from as little as €16 when you book in advance. The cost of tickets can vary depending on the time of day, route and class you book and are usually more expensive if you book on the day.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Brussels to Köln Hbf without having to change trains. There are 7 direct trains from Brussels to Köln Hbf each day. 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 114 miles (183 km) during the journey.