You can travel by train from Cologne to Brussels in under two hours - it's much faster than the nearly three-hour car journey. Crossing the border from Germany to Belgium by train is completely seamless. The fastest, direct services are operated by Thalys and Deutsche Bahn. Services depart from Cologne main station (Koln Hbf in German) in the centre of the city and arrive in Brussels-Midi (also known as Brussels-Zuid), which is situated in the heart of the Belgian capital. What easier way to travel to the beating heart of continental Europe?
Once in Brussels there is so much to discover, from the famous Mannequin Pis to the iconic Atomium structure. The historic, UNESCO-protected Grand Place provides an understanding of the city's significant past, whilst the European Parliament proves its importance today. Walk the streets to discover some of Europe's best examples of Art Nouveau architecture, but don't forget to sample Brussel's famous frites and beer along the way.
As the fastest, cheapest and most comfortable way to reach Brussels from Cologne, rail travel takes you to the heart of this unique city. Want to know more about saving money and travelling in style? Check out our Journey Planner and journey FAQs below and start your train journey from Cologne to Brussels today.
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.
The high-speed train of Deutsche Bahn, with a maximum speed of 205 mph (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.
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.
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.
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 Köln Hbf to Brussels 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 Köln Hbf and Brussels is 2 hours and 52 minutes, with around 17 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 Köln Hbf to Brussels is 1 hour and 52 minutes.
Train ticket prices from Köln Hbf to Brussels 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 Köln Hbf to Brussels without having to change trains. There are 11 direct trains from Köln Hbf to Brussels each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Köln Hbf to Brussels leaves at 01:40. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Köln Hbf to Brussels leaves at 21:47. 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 Köln Hbf to Brussels cover a distance of around 114 miles (183 km) during the journey.