Getting to Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN) is easy and cheap on S-Bahn and ICE trains from Köln Hauptbahnhof or the Airport Express Bus SB60 from Bonn.
Public transportation makes it easy getting to Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN) near Köln in the Rhinelands of Germany. S-Bahn trains from Köln Hauptbahnhof (central main train station) provide fast and cheap transportation to Cologne-Bonn Airport. Airport Express Bus SB60 connects the airport with Bonn twice per hour. ICE trains run to Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in an hour while Düsseldorf can be reached in 36 minutes and Aachen in 48 minutes.
For small groups and families pre-booked airport shuttle vans may be useful, or when traveling at odd hours or to destinations without direct train or bus connections. Compare prices as rates vary widely. My Driver gives online quotations for private airport transfers without first requiring personal details or flight numbers.
Since many buses were banned from downtown Cologne, many long-distance buses now stop at Cologne-Bonn Airport rather than in Cologne center. Megabus and the Postbus use the airport while Flixbus (Mein Fernbus was dropped from the name in mid-2017) uses Leverkusen or Troisdorf.
(Note: During 2016, all German Postbus and continental European Megabus routes were taken over and are bookable via Flixbus.)
By Train from Köln to Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN)
The easiest way to get to Cologne-Bonn Airport is usually by S-Bahn train S13 from Köln-Hauptbahnhof. The S-Bahn trains connect the central train station (as well as Köln Messe / Deutz station) with the airport usually three times per hour in a mere 14 minutes. Even faster are the occasional Regional Express (RE) trains at 11 minutes or the ICE trains at 10 minutes but S13 is usually the best option.
The fare for transportation on local trains (including S-Bahn and RE trains) from Cologne center to the airport is only €2.80.
The S-Bahn and RE trains are part of the larger Cologne public transportation network and thus use local transportation tickets. These cannot be bought online so use the vending machines (Tarif zone / Preisstufe 1b) at stations or bus stops. These tickets are not valid on the ICE trains, which charge €8 for the ten-minute ride.
Check the timetable at German Railways / Deutsche Bahn. Some trains stop only at Köln Messe / Deutz station, which is on the opposite side of the Rhine River from Cologne city center. From Deutz station, take a train to the Hauptbahnhof – almost every minute – or simply walk across the Hohenzollernbrücke (bridge) for great views of the Cologne old town skyline and cathedral.
Travelers going further in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia may save with the Schöner Tag Ticket NRW – it is €29.50 for solo travelers and only €43 for a group of up to five and allow unlimited travel on all local trains in the state on weekdays from 9 am and weekends all day.
Long-Distance Trains to Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN)
Cologne has excellent long-distance train connections to all parts of Germany and Western Europe (even London). These trains depart from either Köln-Hauptbahnhof or Köln Messe / Deutz.
However, a few times per day, travelers can save the 14-minute S-Bahn ride to downtown when long-distance trains do stop directly at Cologne-Bonn Airport itself. The most useful trains are probably the ICE trains to Frankfurt Airport (less than an hour) with stops en route at Limburg and Montabaur or in the opposite direction towards Aachen and Brussels or Düsseldorf (36 minutes), the Ruhr and eventually Berlin.
The fare on an ICE from Cologne Airport to Düsseldorf is €20 but on slower regional trains (50-60 minutes) with a change in Köln €12. To Aachen, the fare is €24 on ICE trains (48 minutes direct) but only €17 for regional trains (1h20, change in Köln), or even cheaper for groups using the Schöner Tag Ticket NRW.
By Bus to Bonn from Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN)
Airport Express Bus SB60 provides the simplest transportation for most travelers between downtown Bonn and Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN). This express bus connects in 30 minutes Bonn Hauptbahnhof (and in 20 minutes Bonn-Innenministerium) with Köln/Bonn Flughafen Terminal 1/2 (bus stop 5).
Airport Express Bus SB60 runs usually twice per hour. The tickets are €8 (or Preisstufe 3 (€5) plus Schnellbuszuschlag (€3) – if you don’t understand that bit, simply buy the ticket from the driver). The ticket is valid for continuing the journey to other destinations in central Bonn (price region 1b).
Further options are available for travel from Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) to Bonn but for traveling to downtown, these add unnecessary complications that can easily be avoided by using SB60.
Timetable can be checked at German Railways (Deutsche Bahn) but avoid any suggestions with ticket purchases available – these will not only be much slower but also much more expensive than taking the bus.