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Getting to art'otel cologne from Cologne Bonn Airport

In one week, I'll be traveling alone from the US to Germany. I land in Cologne on Monday May 29 at 6PM. I need to get from the Cologne Bonn Airport to the art'otel cologne hotel.

I've never travelled alone to Germany so I'm not familiar with the general safety of their public transportation. I'm thinking of calling a taxi once I get to the airport; I'm fine with paying more for that if it's simpler/safer than trying to catch a train or bus in the evening.

EDITED to clarify: I'm going to Germany for a Rick Steves tour. The first hotel is in Cologne, which I'll be navigating to by myself. My concerns about safety are related to doing so as a female alone -- meaning, I'm not worried about the transport itself (bus, train, etc.) but rather, possibly running into dodgy people on it (pickpockets or worse). So my question is just whether or not folks have found the Cologne public transport relatively safe that way. Hope this helps clarify the kind of feedback I'm looking for. :)

Posted by
19978 posts

You can take the S-Bahn or Regional train to Cologne Hbf, then the 132 bus to Schokoladenmuseum then walk about 150 meters to the art'otel. I don't know of any issues with safety on Cologne public transport. It will be daylight when you travel.

Posted by
32683 posts

what particular issue worries you about the trains and buses. In terms of crashing they almost never do, they are way safer than a car. The buses and trams are really safe that way too.

Posted by
7248 posts

Rachel, there is less street crime in Europe than in the US. Rather than list a few issues that might scare you unnecessarily in the abstract (I mean, like pickpocketing, which may be more common in European tourist areas), I also suggest that you be specific about your concerns.

It's also relevant to ask, have you ever taken a commuter train, subway, or bus in the USA? What are your main objectives in Cologne? Is this a business trip?

Posted by
15 posts

Thanks to all for the feedback. I've edited my original post to clarify: I'm going to Germany for a Rick Steves tour. The first hotel is in Cologne, which I'll be navigating to by myself. My concerns about safety are related to doing so as a female alone -- meaning, I'm less worried about the transport itself (bus, train, etc.) then possibly running into dodgy people on it (pickpockets or worse). So my question is just whether or not folks have found the Cologne public transport relatively safe that way.

To answer your questions: I've ridden alone on buses, trains, etc. many times in the USA (mostly in the Seattle area but other places as well) and a little bit in Europe (for example, last year I took the train alone from the Stockholm airport to my hotel). I personally have had few issues on transport (and only in the US), but I have female friends who have been hassled. So I'm just trying to get a sense of the environment before I get there. Hope that helps clarify the reason I'm asking for feedback/advice.

Posted by
7248 posts

It's not as useful for a man to reply to your revised question, but I have been to Cologne twice, and it is a wonderful city. It is unusual in that the majority of the major attractions are within walking distance of the HBF, which helps you with heavy pedestrian traffic, the essence of street-safety. Is your hotel walkable from the HBF?

I have also taken the modern subway in Cologne, but did not experience any problems.

It is true that there was a horrible incident in Cologne (2015) that involved anti-immigrant sentiment too, but I believe it also involved large, drunken crowds and poor police preparation. (Not that that this excuses right-wingers, only that you presumably would avoid that kind of setting anyway.)

I don't know if you will see the connection, but many people believe that New York City (where I visit twice a week) is today a desperate behavioral sink of street crime and transit violence. When normalized for a population of 8 million, New York is actually safer than many big cities, and safer than some semi-rural areas in the US. But there are obviously numerically more crimes reported in NYC than in my current suburban home town of 15,000. I don't want to get into politics too much, but when a politician refers to crime and the opponent's failings, he/she is not always making a factual statement!

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany/can-i-see-enough-of-cologne

I read this in the Seattle Times:

Last year saw the highest violent crime rate in 15 years, with an increase of 729 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2021 compared to 736 per 100,000 residents last year.

A similar number in NYC is 521 per 100,000, but in fairness, they are not from the same statistical study. I can't find a comparable statistic for Cologne. It is certainly not true that there is no crime in Germany, alas.

It's good news that you are familiar with a big city like Seattle. That means you probably have enough "street savvy" not to walk around the dark Cologne Altstadt alone at night, or to go down alleys you are not familiar with. On the other hand, there are a few Kolsch brewery pubs (just as an example of nightlife) that are almost within sight of the Dom (cathedral), and brightly lit and thronged at night.

Posted by
15 posts

Tim, thanks for your thoughtful reply. It's good to remember to keep things like crime rates in perspective and remember it's relative.

I've traveled a lot in the US by myself, but in Europe my experience was mostly with my husband. As of 2018 I am a widow, and thus learning the ropes for traveling alone internationally. As it is for most women, my physical safety is a priority. Traveling to new places is tricky in this regard; it's hard to know how safe they are until you have been there. And as you implied, what is risky for women may not seem so for men. That said, I value educated input about this from anyone.

Posted by
1 posts

Rachel, I happened to see your post as my husband and I will be doing probably the same tour next summer of 2024. I also had been wondering about the transportation from the airport to the art'otel cologne. If you see this, could you let me know what transportation ended up working? thanks Cherry

Posted by
15 posts

Hi Cherry - I ended up taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel. It was quite easy and I felt very safe.

After I got some cash from the airport cash machine, I went outside where there were several taxis lined up at the curb. (I forget which terminal but it's not a big airport so you will have no trouble finding them.) I went to the one at the head of the line and the driver jumped out immediately to help me put my suitcase in the trunk. (I didn't need the help - it was nice of him, though).

The driver didn't seem to speak English really well, but I had the address of the hotel written on a piece of paper. (That helped him a lot, so I highly recommend doing the same.) He took me right to the hotel; it was a 15-20 minute drive as I recall.

The only time there was any awkwardness was when I paid, and only because I was giving him a tip. I paid in cash and he tried to give me the extra money back. I told him 2 or 3 times "No, that is for you." Eventually he got it and seemed very appreciative.

The hotel is very nice and comfortable. I got there during the day and felt quite safe walking around by myself - the neighborhood is touristy. And The Chocolate Museum is across the way - can't beat that. :) Hope this helps!

Rachel