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Cheap transportation from Cologne Airport to Boppard and Heidelberg

Hi ,

We are 3 adults (2+1 Senior Citizen) arriving at Cologne Airport on 9th Aug 2017, 10.30 AM.

We will be relying on public transport all through our itinerary .

Our base is Boppard (Hbf) , staying in Hotel close to station.

Wanted to know what would be the best travel pass/individual tickets for our itinerary

9th Aug : Travel fromCologne airport to Boppard , reach hotel and spend the day in Boppard or nearby locations.

10th Aug : Visit Cochem , and spend the day there, return Boppard

11th Aug : Go for the KD cruise Bingen to St Goar

12th Aug : Leave for Heilderberg , and spend next 2 days in Heidelberg and visit nearby places.

14th Aug : Leave Heildelberg for Cologne and spend some time in city, from there to Airport for flight back at 9.00 PM.

  1. Could you help in providing which tickets will be suitable for the above itinerary ?

  2. Can we get a day pass VRS group pass for travel from cologne airport to Bonn, and then use the VRM 3 day pass for the group for the first 3 days?

  3. Can we for our travel on Saturday from Boppard to Heildelberg use the Weekend Group pass? And then a local group pass in Heidelberg for the 13th Aug.

  4. Which ticket will be most suitable for our travel from Heidelberg to Cologne on Monday 14th Aug?

  5. Is it true that there is an additional surcharge for purchasing tickets at the train station from the ticket window?

  6. Also where can I buy the tickets for each of the passes, can all the passes be bought at the Cologne airport?

i.e. VRS and VRM passes?

Thanks again

Posted by
16166 posts

2 You need to use the Quer durchs Land ticket (60 EUR) to get from Cologne airport to Boppard. Cologne airport is is the German Land of Nord Rhein Westfalen, and Boppard is in the German Land of Rheinland Pfalz.

3 The VRM Minigruppenkarte is a daily ticket. 22.10 EUR for up to 5 people traveling together and will get you to Cochem and back to Boppard. You must leave after 9 am and use only regional trains.

3a A Schoenes Wochende ticket (48 EUR) will be good to get from Boppard to Heidelberg and the rest of the day on local trains.

4 A Quer durchs Land ticket (60 EUR) will get you from Heidelberg to Cologne on a week day after 9 am using regional trains.

5 Yes, costs an extra 2 EUR to buy these tickets from a ticket window.

6 You can buy day of use. Ticket kiosk is best if you want to save the 2 EUR fee to buy from a human.

Edit- I didn't check to s

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for the information Sam.
Just a couple of questions, won't it be better to get an VRS day pass for the group of 3 fortravel from Cologne Airport to Remagen? Then use a 3 day VRM pass for the group, which is available for the price of 2 days pass , I read somewhere? i.e you pay the price equivalent to 2 days only and use this for the travel in rhineland area Boppard, Cochem and neighbouring areas.
Then as you have mentioned use the weekend pass to get to Heidelberg.

I can't figure out what price level pass I need to buy for the VRS pass, as the prices vary if you are using for level 1,2,3,4,5.

Also could you suggest any local pass for the Heidelberg area on the 13th?

For the last day for travel between Heidelberg and Cologne airport is there a cheaper combination of two local passes? Like VRN and the VRS combination?


Posted by
16166 posts

You have a point, but you are going to a lot of trouble to save 3 EUR.
A level-5 VRS group day ticket is 34.90 EUR, an all-zone VRM Minigruppenkarte is 22.10 EUR, so the total outlay is 57 EUR. A QdL ticket for 3 people is 60 EUR. Then you need to purchase the VRM ticket, and I don't see a way to buy it on-line, but there may be a way. Otherwise you would need to stop at the district border and buy your VRM ticket.

Now as far as VRM tickets, you have your choice of buying three 3-day Tageskarten at 37.60 EUR each, so total outlay is 112.60 EUR, OR buying the Minigruppenkarte for 22.10 EUR for each day you need it, so total outlay would be 66.30 EUR if you wanted to use it for 3 days. So it looks like buying the Minigruppenkarte for each day you want to travel is the better option.

As far as VRM zones go, they are pretty small. Just get the the max number of zones and you're covered.

Posted by
631 posts

There is a basic flaw on your planning. The airport is wrong side of the river to Bonn city and Remagen. Trains run both sides between Cologne city and Koblenz. Your plan seems to be to get the bus from the airport to Bonn main station whcih take 30 minutes (although when I used it there were traffic delays)? The simple journey is to get the RE train from the airport direct to Koblenz, at 51 minutes after the hour. So if the plane landed at 10:30 you'd probably get the 11:51 - is this a long distance flight or within Europe?

VRS tickets do overlap south into parts of VRM territory and others have done the calculations whcih suggest a €3 saving. Theoretically you should be able to buy VRM tickets from a DB ticket machine at the airport station but these are notoriously difficult to find out of area offers and passes from, so you'd go to the ticket counter - and they charge a €2 fee for selling regional passes!

So a QdL ticket seems best.

I'm still thinking about the other questions

Posted by
631 posts

Boppard - Heidelberg, cheapest is as you guessed the SchoenesWochende Ticket for 3. Remember none of these cheap tickets are valid on the long distance trains type IC, EC or ICE. You could save maybe 40 minutes on a fast train but the cost wold be much higher.

Heidelberg Sunday, there is definately a VRN day ticket but the website is dreadful - badly organised, slow and missing explanations for those who don't know the area. I think Heidelberg needs a 2 zone ticket but you need to be advised by the locals

Heidelberg to the airport. Trying to mix 3 different regions passes is too complicated and probably dearer than the QdL ticket at €60 for 3 people. Using regional trains takes around 4.5 hours. With an ICE that would be 2.5 hours but the price is much higher, booking now would be from €155 for 3 and could go as high as €255 for 3.

On most of the passes there is a lined box (or multiple boxes for a multi person pass) which looks like it should have something in it. It's where you must write your name(s) to prevent a black market in tickets being sold on through the day.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Sam and Steve,

Can I use the VRS ticket from Cologne Airport to get to Remagen using the Price Level 2,3,4 ( as I understand the levels depend on the time of the travel, which is 120 min - level 2 , Price is euro 3.803 = euro 11.40 or 180 min (level 3 - price in euro 53 = 15 euro or level 4 - 7.70 *3= 23.10 euro ) not sure if level 3 is for areas other than cologne or Bonn and level 4 for Bonn or cologne ), then primarily use the mini group ticket (euro 22.10).

So it would be price of euro 23.10 plus 22.10 = 45.20 euro..

I will be arriving to Cologne airport from London


Posted by
20 posts

Looks like missed some asterisk it was meant to be 3.80* 3 = 11.40 euros and 5*3 = 15 euros..

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Steve.

Can I use the combination of VRS and VRM tickets to get from airport to Koblenz and then Koblenz to Boppard.
I can try to book VRM mini group ticket online and buy the VRS ticket at airport? This will ensure I do not have to get down at Bonn or any other location and can travel straight to Koblenz


Posted by
16166 posts

But according to the VRS trip planner, it is a level-5 ticket from Cologne-Bonn airport to Remagen. A single ticket is 11.40 EUR, times 3 is 34.20 EUR. Add the VRM Minigruppenkarte for 22.10 EUR and it's 56.30 EUR, Now you're saving 3.70 EUR.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Sam, yes just realized when I check based on the start and destination locations it is showing up as Level 5- preisstufe.

But I was checking just the usual options which mentioned about the regional trains ( level 3 and 4)with validity of 180 minutes, so it showed me a fare of 5 euro and 7.7 euro respectively.

So I think I will go with the Cologne airport to Bonn hbf option VRS ticket for each is 7.80 euros i.e. 23.40 euros and take a Rhine pfalz ticket from Bonn to Boppard which is 34 euros for 3 of us.

I can book the RPfalz ticket online on the site, and just purchase the VRS tickets at airport.
I assume if I have both these tickets handy then I should be able to catch the train from airport which goes directly to Koblenz and then change from there to reach Boppard.

Does this sound ok?

And for the next days , I believe I should be able to buy the VRM mini group ticket each of the days from the Boppard hbf station.

Posted by
16166 posts

I still think you are going to a lot of trouble to save a couple of EUR. The Rheinland-Pfalz ticket conditions indicate that the ticket is only valid on the line Bonn Hbf, Bonn-Mehlem, Rolandseck. If you take the Regional Express line direct from CGN to Koblenz, you bypass Bonn Hbf. It is not valid on the Regional Express line from CGN until you get to Unkel, so it is a Preistuffe-5 at 11.40 from CGN to there. So then you would be paying 34.20 for three VRS tickets plus 22.10 EUR for the VRM Miningruppenkarte, 56.30 EUR total.

The way you describe would require you to to go from CGN to Bonn Hbf with a Preistuffe-4 ticket, then an R-P ticket to Boppard. for 57.40 EUR. You can also take the SB60 bus from CGN to Bonn Hbf at 8.20 EUR pp, so 24.60 EUR plus 34 EUR for the R-P ticket, so that is 58.60 EUR total.

All these machinations when you can just buy a QdL ticket for 60 EUR and be done with it.

BTW, looks like you can get a Prestuffe-3 tageskarte for 3 people for 11.90 EUR per day for Heidelberg. That would cover you in the Grosswabe (big zone) Heidelberg.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Sam. I was not aware of that limitation on the Rpfalz ticket of going via Bonnhbf only..
In that case I will need to make 2 changes if I want to use the Rpfalz ticket and the trains are 1 hour apart 10.08 am followed by 11.08 and so on.
Makes sense to keep my options open then and based on how soon I am out of the airport and the train available, will either go with the Quer Durchs Land ticket or the combination of VRS and Rpfalz..

Will I be able to buy the tickets at the CGN airport?

In Heidelberg the first day we will have the Weekend Quer Durchs ticket to use.. But the next day we plan to visit Speyer and Mitten berg, not sure if these areas can be covered the next day or if you could suggest any places nearby that could be visited.
Which tickets would be required for these locations?

Thanks once again..

Posted by
16166 posts

Will I be able to buy the tickets at the CGN airport?

You can certainly buy a VRS ticket at a ticket kiosk at CGN. Not sure about an R-P ticket, but probably from a DB ticket machine. I haven't done it myself so couldn't say for sure.

If you want to visit Speyer, I'd say make full use of your Schoenes Wochenende Ticket by going early in the morning to Heidelberg, drop your bags at your lodgings, then go to Speyer and back with your still valid S-W ticket.

I am not familiar with Mittenberg, are you talking about Miltenberg? Anyway, why don't you start a new topic, "Day Trips from Heidelberg" and you can get answers from people more familiar with the area

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Sam. It's been of great help.
I guess I should be able to purchase tickets from DB machine as it allows me to purchase RP ticket on the DB site online.
I assume DB machines would be available at the Airport along with Vrs machines?
Will it be separate machines or the same one for both the tickets.
If we manage to get the 10.51 am ticket then will go for the Quer durchs land ticket.

Shall I be able to buy the mini group tickets from Boppard hbf?
Also will I be able to buy the Schones weekend land ticket from Boppard?

Posted by
16166 posts

There should be a DB ticketautomaten at CGN since it is a Deutsche Bahn station. Same at Boppard station. I've seen photos of side-by-side VRM & DB ticketautomaten at stations in Rhine villages. And you can always buy QdL and S-W tickets out of DB ticketautomaten.

Posted by
20 posts

Sam ,

One question or doubt which I had, about using the direct or fast trains, if I select a fast train from Heildelberg to Cologne airport, can I get down at Cologne to do some local sightseeing, and get back on another train from Cologne to Cologne airport?
This will be more generic question as well, applying to any such scenarios.

Posted by
16166 posts

By "fast train" do you mean an ICE or IC train? If you are buying a Sparpreis ticket from Heidelberg to CGN that stops in Cologne on the way, then yes, you can use any regional train or S-bahn to complete the journey after you get off the ICE or IC train in Cologne. Its called "vor-und-nachlauf". Yes, those are the rules, and they allow it. Make sure you specify a train with a stopover at Cologne Hbf, or you may get a train that bypasses it. Then you would have to buy tickets into Cologne Hbf and back from the airport.

Here is the specific wording from the DB website:

Train-specific booking:
When buying a saver fare, you must select the specific trains you want to travel on as well as a specific time (date and time). Your ticket is valid only on the trains and date specified on the ticket. You are not bound to a specific train when using connecting local and regional trains.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Sam.
I did select the sparpies option, looks like it is the saver option..

These are IC or ICE ones or combinations with 2 or 3 changes involved.
The ones with 3 changes goes through Cologne Hbf.

The ones with 1 or 2 stops have changes at Mannehiem or Mainz.

These look like saver ones.. But in the description it is written as Sparpies and states that specific trains I. E. Your ticket is only valid on trains specified on your ticket. Can be used in conjunction with Bahncard 25/50.

But nowhere does it mention the point you mentioned 'You are not bound to a specific train when using connecting local or regional trains'.

Also which would be the options for me to go from Cologne city to Cologne airport, the regional train options?


P. S. Have you heard about 3 day mini group karte pass? This covers group of upto 5 persons for 3 days but at price of 2 days ticket I. E. For 42 euros can use an Vrm network for entire group.


Posted by
16166 posts

Yeah Saver is just the English translation of Sparpreis, I use them interchangeably, a bad habit.

When I look at August 14, The best deal is to take the 7:55 IC train from Heidelberg Hbf to Koeln Hbf (actual German name of the city and its main station), arriving at 10:43, then showing a Regional Express connection to Cologne-Bonn airport. This is 101.70 EUR for 3 people.

But you are not required to take that connection, you can take any later regional train or S-bahn from Koeln Hbf to Cologne-Bonn airport. That will give you time to see Cologne for a few hours if you have a late flight. As I said, this is legal and can be seen here. Scroll done to "Train-specific booking:" and read the last sentence.

Several years ago when my wife and I were in the VRM district, there was a 3-day Minigruppenkarte that we used, but this appears to have been discontinued. I see only the Tageskarte, the 3-day Tageskarte, and the Minigruppenkarte. Interesting that you mention 3 days for the price of 2, as this is the exactly the price difference between the Tageskarte and the 3-day Tageskarte. The offers for various tickets are listed in the Preistabelle here:

Also note that the Tageskarte and the 3-day Tageskarte are good anytime, but the Minigruppenkarte is only good after 9 am Mon to Fri, and anytime Sat, Sun, holidays

Posted by
12792 posts

I once took a taxi from Bonn to the Cologne airport. I will have it paid off in 2 more years.....

Posted by
20 posts

James I certainly don't intend to take the cab.

I have 2 options for trains out of Heidelberg Hbf. I intend to leave by noon as I have a flight from Cologne Airport at 9.00pm and ticket available at 90euro for 3 of us.
Route 1: Start at 1.13 pm Heidelberg to Mannheim (S3)
then change/transfer Mannheim to Koln Hbf via. Frankfurt airport, Sieburg Bonn and to Koln Hbf. (ICE108)
Arrive at Koln Hbf at 3.05 pm
Total journey time 2 hrs

Route 2

Start at 12.25pm Heidelberg to Koln Hbf via Mannheim, Mainz, Koblenz, Bonn Hbf and Koln Hbf.. No changes required.. Arrive at 3.05 pm.
Total journey time 2hrs 40 minutes (ICE2312)

Which route would you suggest..
Is the first route Mannheim to Frankfurt airport and then to Sieburg Bonn scenic?
The second option though longer does not involve any changes..
I will have already spent 3 days in Rhine Valley region.


Posted by
16166 posts

Hi Rahul,

The 12:25 will be direct (no changes) all the way from Heidelberg to Cologne. It goes along the Rhine river. Of course you have already been there, but the scenery is still better than the ICE from Mannheim via Siegburg/Bonn. This route follows much of the median of the Autobahn between Frankfurt and Cologne. But this train hits speeds over 300 kph, so you will be passing Mercedes on the Autobahn like they are standing still. My preference would be to get a last view of the Rhine gorge on the way home.

Getting to Cologne at 3:05 pm, that will give about 3 1/2 hours in Cologne before you head to the airport. I suppose if the flight is to the UK, arriving at 7 pm for a 9 pm flight would be sufficient. The S-bahn goes from Cologne Hbf to the airport at 1, 21, and 41 past the hour and takes 14 minutes. Additionally, there are Regional Express trains at 38 and 58 past the hour and take 11 minutes. The connection included with your Savings tickets from Heidelberg will still be valid. You can store luggage at the station lockers.

As far as what to do in 3 1/2 hours in Cologne, the cathedral is the big draw. Also take a walk out on the Hohenzollernbrucke, which is the railroad bridge over the Rhine leading out of the Hauptbahnhof right next to the cathedral. Interesting spot to have a bite to eat is Papa Joes Biersalon in the Altermarkt with its collection of music machines, and Tuennes & Schael, animatronic juke box.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Sam for your advice.
I managed to book the train as you suggested.
Have reached Boppard today afternoon.
Used the Vrs.. Preisstufe level 4 and Rpfalz combination for today.
The weather will be wet for next 2 days so would need to look at options possible.
Just spent the day locally today in Boppard..
And travelled to Mainz and back, along the Rhein. Could not do the river cruise as we were sort of late for the last cruise..

Still have a couple of days in hand and want to visit Koblenz, Cochem and Rudesheim..

Any expert suggestions?


Posted by
16166 posts

I've taken the K-D boats on a rainy day and still enjoyed it, but it was not a gully-washer, just drizzly.

Posted by
12400 posts


Given your two choices, I would take the option with no changes on the ICE, even though it takes 40 mins longer.

Posted by
16166 posts

Looks like the OP has his tickets bought and is on the ground by the Rhine.