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Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

Davis, California
Level Contributor
49 posts
15 reviews
Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

I'm flying with my parents from Florence to San Francisco via Dusseldorf in June. I used to live in Germany, but my parents have never visited. AirBerlin recently changed our connecting flight, so a 2 hour layover just became a 6 hour layover. I am wondering if it is feasible to land in Dusseldorf, get to Cologne Hbf to check out the Cathedral, and then back to the airport in 6 hours.

Specifically, we are arriving around 9AM on a Tuesday and our flight is around 3:30PM. I am thinking if we can get out of the airport by 10:30AM, we could get to Cologne around 11AM, 1 hour to visit the Cathedral, and then back on our way to the airport.

I know this sounds ridiculous, and for someone who lived near Cologne for a while it seems that way to me, but my parents really want to try to see Cologne Cathedral! What do you guys think? Anyone have experience getting from the Dusseldorf Airport to Dusseldorf Hpf and onwards to Cologne?

Germany
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
40,752 posts
1. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

DB timetable

http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

From: Flughafen Terminal A/B, Düsseldorf

To: Köln Hbf

and select "only local transport".

If you flight arrives at 9am and - as you have to collect no luggage and is an inner EU (no customs and inner Schengen (no immigration) flight - you might be well at 10:30 already in Cologne.

VRS tariff applies for this trip. Price level 5. Buy a mini group day ticket: EUR 36,40.

Davis, California
Level Contributor
49 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

Thanks for the advice! What do you mean by VRS tariff? Does that apply to the train ticket cost? Is that what a mini group day ticket is, a train ticket? Thank you very much! I thought we would have to go through immigration (since I have only ever flown into Dusseldorf from the US), but of course what you say makes sense!

Germany
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
40,752 posts
3. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

> What do you mean by VRS tariff? Does that apply to the train ticket cost?

This tariff applies to all local public transport (in this area). VRS tariff tickets cover regional trains (e.g. RE), S-Bahn trains, Stadtbahn (mixture of metro and tram), trams and buses. Also the SkyLine monorail you need to get from the terminal building to the airport train station.

This tariff includes not long distance trains (IC/EC or ICE). For these the DB tariff applies. Such a ticket would however not cover the SkyLine. And a lot more expensive. With minimal time savings.

But in short: the mentioned mini group day ticket does you get from Düsseldorf Airport to Cologne and back (as long you don't use IC/EC or ICE trains).

It would also cover all local public transport in Cologne - but with your limited time frame nothing you may take advantage of.

Davis, California
Level Contributor
49 posts
15 reviews
4. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

Thank you so much for explaining everything! I tried looking up the train journey you suggested, but there were no prices available. Maybe I have to buy the ticket at the Dusseldorf Airport station?

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
5,754 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

You cannot view the fare online. See post #1 for the fare info. And yes, you will have to buy it at the station.

Germany
Level Contributor
56 posts
317 reviews
6. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

Should be doable. The Dom is basically located at the main station. Just make sure to have one alternative connection available that you can fall back on just in case. Deutsche Bahn is not known for being very reliable when it comes to punctuality.

So if you arrive at 9 and get to the gate by 9:15, it's worth making the run to get the 9:30 connection. Have your credit card or cash ready to purchase the ticket at the station / vending machine. If possible, don't use a connection where you have to switch trains.

Also, since you will have your luggage checked already, make the online check-in for your flight to the US if possible. It will give you some more time. Security is a quickie in DUS, so should be emmigration, so if you have 1.5 hrs for your international flight, you should be fine.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,217 posts
8 reviews
7. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

This actually is an easy trip that should be very enjoyable for your parents and not rushed at all. Just make sure before you leave that you understand where you are buying your tickets, and how to get from the train platform back to the area at the airport where you need to be before heading out. There are very nice views of the cathedral heading into Cologne from Dusseldorf, and don't forget to notice all the love locks on the bridge between Cologne-Messe and Cologne HBF. Stop at the Meister Bock in the HBF hall for a tasty sausage lunch on the way back (you can take it on the train), and grab a pretzel or a berliner on the way in. With a bit of thought, you can make this a real trip highlight Check at the front of the Cathedral to see if there is an English tour that fits into your time schedule. The Cathdral Treasury is also worth a visit. If time hangs heavy on your hands, you can add a stop at the German-Roman museum right next door which is fabulous. You can see how close it is right here roemisch-germanisches-museum.de/Startseite

Davis, California
Level Contributor
49 posts
15 reviews
8. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

Everyone, thank you so much for the help! Our flight actually got changed again giving us an extra half hour, so I really feel comfortable with the feasibility of this excursion. Thank you for all the suggestions for activities and guidance on the logistics!

9. Re: Layover in Dusseldorf--can I get to Cologne and back?

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