It is a very easy journey by train from Brussels to Cologne. With two different high-speed operators, Deutsche Bahn and Thalys, competing on this route there are often some very cheap fares available.
A new railway line through the hills of eastern Belgium opened in 2009, allowing much shorter journey times. The slow trundle through pretty valleys has been replaced by a high-speed dash (at speeds of 260 kph) with lots of tunnels. It is still possible to take the old route if you wish. It shows up here on Loco2 on itineraries which require two changes of train (at Welkenraedt and Aachen).
Whatever rail operator you choose for your journey from Brussels to Cologne, you’ll find that tickets normally are released for sale three months prior to travel. That's the moment for good deals, but this is a route where occasionally an additional contingent of cheaper fares may be released closer to the date of travel.
Brussels to Cologne
From Brussels-Midi there are up to nine high-speed trains to Cologne each day – a mix of Thalys and ICE services. The journey takes just under two hours and most trains make just a couple of stops along the way.
The first part of the journey from Brussels traverses the flat lands of Brabant to reach Liège-Guillemins station. East from Liège, the train joins a new high-speed line which cuts in tunnels through hilly country to reach the German border just before Aachen. Beyond Aachen, the train traverses flat terrain to reach the Rhineland city of Cologne, where you arrive at the city’s main station (the Hauptbahnhof), located on the west bank of the Rhine right by Cologne Cathedral.See also: