How to take a rail journey from Cologne/Köln to Basel

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Köln / Cologne / Koeln to Basel / Bâle by train

There are three options for a taking a direct train from Cologne/Köln to Basel:

  1. The fastest and most frequent option for a daytime journey are the swish ICE trains.
  2. For those who favor a scenic journey over a train ride with a wow factor, there are the EC trains which take the beautiful route through the Rhine Valley.
  3. Or if you need to be in Basel in time for breakfast, there is also an overnight train

All of these trains call at two stations in Basel, the first stop is the Basel Bad Bf, which is managed by DB, the German national rail operator, which therefore creates the illusion that you won't have left Germany.
The trains then continue on to Basel SBB station where connections are available to a swathe of Swiss destinations without direct trains from Cologne/Köln, including Luzern, Lugano, Locarno, Brig and Biel (for Lausanne and Geneva)

What matters about this is that the tickets to Basel Bad Bf will be cheaper as DB classifies this is a national journey, but the journey on to Basel SBB becomes an international journey.
So if you will be heading to Basel city centre, book tickets to Basel Bad Bf.

Routes you can take to go from Köln / Cologne / Koeln to Basel / Bâle

When travelling between most cities by train there is only one logical option, though on other journeys there is a choice between different trains or alternative routes. If different options are available you can use the info to decide which is best for you.

Choose one of the following options:

Route Information

Travel Time (approx)

3hr 40min approx



Travel Info

Mon to Weds = 8 x trains per day
Thurs to Sun = 7 x trains per day

Route Information

Option 2: the more scenic route
Travel Time (approx)

4hr 29min (approx)



Travel Info

2 x trains per day

Route Information

Option 3: travel through the night
Travel Time (approx)

6hr 18min



Travel Info

1 x train per night

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