Köln / Cologne / Koeln to Bremen by train

How to take the rail journey from Cologne/Köln to Bremen



From Köln/Cologne Hbf to Bremen Hbf

Travel Information

Final Destination: Hamburg-Altona or Kiel

Despite there being no high speed lines between Koln/Cologne and Bremen most of the trains between the two cities are ICE trains.
Two of the trains in the timetable, the departures which typically leave at 17:09 and 19:09 are EC trains as these trains will have commenced their journeys in Switzerland; so you may find yourself on a Swiss train.

Trains either take a route via Essen or a route via Wuppertal.
The lack of a high speed line means that it doesn't matter which train you take, they all have similar journey times.

Trains that travel via Wuppertal are slightly faster than those which travel via Essen, but the time difference is marginal, so it's not worth targeting the trains that travel via Wuppertal.

Whether a train travels via Wuppertal or Essen also makes no difference to the ticket price.

1 x train per hour


Book early and save: Yes

Online bookings usually open: 6 months ahead of the travel date

When looking for tickets from Köln Hbf on DB type ‘K‘ or 'COLOGNE' into the ‘from‘ box and not ‘Ko‘.

On the DB booking site look for journeys that have:

  • 0 in the Chg. column
  • ICE or IC in the Products column.

Use the earlier/later buttons to search for the cheapest ticket prices.

Reservations are highly recommended for this journey, book a 1st class ticket and your seat will be assigned, but not if you book 2nd class.
This is one of Germany's busiest rail routes.

Where to book
Ticket Provider Approximate Cost
DB from €17.90

DB Guide

DB is the national railway operator in Germany, so its website can be used for booking journeys by German express trains; the ICE and IC trains and it doesn't charge booking fees.
It also sells tickets for journeys by direct trains on all international routes from Germany regardless of whether DB is operating the train service.

It also sells an extensive range of end-to-end journeys which involve making connections both within Germany and in neighboring countries, but journeys between Germany and Britain cannot be booked on DB.

A key feature of DB website worth keeping mind is that it offers 1st class ticket purchasers complimentary seat reservations on journeys both within and to/from Germany.
Seat reservations for daytime in both 1st and 2nd class can also be booked separately from tickets.

Two types of ticket have recently been made available;

  1. Cheaper 'Young' tickets which can only be booked by those aged 15-26 on the travel date.
  2. Flexi Plus tickets, which are now the most expensive type of ticket, but they're the only type of 2nd class tickets which DO include a seat reservation.
Trainline from €17.90

Trainline Guide

Save A Train from €17.90

Save A Train Guide

Happy rail from €17.90

Happy rail Guide

Happy Rail is a Netherlands rail ticket agency which sells tickets for both national and international journeys within a range of countries including Belgium France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland.

HappyRail doesn't charge booking fees in the conventional sense, but if you're not Dutch you can expect to pay additional transaction fees, which will be added to the total cost.
That's because the most common form of online payment used in The Netherlands is 'iDEAL' and HappyRail doesn't charge a transaction fee for 'iDEAL' payments, but only Dutch residents can sign up to 'iDEAL'.
Other forms of payment include Visa debit cards will incur a fee.

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