Car Rental in Cologne
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Cologne?
Germany’s fourth-largest city is a proper tourism destination. Inhabited since the Roman times and with a wealth of beautiful historical buildings, Cologne also has impressive modern architecture and unique creative neighborhoods. The city’s location in the heart of western Germany means that from here, you can easily explore the rest of the region or even pop over the border to the Netherlands or Belgium.
One-Way Car Rentals in Cologne
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Cologne and drop off in another city include:
- From Cologne to Frankfurt - 173 offers from $30.79 per day
- From Cologne to Zurich - 48 offers from $66.42 per day
- From Cologne to Amsterdam - 48 offers from $60.02 per day
- From Cologne to Geneva - 48 offers from $66.42 per day
- From Cologne to Dusseldorf - 207 offers from $30.79 per day
Top ways to enter Cologne
- Cologne-Bonn Airport: Located between Cologne and West Germany’s former capital Bonn, it is the seventh-busiest airport in Germany. In 2019, it served more than 12 million travelers and is also a large hub for cargo aviation. The airport is served by around 25 different airlines, with Eurowings, Ryanair, and TUiFly Deutschland providing most of the flights. Located 15km (9 miles) southeast of the city center, the airport can be reached in about 15 minutes.
- Dusseldorf Airport: With more than 25 million travelers handled in 2019, Flughafen Dusseldorf is the fourth-busiest airport in Germany behind Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin. Primarily serving the city of the same name, Dusseldorf Airport is just 59km (36 miles) north of Cologne and can be reached in an hour.
- Dortmund Airport: Another international airport in North Rhine-Westphalia, Dortmund is popular with low-cost carriers. It hosts many flights to both Western and Eastern Europe, providing connections to the United Kingdom, Spain, Serbia, Poland, Bulgaria, and many other countries. Located 99km (60 miles) northeast of Cologne, the airport can be reached in about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Frankfurt Airport: The busiest in Germany and one of the largest in Europe, Frankfurt Airport served over 70 million travelers in 2019. The airport is a large hub for Lufthansa but is also served by more than 90 other airlines that provide connections to every continent in the world. About 175km (109 miles) northwest of Cologne, Frankfurt Airport can be reached in two hours.
- By train: If you arrive in Cologne by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at Cologne Central Station (Köln Hauptbahnhof).
- Cologne has a temperate-oceanic climate with hot summers and cool winters. The average high temperature is 24°C (76°F) in July, the warmest month, and 5°C (42°F) in January. Cologne is one of the warmest cities in Germany. The precipitation is rather even throughout the year. Historically, Cologne has been vulnerable to flooding of the river Rhine, but this problem has been largely solved thanks to a number of innovative flood-control mechanisms including mobile river walls.
- Cologne is home to many high quality museums. Some of the most interesting ones include the Roman-Germanic Museum focusing on the city’s ancient history, the Ludwig Museum of Modern Art, Kolumba Museum of Christian Art, and Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum that has exhibits on both the ethnography of the Rhine-Ruhr area and tribal art from around the world.
Top destinations and activities
- Kölner Dom. One of the most famous religious buildings in Germany, Cologne Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The first stone of the building was laid in 1248, but it took more than six centuries to finish this immense building. Tourists are allowed to climb to the top of one of the cathedral’s towers, and while it can be quite an effort (usually it takes about 5-7 minutes to get to the top), the view of the River Rhine and the rest of the city is worth it.
- Rheinauhafen. The former port area of Cologne is nowadays a unique blend of historic harbour buildings and futuristic modern architecture. With many restaurants serving German, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisine, it has also become Cologne’s gastronomic hub. Come here for a delicious meal or simply a long and enjoyable walk along the Rhine
- Belgisches Viertel. The Belgian Quarter is one of Cologne’s hippest neighborhoods. Although uncompromisingly unique, its atmosphere has similarities to Hamburg’s St. Pauli and Berlin’s most creative districts. With plenty of art galleries, cafeterias, outdoor markets, and performance venues, it’s impossible to ever get bored here.
- Hohenzollern Bridge. Cologne’s most famous bridge, built between 1907 and 1911, spans the Rhine River. This railway and pedestrian bridge links Cologne’s Altstadt (Old Town) with the Deutz district. Hohenzollern Bridge is also a famous love lock bridge.
- NS-Documentation Center of the City of Cologne. The former headquarters of the Gestapo secret police, the EL-DE Haus, is an excellent museum, which chronicles one of the darkest periods of Cologne’s history. This is one of the most important museums about National Socialism in Germany.
Traffic and parking
Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limit is 50km/h (31 mph) in populated or built-up areas. There is no national speed limit on autobahns (highways) and many of them don’t have a set speed limit. However, contrary to what is sometimes stated, about 50% of the autobahns do have their own individual speed limits, so do carefully follow the speed limit signs on each road that you’re driving on.
Where the speed limits are enforced, the tolerance for speeding is low. Driving just 3km/h (2 mph) above the speed limit can, and often will, lead to fines. Many roads that do have speed limits have radars in place.
Some sections have a minimum speed limit that applies to specific lanes, for example, a minimum speed of 110km/h (68 mph) for the left lane and 90km/h (56 mph) for the center lane. They are signified with a blue sign (circle) with white numbers.
Because of the very high speed used by some on the German autobahns, be extra careful before switching lanes.
It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving. This is strictly enforced and the fines are substantial.
Children under the age of 12 or under 150 cm height have to use a child safety seat.
The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.00% for novice drivers. Exceeding these limits can lead to high fines and a licence ban.
Proof of insurance and the car’s documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
The general emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112.
Although Germany has a large number of high-speed motorways, only vehicles that weigh more than 7,5 tons need to pay a toll. This excludes practically all types of rental cars.
There are two tolled tunnels in Germany, the Herren Tunnel in Schleswig-Holstein and the Warnow Tunnel in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Neither of them is near Cologne.
Find out more about the toll roads in Germany on the European toll road website.
Ideas for day trips
- Aachen. The westernmost city of Germany is home to the famous Aachen Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This spectacular church was constructed at the behest of Emperor Charlemagne, who was later buried there in 814. No visit to Aachen is complete without a visit to the Carolus Thermen Bad Aachen.
- Upper Middle Rhine Valley. The Rhine Gorge is a 65 km stretch of the Rhine River Valley between Koblenz and Rüdesheim am Rhein. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its riverside villages and hilltop castles and fortresses.
- Rhineland Nature Park. Made up of pine, beech, and oak trees, countless pretty lakes, and old hunting lodges, Rhineland Nature Park is the nicest green area in the vicinity of Cologne. Located just 38km (23.6 miles) southwest of the city, it can be reached in 30 to 40 minutes. After relaxing in the park, you can also visit the small town of Brühl, famous for the impressive Augustusburg Palace and the museum dedicated to the surrealist artist Max Ernst.
- Ruhr. The former coal and steel heartland of Germany isn’t usually thought of as a tourist area, but its Industrial Heritage Trail actually has plenty to offer. Tourists can visit the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex (a UNESCO World Heritage site in Essen), see a former miners’ town in Dahlhauser Heide, or visit the German Mining and Railway Museum in Bochum. Essen is just 71km (44 miles) north of Cologne and can be reached in about one hour; and with a rental car, you can easily travel along the trail from there.
- Bonn. Although best known internationally as the former capital of West Germany, Bonn is actually a cozy and fun place to visit. For its relatively small size, it has plenty of tourist attractions, such as the Beethoven Museum (the famous composer was born in the city), the Kreuzbergkirche Baroque church, and Poppelsdorfer Palace and Botanical Gardens. Just 30km (19 miles) southeast of Cologne, it can be reached in just 30 minutes and is definitely worth a visit.
- Dusseldorf. The largest of its many neighboring cities, Dusseldorf is sometimes considered a rival of Cologne, and some locals will even tell you that there is no love lost between the two metropolises. Regardless of whether it's meant seriously or not, Dusseldorf is a sophisticated city with a surprisingly cozy atmosphere, and its old town is one of the most scenic in Western Germany. Located just a 45-minute drive north of Cologne, it is definitely worth a visit.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car types in Cologne are mini, compact, and economy. The most popular rental car is the Volkswagen Up, followed by the Volkswagen Golf and the Fiat 500.
Eifel National Park. Located on the border with Belgium, Eifel National Park is the largest protected area in North Rhine-Westphalia. The park is made up of vast meadows and forests that can be explored by hiking on its many paths as well as many lakes and springs. Eifel is home to many wildlife species, including wildcat, black stork, and European wall lizard. Located just about 65km (37 miles) southwest of Cologne, it can be reached in one hour. On the edge of the park is the city of Aachen, one of the most picturesque cities of Northwest Germany.
Amsterdam. Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most visited cities and for good reason. The city’s beautiful canals and parks, world-class museums, distinct wooden architecture, and active nightlife attract millions of visitors every year. For a city of its size, it also has a surprisingly relaxed and enjoyable pace of life. Located just 260km (161 miles) northwest of Cologne, Amsterdam can be reached in about 3 hours. To go from Germany to the Netherlands, you’ll have to cross an international border, so ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit it.
Belgium. Germany’s western neighbor is best known for its capital city, Brussels, but it has so much more to offer. Its northern cities Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent have beautiful medieval architecture; Ardennes in the south is a region of woodlands, rolling hills, and little villages; and Belgium’s North Sea coast is a great place to visit in the summertime. It’s easy to reach, too - Antwerp is just 210km (130 miles) west of Cologne and can be reached in about two hours 45 minutes. Like with Amsterdam, ask your rental car provider in advance if they permit crossing the border.
Luxembourg. One of the smallest (and richest) members of the European Union, Luxembourg tends to get overlooked by foreign visitors. But give it a chance and you’ll discover scenic small towns, notable industrial heritage, and even some stretches of wilderness. The drive from Cologne takes only about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Car Rental Prices in Cologne
- Convertibles - from $69 per day
- Station wagons - from $36 per day
- Large cars - from $38 per day
- Medium cars - from $35 per day
- Vans - from $131 per day
- Premium cars - from $58 per day
- Small cars - from $30 per day
- SUVs - from $37 per day
It’s easy to land a great rental car in Cologne if you follow these tips:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Cologne is the cheapest in October when renting a car is about 30% cheaper than the yearly average and 51% cheaper than renting a car in August. Come visit Germany in early autumn!
Top 20 Cities near Cologne
Bonn Car Rentals from $32.08 per day15.0 km / 9.3 miles away
Dusseldorf Car Rentals from $39.24 per day53.9 km / 33.5 miles away
Koblenz Car Rentals from $36.51 per day62.3 km / 38.7 miles away
Essen Car Rentals from $48.39 per day66.7 km / 41.4 miles away
Bochum Car Rentals from $42.20 per day68.6 km / 42.6 miles away
Aachen Car Rentals from $37.14 per day71.9 km / 44.7 miles away
Dortmund Car Rentals from $33.60 per day79.6 km / 49.5 miles away
Hahn/Lautzenhausen Car Rentals from $36.52 per day102.4 km / 63.6 miles away
Weeze Car Rentals from $72.03 per day107.5 km / 66.8 miles away
Giessen Car Rentals from $41.16 per day114.9 km / 71.4 miles away
Wiesbaden Car Rentals from $42.29 per day118.3 km / 73.5 miles away
Münster Car Rentals from $39.66 per day124.1 km / 77.1 miles away
Mainz Car Rentals from $39.69 per day124.5 km / 77.4 miles away
Frankfurt Car Rentals from $23.89 per day136.2 km / 84.6 miles away
Paderborn Car Rentals from $39.66 per day145.3 km / 90.3 miles away
Darmstadt Car Rentals from $41.97 per day152.0 km / 94.4 miles away
Ramstein - Miesenbach Car Rentals from $38.38 per day161.1 km / 100.1 miles away
Kaiserslautern Car Rentals from $42.47 per day164.2 km / 102.0 miles away
Mannheim Car Rentals from $22.87 per day180.8 km / 112.3 miles away
Fulda Car Rentals from $22.92 per day182.6 km / 113.5 miles away
Top 20 Locations near Cologne
Cologne Bonn Airport Car Rentals from $33.67 per day
Dusseldorf Airport Car Rentals from $39.24 per day53.9 km / 33.5 miles away
Dortmund Airport Car Rentals from $41.75 per day79.6 km / 49.5 miles away
Frankfurt-Hahn Airport Car Rentals from $36.52 per day102.4 km / 63.6 miles away
Weeze/Niederrhein Airport Car Rentals from $72.03 per day107.5 km / 66.8 miles away
Frankfurt West Car Rentals from $62.13 per day130.7 km / 81.2 miles away
Frankfurt Airport Car Rentals from $41.17 per day136.2 km / 84.6 miles away
Frankfurt Central Station Car Rentals from $51.39 per day136.7 km / 84.9 miles away
Baden-Airpark/Karlsruhe Airport Car Rentals from $53.04 per day241.9 km / 150.3 miles away
Hannover Airport Car Rentals from $31.85 per day249.4 km / 155.0 miles away
Bremen Airport Car Rentals from $60.57 per day267.4 km / 166.2 miles away
Stuttgart Train Station Car Rentals from $63.31 per day273.9 km / 170.2 miles away
Stuttgart Airport Car Rentals from $35.38 per day284.3 km / 176.7 miles away
Nurnberg Airport Car Rentals from $27.89 per day318.9 km / 198.2 miles away
Nuremberg South Car Rentals from $31.99 per day327.1 km / 203.3 miles away
Hamburg Central Train Station Car Rentals from $40.83 per day356.8 km / 221.7 miles away
Leipzig/Halle Airport Car Rentals from $68.62 per day361.1 km / 224.4 miles away
Hamburg Airport Car Rentals from $23.08 per day363.3 km / 225.7 miles away
Memmingen Airport Car Rentals from $33.11 per day390.3 km / 242.5 miles away
Friedrichshafen Airport Car Rentals from $61.64 per day394.6 km / 245.2 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Cologne?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the usual rental length in Cologne?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Cologne?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||14|
|Popular suppliers||Flex To Go, Enterprise, Keddy, Alamo, WheeGo|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, Medium cars, SUVs, Large cars|
|Lowest price||$30 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Flex To Go||Volkswagen Polo||5||2||Small cars|
|Flex To Go||Fiat 500||5||1||Small cars|
|Flex To Go||Volkswagen Tiguan||5||3||SUVs|
|Flex To Go||Volkswagen Golf||5||3||Medium cars|
|Flex To Go||Volkswagen Golf||5||2||Medium cars|
|Flex To Go||Volkswagen Polo||4||2||Small cars|
|Enterprise||Fiat Ducato Cargo||4||13||Large cars|
|Enterprise||Toyota Aygo||3||2||Small cars|
|Flex To Go||Seat Ateca||5||3||SUVs|
|Enterprise||Opel Corsa||4||1||Small cars|
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