About Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN)
Address: Mietwagenzentrum Ankunftsebene 0 Terminal 2, Koeln, 51147
One of few German airports operating round the clock, Cologne Bonn Airport (CGN) is strategically located roughly 15 km (9 mi) southeast of central Cologne and 16 km (10 mi) northeast of the city of Bonn.
The urban sprawl of Cologne ranks a solid 7/10 in terms of difficulty for first-visitors, while experienced drivers may find the challenges to be over-hyped. Like many cities with their historical roots intact, central Cologne is a labyrinth of claustrophobic one-way streets, while outlying areas are significantly easier to navigate. And like many European cities, the city is encircled and mainly traversed by a ring road system with Autobahn access.
Cologne is cut in half by the Rhine River, which generally runs north-south, serving as a trusty landmark for orientation. Like getting around all major German cities, you’ll be expected to mind your Ps and Qs, i.e. familiarize yourself with the rules and road signs (in German), and more importantly, follow them. Nowhere is road awareness more important than cruising around the streets of Cologne — a thoroughly unforgiving transport environment. Although they say that locals are aggressive drivers, they say that about all German motorists.
On a more positive note, Cologne is a serviceable gateway to other destinations in the region via autobahn A3, including Dusseldorf (45 km / 27 mi) to the north and Frankfurt (191 km / 118 miles) to the south.
Choosing your car
New arrivals to Cologne Bonn will find airport car rentals from trusted companies ranging from Alamo to Thrifty to Europcar to Sixt. The rental car center is found across the road from Terminal 2. Choosing your car will boil down to your need and sense of adventure. Opel and Audi compact cars are great for inner city navigation. Intermediate Volkswagen and Skoda standard 4-door sedans are ideal for a combination of city and autobahn driving. BMW fullsize cars were engineered for high performance and classic comfort. Ford 7-9 seater minivans offer spacious accommodation for all sizes of travelers.
Tips and advice
There are speed limits on the Autobahn and these are strictly enforced to within 2-3 km/h. The posted limit is 130 km/h except in random rural areas — several of which lie due east and west of Cologne. The rule is: If you don’t see a flashing display or road sign, you can go as fast as you want.
Old Town (Altstadt) is on the western bank of the Rhine, while the neighborhood of Deutz occupies the eastern side.
For reaching those pesky attractions in the city center, try the Park and Ride system to save time and money.
High-end performance vehicles dominate the German roadways, so you’ll find some of the best deals in the intermediate, premium, and luxury categories.
Running out of gas on the autobahn is rewarded with a hefty fine and a good dose of humiliation.
Most airport car rental providers allow for travel outside Germany without additional fees or extra insurance. However, this is Germany and of course, certain restrictions will apply. Be sure to let your agent know if you plan to visit nearby countries. In some cases, they may allow you to return the car to an airport in a different city.