Getting around by bicycle is immensely popular and enjoyable in the pancake-flat northern regions around Münster and Xanten. It can also be a fun way to explore bigger cities, where the bike lane network is steadily growing. Bikes can usually be rented at or near train stations or through bike-sharing services. They may be taken on many trains but require a separate ticket (Fahrradkarte).
From April to October, KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt operates scheduled boat services along the Rhine between Cologne and Linz, passing by the scenic Siebengebirge.
In the cities, public transport is extremely well organised, with nearly every destination served by buses, trams, U-Bahn or S-Bahn trains. Often one ticket is valid for travel within an entire network, eg the VRR (www.vrr.de) network in the Ruhrgebiet/Düsseldorf area, or the VRS (www.vrsinfo.de) network in the Cologne/Bonn region. Rural regions are usually served by buses on more limited schedules.
Cologne and the Northern Rhineland have the densest train network in Germany. High-speed ICE and IC trains as well as regional RE, RB and S-Bahn trains link the major cities several times hourly; even many rural towns are served by rail, albeit on a more limited schedule.
Regional Train Pass
The Schöner Tag Ticket is valid for one day of unlimited travel anywhere within the region on local and regional public transport from 9am to 3am the following day (midnight to 3am the next day on weekends). You can use RE, RB and S-Bahn trains as well as buses, the U-Bahn and trams. The tickets cost €30.50 for one traveller and €45 for groups of up to five people and are available online at www.bahn.de, at vending machines and at train stations (€2 service charge).