Cologne's public transport network KVB also maintains a bike-sharing system (KVB-Rad). You need to sign up (free), then pick up a bike by typing in the bike number or scanning the QR code and then opening the lock with the four-digit lock code sent via the app. Bikes may be left at any main street or street crossing within the city. For full details, see www.kvb-rad.de.
You can also rent bicycles for longer periods from Radstation on the edge of the Altstadt.
Car & Motorcycle
Central Cologne is now a low-emission zone, meaning that your car needs to display an Umweltplakette (emission sticker). Rental cars automatically have the sticker, but if you’re driving your own vehicle, you’ll need to obtain one. You can get it online in advance (at www.green-zones.eu or www.umwelt-plakette.de) or in Germany from designated repair centres, car dealers and vehicle licensing offices. Drivers caught without one will be fined €80.
Driving and parking in town can be a hassle, though, so it may be best to stash the car in one of the many large parking buildings and use public transport instead.
Cologne’s mix of buses, trams (Stadtbahn), U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains is operated by KVB in cooperation with Bonn’s system. Short trips (up to four stops) cost €1.90, longer ones €2.40. Day passes are €7.10 for one person and €10 for up to five people travelling together. Buy your tickets from the machines at stations and aboard trams; be sure to validate them. KVB's website has a journey planner.
Flagfall is €3.50; the kilometre rate is €1.70 to €1.90. Taxis can be hailed in the street, ordered by phone (0221-2882 or 0221-194 10) or picked up at a taxi rank.