Check COVID-19 travel restrictions, testing and self-isolation rules, and complete any mandatory documents before you go. Since 14 Jan, entry rules for France have eased for fully vaccinated passengers.
Eurostar trains leave from St Pancras International. Get to the station at our recommended arrival time to allow plenty of time to get through border controls and security.
There’s a quick change at Brussels-Midi/Zuid, but your ticket will cover the entire journey. If you have to travel to London first, you can also book the domestic trip as part of your ticket.
Eurostar trains have comfortable seats and lots of legroom, baggage racks at the entrance to carriages and above the seats. Food and drinks are available in Café Metropole, the bar buffet. Standard Premier passenger have a meal served at their seat.
Connecting trains have continental sockets at the seats and some have wi-fi. This is usually free in 1st class.
On arrival at Brussels-Midi/Zuid, take the exit at the end of the platform down to the main hall and check the departure boards for your connecting Thalys train to Cologne.
With its gloriously Gothic Kölner Dom and pretty mosaic of colourful houses and Romanesque churches, Cologne is a charming city bursting with history, culture and festivals.
Feb: Cologne Carnival
July: Light Festival
July-Aug: Summer Festival
Aug: C/O Pop Festival
Nov-Dec: Christmas markets
Schweinshaxe is an utterly delectable crispy pork knuckle.
If you’re daring, try Mettbrötchen – raw minced pork served on a bun.
Wash it all down with a cold Kölsch beer.