Is The Cheap Cologne To Paris Bus Worth It?

bus ride cologne to paris

There is a super cheap bus that goes from Cologne to Paris - but how much is it and is it worth that cheap, cheap price?

Budget travellers often have a problem: go for the cheapest option or go for the comfiest option? 

Luckily, we are here to trial out the cheap options for you, and then let you know if it's worth it (or not)!

Our second super long, super cheap coach journey in Europe was from Cologne to Paris - was it worth it? 

Three Things to Consider When Asking:
Should I Take the Coach From Cologne to Paris? 

  1. The Price
  2. The Timing
  3. What's the journey actually like?

In this post we will address these three issues, and let you know whether we think it's worth it or not: 

1. The Price: This will probably be your biggest motivation for travelling via coach (it certainly was for us). But how much does it actually cost? 

cologne to paris

Yes, a one-way ticket for us both to get from Cologne to Paris cost us just $3.85!!  

Great, so what's the catch

There is no catch! Okay you do have to book it far enough in advance (about a month) with the right carrier (megabus). 

Now usually here I would quote the prices of trains/driving/flying. But you know that there's no way they are going to be anywhere near as cheap as $3.85. 

Even though hitchhiking would be free, I think $3.85 is worth paying to not worry about who is going to pick you up and when.. right? 

Conclusion: Basically, this is one of the cheapest journeys we've ever taken and we were very excited about it. 

2. The Timing: You know the price is good, but coaches always take ages because they have to stop to pick up passengers/swap drivers. So how long does the coach actually take? 

We left Cologne at 23:30 and arrived in Paris the next day at 06:40.

Thus the journey took 7 hours 10 minutes. 
Now driving would take about 5 hours and taking the train takes just 3 hours. Flying would only take an hour - but you've got to add on the 4 spent in the airport/getting to the airport. 

Thus the coach takes longer (a lot longer in some cases) but 7 hours on a bus really isn't that bad if you're asleep. 

Personally, getting in at 6.40am was too early for us (especially as the coach actually got there at 6am). But we still managed to get about 6 hours of sleep which was more relaxing than going through customs/driving down the motorway.

Conclusion: whilst 7 hours on a bus sounds awful, most of it was spent asleep which, for us, is preferable to flying/driving. 

3. What's the journey like?:  $3.85 sounds so cheap the journey must have been awful right? Maybe you have to stand the whole way or maybe the bus is so overcrowded you suffocate? Maybe not.. Next we'll give you our first-hand account of what it is actually like taking the coach from Cologne to Paris:

cologne bridge locks

The first thing to note is that the bus doesn't exactly go from the centre of Cologne. It leaves from Gummersbacher Strasse which is a 30 minute walk from the centre of Cologne. It's not a bad walk, in fact you get to walk past the bridge of locks!

Once you get there, it's a bit awkward as there is no sign for the megabus, but have faith because it does turn up. When it does, they have this great rule about not opening the doors until the 'official' time. I guess they don't get paid until 23:30 on the dot, but still when it's late and cold you just want to get on the damn bus!

When we were eventually allowed on the bus, the driver was hilarious. Tanbay (German) said "Parreee please'"in his best French accent. The driver said (in English) "Oh I'm sorry I don't speak Dutch". Tehe.

Anyway we were so super excited to be on the coach - it was warm, the seats were comfy and there were only 6 other passengers!

paris eiffel tower alight

We slept pretty much the whole way there, sure it was not the most comfy sleep ever, but I have had worse on other smaller/more crowded/colder buses (and planes)! 

The best thing to do is to get as comfy and as warm as possible. This bus was spacious anyway and because there were so few passengers we could have two seats each. I find taking my shoes off helps as does piling on the jumpers and socks. 

ANYWAY, it was probably the comfiest bus ride we've ever taken and we spent the whole time sleeping or being pleased about spending almost nothing on a 7 hour journey to Paris. 

Conclusion: All in all it was totally worth it! It was $3.85 for us both to take a 500km journey. The bus was comfy and warm and it cost next to nothing. 

Would we do it again? Of course! It was so cheap!! You definitely get a lot more than you pay for. 

Tips: If you are thinking of taking the coach from Cologne to Paris remember:
  • Gummersbacher Strasse is easy to get to, but takes time and is quite inconspicuous when you get there. 
  • Take headphones/jumpers/socks to be as comfy as possible
  • Don't try and speak French to the English bus driver

So would you take this journey from Cologne to Paris? Let us know! 

Once we arrived in Paris, we tried AirBnB for the first time. To find out more about it (and more importantly to get your own AirBnB voucher/coupon) click here: 

airbnb paris

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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