Cologne - with the cathedral across the Rhine (photo © Hiro1775 / dreamstime.com)

Route 18: From Flanders to the Rhine

France to Germany through Brussels

Route introduction

Lille and Cologne are two cities with very strong regional identities within their respective countries, but they could scarcely be more different. With a historical legacy dating back to the Romans, Cologne makes great play of its long-standing importance as an ecclesiastical and cultural centre. Lille is altogether more downbeat. Lille is radical while Cologne is conformist.

Countries covered
France Belgium Germany

MAP Double click on the map (or double tap on mobile) to zoom in. You can connect onto other routes in places shown in red. Change to a layer showing railway lines by clicking on the menu at the top right of the map. Get back to the original view by clicking on the house icon shown in the top left menu on the map.

Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide

Whether you are making a long grand tour or just planning a couple of weekend breaks, Europe by Rail is the perfect guide. The book describes over 50 key routes in detail. Together, they span mainland Europe and – brand new for this 16th edition – now also the British Isles. Find out more about the guidebook below.

This brand-new 16th edition of the guide to travelling Europe by Rail is published in mid-October 2019. With tips on ticketing, fares and accommodation, Europe by Rail has become the definitive guide to exploring Europe by train.
Europe by Rail contains all that's necessary to plan your rail journey through Europe: over 50 route descriptions, a country gazetteer, rail connections, information on Eurail and Interrail passes and more.
The 16th edition of Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide will be published in mid-October 2019 and can already be pre-purchased. You can get hold of a copy in any good bookshop. Here, we list a few additional places where you can buy the book.