If we keep in mind the current events of New Year’s Eve around Cologne Central Train Station, the main question for a solo female traveling to Cologne Station is: is it safe?
As a young woman, traveling alone, you need to be aware of any safety issues for a certain place. I had to go to Cologne. As you know by now I love train travel as you can read here, here and here. So I wanted to go to Cologne by train.
When I told people, I would be travelling to Cologne by train, I received many remarks and well-meant advise, which seemed a bit over the top.
For myself, I was not worried, but as the train rolled into the station, I was thinking: what if I’m wrong?
New Year’s Eve at Köln Hauptbahnhof
For the people who have been traveling without internet or lived under a rock for a while, I’m giving a short and brief, no way near complete, recap of the events.
On New Year’s Eve, huge groups of people gathered at the Cologne Central Train Station and the square in front of the Cologne Dom. During the night, more than 500 people filed a police report. A quarter of them were for sexual assault. People were being molested, harassed, robed and sexually assaulted by different men in and around the Cologne Central Train Station.
In the weeks after New Year’s Eve, more police reports were filled, which flared a debate on the presence of police during the night and the perpetrators and their prosecution. For more information, check the CNN news reports or from Germany’s Tagesschau.
How to prepare for solo female traveling to Cologne by train?
To be honest, I did not prepare at all. I feel it’s unnecessary for me to know all the details about what happened during that night and the national debate about the situation.
You can read all the newspapers and follow the news about everything that has been said or will be done. But it doesn’t make you feel any better.
I was advised to carry a knife and pepper spray as a solo female traveling to Cologne Station. I thought this was over exaggerated and not necessary.
I just checked my train ticket and arrival time. I checked at which platform I would arrive and which way the exit would be. I mapped out the directions to my hostel and that was it. Find more information at the site of Köln Hauptbahnhof. So maybe I did prepare a little bit, but not more than I normally would.
What was it like as a solo female traveling to Cologne Station?
For me, it was absolutely fine to arrive at Köln Hauptbahnhof as a solo female traveler. I left the platform and followed the signs to the exit. It was in the afternoon and I did not see any dangerous situations or suspicious persons.
I looked around at the square in front of Cologne station and I saw many people. Mainly travelers or tourists. At the square in front of the Dom, a police car was present and I didn’t feel unsafe.
I even went back to see the Dom after night fall and I found the situation still the same. No groups of people hanging around the station.
Is it safe for a solo female traveling to Cologne?
In my opinion: YES! With Carnival coming up and the summer ahead, I see no reason why solo females could not travel to Cologne.
That doesn’t mean you have to be careless or ignorant. Always be cautious. Always be alert. Know where you are going and even if you don’t know it, at least look like you know where you are going.
If you do feel unsafe, ask for help from officials like train personal or police officers. Walk right besides other travelers like couples or groups of girls. If you do not trust a situation, don’t go there. Take a taxi.
Are you thinking of traveling to Cologne as a solo female? Do you have any concerns? Have you travelled to Cologne? What were your experiences?