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15 days North Europe

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May 31st, 2014, 02:58 AM
  #1
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15 days North Europe

Hello,
We would like to see Belgium, Holland and Denmark in the second half of July this year.
Understand, it is a bit too late start planning but we would like some recommendations what to see, to do, do not miss, skip, must etc in 15-17 days. Ideally, it should combine urban and country Also, knowing it is holidays time we need any recommendations re where to stay, and to use public transport or a car. In order to avoid packing /unpacking we are considering staying in one of the small town but nice town and make short trips to other places. We are a couple in their 50th from Australia and very fit and active. We would appreciate any help and suggestions with itinerary ideas for this trip. Ideally, it should be a good mixture of urban, architecture, historic and country side beauty. Thank you.
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May 31st, 2014, 05:53 AM
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For countryside you'd have to drive - maybe rent a car both in Benelux and Denmark and flying in between them - or else it's a long drive between the two places and you may have steep drop-off charges for picking up car in one place and returning it to the other.

But railways are dense in these countries and you can get to the countryside by train and do walks, etc.

For lots of great info on trains in those countries and ideas of where to go by rail check out: www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - download the latter's free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of suggested rail itineraries in those countries.

There is an overnight train link between Amsterdam and Copenhagen too - actually you take a day train to Duisburg, Germany and then hook up with the CityNightLiner hotel train to Copenhagen (www.bahn.de/en for schedules and discounted tickets if bought far in advance to get these limited in number tickets which also have restrictions on changing and refunding but can be much cheaper than full-fare and fully flexible tickets.

For fully flexible travel check out the Eurail Select Pass valid in Benelux, Germany and Denmark - lets you hop any train in those countries with very few exceptions anytime.
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May 31st, 2014, 06:06 AM
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If you mean stay in one town and make day trips in Belgium, Netherlands and Denmark - then you need to get a map - and some perspective on the distances involved.

It is certainly possible to stay in a town in each country and do day trips from that - but not one place for all 3 countries.

For this plan you would need a car, since waiting for trains to go cross country could waste a lot of time. But picking up a car in one country and dropping in another is usually very expensive - with a drop off fee of hundreds of euros.

This may well not be true of Belgium and Netherlands - but definitely would be true of Denmark.

I really think you need to make some choices about what you want to see and do - or you won't be able to make any sort of a plan. And do look in details at driving times - not just distances - try viamichelin.com. For instance from Brussels to Copenhagen would take about 11 hours - straight driving on high speed highways, seeing nothing and not stopping. So more than a full days drive - really 2 long days drive when you factor in stops for fuel and meals - and actually stopping to see something on the way.

Now perhaps I have mistaken your plan - if so, please clarify what you have in mind.
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May 31st, 2014, 07:13 AM
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I assume you would stay in a place in each country and do trips from there? You could take the Thalys train from Brussels to Amsterdam, then fly from Amsterdam to Copenhagen.

Copenhagen is small enough to stay in and do day trips from there, it's easy enough to drive from Copenhagen to Helsingoer for example. There is excellent rail service, but rental car is a good option because you can stop at places that the train doesn't go to. The coastal road northwards from Copenhagen to Helsingoer and beyond to Gilleleje is very beautiful. Nearby Hornbaek is a lovely town with lots of small shops to look around and a beach. The beach houses are beautiful. You can also take your rental car to Sweden on the ferry from Helsingoer, it takes 15 mins but the ferry does get busy in the holiday season.

http://www.visitdenmark.co.uk/en-gb/.../north-zealand
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May 31st, 2014, 07:19 AM
  #5
 
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I would use the rail system in Belgium and the Netherlands, get myself to Copenhagen and use a car to get around in Denmark.

Fly into Amsterdam and out of Copenhagen if possible.
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May 31st, 2014, 07:59 AM
  #6
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thank you, we have a bit more clear plan now:
6 days Holland:
2 nights Amsterdam
may be 3 days car trip for Den, Hague, Delft, Haarlem, Aalkmar
or
5 days Belgium:
Chent, Bruges, Anterwerp
not sure where to stay
then fly Denmark:
2 nights in Copenhagen
3 days - day trip to???

any comments?
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May 31st, 2014, 08:28 AM
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I assume you feel the need for a car in the Netherlands for flexibility is this correct? Are you aware of any parking issues in Amsterdam?
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May 31st, 2014, 08:30 AM
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may be 3 days car trip for Den, Hague, Delft, Haarlem, Aalkmar >

If going to just towns take the train - great rail service to all of these from Amsterdam and parking is hard in those dense old cities - the countryside in between IME can just as easily be seen from the train and is more or less the same - Holland's population density is one of the highest in the world - very little 'country' here and every inch seems to be put to agricultural use - cows everywhere.

Den Hague and Delft are easy to combine on a day trip by train as is Haarlem and Alkmaar - where you should of course go on a Friday morning to see the famous old-fashioned cheese market in full tilt - action winds down before noon.

Ditto for the Belgian towns - best done by car with rather boring flat farmland in between.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 06:17 AM
  #9
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Thank you, checked petrol prices, parking fees and realised that car is rather liability. OK, 2 days in Amsterdam, 1 day for Den Hague and Delft, 1 day for Haarlem and Alkmaar. than Ghent 1 day, Bruges, Anterwerp - will be 3 days enough? Is Brussels a must? and any other towns, places to visit in Belgium? should we visit Luxemburg? will 2 days/1 night be enough? then fly/train to Copenhagen 2-3 days? anything else in Denmark to capture in this trip? thanks
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Jun 1st, 2014, 06:43 AM
  #10
 
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I see a lot of urban and not much country in your plan.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 06:54 AM
  #11
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and what is your opinion about Namur, Liege, Spa, Mons and Mechelen?

Maastricht?
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Jun 1st, 2014, 09:27 AM
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To Americans the 'countryside' we see in say dense Holland is hardly countryside in many cases to us - we have much much more marvelous countryside here - I love the Dutch regional cities more than traipsing around some postage-stamp wilderness park whose wilderness is not much to us.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 10:22 AM
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And in Belgium and Denmark?
OP wanted a mix of urban and country. Lots of urban, no country in any of the countries suggested. Though to ge fair given their time frame they will be struggling to even see the urban they want.
We may not have huge mountains, or vast wilderness in the Netherlands but we do have very beautiful countryside within striking distance of Amsterdam.
It is a pity you don't appreciate it.
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Jun 1st, 2014, 10:42 AM
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IMHO Copenhagen deserves a tleast 3 full days (4 nights) plus you can do day trips - 1 to Roskilde to visit the viking ship museum and wonderful cathedral and one further north to see "Hamlet's Castle" plus several others.

You could easily spend a week or 10 days in Belgium - depending on what your interests are. We have traveled there by car - but not staying in Brussels (just a day trip) but in Brugges for one trip and Spa for another - but with lots of day trips.
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Jun 2nd, 2014, 11:30 AM
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Though the Gent-Antwerp-Bruges are is so well served by trains and the flat countryside pretty much all the same eastern Belgium is much more conducive to cars and the terrain can be rather rugged at places like the forested Ardennes - Bastogne has associations with U S military actions - the Battle of the Bulge, etc. and Spa, etc - though they can be reached by train the train service is not as up to snuff as in western Flemish Belgium - one of many big differences you'll find between Flemish (Duch-speaking) and Walloon (French) - they say the only real Belgian is the King - all the rest are either more Walloons or Flems.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 05:53 AM
  #16
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Dear nytraveler, can you please suggest what to see in Copenhagen and surrounds? we will have full 3 days there. thank you.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 06:12 AM
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Tivoli Gardens at evening time/night
Glyptotek
Nyhavn
Roskilde
coastal road north of Copenhagen towards Helsingoer, to see Kronberg Castle. You can rent a car or go by train. You can take lunch on the ferry to Sweden(assuming you don't have a car). Many people do this.
Rosenborg Castle
Bakken (amusement park, not as nice as Tivoli but free and close to a deer park and the beach), in a very nice part of Copenhagen
Charlottenlund Fort if you like walking around fortifications
Plus my previous suggestions and perhaps read the link I posted for more ideas.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 06:22 AM
  #18
 
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"North Europe"
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Jun 4th, 2014, 02:11 PM
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Dear nytraveler, can you please suggest what to see in Copenhagen and surrounds? we will have full 3 days there. thank you.>

to me the Round the Sound day trip is fantastic and includes a bit of Sweden for sticker shock on prices across the board compared to Denmark IME!

Take the train over the bridge-tunnel over the Sound between Denmark and Malmo, Sweden, change to a Swedish train to Lund, to me one of the nicest cities in a Scandinavia that I often find all too bland and too modern but in this case a lovely old university town with a lush American-style open campus dotted by neat old buildings, etc.

Then take the train to Helsingborg, Sweden and the cosntant ferries over the Helsingor (Elsinore in English) - visit hamlet's Castle overlooking the Sound and poke around this vibrant town - notice the rows of tobacco and booze shops appealing to sticker-shocked Swedes who flock here for cheaper cis and booze (not sure if still the case but was when I was there) - take the S-Tog trains back to Copenhagen.

A wonderful day out - in the Swedish part you'd think you were in northern Minnesota or Michigan! Even similar barns.
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Jun 8th, 2014, 09:27 AM
  #20
 
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There is a surfeit of sweet short day trips I have taken from Copenhagen:

Round the Sound as described above

Just to Helsingor to see Hamlet's Castle and nearby Louisiana, one of Europe's primo outdoor statue parks, lovingly set in a lush garden overlooking the sea;

Roskilde and the Viking Ship Museum and nice regional town;

Frederiksborg Castle, set on an island in a placid lake;

Gilleleje - an old seaside town to the north of Copenhagen - a quaint interurban like train rolls there and from there along a wild sand dunish coast to Hensingor, making a nice day out - seaside walks and Hamalet's Castle and quain old interurban train through the wilds;

The Frielandsmet (sp?) Open-Air Museum in lovely countryside near Copenhagen:
http://natmus.dk/en/the-open-air-museum/

and Bakken and the Deer park - in suburbna Copenhagen on the sea - lovely beaches, a vast deer park with various fanciful edifices dotting it and Bakken, the world's oldest amusement park - kind of similar to Tivoli but free - lots of shows as well as amusement park type rides - I enjoyed Bakken more than staid reserved posh Tivoli!
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