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-   -   25 days in Europe - Need advice (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/25-days-in-europe-need-advice-1034571/)

psevoznik Jan 15th, 2015 08:20 PM

25 days in Europe - Need advice
 
I have to make a decision: Start a 20 days trip in Amsterdam or Berlin?
Both options end in Paris (4 days).
I need some advice on which of my ideas is better. I am traveling with my wife and 2 teenager kids (13 and 17), we plan to drive until we arrive to Paris and that's why I looked for short trips (4 to 6 hours each).
We like sightseeing, we don't like museums (except for Auschwicz).

These are my ideas:

Option 1:
- 3 days in Berlin
- 3 days in Warsaw
- 2 days in Krakov / Auschwicz
- 3 days in Prague
- 3 days in Vienna
- 2 days in Munich (16 days)
- 4 days in Paris

Option 2:
- 3 days in Amsterdam
- 2 days in Hambourg
- 3 days in Berlin
- 2 days in Krakov / Auschwicz
- 3 days in Prague
- 3 days in Zurich
- 4 days in Paris

I will truly appreciate all advise on cities not listed, I just don't want to be less than 3 days in a city (maybe 2). Thanks!!

Sassafrass Jan 15th, 2015 08:42 PM

If half or more of one of those three days is spent traveling, it is less than 2 & 1/2 days, and only a day and a half for two days. Besides travel times, there is getting the car, parking, checking out of hotels, etc.

You are traveling six days out of twenty, anywhere from 3-7 hours. You have to include some stopping times. That seems like a lot.

janisj Jan 15th, 2015 08:56 PM

You are averaging a bit over 2 days in each city and what are you going to do w/ the car in all of those cities?

Too much, too far, too little time,

DJVMM Jan 15th, 2015 10:08 PM

Neither of those itineraries work. They cover too much space over little time. Driving will be slower than just taking trains and you have to return the car in the same country to avoid crazy expensive charges. The drive up to Paris seems crazy long especially for trips to Munich or Zurich (definitely don't need 2-3 days in Zurich).

Maybe something like Berlin -> Hamburg -> Amsterdam (would your family be interested in Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, or Bruges?) -> Paris using trains.

psevoznik Jan 16th, 2015 04:55 PM

Thanks DJMM, Janisj and Sassafrass for your inputs. They are very appreciated. Is there any train option or pass that cover all these countries? I saw the eurail pass but it looks very expensive and covers only 10 days.
Thanks again for your suggestions!!!

Sassafrass Jan 17th, 2015 08:02 AM

Look at recent post by razmi919 listing his stops and the response from "man in seat 61" with all the complexity of connections and the advice about time used up.

You could re-post as a transportation or train travel question, rather than an itinerary question and hope the experts (there are several, such as PalenQ, Kybourbon, Man in seat 61) see and respond.

My knowledge of rail passes is minimal, except there are several kinds, a few useful in specific cases, many not useful in general.

Train travel usually works best if there are excellent, short connections within an area or excellent direct trains, city to city, that will take equal or less time than flying.

Examples:
Italy. An itinerary that connects Venice to Bologna or Florence and to Rome is all easy and cheap.
Belgium: Easy, short connections between Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp.
Paris to London: direct, fast train.
Madrid to Barcelona: fast train in two hours.

Plane works best when there are good, cheap connecting flights between major cities that would take longer by train.
Example: from London, except to Paris, and the Netherlands or Belgium, probably best to fly.

Car: best when you want to explore countryside and small towns, places where there are not good train connections. It is not good for an itinerary with only/mostly city to city connections.
Great for Provence, rural Germany, Tuscany, not great for Amsterdam to Berlin to Prague to Paris, etc.

Basically the responses so far is that your itineraries do not work well for car travel and probably not for train, and would be difficult to keep flying from city to city. You have less than three weeks to travel. Narrow your itinerary to three or four places and research what other smaller cities or towns are nearby to explore. Travel less, spend less - see and experience more.

PalenQ Jan 17th, 2015 08:11 AM

I saw the eurail pass but it looks very expensive and covers only 10 days.
Thanks again for your suggestions!!!>

Eurailpasses come in all forms - ten days to be sued anytime over a 2-month period but all you would need is a 5- or 6-day Eurail Select Saverpass, valid on any 4 countries you chose - use it to go long distances between bases only.

Railpass are also first-class and that has in my decades of European rail travel shown to me significant benefits in 1st class over 2nd class - bigger seats, fewer seats in same-size train car and often lots of empty seats to spread out in - easier to stow luggage, etc.

For all about European rail travel and railpasses check out these informative sources: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

and yes you are going only to large cities where cars are useless qand you'll pay $25 or more a day to park - many hotels in cities do not have parking or charge a lot for it. Consider taking the train!

Renting a car in one country and returning it to another can result in predatory drop-off rates so if renting in Germany see if returning at the end in Germany may save you a bundle.

Fussgaenger Jan 17th, 2015 10:59 AM

"I saw the eurail pass but it looks very expensive and covers only 10 days."

You are correct. You'll be traveling for about 3 weeks. The GLOBAL Eurailpass for periods of travel up to 2 months would cost around $900 per adult; it's less for kids but they'd need passes too.

"...all you would need is a 5- or 6-day Eurail Select Saverpass, valid on any 4 countries you chose - use it to go long distances between bases only."

This suggestion doesn't help you much. The Eurail Select Pass does NOT INCLUDE POLAND - but both your options involve Polish cities. And your itinerary takes you to 5 or 6 different countries, not 4. Even if you cut your itinerary down to 4 countries (and you should cut down your itinerary somehow,) a 5-day pass will cost more than $500 for one adult.

I'm pretty certain you can do your itinerary much more cheaply on individual tickets than on passes. You can research the individual legs yourself at the websites of the countries in question. I just had a look at the DB site for Germany and checked prices for one person. I used Stuttgart instead of Zurich just to get a sample price through Germany (Stuttgart) on the way to Paris because I'm too lazy to look up the Swiss railways prices for you and because I think if you cut any place you might want to cut Zurich. Without knowing the cost of the Krakow - Prague trip, I found that individual tickets purchased in advance add up to €150 or $175 per adult. Kids are cheaper or free with purchase of a ticket for parents in some cases. To get these prices you need to nail down your itinerary since the tickets are train-specific - you must be more disciplined about your travel schedule than you might be with a railpass. But with your tight itinerary that doesn't seem like a problem - you will need to keep a tight schedule.

€29, Amsterdam - Hamburg
€29, Hamburg - Berlin
€39, Berlin - Krakow
???? Krakow - Prague
€34, Prague - Stuttgart (instead of Zurich)
€19, Stuttgart - Paris


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