3 Weeks in europe by train

Old Nov 7th, 2021, 05:19 AM
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3 Weeks in europe by train

Hey folks,

me and my wife looking forward to travel through europe (interrail) in june next year. 21 nights are possible. We are living in the north west of germany and decided to not visit any german spots. Being a total newbie in planning iterneraries, i want to ask you whether this plan is too tough or not:

Amsterdam (2 Nights)
Brugges (2 Nights)
Paris (3 Nights)
Straßbourg (2 Nights)
Interlaken/Grindelwald (2 Nights)
Florence (3 Nights)
Venice (3 Nights)
Lake Bled (1 Night, more as stopp off between Venice and Budapest, if we get a 0.5-1 day sightseeing there it would be totally fine for me)
Budapest (3 Nights) (plane back to cologne)

Note that: we visited Amsterdam and Paris several times so there isn't really a need to stay that long. I know that I'm not really get detailed impression of every region/city but for us its more important to get an overview over west/central europe. We understand this trip as foundation for more "detailed" trips in the different regions in the future. If you have any suggestions for other destinations, being better or more attractive alongside this general route, please let me know. Also this plan is a first try of mine and is of course not set in stone.

Thanks in advance,
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 07:15 AM
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have you read up seat61.com which is a great English Language website on European Trains?

The sites are fine and a good selection of European cities

If you've been to Paris and Amsterdam before you might prefer to add something like Reims and cut one back, don't forget to add in time to wash clothes (so reduce carry weight) and think about picnics for the longer train journey.

Last edited by bilboburgler; Nov 7th, 2021 at 07:23 AM.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 08:13 AM
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Welcome tp Fodors. I only have time for one very quick response. I would sit down and re-think your entire plan As it is you will only have 1 or 2 days in each of your stop over cities. Two nights will net you 1 day free and 3 nights = 2 full days after factoring travel time and having to faff about with hotel check ou/check in times. Even though you indicate this is more of an over view investigating for future trips, it is still pretty hectic.

Your detour to Lake Bled won't net you much if any sightseeing time since the quickest transport from Venice takes nearly 6 hours, and the fastest route from there on to Budapest unless you fly or drive takes 10 hours.

I'd maybe cut back the number of destinations and try to have mostly three night stays.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 09:54 AM
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Why not skip Amsterdam and Paris since you've already been? Add those 5 days to the other places on your list (imo would be a more do-able and enjoyable itinerary and pace).
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 11:58 AM
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About 45 hours spent riding trains, getting to train stations, getting to lodging from train stations.... Even in a 3-week trip, that's a lot of time spent just getting from place to place. If you spent more time in fewer places, you'd have the opportunity to venture outside of your very city-centric itinerary and get closer to a true "overview" of Europe. What to skip and what to keep is up to you, but I think Budapest might work better in a different itinerary that includes Bratislava, Vienna, Czechia, western Poland.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 12:53 PM
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Hi jv106, sounds like you have the makings of a nice trip. I would also rewrite your itinerary to include travel times. Once you have done that you will probably find your trip has too many days in it and will be prompted to cut back, but I think you already know it could be streamlined a little. Reims as a stopoff makes good sense between Bruges and Strasbourg. I would probably start the trip from Brussels Zaventem and head directly for Bruges. Coming from Germany you won't have jetlag. Unless of course I am misreading the situation and you plan to drive to Amsterdam from Germany...?

Lavandula
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 01:25 PM
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Oh, I just saw your title, you're going by train - well, in that case, I repeat that starting from Belgium might make a more streamlined trip by knocking out Amsterdam and Paris.

Lavandula
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 01:31 PM
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Thank you for all the advices and quick responses! I see now that we have to reduce the amount of destinations. So I decided to cut out Budapest, Lake Bled, Amsterdam and Paris. Instead I put Milan on the list as it lies naturally on the way between Interlaken and Florence. Furthermore I have to fill up the list with a destination "x" because the distance between Bruegges and Straßbourg is way too big. In general the trip is now a little bit "underdog" because the big names aren't really on the list (besides italy) but thats fine for me. I dont have to do what everyone else does

The List looks like this now:

Bruges (3 Nights)
X (2-3 Nights)
Strasbourg (3 Nights)
Grindelwald / Interlaken (3-4 Nights)
Milan (3 Nights)
Florence (3 Nights)
Venice (3 Nights)

"X" could be everything within France right from Paris and above Lyon. Maybe Metz, Nancy, Reims (which was said before) or totally different. I don't know, which one would be worth? Additionally I'm not sure with the swiss thing. Is Interlaken and surronding area worth visting? Or do you suggest other places?

Again thank you in advance!

Edit:
Didn't see your post because was typing my post:

Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
Hi jv106, sounds like you have the makings of a nice trip. I would also rewrite your itinerary to include travel times. Once you have done that you will probably find your trip has too many days in it and will be prompted to cut back, but I think you already know it could be streamlined a little. Reims as a stopoff makes good sense between Bruges and Strasbourg. I would probably start the trip from Brussels Zaventem and head directly for Bruges. Coming from Germany you won't have jetlag. Unless of course I am misreading the situation and you plan to drive to Amsterdam from Germany...?

Lavandula
Reims seems to be good, You are the second one suggesting it. The actual plan is to take the train directly to Bruges (should be 6 hours from my home town).

Last edited by jv106; Nov 7th, 2021 at 01:36 PM.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 01:50 PM
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Yes, that's probably a good move to go directly from your home to Bruges. Reims is really quite a good stop - the cathedral where French kings were crowned for 1000 years, the WWII history (the Germans signed their surrender in Reims), and it is smack bang in the middle of Champagne country - there are a lot of cellars you can visit from Reims. You could make it a long visit or a short visit depending on your interests.

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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 02:20 PM
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In addition to Rome2Rio and Seat61, I like to look at Bahn.de and train sites for the relevant countries to get a sense of journey times and connections.

Great idea to slow it down.

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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 03:56 PM
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You have basically allotted the same number of days in each destination. But have you researched what you want to see/do? Rather than treat them equally, it would be a good idea to decide on your sightseeing priorities and then figure out how much time you'd need in each one. If you're interested in any specific museums, you'll want to find out what days they are open/closed so that you can plan your days accordingly. If your budget is limited, you might want to investigate lodging costs. Some cities are more expensive than others, and with your limited time everywhere you'll likely want to be in the city centers.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean View Post
You have basically allotted the same number of days in each destination. But have you researched what you want to see/do? Rather than treat them equally, it would be a good idea to decide on your sightseeing priorities and then figure out how much time you'd need in each one . . .
Ditto ^^^ Not all destinations are equal warranting the same time allotment. You basically have 3 nights 3 nights 3 nights etc (which equals 2 days 2 days 2 days etc). Where to add/subtract nights is up to you - if it was my trip (and it isn't ) I'd for sure want more time in Venice than in Strasbourg - and if "X" is mainly a stopover mid way between Bruges and Strasbourg and not someplace you've always wanted to visit - then I'd assume 1 or 2 nights is the most your would need wherever X is.

So I agree with Jean to work out what major sites/sights/activities you want in each city, and then decide how many days/nights you need in each place.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 07:02 PM
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I am not fond of Reims. Huge gothic cathedrals leave me cold and I don't care enough about Champagne. I would just skip it, better to devote some time to other places.
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Old Nov 7th, 2021, 08:43 PM
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If you have any interest in Art Nouveau Nancy should be a must-see.
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Old Nov 8th, 2021, 08:42 AM
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Add Brussels as an extra stop or just add more days to Switzerland or Italy. I strongly encourage you to see SIena. I like the WWI sites of Verdun in France, but then again I realize it's a specific interest on not exactly on the train route.
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Old Nov 9th, 2021, 02:44 AM
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Brugge - Strasbourg by train wouldn't be that long. You could easily do it in a late afternoon/ evening:
Brugge dp 16.58 - Bruxelles Midi 17.52/18.17 - Strasbourg ar 21.59
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