Berlin or Amsterdam? Or Both?

Sep 28th, 2008, 07:46 AM
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Berlin or Amsterdam? Or Both?

I am planning a trip to Europe in the summer with my family, but we can't decide to go to Berlin or Amsterdam. We were also wondering if we could drive from Berlin to Amsterdam (or vice versa). Any suggestions?
ehc1 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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I like Amsterdam better than Berlin. To my mind, it's just a prettier and more interesting city. If, by family, you mean children, I suspect that they'd find Amsterdam more to their liking. Berlin has some great museums, and Potsdamm is nearby.

I'm not sure how long it would take to drive from Berlin to Amsterdam, but there's Autobahn all the way. If I were alone I'd take the train. With a family, a car would be more economical.
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Sep 28th, 2008, 08:16 AM
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How long's the trip?
suze is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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The trip will be 8 days
ehc1 is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 08:35 AM
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hi ehc,

how old are the children?


I would take younger ones to amsterdam [canals, zoo, great interactive science museum] older ones to Berlin [zoo of course, but museums relevant to modern history in particular].
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Sep 28th, 2008, 08:37 AM
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PS - you could drive AMS to Berlin, but with children [and given the fact that you'll not need a car in either place] I'd get the train.

long distance train journies are a real adventure that most kids don't get these days.

however, I'd pick one or the other.

regards, ann
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Sep 28th, 2008, 08:47 AM
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My kid is 14 years old and very mature. He has been going abroad since he was 3.
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Sep 28th, 2008, 09:17 AM
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I think that 8 days is enough to see both cities but also not too long that you'd get bored with going to only one or the other, with some day trips.

I've only been to Amsterdam so can't make the Berlin comparison. Amsterdam is a fascinating city I'm sure you'd all enjoy.
suze is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 09:39 AM
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At 14 IMO he'd enjoy both.

why not get a few guide books to both and then ask him?

regards, ann

annhig is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 09:40 AM
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oops, another factor - timing.

if by summer you mean April, I'd go for AMS every time cos of the bulb fields.

if you mean july/aug, Berlin could be quite hot. AMS less so.

regards, ann
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Sep 28th, 2008, 09:45 AM
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Personally I find Berlin far more interesting than Amsterdam. Berlin was the center of so much history both modern and medieval. I find Amsterdam dirty and less friendly. I prefer German food to Dutch too.

Now if you were to ask my wife you'd get the complete opposite answer. Go to both, but especially mindful of your kids in Amsterdam. Far too many temptations for a teenager.
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Sep 28th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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Visit both cities. If in doubt, spend a little more time in Berlin - it has much more to offer.

Fly Transavia between both cities - tickets are dirt cheap.

www.transavia.com
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Sep 28th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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You could do both in 8 days - but wouldn't see all of either. I would tend to pick one and do a couple of day trips.

If in Spring Amsterdam has the edge - the rest of the year I think Berlin has more to offer - although Amsterdam is cuter.
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Sep 28th, 2008, 10:21 AM
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Do not drive from one to the other - the drop off fees for a one way car hire would be horrendous, plus it is a long drive and will take too much out of your precious holiday. Either get the train or use a cheap airline an fly between the two if you really want to do both.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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You can get a 39-Euro train fare on bahn.de between the two if you book sufficiently in advance (but I think you can't book any earlier than approximately 3 months in advance).

Berlin seems quite a bit cheaper to me than Amsterdam, if that figures into your thinking.

I really like both cities, so it's hard to say. I think my daughter would prefer 8 days in Amsterdam, and my son 8 days in Berlin. If you spend 8 days in either city, especially with daytrips, you certainly will not exhaust its possibilities.

Berlin will offer you more chances to practice a second language, in this case, German of course. In Amsterdam, English is so second nature that it would be harder to speak Dutch. This is not at all to say that you need to speak German in Berlin, as many residents speak English.
WillTravel is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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<<Go to both, but especially mindful of your kids in Amsterdam. Far too many temptations for a teenager.>>

LOL Otzi- at 14??!!

my [then] 14 year old son couldn't wait to get out of the red light district [whence we had strayed by mistake] and we weren't about to take him into any brown cafes. and I doubt that the OP would let her 14 year old do much solo exploring no matter how experienced a traveller he is.

but I agree that Berlin is a much more interesting and rewarding place.

regards, ann

annhig is offline  
Sep 28th, 2008, 11:28 PM
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If temptations means drugs,let me tell you about when my son and his friends (aged 15) and I got off the U- Bahn at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin: first thing they hear "are you looking for drugs, or what?". Admittedly asked in German so depending on your language knowledge....?!! This was my son's friends introduction to Berlin!
We spent a week in Amsterdam with our son when he was 13 and we all loved it, loved wandering round. Also went in lots of museums (got annual museum card which paid for itself and meant you avoided queues). And you do get history, including Second World War, in both: go to the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam as well as Anne Frank House. Did day trips to Delft and Leiden; it was Easter so we saw the bulb fields too.
Amsterdam is very pretty; Berlin is a city of huge contrasts and of course much bigger. We love it, to the point of having an apartment there. You could do both but it'd be a bit rushed (and Potsdam is a must from Berlin) so it depends on whether you think you'll have the chance again in the next few years. If you do, toss a coin!
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Sep 28th, 2008, 11:56 PM
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It is true you are far less likely to be offered drugs on the street in Amsterdam. Provided you know the difference between a coffee shop and a coffee house/café you need never come into contact with any drugs, except maybe the odd whiff of a passing spliff.
The red light district is easily avoided also.
Nothing wrong with taking a 14 year old into a brown café btw.
hetismij is offline  
Sep 29th, 2008, 12:50 AM
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It is true you are far less likely to be offered drugs on the street in Amsterdam.

Depends where you are. In the vicinity of the red-light district, you will almost certainly be offered drugs on the street, provided you look to be of about the right age. If you are a family, though, I would doubt you will attract much attention.

Personally, I would look into hitting both cities. If I had to choose one, then it would likely be Amsterdam, but even then I would probably do an overnight side-trip to somewhere like Brugges.
travelgourmet is online now  
Sep 29th, 2008, 01:13 AM
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I agree both cities is a good idea - but not driving between them - 6 and a half hours minimum drive time on boring motorways, the cost of petrol and of one way car hire make it really not a good idea to do that. Train or, much as it pains me to say it, plane is a better idea.
I think the contrast between the two cities would make for a good trip.

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