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AlexDetrellTorres Jan 14th, 2011 07:16 AM

Best trip plan? Berlin-Hamburg-Amsterdam
Hi guys,
Greetings from San Diego, California!

My spouse and I (27 & 28 years old) are planning our summer vacation between the last week of June and the first week of July, we got 15 days off from work and want to spend them in Berlin and Amsterdam; we are a big city lovers couple and those two are in our must visit list.

We are planning to arrive in Berlin, spend from 5 to 6 days in the city, check the main attractions, visit Postdam, museum island and maybe do some clubbing or dinning in a special spot (suggestions are well recieved) and then, travel to Amsterdam by train and stay maybe for about 4 to 5 days and finally fly back to San Diego.

Since we know that travel time between Berlin and Amsterdam is about 6 hours by train, we thought we could do a stop in Hamburg (as suggested by a German guy I met on a flight to Mexico City) and or maybe Bremen too.

Well, here are our questions:
- We got a multy city flight deal offer for around 3,000 dlls for both of us, what do you think about it?

- Even tho we have 15 days off from work, we are not quiet sure if we should spend the whole vacation period traveling, I mean, obviously you could spent lifetime experiencing a big city but this is just summer vacation; another thing is money, I was browsing for eurotrail tickets and they're quite expensive specially compared to Deutch Bahn, and also hotel rates (we don't want to stay in a hostel) might get higher than average through summer and obviously weekends. Finally jet lag, this will be our first flight to Europe but we have flown to Asia several times and we always need at least 36 hours to rest properly in home sweet home.

- What would you guys suggest to visit in both destinations, what do you think about our plans and most important what would be the most functional, realistic and affordable trip plan, we are not planning to flight cheap yet we don't want to splurge unnecessarily (planning to stay away from credit as much as we can).

- And what about Bremen and Hamburg?

Well, thanks for taking the time!

Alex Detrell-Torres

ggreen Jan 14th, 2011 07:48 AM

Hi Alex!
Just a couple of thoughts to get the ball rolling...

- Buying train tickets locally (deutche bahn) is definitely preferable to a Eurail Pass: more cost-effective, more flexible, you won't be taking too many trains, etc.
- I didn't expect to, but I love both Berlin and Hamburg. Northern Germany is not unlike the Netherlands (being on the sea, for one thing), plus we enjoyed just hanging out in Altona, where we stayed with friends. Good local bars and a friendly vibe. A day trip to Bremen or Lubeck would be nice but IMO not required.

I'm sure more people will chime in! :)

danon Jan 14th, 2011 08:10 AM

Agree about db... good deals ahead of time ( 2-3 months)

I don't know about cheaper flights from the USA...
Amsterdam is smaller and easier to get around than Berlin. Might be a better place to start ( more relaxing) for several days , continue to Hamburg, and end your trip in Berlin.
I visited Berlin twice (4- 5 days each time) and never found the time for side trip.It is a big city ( excellent public transit) with tons to see.

hsv Jan 14th, 2011 08:59 AM

Sounds like a good plan to me. 5-6 days in Berlin will keep you entertained well.

I would encourage a stop in Hamburg on your way to Amsterdam - and would suggest to make it a stopover for at least 1 night, preferably Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Hamburg has some of the best nightlife in Germany and Thursday is a bit more laid-back, but many locals go out on those nights as they can avoid the peasants coming into town particularly on Saturdays. I would make it an overnight to take advantage of the city during daytime - a cruise of the port, great strolling/shopping in the centre or along the River between Oevelgoenne and Blankenese and maybe a rent a boat (rowing, paddle or sailing) on the Alster Lake right in the city centre.

I don't think Bremen is that interesting - it has a nice enough Old Town, but doesn't warrant the big city entertainment Germany's 2 largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg, can offer.

If you need any advice on bars, restaurants and hotels in Berlin and Hamburg, do get back here indicating some of your interests.

I think 5 days in Amsterdam may be a bit long and you may be able to do with 3-4.

hetismij Jan 14th, 2011 09:13 AM

If you want to spend 5 or more days in Amsterdam you an always visit other cities in the Netherlands, or even some of the countryside. nowhere is very far away in the Netherlands and there are plenty of towns and cities for you to visit only a short train ride away.

Jet lag will hit you on your first day in Europe, and maybe the second day too.
Returning to San Diego you will wake up early but if you take it easy that day you will quickly readjust.
I suggest you allow one or two days at home before returning to work, to get over the jet lag, do the washing, and gather your thoughts.

AlexDetrellTorres Jan 15th, 2011 12:03 AM

Wow! Thanks guys! I really appreciate!

All your contributions are exactly what we needed to get a clear vision of our trip! So we probably will skip Bremen, fly to Amsterdam as first destination and stay around 3-4 days, then travel by train to Hamburg (1 day? 2 days? what're your suggestions?) and finally arrive to Berlin and spent around 5-6 days.

AlexDetrellTorres Jan 15th, 2011 01:40 AM

... Oh! Another thing, we are planing to fly economy class (world traveler) with British Airways (first time flying with them), we chose BA because of the price and the flight time; any experience with British Airways? There's only one layover (London) per flight, the first one of one hour and the second one of 3 hours.

hsv Jan 15th, 2011 02:42 AM

BA: Ok airline. I would opt for the 1 hour layover at T5 (I expect many posters here to contradict me as people here tend to be very cautious timing-wise). The reasons:
1. In my experience a Europe-bound transatlantic flight has a good chance to arrive slightly ahead of schedule due to jet stream which would prolong the 1 hour layover anyway.
2. If BA offers a 1-hour connection on that ticket, they will have to rebook you without further cost should you miss your connection.
3. Having to hang out at an airport with a bit of jet lag is annoying, so I'd want to limit that time to a minimum.

Schedule: Clearly Amsterdam and Berlin are the core destinations of your trip. If you add on Hamburg I would allow a minimum of 24 hours, maybe 36 and not more than 48 hours. Keep in mind that travel time by train between Hamburg and Berlin is a mere 95 minutes, so you could leave late in the evening the day after your arrival in Hamburg to move your base to Berlin. You could also add another night if you want a more leisurely approach.
Hamburg is a feel-good city - especially in summer. The days are long and you can enjoy the river, the Alster lakes, the canals as well as the nightlife for example in Schanzenviertel by crawling from one bar to another (somewhat similar to the Gaslamp in San Diego). However, Hamburg doesn't have too many must-see sights and it rather is its total ensemble that (in my opinion) makes it one of the most beautiful German cities and a stop-over very worthwhile.

ggreen Jan 15th, 2011 10:28 AM

hsv, you describe Hamburg as I would have, had I had the words for it. Thanks! :)

AlexDetrellTorres Jan 17th, 2011 03:03 PM

wow! thanks again! I appreciate all your opinions!

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