Car Vs. Train on Amsterdam/Mosel/Belgium

Feb 24th, 2011, 07:26 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Car Vs. Train on Amsterdam/Mosel/Belgium

We will be spending ten days in Europe (Amsterdam - Rhine/Mosel -Belgium) and need advice re: car vs. train.

We have three options:
1) Train for the whole trip
2) Rent car when we leave Amsterdam to use for the remainder of our trip (drop off back at Amsterdam at end of trip)
3) Rent a car only for the Rhine/Mosel portion of our trip.

Although the car would be convenient in many ways, I'm not excited about dealing with the inconvenience of parking, directions, and so on. My husband wants a car for flexibility and also to cut down on some of the walking (i.e. long walks to castles).

What would you suggest? Which option makes most sense, is cost-effective, etc. (Also, we would need an automatic, been way too long since we've driven a manual!)

Thank you so much!
lanelly is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 01:00 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 8,351
Where in Belgium are you going? That affects the decision. If you are touring around a bit - seeing the Ardennes, then up to Brussels/Brugge then I would say get the car when you leave Amsterdam and return it to Amsterdam at the end of your trip. Parking isn't really so difficult.

If you are just concentrating on Brussels/Brugge in Belgium then maybe renting a car in Germany and returning it in Germany would make more sense.
I suspect you would have more chance of getting an automatic by renting it at Schiphol than at a small town in Germany. I would absolutely recommend getting the car at Schiphol, rather than in Amsterdam itself, so you are straight out onto the motorway network. But only hire it when you are ready to move on to the Mosel, a car is a pain in Amsterdam.

You can hire a sat-nav with the car to help with navigation, but have some good maps too, for if you want to go off the beaten track a bit.

Make sure you are familiar with European road signs and the rules of the road for each country.
hetismij is offline  
Feb 25th, 2011, 07:50 AM
  #3  
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 2
hetismij - Thank you so much for your reply. We are still undetermined on how to spend our time in Belgium (it will only be a few days). We definitely plan to go to Brugge, but that's all that's determined. Any suggestions? Antwerp, Gent and Brussels are also considerations, but I've been getting very mixed reviews on them which is making it difficult to settle on one (or two).

The Beligum part of our itinerary is currently:
Day 1 - Leave Cochem for Belgium (sleep Belgium)
Day 2 - Belgium (sleep Belgium)
Day 3 - Leave Belgium for Amsterdam (just need to be in Amsterdam by the evening - have an early morning flight the next day).

Also, any thoughts on how to allocate our time in Belgium and which city to stay in would be great(i.e. sleep in Brugges the whole time and take a daytrip somewhere vs. switch cities each night...)

We are into the culture, food, want to wowed. Not huge into museums although we are planning on hitting the big ones on our trip.

Thank you so much!!
lanelly is offline  
Feb 26th, 2011, 08:35 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,943
Since you will have only one full day in Brugge, I would stay there and spend two nights. You could visit Gent or Antwerpen on your way to Amsterdam. Parking in Brugge isn't very difficult. There are quite some hotels in the city centre that have private parking. You can check them out here: http://hotels.brugge.be/

I would no doubt rent a car, but then we're used to having a car almost everywhere we travel. We love our freedom and not having to rely on public transport.
MyriamC is offline  
Mar 14th, 2011, 08:02 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 125
Okay, I may be a bit late, but nevertheless... if you do decide to hire a car here, be advised petrol is expensive in the Netherlands (a bit less so in Belgium but still not the cheapest on the world). At the moment, we prices vary between €1.60 and €1.70 a liter, depending on where you buy the stuff. Amsterdam - Brussels (or Brugge, same distance) is 220 km one way, which works out to around €30 for fuel only (midsize car, automatic gearbox). Depending on the time of day, the weather and accidents, that trip may take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

If you do rent a car, make sure you've got a guidance system with the latest GPS maps available, we like to change our roads from time to time . If you bring your own GPS system (phone, TomTom, Garmin), you can download POI lists with known speedtrap locations before you leave. Also, whilst on the road, watch out for speedtraps and section control (longer stretches of road where your average speed is checked).

Last but not least, Gent is a great city to spend a couple of days. Book a room at the Marriott (they provide private parking space underneath the hotel) and you can have breakfast at the shores of the Lorelei river in the heart of the old city in one of the most surprising hotels you'll ever be.
The_lonely_traveler is offline  

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