Christmas time in Europe

Jul 6th, 2019, 08:14 PM
  #1  
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Christmas time in Europe

Europe during Christmas times - Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London

We are planning a Christmas time tour to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London.
We are family of 4, My hubby, I and 2 girls 21 & 25.

Flying to Amsterdam via London on Dec 21st; will reach there evening time.
Will stay there 3 nights 21-24. Need some input on activities over there for 2 days. Booked a hotel near Dam Square since most tours start from there.

24th we will take train to Brussels, will explore neighboring areas. We haven't been to both the places, so everything is new for us. Booked a hotel near Grand Place since most tours start from there. Decided on Brussels since it is kind of on the way spot.

25th morning taking train to Paris, will go to Eiffel tower around sunset and then planning a walk or bus for holiday lights. I have booked apartment on Champs Elysee and may explore central Paris. We had been to Paris before but been only to Arc and Louvre before and the river cruise. So, what do you recommend near Champs Elysee or in Central Paris? Other option we are thinking of is Palace of Versalles. Need your input here. If we decide to go to the Palace, then I may cancel this hotel and book near the train station for convenience.

26th night we are taking train to London and will stay there for 3 nights. We might be tired after a lot of walking done in the earlier part of tour, so thinking of Hop on and Hop off bus; but the reviews are mixed and we have never taken those kinds of buses before, so cannot decide. What is your experience? What do you suggest to do in 2 days at London? Booked a hotel in Islington area.

Flying back to USA on 29th afternoon.

Your advice is highly appreciated.

TIA

patsTravel is offline  
Jul 6th, 2019, 10:13 PM
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Hiya patsTravel, you picked a nice set of destinations although your trip is pretty rushed. OK to spend a night in Brussels but you realise 24th Dec is the evening that people celebrate and so most things will be shut in the evening. There is a good Christmas market which finishes about 6pm that evening. I would probably try to book dinner in your hotel for that evening or you may be caught short. You have enough time in Brussels to just get a basic feel for the city and then move on, not really to see neighbouring areas. 25th may be similarly quiet but you should be OK with trains although they will run to a Sunday / public holiday timetable. You can get a train from Central to Bruxelles-Midi (Brussel-Zuid) if you are taking the Thalys since this is where it leaves from. You might need to check on the availability of tours on Christmas Eve but I think it's unlikely you will find anything.

Lavandula
lavandula is online now  
Jul 6th, 2019, 10:44 PM
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By the way - many people here will recommend you cut down your trip to two destinations. I think you will have real logistical problems with the number of destinations and the holiday period - longer to get everywhere, less time to see things, less open. Make the cuts for yourself before someone else does it. London + Amsterdam, London + Brussels, London + Paris. Hopefully none of your plans ares et in stone yet. Sorry to be the bearer of ill tidings, I have your best interests at heart.

Lavandula
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Jul 7th, 2019, 01:26 AM
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Cut Brussels and go straight to Paris if you can cancel your hotel in Brussel. As Lavandula says you will arrive there on Christmas eve to spend just one night. And then just one night in Paris; you'll be checking in and out of hotels and going to and from train stations with your luggage with not much time to actually see something in the places you are visiting.

Dam Square in Amsterdam is fine, but there is no need to take tours in Amsterdam. Just explore on your own.
Tulips is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 01:30 AM
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patsTravel, that's just 8 nights for 4 major cities. Sorry but that sounds like a terrible holiday! Hope you haven't booked everything yet.
Tulips is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by lavandula View Post
By the way - many people here will recommend you cut down your trip to two destinations.

Lavandula
I would be one of those.

I spent a fabulous Christmas week in Paris. It was perfection.

At other times, I've split a "long week" (9 days trip, 10 counting departure flight from the states) in -
London & Paris
Paris & Amsterdam
Flying into one city, out of the other, with a train trip between the two.

I think you need to choose one or two locations and enjoy your time while you are there. You are moving too much.
starrs is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 07:18 AM
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Brussel's Christmas market was not that exciting. The guy smoking the salmon would be tasty. I agree on Paris, much more to do and open for the holiday. We are going to Germany this year and know we need to have food for several days where we are staying. We are doing Munich before our Christmas week south of Munich.
Macross is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 08:08 PM
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Thanks, might cancel Brussels. Really appreciate help.
patsTravel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 08:09 PM
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No, it is not cast and concrete; quite flexible and will do changes. Thanks a bunch.
patsTravel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 08:11 PM
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No, will do changes. Thanks a bunch.
patsTravel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 08:12 PM
  #11  
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Thanks, will do that.
patsTravel is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 10:27 PM
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21 - travel day
22 - London
23 - London
24 - travel day - Christmas Eve
25 - travel day - Christmas Day
26 - travel day
27 - London
28 - London
29 - travel day

So, based on your current plans, you have 4 days to see things in London
The rest of your days are travel days. 5 travel days.
And you are planning to be traveling on Christmas Eve and Chrismas Day.
You don't have a "still" day in Paris, and you are even considering traveling out to Versailles.
You need 4 "still" days in Paris. Otherwise, you are just moving from city to city to city to city with views out of the windows of trains.
I love Paris and I like London, but that sounds like a miserable way to spend the holidays. Why go to Paris if you don't have time to enjoy being there?
starrs is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 10:38 PM
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by patsTravel View Post
Europe during Christmas times - Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London

We are planning a Christmas time tour to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris and London.
We are family of 4, My hubby, I and 2 girls 21 & 25.

Flying to Amsterdam via London on Dec 21st; will reach there evening time.
Will stay there 3 nights 21-24. Need some input on activities over there for 2 days. Booked a hotel near Dam Square since most tours start from there.

24th we will take train to Brussels, will explore neighboring areas. We haven't been to both the places, so everything is new for us. Booked a hotel near Grand Place since most tours start from there. Decided on Brussels since it is kind of on the way spot.

25th morning taking train to Paris, will go to Eiffel tower around sunset and then planning a walk or bus for holiday lights. I have booked apartment on Champs Elysee and may explore central Paris. We had been to Paris before but been only to Arc and Louvre before and the river cruise. So, what do you recommend near Champs Elysee or in Central Paris? Other option we are thinking of is Palace of Versalles. Need your input here. If we decide to go to the Palace, then I may cancel this hotel and book near the train station for convenience.

26th night we are taking train to London and will stay there for 3 nights. We might be tired after a lot of walking done in the earlier part of tour, so thinking of Hop on and Hop off bus; but the reviews are mixed and we have never taken those kinds of buses before, so cannot decide. What is your experience? What do you suggest to do in 2 days at London? Booked a hotel in Islington area.

Flying back to USA on 29th afternoon.

Your advice is highly appreciated.

TIA
Take the train to Paris directly from Amsterdam (Thalys). If you can, cancel your hotel there. Skip Brussels, go straight to Paris. Take Eurostar to travel to London, fly back from there.

Maybe also read some guide books so you can be a bit more specific in your questions. We know nothing about you. What do you like? What does your family like to do? What's your budget? Etc.
menachem is offline  
Jul 7th, 2019, 11:21 PM
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Agree with Tulips

I agree with tulips. You should skip Brussels and go straight to Paris
oliviajames is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 01:47 AM
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Why is this thing so "London heavy?" Not saying it shouldn't be but Paris and Amsterdam seem like seond thoughts somehow and I am sure there is/was a good reason. Knowing this might help people make recommendations.

Since we know little, as stated above, about your likes and dislikes it is harder to proceed. For example: two days in Amsterdam? What to do? I can think of a couple of museums alone which could easily take up a lot of those days.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2019, 06:12 AM
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Frankly, of the cities mentioned, I don't actually want to say that London at Christmas is "boring" but some sort of similar adjective is definitely floating around my mind. Why on earth would a world class city shut down public transportation on a holiday? Brussels and Paris definitely know how to do Christmas for visitors -- no opinion about Amsterdam because I have never been there at that time of year. Of course, if you could substitute Strasbourg for Brussels, that would be brilliant.

In terms of evening plans, don't forget that night falls at 5pm at that time of year on the continent. (But that of course makes the 'city of lights' even more beautiful.)
kerouac is offline  
Jul 9th, 2019, 09:04 PM
  #17  
 
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25/26 december in the Netherlands: everything mostly shut down. Nowadays on the 26th stuff may be open, like some shops. On the 25th especially restaurants are fully booked with their Christmas dinners. The days running up to Christmas can be incredibly busy in shops, especially on the 23rd and 24th.

On the 24th shops, banks etc will close early.
menachem is offline  
Jul 10th, 2019, 03:22 AM
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The museums in Amsterdam tend to be open on Christmas Day, van Gogh and Rijks certainly are.
Some supermarkets are open on the 25th.
Public transport runs a Sunday service.
hetismij2 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2019, 09:13 AM
  #19  
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Thanks a bunch.
I saw many shops open in Sacre-coeur area on Christmas day. Has anyone visited there on Christmas day?
patsTravel is offline  
Jul 11th, 2019, 10:05 AM
  #20  
 
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I think you're clearly getting the vibe that 4 is too many stops for your duration, but I wouldn't scale back to much. I'm never one who stays in one location for a week...but others are. It all depends on you. Here's what I might do:
21 - travel day
22 - Amsterdam
23 - Amsterdam
24 - Early train to Paris, tour Paris
25 - Paris
26 - Paris
27 - Early train to London
28 - London
29 - travel day

But as I look at that it's still pretty rushed. Personally I'd dump London and do Amsterdam and Paris...or Paris and London.
Wekiva is offline  

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