Eurail Pass or Direct Tickets in BeNeLux

Old Mar 1st, 2019, 04:20 AM
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Eurail Pass or Direct Tickets in BeNeLux

Hi all! Planning a trip through the Low Countries in June (me, wife, teenaged kids). We've got a lot packed in with plans to travel by train through it all. We are experienced travelers and have selected this itinerary for a variety of reasons. The big question is whether to get a Eurail pass for all trips, get direct tickets for all, or a shortened Eurail Pass and some direct tickets. Here's the plan for train travel days:

Amsterdam to Den Haag for the day then to Brussels

Brussels to Bruges, with stopover in Ghent

Bruges to Bastogne (actually, Libramont then bus to Bastogne)

Bastogne (via bus to Libramont) to Luxembourg

Luxembourg to Arnhem

Arnhem to Schiphol

A BeNeLux Pass covers all this, but the best route from Luxembourg to Arnhem actually goes through Germany (which the pass does not cover). I'm thinking the best thing might be a pass for 3 Days, direct tickets for the last two trips (one through Germany) and day tickets between Brussels and Bruges with Ghent in the middle.

Any thoughts are appreciated!

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Old Mar 1st, 2019, 09:09 AM
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If a pass approximates the cost of tickets go for the pass and hop just about any train anytime save Thalys high-seed trains. There is also a Germany-Benelux Pass but probably costs much more. Anyway for lots on trains and passes check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. Use www.bahn.de/en to book cheap German train tickets.
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Old Mar 1st, 2019, 09:32 PM
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Are you aware that Lux - Arnhem by train will take over 6 hours of traveling in real world terms? Even if you travel through Germany.
Also, if you travel from Arnhem to Schiphol, it's useful to take into account that the bit of railway between Arnhem and Utrecht is infamous for its many delays because of signal failures. So plan accordingly.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2019, 04:00 AM
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Thanks, Menachem. Yes, I've seen the timetables. Just planning on enjoying the view, I guess. Family really wants to see Luxembourg and I have to see Arnhem. Oh well. Did not know about the delays between Arnhem and Utrecht. I'm usually a "get to the airport early" kind of guy. Any idea on how long the delays average? You are already making me nervous!
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Old Mar 2nd, 2019, 08:34 AM
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Why does the family really want to see Luxembourg? I've spent most of my life in Europe and never had the slightest urge to see it.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2019, 09:16 AM
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How about renting a car for Luxembourg-Arnhem?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2019, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
How about renting a car for Luxembourg-Arnhem?
Drop off fees is possibly the answer to that one. You'd have to do the sums of course, but driving up through Liege and on to Arnhem is pretty boring too.

Imho Luxembourg city is to be avoided, and the country is mostly a place to get cheap fuel and get through asap. There are some ice villages and countryside but I'm not sure I'd include it in a visit unles you have family connections or are country ticking.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2019, 02:06 AM
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I would skip Luxemburg on this trip. You'll spend lots of hours on the train to visit one of the more boring places in Europe. Just my opinion, you may have a pressing reason to go there.
Stop in Maastricht on your way to Arnhem instead?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2019, 02:09 AM
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By the way, see article on Gent in the NYT last week with lots of information.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2019, 05:41 AM
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Dear me, all this disparagement of Luxembourg, and StCirq hasn't even been there. I visited in 2003, and enjoyed it. Good scenery, a couple of good castles (e.g. Vianden), good food, good country for hikers and bikers. The location of Luxembourg City is remarkable, and there's a reasonable museum.

From my very old TR: " Uplands with open fields and steep-sided river valleys were connected by rock-walled ravines and deep forests... I drove through the dappled shade of tree-tunnels into the shadow of strange rock formations. I walked through evergreens to a cascading mountain stream, and later through a high rock maze labeled 'the Labyrinth'. And I found a wonderfully evocative ruined castle at Beaufort. " I did think a car was the best option.

WRT to tickets vs passes, only you can decide. Price the tickets bought day-of-travel, price the tickets bought ahead (and locking you into a specific train) and price the pass. However, while I am a big fan of train travel, with four people I think at least part of this trip would be better done by car.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2019, 08:07 AM
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Luxembourg City is uneventful for folks wishing to see an old-world town - it's very modern but gorgeous setting as it is divided by a deep gorge. But the beauty of Luxembourg is the Grand Duchy as a whole - a very pastoral country with yes some neat old towns and castles. Yes, folks who have never been there should not comment on what they hear rather than see.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2019, 08:16 AM
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Well I've been there a couple of times, and would not choose to go there if it required a long train journey. It's a bit out of the way for the OP, if he wants to go Bastogne - Luxemburg - Arnhem. There are plenty of more interesting places that would fit the itinerary better. But perhaps there is a specific reason to go there, usually a visit to one's personal banker
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Old Mar 3rd, 2019, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Brussig View Post
Thanks, Menachem. Yes, I've seen the timetables. Just planning on enjoying the view, I guess. Family really wants to see Luxembourg and I have to see Arnhem. Oh well. Did not know about the delays between Arnhem and Utrecht. I'm usually a "get to the airport early" kind of guy. Any idea on how long the delays average? You are already making me nervous!
I always like to be close to the airport the night before. I don't know when you're flying from Schiphol. If you need to be at the airport some time in the afternoon. If you need to be there in the morning: the earlier that is, the more traveling to Schiphol the day before and a hotel seem the way to go.
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Old Mar 4th, 2019, 01:52 AM
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You can be at Schiphol in 15 minutes from downtown Amsterdam by rail or has that changed?
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Old Mar 4th, 2019, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dukey1 View Post
You can be at Schiphol in 15 minutes from downtown Amsterdam by rail or has that changed?
Yeah, or 30 minutes from Utrecht, or 20 minutes by bus from Haarlem.
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Old Mar 4th, 2019, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by PalenQ View Post
Luxembourg City is uneventful for folks wishing to see an old-world town - it's very modern but gorgeous setting as it is divided by a deep gorge. But the beauty of Luxembourg is the Grand Duchy as a whole - a very pastoral country with yes some neat old towns and castles. Yes, folks who have never been there should not comment on what they hear rather than see.

Nah, that's not true. Why the Lux City hate? I worked there for a season, and it was true then, that on friday everyone more or less decamped to Trier, because Lux was so boring, but those days are over now.
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Old Mar 5th, 2019, 07:50 AM
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How so?
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