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-   -   First time to London, Paris and Amsterdam. (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/first-time-to-london-paris-and-amsterdam-1085526/)

Jomicdia Feb 3rd, 2016 02:48 PM

First time to London, Paris and Amsterdam.
 
We are planning 4 nights London, 4 nights Paris and 3 or 4 nights Amsterdam. Thoughts? Is it worth it to also go to Brugges for a night or two. Planning to go in the fall 2016.

janisj Feb 3rd, 2016 03:01 PM

You already have too little time in London and Paris as it is. So no, if it means taking time away from one of the other three.

Is there a reason you are dividing things up 4-4-4? All cities are not equal '4 day cities'. 4 nights will net you just over 3 days 'on the ground' and London is by far the largest city in western Europe w/ MANY things to see/do.

Paris also warrants a fair amount of time. IMO 3 full days in Amsterdam is OK. More would be better if you wanted to do a day trip somewhere.

Dutchldy Feb 3rd, 2016 03:32 PM

You will need at least one full day in Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank house, flower market, cruise the canals). If you are not interested in museums, Amsterdam is a wonderful city to just stroll and enjoy the people and scenery. I would also recommend a day to the Volendam and Edam, as well as the Zaanse Schans.
Brugge needs a full day as well but depending on if you go there from Paris or Amsterdam, you will loose at least 1/2 a day getting there.
Enjoy!

denisea Feb 3rd, 2016 05:18 PM

I haven't made it to Amsterdam but I am with Janisj in that you don't have enough time in London or Paris.

I would do London and Paris or Amsterdam and Paris. Paris is an excellent base for day trips by train.

Resist the urge to change locations too often. You will never see it all and if you try to cram in too much, you will leave feeling a little frustrated.

I still haven't seen it all in and around Paris and am headed back for my 7th trip in December (and am dying to get back to London)!

I do hope you enjoy your trip!

gailscout Feb 3rd, 2016 06:23 PM

I would not plan for any day trips as you have a limited time in each city for your first time in each. You can't see it all, but you'll get a good taste for each. In London, I highly recommend a boat ride on the Thames, Borough Market and London Tower. In Paris, Eiffel Tower, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Arch de Triumph, (you can get a special bus from there to the Fondation) and in Amsterdam - a food tour, canal ride and the Riks.

Tulips Feb 4th, 2016 02:09 AM

If you are coming from the US, make London your first stop and give it 5 nights - to get over jetlag and adjust. London is also the largest of the 3 cities you are planning to visit.

Train to Paris, 4 nights there - train to Amsterdam, 3 nights and fly back from there.
I would skip Brugge for this trip.

johnpeter160285 Feb 4th, 2016 08:22 AM

I wouldn`t go to Brugges, moreover, I wouldn`t go to Amsterdam either and would just split the whole time between London and Paris. 4 days are not enough for either of them, you will see only the main attractions, which is quite sad for such cities as London and Paris. But if everything is booked already the directions London-Paris-Amsterdam or Amsterdam-Paris-London are quite logical. I would start from Amsterdam to make the impressions grow from one city to another, but starting from London is also fine.

Christina Feb 4th, 2016 09:21 AM

I think your itinerary is fine, I presume it's what you want to do, I think it's a decent number of days in several cities which many people want to see.

I probably spent about 4-5 days in Amsterdam and did 1-2 day trips, so I think if you really have 4 days there, you could do a day trip. No, I wouldn't go to Bruges as it's a 3+ hours train trip. Staying overnight would kind of complicate things, but I guess you'd do that in-between Paris and Amsterdam? As to whether it is "worth it", I would probably do a closer day trip from Amsterdam rather than spending a couple days to go to Bruges. I went to Delft, for example, it's only an hour by train from Amsterdam. I also went to Alkmaar for most of one day, they have an amazing cheese market there, great fun.

If you were only doing two other cities, I could see another stop for Bruges, but not with your current schedule. But it's your trip, if you are dying to see Bruges, this is your chance. Then that would give you maybe one less day in Amsterdam but not other day trips. IN fact, I guess it is the same amount of time, just invovles one more hotel stay, etc., I just get tired of those after a while myself. Who's to say which is best.

PalenQ Feb 4th, 2016 10:16 AM

4 days is enough for the average first-time tourist IMO for both Paris and London - Paris is just about three hours all told from London - travel does not consume much of that day though you do lose an hour on the clock when going to France.

Ditto for Paris

Amsterdam about 3 days

Bruges could be a sweet one night stop- a half-day there and a night for most is OK.

Take Eurostar train London to Paris

Take Thalys train to Brussels and change there for trains to Bruges - 3.5 hours all told.

Take train from Bruges to Amsterdam via change of trains in Antwerp (great 2-hour stop to see a little of this historic city perhaps) - takes about 3.5 hour all told

For lots on these trains and advance booking which can yield deep discounts check www.eurostar.com and www.thalys.com. For general info on trains check www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com- the latter is superb on cluing one in on discounted tickets (you book online yourself).

If possible add an extra day to London (when landing you may be wiped out if trans-Atlantic flight).

Very possible and for the average tourist just about right (though the FodorGarchs' mantra often is you need a week in each place or it ain't worth it).

PalenQ Feb 4th, 2016 10:33 AM

If you could wiggle an extra day in London, Paris and Amsterdam then I would spend that day on a day trip to see a more real England, France and Holland than the three big tourist meccas - like from London either to Oxford or Cambridge or from Paris to Chartres (great Gothic cathedral or Reims for Champagne houses and tastings or from Amsterdam windmills like at Zaanse Schans and neat old cities like Haarlem or Delft or Aklmaar for the very popular Friday Cheese Market.

italynovice Feb 6th, 2016 05:42 AM

During a recent trip, I stayed in Paris for one week then took the train to Bruges where I spent one night before continuing on to Amsterdam, where I stayed for several days. One afternoon and evening in Bruges was delightful, and yet I was able to arrive in Amsterdam the next afternoon in time to wander around and enjoy the city on my first day there. The Thalys train is relaxing, and if you splurge for first class (not much more if you buy tickets early) you get a meal and wine along with spacious seats. The old part of Bruges is near the train station, and there are some lovely B&B's and hotels, along with good food, chocolate, and beer. Yes, it's touristy but great for a one night stay.

PalenQ Feb 6th, 2016 07:18 AM

Bruges does indeed have neat quaint sections that many tourists rarely get to - some lovely old quays and nearby places like Damme (bike or boat or bus there) - Bruges old port until it silted up - leaving it now as a kind of time warp with imposing Flemish canal-side facades hinting at days of long-gone glory.

Most tourists, in my dozens and dozens of times there, gravitate mainly to the main square - boat rides thru the canals and the lace shops near the main squares - meander a bit to the south and west and you'll have medieval Bruges practically to yourselves sometimes.

PalenQ Feb 6th, 2016 02:24 PM

About the ABS Thalys fare - for a few extra euros - five I have now read - you get an open ticket good for 24 (48?) hours of your Thalys international train arrival and then use it to go to any station in Belgium - like Antwerp to Bruges and then if you have a Thalys ticket Brussels to Paris you can also do the ABS fare and hop any train within 24 hours to Brussels - like even going the day before - just for a few euros - any train on those routes anytime. Look for it when booking Thalys fares.


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