From the Netherlands to Austria and Back

May 15th, 2007, 07:43 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
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From the Netherlands to Austria and Back

My girlfriend and I are considering a trip to Europe for two to three weeks in August. Ideally, we'd like to hit the Benelux countries, Germany and Austria...our main goal is to simply experience the culture, but I would like to visit some historical sights, as well, and she would like to see some art work (ie -- the Van Gogh museum).

Any suggestions? Would taking the train from Cologne to Munich to Innisbrook to Vienna to Berlin to Amsterdam to Brussels be conducive to our goals? Would that be too ambitious? Also would a travel agent be adviseable?
c_reinard is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 07:59 AM
  #2  
 
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You should consider the Eurail Select Saverpass good in Benelux, Germany and Austria since you are traveling so much on the trains or at least long enough distances to make the pass viable. Two good sources for planning such a rail trip: www.ricksteves.com web site has lots of good tips and www.budgeteuropetravel.com i always recommend for train/passes for their great service and expertise - on the site ask for their free European Planning & Rail Guide with chapters on Benelux, Germany and Austria with emphasis on train travel. Eurail Select Pass info on either site or www.raileurope.com
PalenQ is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 08:17 AM
  #3  
yk
 
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< Would taking the train from Cologne to Munich to Innisbrook to Vienna to Berlin to Amsterdam to Brussels be conducive to our goals? >

That's a lot of ground to cover in 2-3 weeks. You'll be spending a lot of time on trains and not that much time on the ground to "experience the culture" so to speak.

Even if your trip is 3 weeks total, you'll end up spending no more than 3 days in each city before rushing to the next one. If it's only 2 weeks, then you'll have just 2 days per city.
yk is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 10:15 AM
  #4  
 
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Yeah, it's too much. Basically, draw a line from Amsterdam to Vienna, and don't stray too far off of it. Everything on your list seems logical except for Berlin. Cross off Berlin and you save yourself about 2 full days on a train.

The Amsterdam - Cologne - Munich - Innsbruck - Vienna trip is very doable in 2 - 3 weeks. Use an open jaw flight to fly into AMS and return from VIE. That also saves a lot of time and money and rarely costs much more, or even any more, than a round trip ticket.

I think you could do a day trip to Brussels from AMS. There are also plenty of Dutch towns that are easily accesible from AMS.

Or take the train from AMS to Brussels, then to Luxembourg, and then to Cologne or Trier before you continue on to Munich.

Lots of people don't like Innsbruck. I do. The mountains are really beautiful there, and the Old Town, while small, is just great. Two things really made me like Innsbruck - the Weisses Kreuz Hotel and going up to the top of the mountain to the northwest of the city - Hafelekar I think. Also, Hall in Tirol makes a nice afternoon / evening trip from Innsbruck - about 15 - 20 minutes away.

Lots of people love Salzburg. I don't but it's worth a stop on your way to Vienna. So is Hallstatt, which is one of the most beautiful towns in Europe.

I would also stop in Melk to see the Abbey there and to take a short cruise down the Danube - start in Melk, end in Duernstein or Krems, and take the train the rest of the way to Vienna. You could hit Melk on your way to Vienna without an overnight stop.

I would suggest -

Amsterdam - 3 days
Brussels - 2 days
Luxembourg - 1 day
Cologne / Trier - 2 days
Munich - 3 days
Innsbruck - 2 days
Salzburg - 2 days
Hallstatt - 2 days
Vienna - 4 days

OK, that's a full 3 weeks. If you only have 2 weeks, I would suggest cutting Brussels, Luxembourg, and either Salzburg or Innsbruck, and shaving some time off of Cologne / Trier and Vienna. If you took an overnight train from AMS to Munich, you really wouldn't have to stop in Cologne / Trier at all. Try not to miss Hallstatt.

DO NOT use a travel agent. You don't need one. Everything you need to do - plane tickets, research on hotels, train schedules, maps, directions - you can do online, except for passports. If you do the research and planning yourself, I think it's much more rewarding than taking a trip that someone you don't know has basically put in a can for you.

If you're going to Europe in August, and you don't already have a valid passport, and you're a US citizen, log off right now and run run run to your closest passport office.

This will be a really great trip.
robertino is offline  
May 15th, 2007, 10:18 AM
  #5  
 
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Take it from a long-time European rail rider...look into the possibility of budget flights 9remaining aware of the strict checked luggage restrictions).....yes you CAN do it all and in that timeframe...some people just travel faster than others.

www.skyscanner.net
Dukey is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 01:05 PM
  #6  
 
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< Would taking the train from Cologne to Munich to Innisbrook to Vienna to Berlin to Amsterdam to Brussels be conducive to our goals? >

in 2-3 weeks to me this is a leisurely itinerary though to some it's way too much so it depends on your attitude.

but the geographical area you are covering with the super fast and modern trains makes it to me a compact area

<Amsterdam - 3 days
Brussels - 2 days
Luxembourg - 1 day
Cologne / Trier - 2 days
Munich - 3 days
Innsbruck - 2 days
Salzburg - 2 days
Hallstatt - 2 days
Vienna - 4 days>

i think Robertino's suggested itinerary is great and very doable and tailor to lower days if need be. Go for it and go for the train i suggest to see the lay of the land in between and also trains are a great place to meet the locals.





PalenQ is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 06:56 PM
  #7  
 
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c-reinard,

I am of German ancestory and speak passable German, so when I go to Germany, my biggest goal is to connect with the locals and experience the culture. You don't have to go a long way to do this. I can happily spend two weeks in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

I would omit Berlin from this trip. Save it for another trip that includes places in northern Germany. Try the Hartz.

Thoroughly research the area. There is a lot to see. Consider the Berchtesgaden, or a place much less known by Americans, the Allgäu. Also, consider the Schäbisch Alp, Donaueschingen, Sigmaringen, Hechingen, and Tübingen.

I might suggest that City Night Line (www.citynightline.ch) has a very nice night train that goes from Amsterdam to Munich.
Larryincolorado is offline  
Jun 20th, 2007, 07:08 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,421
Arg! I am getting distracted.

The Hartz is in northern Germany. It is the site of the Brocken, the witch's mountain in Faust and the mountain that inspired Mousorski to write "Night on Bald Mountain". Try it NEXT time, along with Berlin.

And, it's the "Schwäbisch ALB". I spelled it Alp; it is spelled Alb, but pronounced Alp - something called "Entvokalisierung im Wortauslaut".
Larryincolorado is offline  

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