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Help w/ Belgium/Germany Itinerary (family of 6 from US)

Help w/ Belgium/Germany Itinerary (family of 6 from US)

Old Jan 24th, 2024, 03:40 AM
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Help w/ Belgium/Germany Itinerary (family of 6 from US)

We are a family of 6 traveling from the US. We have 14 nights in June, starting in London (because I got a great deal on flights). We will spend the first and last nights in London and will be traveling by train. We love the outdoors, history, and good food. We took them to London and Paris last year so this will be their second European adventure.

The itinerary looks something like this:

London - flying in and spending 1st night
Cologne - 2 nights
Boppard - 3 nights
Cochem or ??? - 3 nights
Luxembourg City - 1 night
Brussels - 3 nights w/ day trips to Bruges and possibly Ghent
London - last night before flight home

My questions are...

1) Should we only do one night in Cologne and add a night somewhere else? We are mostly staying there to see the cathedral and because I have a cousin nearby whom we would like to meet up with for a 1/2 day.

2) I have read a lot about the Rhine and Mosel areas, and my head is spinning. Goals for this area are to explore small towns, see some castles, drink wine, and hopefully rent bikes for a day. I originally wanted just one base, ideally Cochem, but I am having trouble finding accommodations for a family of 6. What other great small towns with easy train connections should I be looking at? I found suitable Air BnBs in Muden (I can't find any info about this town), Treis-Karden, and Traben-Trarbach. Traben-Trarbach looks like a great area. If we based here for a few nights for the Mosel, should we visit Burg Eltz from Boppard? I don't want to stop on the way from Rhine to Mosel since we will have our luggage.

3) Luxembourg City - This stop seems like a great way to close our loop instead of backtracking. Should I take a night off Germany and add it here or will 1 night be sufficient to walk around the old town?

I'm sure I will have lots of Belgium questions, but I am first trying to sort out the Germany part so I can find accommodations before they book up.

I welcome any suggestions, but please be gentle. This tired mom has not planned a trip like this in years as you can see from my profile!!
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Old Jan 24th, 2024, 02:54 PM
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Hi sessa, I guess there is no particular need to worry about London as it's just for access, right? Are you flying from London to Frankfurt (FRA), or perhaps into Cologne-Bonn (CGN)? I don't know what's possible but if you actually can fly into CGN you might save some time. I would also give all the Boppard nights to Cologne as well as it is a perfectly good base for day trips up and down the Rhine, unless you really want to wake up in a smaller town (up to you). In Cologne there is at least two days worth of sightseeing: see the Cathedral, the chocolate museum (which outstrips anything I have been to in Belgium), and there are actually two perfume museums. Last time we were there (Jan 2023) we went to the Farina-Haus, which is the oldest museum, we haven't seen the other one. It was great. And Cologne is also a shop till you drop city, with wonderful shopping streets, and a vibrant nightlife.

I notice you don't factor in travel days - when I do my trips I mostly don't plan any activities for travel days, so remember you will lose a bit of time, at least half-a-day, if not more.

Traben-Trarbach is a good area to stay. When I first started hanging around on Fodor's the received wisdom was that Cochem was the best and only place to stay, but Traben-Trarbach is interesting, there is a small museum and plenty of accommodation, so go for it. I've not been to Burg Eltz, so I will let someone else comment on that.

Luxembourg is really small - the casemates and the valley are interesting; if you see the Ducal palace there is a nice café opposite called the Chocolate House (amazing cakes and hot chocolate spoons). But because it's so small you really probably don't need more than a day there. Public transport is free in Luxembourg.

When you go back to London from Brussels, you can catch the Eurostar (train), that will probably save you a bit of time. You could also do Eurostar to Cologne when you arrive, that's possible too.

OK, enough to get you started so you can do your homework ...

Lavandula

Last edited by lavandula; Jan 24th, 2024 at 03:01 PM.
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Old Jan 24th, 2024, 04:00 PM
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Our Cologne trip; the trip report is at the end of the thread:

Cologne tips, please

Lavandula
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Old Jan 24th, 2024, 04:36 PM
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Thank you so much lavandula! We will be taking the Eurostar from London to Cologne and then from Brussels back to London. You had me at chocolate museum and Chocolate House in Lux!! I will definitely keep 2 nights in Cologne.

We prefer smaller towns which is why I was looking to move to somewhere along the Rhine and/or Mosel for a few nights each. Additionally, the lodging situation seems to be much more economical for our family outside of the big cities. Hotels are out of the question for 6 people (2 rooms is too $$$ - where is an Embassy Suites when you need one?! ha ha) so sticking to airbnbs.

Really appreciate your input!
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Old Jan 24th, 2024, 04:51 PM
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In bigger cities google 'aparthotels' - sometimes you can get an apartment with 2 double bedrooms and a pull-out sofa. I am thinking particularly of the Citadines Toison d'Or in Brussels. It is in a nice area more for locals, but right at the intersection of trams and metro so you can get around fairly easily. But go with whatever works for your number of heads.

Lavandula
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Old Jan 25th, 2024, 12:17 AM
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The Mosel, I've long pushed back about staying in Cochem, which to me is a sort of nightmare

Obviously if you are using trains to get about then your village needs a station and T&T is not a bad place to stay, I've stayed there twice. I've stayed multiple times in Trier to do with wine and wine festivals. It too is expensive but does have other things to look at as it was the capital of the Roman Empire for a period, the birth place of Karl Marx and some grand old buildings/gardens etc.

I've also cycled the length of the Mosel within Germany, visited Luxembourg multiple times (a dull place with a giant remnant of a massive castle and some very smug (tax dodging) wealthy people ;-) ).

If I was staying for a couple of nights I would look for any village with two restaurants. If it can support two restaurants it will have rooms and enough to do for 2 days. My own favorite at the moment is Urzig which is built into a massive bowl of a cliff but I lack a full understanding of your needs and selection process to be any help.

But frankly two restaurants is my best sorting method and/or not a station. The good thing is any town that has tourism along the Mosel will have a good website which will read Urzig.de or Cochem.de
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Old Jan 26th, 2024, 02:17 AM
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Thanks, bilboburgler, for the reassurance that Cochem is not the end-all be-all of the Mosel. I booked 3 nights in Traben-Trarbach as it looks like there are a lot of activities, and the accommodations look perfect for us.
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