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Help with an itinerary for The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

Help with an itinerary for The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

Old Mar 10th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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Help with an itinerary for The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

Hi,

A friend of mine and I are starting to plan a trip to the Netherlands to see my friend's
son who will be in Maastricht, Holland studying at the university there.
We've put together a tentative itinerary and would like you to look at and help us decide if this is feasible. My husband and I planned a trip to Germany and Austria the summer of 2008 and with your help, had a fabulous vacation. Many of you might remember me
as I posted so many questions and got terrific guidance.
Here goes: We want to fly into Brussels and spend a night or 2 there. Then take a train
to Brugge and spend a day and possibley a night there ( we're not sure if we can spend that much time there or spend a 1/2 day and move on. From Brugge, we want to rent a car and drive to Rotterdam and maybe see a small town or 2 on the way( any suggeestions?) and drive to Amsterdam and spend 2 nights there, keep the
car in Amsterdam and park it for the few days we are there.
Then travel down to Masstricht( how far is it to Masstricht from Amsterdam?) and visit
my friend's son and spend the night in Masstricht. Then we want to go into Germany to
visit some wineries and I do believe that the Mosel Valley is close to our area but
not sure how close it is.. I know Trier is outside of Luxembourg but we dont want to go that far south.. We would like to spend a few days exploring that area and then leave for the states via Frankfort. We plan on spending 9 nights in all. We need your opinions and advise.. Looking forward to hearing from all of the Fodorites who I trust tremendously natjgc
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 06:26 AM
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Sounds very rushed for 9 days/nights!

Let me see, you want to visit:
Brussels
Bruges
"a small town or 2 on the way"
Rotterdam
Amsterdam
Masstricht
Mosel Valley

Is it possible to cut out some of these places? Have you been to any of these places?

I suggest:
Skip Brussels. Fly into Brussels and go directly to Bruges, spend 2 nights there.
Train back to Brussels (spend 1/2 day there to see Grand Place) and then train to Amsterdam.
Spend 3 nights there, perhaps with a sidetrip to Rotterdam (are you an architecture fan? is that why you want to visit Rotterdam?)
Train to Maastricht and spend 1 night there (your friend is contend to go all the way to Maastricht just to see the son for 1 day?)
Spend remaining time in Mosel.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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I would forget the car for a start. It will be expensive to park in Amsterdam, and it is a nightmare drive at the moment to get to Maastricht due to extensive motorway reconstruction. There is a good train service. It takes 2 and half hours by train, which will definitely be quicker than by car. It costs €28.70 one way.

If you want to rent a car then get a train across the border from Maastricht and rent the car in Germany to explore the Mosel area. Maastricht and Limburg deserve more than one day really. You could easily rent a car there and spend you remaining time exploring Limburg, a little of Germany and a touch more of Belgium. Then return the car in Maastricht and train back to Brusseels for your flight home.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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These are interesting answers and we are re considering where we go. We would love to take the train as much as possible, are there lockers to keep our luggage in as we sightsee?
How far is the Mosel Valley from Maastricht?
Rotterdam is not high on my list so that could be nixed.
However,I'm assuming there are several small towns in
Holland that are worth seeing. How can we visit them if we dont have a car? I'm thinking mostly from Amsterdam to Maastricht. My friend's son will meet us anywhere we are on weekends so we are not locked into staying in Maastricht. natjgc
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 08:40 AM
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There are luggage lockers at the Belgian rail stations, including Brussels.

In the Netherlands, I particularly enjoyed a day trip to Delft and Den Haag (more the museums). Both are easily reached by rail. Haarlem is very close to Amsterdam (~30 min ride) and most people enjoyed it (I haven't been myself).

I've been to Rotterdam, and it's got its quirkiness. but it's mostly known for its modern architecture, and the famed Boijmans Museum.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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I have been to Haarlem and it's charming.
How much time do you think we need in Brussels and Bruge?
It would be shame not to see Brussels since we would be landing there and who knows it we'll ever get back to this part of Europe. I've been to Amsterdam before but my friend
hasn't so I'm happy to be re visiting it.
Do you know how far Frankfort is from Maastriecht?
natjgc
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 10:25 AM
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I have been to Bruges 3 times. The first 2 times were just a day trip and I had to go back for the 3rd time last fall, and we spent 3 nights (2 full days) there. Bruges is particularly nice and peaceful at night, when all the daytrippers have gone. During the day it is mobbed. If you can time your visit during the week, it's much better than the weekend.

I have been to Brussels 3 times as well and spent at least a total of 8-9 days there over the years. I like Brussels a lot because I love Flemish paintings and Art Nouveau buildings. If you're not particularly interested in those, then half day stop there is fine for a quick walk around Grand Place and perhaps see Mannekin Pis. Anyway, that's why I suggest you stop in Brussels for half day en route from Bruges to Amsterdam.

To find out distances by car, you can check viamichelin.com. To find out distances (ie travel time) by rail, check DB rail website.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 10:26 AM
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Whilst there are some very nice towns to visit between Amsterdam and Maastricht trust me that the hassle you will experience on the main motorway, which you ultimately will have to take, is not worth it this year.
From Amsterdam you can take trains or buses to many interesting towns and sights.
Car parking in Amsterdam is very expensive and driving in the city is not for the faint hearted.
There are lots of interesting towns and villages around Maastricht you could explore.

It is 290km to Frankfurt from Maastricht which is a good 3 hour drive. By train you can either back track and go through Utrecht (also well worth visiting) for a single change of train or go via Roermond and Venlo.

Cochem is 190 KM from Maastricht and a 2 hour drive.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Here are my thoughts…

If you are sold on flying into Brussels and out of Frankfurt then I would leave Amsterdam and Rotterdam out of this trip and save it for another visit. I personally agree with you, and I like having a car to go where and when I want to, but parking is a real (and expensive) issue in many cities. Maybe look for places to stay in smaller communities that are between other places you want to visit. I personally enjoy driving and seeing the countryside almost as much as I enjoy exploring the sites we see when we arrive.

Here is what I might do:
- Fly into Brussels, get a car, drive towards Brugge and stay in the town of Aalst for two nights. From there I could day trip back to Brussels, onto Brugge, north to Antwerp or just check out the communities in the area (I would not try to do all).
- Head east, go through Leige and stay for three nights in Vise, Eijsden or some other small community in the area. From there I could visit Leige, Maastricht, Aachen (one of my favorite German cities) or anything else in the area.
- Head south on the E42 past Bitburg to Wittlich and stay for two nights. From here I could visit Trier (to me this is a must – wine, roman ruins, great church), Cochem, and all of the other Mosel stops. Burg Eltz is also in the area, and while rather touristy, still very nice.
- Head over to Bacharach on the Rhine for the last two days. I predict that if you did this itinerary that this would be the highlight of your trip. While here one can enjoy the bounty of the Rhine.

The small towns that I chose to use for my itinerary above I chose just by looking at a map and I do not know if they would have appropriate accommodations. I would do a lot of research and pre-book everything in advance.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:00 PM
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We aren't set on leaving from Frankfort. Your intinerary looks interesting and something to consider.Some if not all
seem great places to visit and stay.

How far is Maastricht to the Moselle Valley? natjgc
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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I already told you Maastricht is 190Km from Cochem, a two hour drive.
If you hire a car in Belgium and leave it in Germany you will probably incur huge one way fees.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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natjgc, hetismij already answered your question 2 posts above:
Cochem is 190 KM from Maastricht and a 2 hour drive.

And please note tht it is Frankfurt, not Frankfort.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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hi natjigc,

have you found www.viamichelin.com? you can put in your start and finishing places and they will give you distances and various routes [quickest, scenic etc.]. also, you need a map, to show your which palces are near where.

jgwagner's suggesions look good to me.

regards, ann
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 02:09 PM
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I figured it out from the wesite.. 2 hours. Not bad and renting a car would be fine.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 03:12 PM
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Do you enjoy driving around looking at countryside, with little stops, or more walking in villages and small towns, getting to know a place? That might help you narrow things down.

I would skip Brussels (or just do a half day) and go directly to Bruges for at least a day and night.

Trains in Belgium are great, so I wouldn't get a car there. You can get pretty much anyplace you want by train, and taxis aren't that expensive. I would wait to get a car just for Germany.

I would also skip Rotterdam. If you are going to Amsterdam anyway, stay there and enjoy places you can go by train.
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Old Mar 10th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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Sorry, I didn't read the posts carefully enough
Sassafrass, I like your idea of training it all over and
getting a car just for Germany..
However, I'd prefer not skipping Brussels, but possibly making it a shorter stay.
We like walking and driving so we will decide at some point.
Thanks, natjgc
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