How to get around

Old May 1st, 2008, 11:58 AM
  #1  
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How to get around

Hello,

I am wondering, we are going to Europe in the spring of 09 and we are going to start in paris go to amsterdam and finish in Berlin (we really only have 10 days) in europe. How should we get around
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Old May 1st, 2008, 12:12 PM
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If going to cities take the fantastic train system - if wanting to explore the countryside more do the car

Cities are not car friendly - many centres have severely restricted cars and have pedestrian zones

city transport - buses, metros and trams are fantastic

many hotels may not offer parking and those that do may charge a lot

even to park a car in Amsterdam for 24 hours will cost over $30/day i think

For lots of the trains in this area i always recommend the: www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com two sites that have much more than just railpass prices and an 'option to buy' button but a wealth of info whether or not you will want or need a railpass. (On the budget europe site be sure to ask for their free European Planning & Rail Guide that is a great primer for train travel in this area - and for a pass if your travel is wholly in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany then strongly consider the Germany-Benelux eurailpass. www.bahn.de, the German railways web site is the easiest i've seen to use for schedules for all of Europe and they will give you prices in euros for trips involving German stations and also online advance purchase chance for deeply discounted point to point tickets, which however are severely restricted to a certain train whereas the pass can be used on any train anytime with very very few exceptions. There is also the Lander Pass for German regions that are good if you rail travel is largely within a compact area, such as Bavaria.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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a possible train route

Amsterdam - 3 days

train to Koblenz, stopping en route for a quick look at Cologne's famous cathedral, right next to the Cologne train station (put bags in locker)

continue onto Koblenz or any of the smaller cuter Rhine Gorge wine towns like Bingen, St Goar, Rudesheim, etc.

Day 4 - spend the day hopping the Rhine Boats (free with railpass)

Day 5- Heidelberg, one of Germany's finest cities with a castle of your dreams

Day 6 - Castle Road bus to Rothenburg - going up a gorgeous river valley all the way from Heidelberg to Germany's most famous medieval walled town

Day 7 - to Berlin

Day 8, 9 Berlin

return to amsterdam for flight

All trains and the Rhine boats covered in full by a Germany-Benelux railpass

cut off Rothenburg if want one more day in Berlin or if you need day to rail Berlin-amsterdam (round trips into Amsterdam by plane may be cheaper than going into Amsterdam and out of Berlin
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Old May 4th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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Book your plane ticket 'open jaw' - into your first city and out of your last to avoid backtracking on the ground. Use the train to go from city to city.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 02:05 PM
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PQ's itinerary would work IF you weren't going to Paris too, and your 10 days doesn't include your travel days. But it really isn't doable if you want to see Paris.

10 days is not long enough for Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. Especially if you mean 10 days in total -- including travel to/from Europe. 1 day flying to. About 1 day to recover from the jet lag. 1 day flying home. Leaving you about 7 days free for sightseeing/travel between cities.

Paris and A'dam is a good 10 day trip w/ about 6 days in Paris, 2+ in A'dam, and 2 travel days.

Or Amsterdam for 3 days, 2 days on the Rhine/Heidelberg, Berlin for 3 days.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 05:17 AM
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ira
 
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Hi K,

> we are going to start in paris go to amsterdam and finish in Berlin (we really only have 10 days) in europe. How should we get around?<

At a very fast walk, if not a run.

You have one too many venues for 10 days.

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Old May 5th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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I think it's doable albeit it's not ideal for many Fodorites who often have 3 weeks or even more to travel. Many people don't have the luxury of time to travel more than 10 days and yet they do want to see certain places.

Paris to Amsterdam by train is a 5 hour journey, and the direct train from Amsterdam to Berlin takes about 6 hours. I've taken the train on the very same routes and often saw deals for 39 eur from Amsterdam to Berlin per advanced purchase.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Yes i agree with jj - i failed to note the paris start. sorry

then i'd say

Paris-Bruges (fabulous old town)

Bruges-Amsterdam

and Amsterdam-Berlin
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Old May 5th, 2008, 08:50 AM
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Hopefully by next year the highspeed train will be running at high speed reducing the journey time Amsterdam/ Paris by a bit.
I would miss out Brugge if you really want to end up in Berlin. if you are happy missing out on Berlin then include Brugge.
You can get some very cheap deals on the trains if you book them early (but not this early!)
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Old May 5th, 2008, 09:16 AM
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DAX - yes, it is doable - but not really practical.

10 days:
1 flying to Paris
1 checking in, light sightseeing/learning way around Paris/getting over jet lag.
3 more in Paris (4 days is about an absolute minimum for Paris)
1 checking out/travel to A'dam/less than 1/2 a day in A'dam
2 more days in A'dam
1 checking out/travel to Berlin/less than 1/2 a day in Berlin
1 flying home . . . . . . equals 10 days.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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I think you can do 3 cities in 10 days - understanding that you're just going to get the highlights of each. That said, if you're travelling by train or car, you're going to lose of time simply getting to Berlin. From Amsterdam, it's over 9 hours by train.

Could you choose something other than Berlin? Could you fly into Paris, travel by train to Amsterdam (about 4.25 hours), then fly to Berlin on a cheap airline, flying back out of Berlin?
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Old May 5th, 2008, 02:21 PM
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One of my staff members recently made her first european trip to Barcelona, Paris & Berlin in 10 days.

She had a great time and was very happy to have visited all 3 cities in that 10 days. She flew from city to city and did Barcelona for 2 days, Paris for 3 days and Berlin for 2 days. I was encouraging her to stay only in Berlin where her family was staying, but she had to see Barcelona & Paris.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 06:47 AM
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Different strokes for different folks

anyone who says something like "x number of days here are an absolute minimum" is being rather too didactic IMO - some folk like me would rather see two cities for half the "x" days for example.

even saying 'X' - picking a number like 3 or 5 is very subjective
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:29 PM
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For example - Paris if i were into museums, esp art museums i'd have to schedule about three whole days to see the major ones

but if you are not you take a quick look at the Orsay and Louvre and that's it

thus it depends on what you are interested in that determines the 'minimum' number of days needed IMO

A couple of days in Paris may be enough for folks who just want to take in this glorious visual feast
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:37 PM
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..just remember, every time you change cities you loose half to a whole day of sight seeing. In addition, travel costs money. This board tends to be very negative about "bus tours', but I think if someone wants to see a bit of everything in a short period of time, a bus tour works esp for a first timer..ie a Tuesday it must be Belgium sort of tour.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 02:00 PM
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No, you don't. What we have done for years is to ride the last train of the day that arrives at its destination before midnight. Then we check into the hotel, get a good night's sleep, and hit the ground running in the morning. This strategy allows us to travel after the sights have closed each day, thereby not wasting sightseeing time traveling.

On the day of our departure to the next city, we either check our luggage with the concierge at the hotel (if it's near the train station) or at the station. After sightseeing for a day, we grab our gear and get on the train, and relax from the day's travel whilst watching the scenery zip past the window.

Intercity driving is, IMO, a waste of resources unless there are locations of interest to you between the capitals. Take the train, and save your brain™.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 02:02 PM
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I don't think that 3 cities in 10 days is really that bad. I've seen far more rushed itineraries. I think it just depends on personal travel styles. I spent 3 days in Paris and was perfectly happy. However, I'm not really into museums so I skipped most of them. It also takes me hardly any time at all to get over jetlag, thanks to my trusty Ambien.

I do think it's a little rushed, given the distance between locations, but we all have different travel styles. But if you get up and catch an early train you could be at your next destination by noon or early afternoon. After you check in you would still have most of the afternoon to sightsee before daylight runs out.

I don't get a lot of vacation time, so I tend to travel a little faster than some on this board. It works for us.

Tracy
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Old May 12th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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After you check in you would still have most of the afternoon to sightsee before daylight runs out. - having wasted half of the day on a train.

See my 05/12/2008, 05:00 pm post.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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..again disagree about not loosing time even with a "late" train..Assuming you can book a late train at a good price, you still loose time IMO. With each new city you need to orient yourself, find restaurants or grocery store, become familiar with transportation to your hotel ect..this does take time. Admittedly occasionally in doing these tasks interesting detours occur which add variety to the stay.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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Robespierre, you must have been posting at the same time I was because I didn't see your post before I started my own. I think your plan is a great one too. This way you aren't loosing valuable daylight hours on a train.

I don't understand the point about orienting yourself in the new city. Isn't that part of the whole traveling experience? I orient myself, perhaps stopping at restaurants to look at menus, while I am out sightseeing for the day. I guess I don't consider "orienting myself" as taking away from the experience of being in a new city...that's half of the fun. Usually if you are out and about you end up orienting yourself naturally.

Tracy
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