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How to spend time b/t London and Amsterdam?

How to spend time b/t London and Amsterdam?

Sep 24th, 2005, 02:25 PM
  #1  
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How to spend time b/t London and Amsterdam?

Does anyone have suggestions on how to spend 3 to 5 days between London and Amsterdam? Interested in visiting Paris and/or Brussles. Our travels plans are flexible (until March 17 arrival in Amsterdam) and our needs are simple.

Would it be reasonable to take the Eurostar from London to Paris for a couple nights? Then spend a night or two in Brussels on the way to Amsterdam? I'm looking for info on trains, hotels, casual restaurants/cafes, pubs/bars, parks, etc. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
Bisco is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 04:15 PM
  #2  
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More specifically, we'd like to find time to taste real Belgian beers, visit the comic strip museum, admire the architecture at Grand Square... and snack on waffles in Brussels. Belguim just seems like the perfect place to get off the train during our commute from London to Amsterdam.

** So is it even possible to stop in Paris for a few day, too? Or am I dreaming?

What is the travel time between cities?
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Sep 25th, 2005, 05:25 AM
  #3  
 
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London to Paris via Eurostar is a couple/few hours, arrives at Gare du Nord. Paris-Brussels is 1.25 hours on the Thalys, leaving Gare du Nord and arrives Gare Midi. Brussels-Amsterdam leaves Gare Midi, takes about 3 hours, and arrives at Gare Centraal. If you skip Brussels, then Paris-Amsterdam leaves Gare du Nord, takes 4 hours and arrives at Gare Centraal.

Many of us love Paris and would say to spend all 4-5 days there, but if you are interested in Brussels and Paris, then you could split it to 3 nights Paris, 2 nights Brussels - try to work in a day-trip to Bruges from Brussels (a 1-hr ride each way).

You can order Thalys tickets at SNCF.com, and may find discounted fares within the 60-day window (these will require a round-trip purchase, but will still be cheaper than the standard 1-way fare; just toss the unused return portion). Thalys has its own website, but I prefer using SNCF. You can choose to pick up the tickets at any SNCF agency or station (a discounted fare may offer the option to print out yourself).

There are innumerable options for hotels in Paris - just type in "Paris and hotel" in the fodors search box.

We stayed at the Atlas Hotel in Brussels, for around 85-115€ (weekends are the cheaper rate). A bit far for walking with luggage from the station, but the taxi was only 5€ or so from Gare Midi. Very walkable distance (4 blocks or so) to Grand Place. Our twin room was sizeable with very large bathroom - hotel reflects a 'business' class style.

We've stayed at Hotel Terdam (was marketed by BW, now marketed by Ramada) and Hotel Hestia, both are located just south of Leidseplein and about 1/2 mile from the Museum area. Terdam will run about 150-200€ and Hestia will run about 107-133€. A taxi from Gare Centraal will cost 10-13€. The trams run right in front of the train station, and let off at Leidseplein (lines 1,2,5).
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Sep 25th, 2005, 06:57 AM
  #4  
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Thanks TravelNut! All of your suggestions are quite helpful. The SNCF.com site looks good for this trip. I was also researching the Eurail selectpass...

* So would it be more beneficial to book city-to-city tickets instead of a multi-country pass?

* What is the best time of day to travel b/t cities?

* Would Luxembourg or Koln be worth considering for this trip? Perhaps London-Brussels-Koln-Amsterdam? Or something of the sort? Now am I crazy?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I agree that there is alot of enthusiam on this site surrounding Paris. From all I've read, we could easily spend a month just on everyone's suggestions. There was a recent thread listing 100+ things to do in Paris. Very helpful in planning a couple casual days in the city! I made a note to eat ice cream at Bertillion and to watch the Eiffle Tower light up from Parc du Champ de Mars (not necessarily at the same time).
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Sep 25th, 2005, 07:31 AM
  #5  
 
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We just got back to Brussels a few hours ago and I'm already enjoying myself! There was a great street fair in full blast in the Voot square of Woluwe St. Pierre, with live music and entertainment, great food from street vendors and lots of different Belgian beers on tap at the cafes.
I would spend a night in Brussels and one in Bruges if you can swing it. Brussels for the Grand'Place, the excellent restaurants and cafes, the Sablon district, the changing art exhibits at the smaller museums around town. Bruges for its unique character (as nice as it is for a day trip, it's best appreciated early in the morning before the day trippers arrive or after dusk when they're gone).
Although we have an apartment on the Brussels outskirts, when I do stay in town, I stay at the 4 star Sofitel on Ave. de la Toison d'Or near the Place Louise. It's MUCH nicer than it looks from the street--you go up a level to enter the hotel proper and it's nicely furnished and set around a private walled garden. Rooms are very comfortable. You can get excellent rates there from the Sofitel web site, last time I stayed there I paid 100 euros per night, breakfast included, although I skipped it and went to Le Pain Quotidien on the Sablon instead.
Brussels abounds with good moderately priced restaurants--what kind of cuisine would you like to try?
We are about to leave on a two week trip through Germany, Austria and Lake Como, but will be spending a couple of weeks in Brussels when we get back...I will post a full list of our favorite restaurants, cafes, parks, etc., when we return. Also our favorite casual restaurant in Bruges...we eat there all the time, but I keep forgetting its name (if you want to do an upscale dinner in Bruges, highest rec for the Michelin-starred Den Gouden Harynck).
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Sep 25th, 2005, 09:03 AM
  #6  
 
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I've not compared P2P tickets with rail passes (w/regard to Paris/Bru/Ams). The standard 1-way fare for Paris-Amsterdam hovers at 100€, but I've been able to buy the Smilys fares the last time or two. I only price railpasses when I know we will want to hop off/on along the way, or take several daytrips.

While the cathedral at Cologne is spectacular, I would never trade it for Paris. The train from Cologne to Amsterdam takes about 3.5 hours roughly. I haven't bought Germain tickets online but they have a great rail website: www.bahn.de
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Sep 25th, 2005, 02:48 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for all the suggestions. It's greatly appreciated. I'm looking into all of it now. There are just so many possibilities! I'll have to research Bruges more before making a decision.

*ANY OTHERS STOPS WE SHOULD CONSIDER?*

Since we have a few days, I'd like to see what I can before heading off to Amsterdam. Like I said, our tastes are simple. We rather enjoy casual environments. For example, in Brussels it will be all about the beer! I LOVE Belgian beers, Lambics, etc! Any suggestions for breweries/pubs? Something with a kitchen would be great? Any similar places in Paris? or other cities?
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