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Island45 Jul 23rd, 2014 08:31 AM

Itinerey help for a 27 day trip to Europe for April of 2015
We would love some feedback from all you wonderful Fodor's posters about my itinerey.
Note that we have done a month in Italy and have visited Paris and London so those places are not included. We are in our late 50's and are relatively experienced travelers. I am trying to stay fewer places for longer than a bunch of one and two day stops. Goals are History, Scenery and enjoying people, good wine, good beer and good food. Game for a couple museums/castles/churches but that is all. We are able bodies and can walk. The transportation between places has me a bit baffled as to the best options...maybea mix of car rentals and train.
Fly into Amsterdam and stay two nights.
Berlin--- three nights (this will be Easter weekend) Want to attend the Saturday English church service in Martin Luther's church which is a short train ride from Berlin
Pargue--- two nights
Austira--- 4 nights...would like to pick one city and day trip from there if possible
Switzerland--- 4 nights...also would like to pick one city and day trip from there
Munich--- 4 nights...possible to do some of Switzerland from Munich and maybe combine?
Normandy--- three nights probably stay in Bayeux or Caen..Would like to avoid Paris
Amsterdam or Brussels--- 4 nights..tour canals, huge must are the flower fields, windmill tours . I could flip flop Normandy and Amsterdam and maybe fly home out of Paris if need be but would rather fly home from Amsterdam. Want to be in Netherlands for optimal flower viewing..
Okay posters..lend me your valued opinions

chris45ny Jul 23rd, 2014 08:54 AM

I was just posting to tell you to combine your tags but you beat me to it! Much better. Sorry I can't help with destination help but I'm sure you will get the info you need.

Have you thought about an open jaw ticket? You would fly into one of the cities on your itinerary and depart from another. It would eliminate backtracking to Amsterdam.

nytraveler Jul 23rd, 2014 08:55 AM

Sorry - too many places and too little time.

Coming and going from Amsterdam makes no sense. Think flowers more likely earlier in the month but check on details - then you can come home from wherever you end up. If you need end of month for flowers (but I think may be too late) then fly into Berlin - start there and end up in Amsterdam.

But you are short-changing Berlin, Prague and need to be prepared for the mountains to still be cold (and snow higher up) in April.

janisj Jul 23rd, 2014 09:00 AM

The OP is gone . . . I suspect they tried to post too many threads and the automated filter thought they were spamming????

Hopefully the moderators will notice and restore the OP . . .

janisj Jul 23rd, 2014 09:01 AM

(<i>unless</i> the OP 'de-registered' himself??? )

PalenQ Jul 23rd, 2014 10:25 AM

Pretty much all the places you are thinking of have excellent public transportation access - even places like the Dutch flower fields (I tiptoed thru the flowers once for a few miles from the Hillegom train station (on the Haarlem to Leiden line that slices thru the heart of the fields) and you can get your fill of canals from trains to as they often IME roll right along them.

All the cities you mention are best by train - Amsterdam to Berlin is a longish train day but there is an overnight train connection from Amsterdam (save on the cost of a hotel and travel time in the day).

Anyway for a good fix on European trains I always spotlight these IMO superb sites:; and - download the latter's free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of rail itineraries in various countries.

As for Normandy excellent rail links to Bayeux - my favored city to stay in for the nearby D-Day beaches - you can take any of several mini-bus tours right from your hotel to the major sights - the U.S. cemetery and Omaha Beach, which took a brunt of the invasion.

You do not need a car to see anything listed and IMO for cities are best off without it.

PalenQ Jul 23rd, 2014 03:13 PM

Berlin--- three nights (this will be Easter weekend) Want to attend the Saturday English church service in Martin Luther's church which is a short train ride from Berlin>

that would be to Lutherstadt-Wittenberge? If so this is a nicely restored former East German city - when I first went there during commie days it was a pit - like any East German city - roads and sidewalks falling apart - very few consumer goods available - just the pits - ten years later it was shining in all its present glory - you can take the Luther Trail that winds by several places associated with him here - including the church doors where, perhaps aprocryphally, nailed those demands to the church door - true or not it is still evocative to see the door where Luther purportedly nail those things.

That leaves only two days for Berlin, a Berlin so vast and with so many diverse sights you may want to add a day - Luterstadt-Wittenberge is not a short train ride - well what do you call short - not sure but maybe two hours - could be less but it is not in the suburbs of Berlin by any stretch.

janisj Jul 23rd, 2014 03:21 PM

PQ -- the OP has left the bldg . . .

Island45 Jul 23rd, 2014 08:52 PM

Post is back... evidently I got accidently in the spam filter cause I posted to three different countries at post is back and am awaiting all your wonderful knowledge. We are prepared for some bit colder weather...we are Midwesterners so are used to very cold. As far as the flower garden viewing from what I had read it says the second half of April so was trying to plan trip around that time if I do not have correct info on that please advise. Amsterdam for arrival and departure gives us the shortest flight and the least amount of layover time. We could fly into Berlin but doing that is like a 5 plus hour layover and with an overseas flight we thought we would just spend the night there and see a bit is all.

janisj Jul 23rd, 2014 09:07 PM

hi -- glad that worked out. The site does that sometimes -- mainly if someone starts multiple threads immediately one right after the other.

>>Amsterdam for arrival and departure<<

It is almost always better/more efficient to fly open jaw (called multi city on many websites). Like in to Amsterdam and home from Munich - or in to Paris and home from wherever . . . This sort of ticket seldom costs more than R-T and saves the hassles of back tracking to your arrival city a second time.

IMO your itinerary (except for the Amsterdam R-T) is a bit rushed but not terrible. When reviewing your plan -- realize that 2 nights nets you about one full day in a city, 4 nights + 3 days. If you feel comfortable w/i the amount of time in each place then your basic plan is OK. I'd just rearrange things so you arrive in one place and fly home from another and works out a semi-linear route.

PalenQ Jul 24th, 2014 06:08 AM

PQ -- the OP has left the bldg . . .>

no just got lost in the Fodor's maze.

adrienne Jul 24th, 2014 07:41 AM

You're not giving yourself much time in Berlin. It's most of the day to get there from Amsterdam by train; Saturday is mostly taken up with the church service; Sunday is your one day to see the sights and that will be Easter so many things may be closed.

It takes about half a day to get to Prague (by train) so you have 1.5 days there. Again, not much time.

Are you flying from Munich to Bayeux? The train takes a very long time. I preferred Bayeux to Caen.

<< Would like to avoid Paris Amsterdam or Brussels >>

What does this mean? You don't want to go through any of these cities between Munich and Bayeux?

The end of your post is a bit confusing. You want to visit canals in Normandy?

Perhaps fly into Berlin and home from Amsterdam.

A suggestion - using paragraphs will make reading easier.

dwdvagamundo Jul 24th, 2014 09:33 AM

Two nites at a particular location means one full day. Prague needs three nites at least.

For Austria, ordinarily, I'd pick Salzburg but you are staying in Munich, so I'd choose Vienna for four nites. Melk Abbey and a cruise on the Danube. You might also consider driving down into northwestern Hungary which we found interesting.

Instead of Brussels, go to Bruges or Antwerp.

Island45 Jul 27th, 2014 05:36 PM

Thanks again for all your input...still working on specifics yet..Adrienne..sorry about the format..was trying to just get in as much info as I could. I want to avoid staying in Paris as we have already done that and would rather spend the time in The Netherlands for the Canals and flower viewing. To fly direct to Berlin is over a 5 hour layover in Amsterdam so the thought was due to jet lag that we would just spend a night or two there then fly onto Berlin.
We need to do the Normandy Piece at the end of the month due to meeting some friends there. Wasn't sure if three days was enough there. Again thanks for all of your valuable input...keep it coming...

adrienne Jul 27th, 2014 06:29 PM

You can take a train from Amsterdam to Berlin in 6 hours. There are direct trains at 11:01 & 13:01 (as of now - next April's schedules are not available). Taking the train would allow you to stay in Amsterdam once rather than twice. I find train travel relaxing as I doze off and on and can get some rest. Better than sitting in an airport and will probably take less time ultimately as you're avoiding all those extra airport trips.

Three days in Normandy are enough to see the D-Day beaches, Caen museum, and Bayeux Tapestry. However, your original post said 3 nights, not 3 days. Two days might be a bit rushed.

PalenQ Jul 28th, 2014 05:39 AM

I agree three days in Bayeux/Caen area is sufficient to see anything of main interest in this compact area.

Island45 Jul 28th, 2014 08:50 AM

Normandy I was thinking for 3 nights... Friends meeting us there love really good wine and food...any good suggestions?

PalenQ Jul 28th, 2014 11:26 AM

Normandy is known for its alcoholic cider (cidre) more than wine though of course French wines are ubiquitous in stores and restaurants - but try the cider - the traditional method - cidres are about half as alcoholic as wine - at least the more pricey ones - some have a real low alcoholic content - the cheap swill sold in supermarkets.

progol Jul 28th, 2014 12:18 PM

I love the cider! I still remember a pear cider I had in Honfleur that was absolutely delicious!

PalenQ Jul 28th, 2014 01:57 PM

cider and crepes and camembert are Norman delights! If driving watch for 'fromage' or 'cidre' signs in front of farms and drop in to see the cheese or cidre being made, sample and of course buy.

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