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Little (lots) help needed on 2nd half of trip (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany)

Little (lots) help needed on 2nd half of trip (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany)

Old Apr 19th, 2022, 02:58 PM
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Little (lots) help needed on 2nd half of trip (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany)

My wife and I, who have traveled quite a bit in Europe, will be traveling for 20 days in Spring 2023. First half of the trip will be Dublin and London, and second half of trip will end in Berlin to visit a friend. What I'm wanting are some suggestions on how to get to Berlin and maximize our experience.

I was considering starting a couple of ideas, but having not been here before would love some suggestions and input. Here's the initial ideas:
1. Start in Amsterdam and drive from there through Belgium and eventually end up in Berlin. Really a skeleton of an idea and would love any suggestions for this idea.
2. Do some type of a river cruise and then train into Berlin.

I understand that this is somewhat vague, but I'm fishing for ideas. Budget is fairly generous for the trip and we don't mind driving, and would love staying in large cities and/or small villages. All options are on the table.

Matt2Vacation is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2022, 03:47 PM
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Wow, blank slate!

I think you could do this trip perfectly adequately via train or car actually, although car may be a pain in 2 regards: firstly, main roads in that part of Europe are rarely picturesque and so the 'road trip' that you might do in a different set of countries won't be as attractive. However, car lets you go where you want, I get that. Secondly, some cities have an LEZ zone where you need a sticker. You are discouraged from taking your car into the centre of Antwerp and Ghent, for instance. So in those cities at least, you will have to leave your car on the outskirts or find a hotel outside the city and catch public transport in. Trains are also really good in those three countries. However, I have done a road trip right across from the north of Germany into Belgium and the Netherlands and also road trips from the north of the Netherlands into Germany and vice versa. So you can just muse on whether to do train or car, both would work.

Now for a tentative pathway: how do you think this looks?
Amsterdam - Utrecht - Antwerp - Ghent - Brussels - Maastricht - Aachen - Cologne - Münster - Hameln - Hildesheim - Goslar - Quedlinburg - (Wernigerode) - Potsdam - Berlin.

You needn't have a list of one-nighters though - for instance, you could have a central base for Hildesheim to Wernigerode, as these are all in the Harz Mountains and all incredible. Similarly Potsdam and Berlin. Also you could fit in a couple more destinations outside of Amsterdam, like Delft or Haarlem for instance, if that is your base.

Hopefully you get a few more people coming in here with recommendations, this is just a starting point with quite a good pathway, but lots of scope to vary.


lavandula is online now  
Old Apr 20th, 2022, 04:43 PM
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Thank you SO MUCH! This give me an awesome starting point and a clear direction.

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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 06:53 PM
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You are charged a very high drop fee if you return a car in another country from the one where you picked it up.
Someone from country where you rented the car would have to travel to location where you dropped it off.
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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 10:12 PM
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In Antwerp you can park right in the center of town, in one of the many garages. If you have a Dutch or Belgian rental car, you do not need to apply for the LEZ as it is automatic. The roads around the cities in Belgium and the Netherlands are very busy. Expect to spend time in traffic jams.
Doing a road trip around these parts with stays in cities will result in lots of time in your car in traffic, high charges for parking and little time to actually see something.

Look up the cost of a one-way rental first to see if you want to do this. If you want to see cities, travel by train instead and stay 2 or 3 nights in every place. Rent a car in Belgium if you want to visit the Ardennen, and return it in Belgium.
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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 10:15 PM
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It can help to drop the car at a location which has a high likelihood of someone renting the car who will drive back in the same direction. As an example, we once hired a car in Brussels and wanted to drop it off in Rennes. However, drop-off fees were prohibitive to Rennes, but not if we took the car back to Charles de Gaulle. In Brussels they actually gave us a car which had come from France and they had wanted to return it. It was a bigger car than we needed but we paid the price for a smaller vehicle. So what I am saying, is that if you drop the car at an international airport in Berlin, for example, you might have a better rate.

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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 11:01 PM
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How long do actually have for this trip? After Dublin/London and before time in Berlin? The trip is 20 days in total? I assume you are spending several days in each city, and some time with your friends in Berlin. If so then you really don't have time for a road trip at least not if you want to see anything along the way.
To me it makes more sense to visit Belgium then the Netherlands then Berlin. You could then get a train from Amsterdam to Berlin.
You won't see a lot of either country though just the usual suspects if you are lucky. You don't say when in spring but bear in mind tulip season is April/early May.
If you are happy with renting a car and drop off fees you could drive up through the Netherlands and across to Berlin, or use the route Lavendula suggests but seriously unless you enjoy motorways, and German motorways are usually being dug up, then I wouldn't bother. You would also need an umweltzone sticker on your rental car which is highly unlikely.
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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 11:09 PM
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There are cruises that start in Amsterdam and go up the Rhine. From its end point you could train to Berlin.

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Old Apr 21st, 2022, 05:50 AM
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Probably 5 days in London, then the remainder of the trip (15 more days) traveling to Berlin. Thanks
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Old Apr 22nd, 2022, 06:27 PM
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OK, well, what about this:

0 transit to London
1 London
2 London
3 London
4 London
5 London
6 Eurostar (train) to Brussels
7 Brussels
8 train to Ghent for the day, sleep in Brussels
9 train to Antwerp, spend day there and overnight there
10 train from Antwerp to Amsterdam
11 Amsterdam
12 Amsterdam
13 Amsterdam - side trip to Haarlem / Delft / Leiden / Utrecht (you choose one)
14 train to Cologne, overnight there, see the cathedral
15 Cologne to Hildesheim by train, pick up car (I recommend the Van der Valk Hotel there, it's right on the square and very amazing)
16 Stay in Hildesheim but see Harz Mountain towns - Goslar, Quedlinburg, Wernigerode, Wolfenbüttel (see the 3 million euro Gospel of Henry the Lion in the library there)
17 ditto
18 drive to Potsdam - overnight there
19 Potsdam
20 Berlin (can stay in Potsdam or move to Berlin)
21 fly out

You can shift the timings around a bit - because you have some time in London at the beginning, I have cut out the middle German towns. I have also not left you any time in Berlin because I don't know how much time you have at the end. If you would rather spend days in Berlin then cut down the Harz Mountains part or cut out Potsdam. You could also possibly get your car in Cologne as you might get a more convenient pick-up location there, up to you. I think you will want a car in the mountains, although there are good rail connections there including a steam train up the Brocken, which is quite the tourist attraction. No problem with a car in Berlin.

Your turn!

lavandula is online now  
Old May 17th, 2022, 03:01 PM
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Hi Lavandula:
Thank you SO MUCH for the incredible feedback. We had been wanting to do the Romantic Road since our last trip (to Switzerland, Austria, Southern Germany) ended in Munich, so I took your itinerary and amended it. I just wanted your feedback (and anyone else who wants to weigh-in here) on this itinerary to see what you thought:

​​​2023 Flight departs May 10th, Arrives May 11thLAX to Heathrow

London 5-11 to 5-15
- Stay at Mandarin Oriental

5-15 Train to Amsterdam for 3 nights

- Stay at (Sir Adam Hotel))

5-18 Flight to Munich for 1 night

5-19 Car Rental from Munich to Romantic Road

- Drive for 3 days, stay 1 night in Fussen and 1 night in Rothenburg

5-21 Drop off car in Nuremberg, stay 1 night

5-23 Train to Dresden, stay 1 night

5-24 Train to Berlin, stay 3 nights

- Stay at Ritz Carlton Berlin (or Hotel Oderberger?)

5-27 Flight home
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Old May 17th, 2022, 04:10 PM
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Wow, quite the change of pace! I think it's not a bad chain of destinations but a few too many one nighters. For my liking you could give an extra day to Dresden as there is quite a bit to see there. There is a Fodorite, Ingo, who lives there and has good tips. If he sees your itinerary he will come aboard. Sorry I can't comment on your hotels, I am an apartment kind of gal as I travel with family mostly. It might help you to set out your trip night by night (on a calendar or just as a list) so you can see where you can tweak it.

Are the flights set in stone or do you have any leeway to add extra days? Nuremberg is another place you might squeeze in an extra day

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