Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Looking for suggestions car trip starting Amsterdam to nice

Looking for suggestions car trip starting Amsterdam to nice

Old Feb 27th, 2017, 04:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Looking for suggestions car trip starting Amsterdam to nice

Myself and my two daughters in early 20's are planning a 14 day trip starting in nice and ending in Amsterdam. We will be driving, like the freedom to see the smaller towns than you miss on a train,
Sort of thinking a few days , like 3 including arrival day which doesn't really count around French Rivera and then head up to Switzerland, Germany and then up to Amsterdam for a couple of days before flying out. Would like to go to Munich and see the castle that the Disney castle was modelled on.
Any suggestion for a route , hotels, must see sites along the way?
sharmer is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2017, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,483
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have you mapped out a rough route already, like on Goog maps? I think you'll find that driving times are longer than you expected. And also that you'll be doing a lot of driving on the big freeways, that are not scenic at all.

Also, car hire will be steep, as will be the drop-off in Amsterdam. Plus you'll have to find new accommodation every day. Let's say you spend 3 days in nice and 3 days in Amsterdam. That leaves you with about 7 days of driving to do? It means no stopping off, or your driving days become very long, and those need to take off country roads. It's a distance of about 2000km, (Nice, Genoa, Milan, Zurich, Neuschwanstein, Heidelberg, Luxembourg, Maastricht, Amsterdam) with about 6 days effective driving: that's about 330km/day. Every day. Not a holiday I would enjoy.
menachem is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2017, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,483
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Also, you suggest that taking the train will mean you miss out in "the smaller towns".

1. you won't be seeing those on from the freeways of Europe
2. Europe has a train system that extensively covers the countryside. You can get to even remote smaller towns by train.
menachem is offline  
Old Feb 27th, 2017, 10:25 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,963
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sherrill, if you have thought this through and priced it out, and you really want to do this all by car, then central Europe is your oyster.

I won't address the question "car or not" - I trust that you are doing the research and budgeting for that, taking into account the pros and cons (there are a lot more cons than pros, but knowing the cons lets you avoid many of them).

If you do it by car, and you want to do what you say with small towns and villages off the beaten track, then you will have to travel alternate roads to the freeways - slower, but more fun.

Once you have taken all that into account, you can have a lot of fun and freedom, the three of you gallivanting at leisure. Just don't lock yourselves into advance bookings for hotels - that would defeat the "freedom gallivant". Maybe a day ahead, call a hotel when you're sure you'll get there without the commitment cramping your style. Easy to do with the internet and the smart phones and the many helpful tourism offices.

I suggest you map out a few routes right now, just to see how it may all add up.

For example, map out a route from Nice over to Aix-en-Provence (look it up, worth a stop), up to Sisteron (look it up, worth a stop), to Grenoble and Chambéry and Annecy (all ditto) and over to Chamonix.

Now map out the other route to there - via Cuneo and Torino and Aosta.

Look up a good map (get a Michelin road map, the paper version, and the green Michelin guides), and mark all the stops en route that it would be a shame to forego.

That will begin to give you a sense of what kind of progress you’ll make if you don’t fall into the trap of following major freeways with your foot on the pedal.

Now factor in how far you’ve come, how many days you have left, how many places you will want to “hit” along your not-so-deadly-direct route, and your trip will deliciously start to take shape.

Then again, go to www.sncf.fr and figure out how many of those medium and small towns you could reach by train, and google for buses.

Maybe the Swiss railways website makes that easier, pick a few targets in Switzerland and see how you can get there, on www.sbb.ch/en (in English), and for the famous postal buses in Switzerland that go where trains can't go, look at https://www.postauto.ch/

If you have specific questions about specific locations or transportation problems, add another post to this thread.

Also look at www.seat61.com for good info about public transportation, mostly trains.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2017, 04:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,483
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Maybe drive as far as Frankfurt, and from there take the ICE to Amsterdam. The
menachem is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2017, 04:47 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 6,049
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Nice - Cuneo - Torino is a lovely drive, we did that last year in the opposite direction. If you take the scenic route between Cuneo and Nice you will encounter a tunnel that was one-way only with a contraflow and traffic lights (at least it was in October).
That could be very annoying and time-consuming if it's busy. Lovely road, though. And Torino is very much worthwhile as a stop. Cuneo as a lunch stop, rather than an overnight.

Of course the time of year makes a difference. Early spring you can get snow - even late spring if you are high up. And July/August there's a lot of tourist traffic leading to delays at the tunnels in Switzerland.
Tulips is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2017, 05:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,519
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You're going to pay a king's ransom to pick up a rental car in one country and drop it off in another country. Plus. with only 14 days, covering all that territory, you're going to be seeing way more asphalt than small towns.

I agree with the idea to get detailed (probably Michelin or IGF) maps and plan a route on secondary roads. Or, take trains. They DO take you to "small" places, and are inexpensive.
StCirq is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2017, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 7,960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
OR... add another week to your trip.. that's my vote.
justineparis is offline  
Old Feb 28th, 2017, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 473
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The problem is you have not provided enough info to be sure you will get relevant responses. So you see people questioning things like the cost of the car rental and drop-off charges, or suggesting the train instead. They are making assumptions about your budget and research done.

I have no problem with renting in Nice and dropping off in Amsterdam and while I also like travelling by train in Europe, cost is not a factor in my deciding to do one or the other. I would not say 'you are going to pay a king's ransom' unless I knew you had a budget that did not allow for that cost. I don't know why people always assume the objective is to spend less money every time. If you have a 5 star budget, you don't need to hear that it can be done on a 2 star budget and it certainly makes no sense for anyone to suggest that doing it for less money is better. It isn't.

Saying you have costed the car rental and are comfortable with that cost should eliminate those who think it is too expensive. Their budget is not necessarily your budget. But if you don't say you have costed it, you leave them the opening to make assumptions about your budget which may or may not be correct.

They are making assumptions about you and no doubt you are making some assumptions about driving in Europe.

I see this is your first post and so it is a learning curve. You need to say what your nationality is, that will give people an idea of what preconceptions you may have about driving distances and time required for example. If you are from say the USA or Canada, you are probably used to driving long distances between stops. Europeans are not used to that. Other than the main autoroutes, the roads in Europe are not conducive to that either. If you want to visit small towns/villages along the way as you suggest, the distances you will cover per day may be quite small.

I have driven all over Europe and enjoy it. I have no problem with your idea of driving from Nice to Amsterdam at all. I could enjoy such a trip quite easily. But you need to know what to expect in terms of time.

Europe is not like N. America or Australia for example. You do not need to drive long distances between places of interest. So your problem is likely to be that there are simply too many places that would interest you and to stop at them all, you would need months at least. You will have to be very picky and prioritize where you will stop and spend time.

As for a route and 'must sees', that depends entirely on your interests and there is no short cut to doing your own research. Where I would choose to stop may be of no interest to you at all. So to get relevant suggestions for that, you need to say what the 3 of you are interested in besides Neuschwanstein Castle which I personally wouldn't bother to go out of my way to see. Interests differ.

There is no such thing as a 'must see' other than what the individual considers to be a must see for them. In reality, minus the actual driving time, you are not going to have much time to actually spend in places to see and do things. So you are going to have to come up with a list of perhaps half a dozen places you will stop along the way for a half day each or so. It is not going to be an 'in depth' experience at all, it's going to be a 'road trip' from A to B with a few hours stopping here and there along the way. That's fine if that's what you want.

One practical note. If you drive through Switzerland (which I would recommend), you need to know that you have to buy a permit to stick on your windshield if you drive on the Autoroutes there at all. Do NOT drive even 1 mile on an Autoroute without it. It is a heavy fine if you are stopped and they do patrol near all border crossing.

Dogeared is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 6th, 2018 01:24 AM
Dec 25th, 2017 09:49 PM
Road Trips
Jan 14th, 2017 08:30 AM
Jul 1st, 2016 11:10 AM
Apr 28th, 2006 11:17 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:10 AM.