Train or car for 2 weeks in Benelux area

Old Jan 20th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Train or car for 2 weeks in Benelux area

Will be in Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg area in late August and early September. Want to see Ams., The Hague, Rotterdam, Brussels,Gent, Brugge, and possibly Luxembourg City. In your opinion,
Is this doable better by train or car?
Plans are to fly into Ams. and out of Bru.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 04:25 PM
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That are has lots of cute little towns, castles in the countryside and small local WWII museums. To explore those you really need a car. (We did a trip like that a couple of years ago.)

There shouldn't be any drop-off charges within Benelux (we had none) so car may be no more expensive - and definitely more flexible and fun - that waiting around for trains.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 04:45 PM
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I did France one year by car and Germany last year by car and really enjoyed exactly what you said. However, Ams etc. are large cities and I relay despise driving in traffic in larger towns. So I thoght possibly train.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 06:14 PM
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If you mean what you say - " Want to see Ams., The Hague, Rotterdam, Brussels,Gent, Brugge, and possibly Luxembourg City" - then the answer is: Train. A car is a hindrance in those towns.

But if that is only half the story, then get a car for the other half of the story - much of the charm of the region lies not in the substantial cities that are well served by trains and buses, but in the smaller places that are not well served, and with a car for part of your trip you will make priceless discoveries out in the countryside.

So the answer should be: Both.
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Old Jan 20th, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Distances are very short in this area. Rely mainly on trains to visit the mentioned cities.

However, rent a car for a day or two and explore the coast and the countryside. E.g. it will be a rewarding drive from Rotterdam southwards over the dams to Zeeland (Middelburg).

One of The Netherland's main attractions is Nationaal Park De Hoge Veluwe, between Apeldoorn and Nijmegen. Also a destination for a road trip.

BTW, do not forget to visit Utrecht and Maastricht! And if you are in Maastricht make the short trip to Aachen!
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 01:03 AM
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Ams., The Hague, Rotterdam, Brussels, Ghent, Bruges, and possibly Luxembourg City means just trains

Outside, apart from the Ardennes, a great deal of the countryside in Benelux (including most WW1 battlefields) is most easily visited by bike, getting bikes onto trains is easy and hire shops are all over.

Assume train and bike unless there's a specific trip planned that rules this out. Hire a car just for tthat trip.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 01:27 AM
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I sit with flanner on this one. This area is high density train and bike trailed. The only area where this begins to die out is the Ardennes/Luxembourg part of Belgium and apart from visitng trappest breweries and Champagne there is litle reason to go there. We did the trip to the Hoge just this way (there were even free bikes in the park if we had wanted them)
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 04:07 AM
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John - As others have already mentioned, all the places that you want to visit are accessable by train, which is an excellent and easy form of transportation.

Several years ago we did a circle tour of the BeNeLux region by train (and bus), visiting Amsterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, Maastrich, Clervaux,(LU), Vianden, (LU-by bus), Luxembourg City, Dinant (BE), Brussels, Brugge, Ghent, Rotterdam, Delft, den Hauge, Haarlem and the Kuekenhof. We used a 4 or 5 day BeNeLux pass, and had a great time riding the rails!

Robyn >-
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 06:30 AM
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These are densely populated countries with very good public transport systems. If a place doesn't have a railway station, there's probably at least an hourly bus. Buses are much more frequent than in rural France.
The road across the delta from Rotterdam to Middelburg, mentioned by "traveller1959" has regular buses. I've visited picturesque little towns such as Marken, Medemblik and Veere using local bus services.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 08:11 AM
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ditto to all that flanner.co.uk said - Train for those cities

and if energetic rent a bike at a train station
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 10:18 AM
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You obviously don;t need a car in major cities - but a lot of places you mentioned aren't that large (Brugges and Gent are towns - not cities). I would pick up the car on leaving the first city (Amsterdam) and drop it when you arrive at the last.
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Old Jan 21st, 2009, 10:29 AM
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Ghent - Wikipedia

With 237,250 inhabitants in the beginning of 2008, [1] Ghent is Belgium's second largest municipality by number of inhabitants. ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghent

Though i would believe that Antwerp has more inhabitants then i guess Belgium has only one city - Brussels?

And all the rest are towns

I have been to Gent many times and it has all the drawbacks of any large city as re: parking, driving, etc. As does Bruges IMO albeit less population - still much of the historic old town is off limits to cars.
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