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Travel between the Netherlands and Germany

Travel between the Netherlands and Germany

Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 08:48 AM
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Travel between the Netherlands and Germany

My husband and I are traveling to the Netherlands April 19th until May 3rd. We are staying in Groningen, NL with my family but would like to take a few days out of our vacation to visit Germany. We were thinking of taking a train from Groningen to Hamburg, spend one night there and then travel by train to Berlin and spend 2-3 nights in Berlin and then head back. Just wondering if anyone could help me out with a few questions that I have:

1.) How do I find out if it is even possible to travel by train from Groningen to Hamburg?
2.) What is a good place to stay in Hamburg and a few things to do?
3.) What are some recommended things to see in Berlin so far we have the Holocaust Memorial, Hohenschoenhausen Prison, and the Deutsches Historisches Museum....any other recommendations or better ideas?
4.) Good place to stay in Berlin?
5.) What would be the recommended route back to the Netherlands from Berlin and any possibly interesting stops along the way....I would love to see some castles but I realize most castles are in the south part of Germany and therefore wouldn't make sense for us since we are traveling to the north part of the Netherlands
6.) and lastly, does anyone know if attractions are typically closed on Easter Monday in Germany like they are in North America?

Thank you in advance for your help!!!
dutchgirlincanada is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:04 AM
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It is about 4 hours by train from Groningen to Hamburg, and you change trains twice, once in Leer, and again in Bremen.

You could look at http://www.nshispeed.nl/ or at the DB site for information on trains and routes, plus prices and buying your tickets online - the earlier you book the cheaper the tickets will be. If you have a problem with it maybe your Dutch family will book the tickets for you and you can pay the when you see them.
hetismij is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:05 AM
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It is possible to travel by train from Groningen to Hamburg. In fact, it is possible to travel to almost any part of Europe by train.
Groningen has a magnificent railway station, one of the finest in the Netherlands. There are trains every two hours across the border to Leer then hourly trains from there to Bremen and on to Hamburg. Schedules are on www.bahn.de.
GeoffHamer is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 09:37 AM
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Since you talk of also going from Berlin to southern Germany and presumably back to Groningen and perhaps have to take a train from Schiphol Airport to Groningen or do some rail trips around Holland or Belgium then this amount of rail travel may warrant a look at the Germany-Benelux Railpass, which lets you hop almost any train any time in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg (a neat way back from Germany to Holland is to go via Luxembourg - up the Mosel Valley from Koblenz and then Luxembourg, to me one of Europe's most gorgeous cities - actually bisected by a deep gorge - to Maastricht and up to Groningen or Amsterdam, etc. and the pass is also valid on virtually all German trains. With the pass you can hop on almost any train anytime and such fully flexible fares in Germany can be really pricey - two long trips like to Berlin and Berlin to Munich and Munich back can more than pay for the pass if flexibility is a key - even the online discounted tickets, which I believe are non-changeable nor rfundable and which must often be purchased far ina dvance to guarantee getting them may not offer much if any overall savings if you do head to southern Germany and tghen back to Holland. Anyway some great sites for trains in these countries and passes and alternatives to them -www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and yes for schedules for trains in all these countris the Wunderbar IMO www.bahn.de or German Railways web site.

Geoff - thanks for mentioning the smashing new train shed in Groningen - gives me a reason to head back up there to a fairly remote part of a Holland that is said to be as dense as India.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:14 AM
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OP does not sound as if she had a week spare time to go back from Berlin to NL, so I don't think any detour to the Mosel valley or even more South makes sense.

If you have 1 more night to spend, you could go from Berlin to Quedlinburg in the Harz mountains, overnight there or in nearby Wernigerode. Half-timber fairy tale towns, also with castle. Both towns are slightly South to the direct route.

If you have no night to spend, you could do a 2-3 hr stopover in Hamelin/Hameln. It requires just one change from the westbound ICE highspeed train in Hildesheim to a local train.
And from Hameln another change to the IC train towards Amsterdam.

Otherwise it's straight shot West with direct trains from Berlin to Amsterdam. Not a very scenic ride, by the way.
Or a low budget flight with Transavia (if they still serve that route).

Even on regular mondays, many museums in Berlin are open. Even more on Easter Monday, which is a public holiday in Germany, so expect that everything except stores is open (and often crowded). If you have must-sees, I'd double check on the web, though.

To give some advice what to do in Hamburg, you should tell us a bit about your likes or preferences.
The usual suspects are
- Harbor cruise
- Reeperbahn at night (that's one of the red light districts)
- one of the Musical theaters (maybe not, unless you can understand the lyrics in German)
- the "downtown" area with upscale shopping arcades, canals, quirky shops.
- the Museums /Kunsthalle near the Central Station
- climb St Michael's church for the view

But there are also some Hamburg experts on Fodor's who will give you advice better tailored to your likes if you post it in a different thread.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 10:37 AM
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions and advice, very helpful! Yes, I recommend going to Groningen for a day, it's worth it. Being a small city it's easy to walk around and see it's charm all within a day's time. Since it's a university city the summer is actually relatively quiet since all the students return to their hometowns.
dutchgirlincanada is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 10:00 AM
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You can relocated between Berlin and Munich and Bavaria on overnight trains - saving daytime travel and a night in a hotel and the German ICN night trains are as nice as any in Europe - can even get a toilet and douche in your private compartment or go real cheap with reclining seats.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 02:00 PM
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In Friesland they say the Dutch spoken is even quite different from the rest of Holland - and the region seems to have its own uniqu character. Have you been to Sneek - I always wanted to go and wonder if it is as quaint as it seems?
PalenQ is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2011, 08:11 AM
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Most people in Friesland speak Fries which is actually an offical language. It is a very unique province, much like Groningen but at the same time has a different atmosphere and feel to it. You can see even the house in that part of the Netherlands looks different. I might have gone to Sneek when I was younger, I don't really remember. I think to have a good feel for "true" Dutch it is important to see the different provinces as each has its own "personality" and atmosphere
dutchgirlincanada is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2011, 08:57 AM
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Gronings (Grunneger toal) is hard to understand - as isDrents

Fries is OK for most English speakers - many words are similar. Like Welsh it is an official language and road signs and town names are in both languages. It is also possible to study it at university!
Sneek is a fine place to visit - but while you are up there Pal go on to Harlingen and Franeker too. Visit the wooden planetarium in Franeker - I am sure you would enjoy it.
hetismij is offline  
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