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Where to go between Milan & Amsterdam?

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Feb 24th, 2016, 06:58 AM
  #1
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Where to go between Milan & Amsterdam?

Hi! My husband and I are using award flights to Europe in May. We were able to book flights to Milan on arrival and return from Amsterdam. Unfortunately, those were the only cities in Europe that fit our schedule of 12 days using awards, thus not flexible to switch around. Please help on the best itinerary on places to go between Milan and Amsterdam.

We would like to go to Bellagio, Lake Como, Venice, Berlin and Amsterdam. Is that too hectic for 12 days? Would be grateful for suggested options.

We're not really big on museums and regimented tours. We tend to focus more on awesome views, fab food/wine, shops and people watching. However, would definitely do at least a couple "must-sees" on each city.

Anyway, we arrive Milan at 8.45am
Do we stay 1-2 days in Milan or go directly to Bellagio / Lake Como?
or go directly from Milan to Venice, Bellagio and back Milan to fly out to Berlin?
From Berlin fly to Amsterdam

How many days each for those places if we only have 12 days?

Is it best to drive in Italy (esp going to/from Bellagio from either Milan or Venice) or take the train instead? OR just stay in Milan and do day trips to the lakes and Venice? Not very cost effective but want to avoid dragging our mid-sized luggage everywhere especially if taking trains.

Very rough for now and would appreciate your thoughts and help.

Cheers!
M
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Feb 24th, 2016, 07:23 AM
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It is easy to get to Bellagio by train and boat - train from Milan to Como or Varenna-Esino and take boats to Bellagio - cars are useless in Bellagio -need to be parked on edge of town and boats are a great way to scoot around the lake.

Cars are a liability in Italian cities - large areas are no-go zones in city centers - trains are great.

Switzerland would make an ideal stop over between Italy and Berlin or Amsterdam - then fly from there to Berlin or Amsterdam - forlots of great info on trains check www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Berlin to Amsterdam by train is about 5-6 hours now - not that much longer than flying considering you have to get to and from airports and planes can always be late, etc.
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Feb 24th, 2016, 08:33 AM
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If you go to both Venice and Bellagio (which is on Lake Como, by the way), you should go to Bellagio first, and I would go there straightaway, without spending time in Milan. If youreally want to spend a few days in Milan, I'd cut something else, but I think, based on your interests, Milan wouldn't be your favorite destination; it's a great destination for museums and churches, though. Then I would fly to Berlin, and either fly or take a train to Amsterdam. I wouldn't try to fit in anything else, because you'd have two long travel days as it is.

In fact, if you look at a map, you'll see that Berlin is not at all in a direct line between Venice and Amsterdam. Unless you have a burning desire to see Berlin, you might consider replacing Berlin with a city in central Germany or eastern France. Also, Berlin is a big city, and I think you'd need more than a few days to appreciate it.

I don't believe in "must-sees". If you don't care much for museums, why spend your vacation doing something you wouldn't do for recreation at home?

When you say you have twelve days, do you mean twelve nights on the ground?
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Feb 24th, 2016, 10:20 AM
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If you only have 12 days you really don't have time for all those places. Geographically, Berlin would be the one to eliminate. I would also eliminate that one based on what you say you like to do.

I would go first to Venice. It's about a 2 and a half hour train ride from Milan and that day you may be jet lagged and tired so you could take a nap on the train, arrive in Venice around the time you can usually check in to a hotel, and then spend the rest of day just wandering around - the best thing to do in Venice anyway. I would spend 3 nights which would give you 2 full days, a 'reasonable' amount of time for Venice on a short trip.

Then train to Lake Como. That's about a 4 hour train ride, so not awful. I'd also spend 3 nights there.

From Como to Amsterdam is too long (for most people) to do in one trip and I think that was your question - how to break it up. Look at a map and you'll see it's Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium between them. All make great intermediate stops. In fact you'll probably need to change trains in Basel or Lucerne Switzerland. You could easily stop there for a couple days, then on to Luxembourg OR Belgium for a couple days, and finish the trip with 3-4 days there.
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Feb 24th, 2016, 11:35 AM
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I don't really agree with going first to Venice, because it requires that you go all the way back to Milan to get to your next stop on Lake Como. And, since you probably need to fly to your next stop, you'd have to go back to Milan again to get to an airport. Instead, if you go first to Bellagio, you'd have to go back to Milan, or at least to Monza, to get to Venice, but then you could go directly from there to the next stop if you fly. If you don't want to fly, you could go to Munich via Verona (a beautiful train trip). In fact, Munich, or another city in Germany, might be a substitute for Berlin.

I also think that fitting in four stops is not out of the question; it's a little busy, but I've seen a lot worse. Two nights in Bellagio would be plenty; it might be one night too many for me, personally. If you're not interested in museums, two nights, or at most, three, might be plenty in Venice also. If you have 12 nights in Italy, that would leave you 7 (or at least 6) for your last two destinations. That might not be enough for two major cities (Berlin and Amsterdam) but it could work for Amsterdam and some medium-sized city.

However, if you have only 11 nights in Italy, the time is even tighter, and you might have to cut back a bit, or make one of the stops a quick overnight.

It would help to make a list of the things you want to see and fo in each place, and then estimate how many hours you'd need in that place, and taking into account the travel time (including getting to airports and train stations) see whether your time is sufficient.
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Feb 24th, 2016, 11:40 AM
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You can go from Como to Zurich - about 3 hours or so and hop a night train to Amsterdam - seeing a scenic rail line thru the Alps - the Gotthard Line and a bit of suave Zurich and wake up in the morning in Amsterdam. for a fix on what night trains are like check out the train sights I referred you to in my first post. Many love em some hate em - those who can't sleep with a little noise should avoid them.
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Feb 24th, 2016, 11:42 AM
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Immediately go to Bellagio from Milan and to save time consider taking a car service rather than a cab or train into the city and then changing to a train for Varenna-Esino and the mid-lake region of Lake Como.

Train from Varenna-Esino to Milan and change there for Venice (that entire trip by rail including the change in Milan can be done in a bit over four hours).

FLY to Berlin from Venice (look up budget flight possibilities at www.skyscanner.com) and then take the train from Berlin to Amsterdam.
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Feb 25th, 2016, 07:05 PM
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Where to go between Milan & Amsterdam?
Posted by: mdk11 on Feb 24, 16 at 9:58am
We're not really big on museums and regimented tours. We tend to focus more on awesome views, fab food/wine, shops and people watching. However, would definitely do at least a couple "must-sees" on each city.


I once rented a car in Haarlem and drove RT Milan. I went south through Eastern France and Switzerland and north through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, Burgundy, and on through Paris to Holland. I would recommend the route up the Valle d'Aosta (spectacular) through Mont Blanc and Burgundy except for the drop off charges you will encounter. I have also taken the train from Milan to Paris, with a connection in Geneva.

You could use the train from Milan to Geneva and rent a car on the French side. Amble about Savoie and Burgundy for the "fab food/wine" at a very reasonable cost. Drop the car in Paris, enjoy the legendary "people watching," and continue your trip on the Thalys to Amsterdam where you'll experience people watching on a whole new level. As an alternative consider staying in laid-back Haarlem. I spent 5 weeks there last summer.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 05:24 AM
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Let's see if we can make an itinerary:

1: arrival in Milan, visit the Duomo and the inner city, then train to Como, boat to Bellagio, arrival in the afternoon
2: day in Bellagio and on Lake Como
3: boat and train to Venice (~ 4 hours)
4: day in Venice
5: day in Venice
6: half day in Venice, evening flight to Berlin (Easyjet, €55)
7: day in Berlin
8: day in Berlin
9: half day in Berlin, evening flight to Amsterdam (Easyjet, €52)
10: day in Amsterdam
11: day in Amsterdam
12: flight out of Amsterdam

IMO, it is a bit tight, but workable.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 09:32 AM
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From my personal experience, if you really wanna do it properly, you need at least 5 days in the city, because Berlin is easily 5 times bigger than Paris and a lot of things to do and see there.
While Amsterdam's pretty much done in 2 days
If I were you, I'd save Berlin for another time and go to Amsterdam via Switzerland (Lugano, Lucerne, Zurich) or via Germany (Munich) and France (Paris).
Geographically Berlin is not convenient to be squeezed in Milan-Amsterdam route.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 10:31 AM
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>>Geographically Berlin is not convenient to be squeezed in Milan-Amsterdam route.<<


Forget geography. What counts is airplane connections and fares.
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Feb 26th, 2016, 11:33 AM
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Berlin can easily occupy five wondrous days - I've spent many a day there and here is a report - though old the basics remain the same:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...in-journal.cfm
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Feb 27th, 2016, 08:15 AM
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Edited:

From my personal experience, if you really wanna do it properly, you need to spend at least 5 days in the city of BERLIN, because Berlin is easily 5 times bigger than Paris and a lot of things to do and see there.
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Feb 28th, 2016, 03:54 AM
  #14
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WoW! Thanks for all our suggestions. I understand itinerary is tight if we do all of the places listed. Wanted to go to Berlin to meet one of my best friends at the same time wanted to go to a different country. We've been to France, Spain, and southern Italy before. Will have to re-think and double check again with SQ airlines if there's some miracle that we can somehow switch our cities using awards. If not, we may cut out either Venice or Berlin whichever makes sense. Thanks again - will update soon
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