I've got 4 open days on my European vacation and I was thinking of travelling from Zurich Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands..
I'm thinking by rail:
Any suggestions on what cities to stay over in over the 4 days and if I should divert to any other cities/towns/regions?
I'm no expert about the regions you're looking to visit, but 4 days goes by really fast. I'd stick to one or two cities, and make the most of your time there. You may end up spending more time on a train that actually visiting. I'm sure there are some experts here who can help you with specifics. Enjoy your vacation!
I would, like tway says, select two or three city for a visit.
on the first view lies Salzburg/Austria soo far away from the other cities.
So I recommand you :
Zuerich/Switzerland ( worth to see, with a big offer for everbody, but but a little bit more expensive)
Stuttgart ( my hometown, has a good offering too. swabian capital)
cologne ( with the famous cathetral, you should get an expierence of the way of live of the cologniens...)
finally Amsterdam ( Capital of the drugs of europe; I never been there)
Same as Bimbo I would recomend a line up north : Basel - Mannheim - Mainz - Koblenz - Koln - Arnhem - Amsterdam
There is a direct train and you can choose wich city's to see better. Basel is a nice old but expensive city. Mannheim and Mainz are old german city's with nice people. If you love nature take a river cruis between Mainz and Koblenz ; you will love the vieuw on the Lorely. Koln is a nice city. Arnhem is famous due to the second world war (movie : a bridge to far is about arnhem but remember the movie was shoot in deventer) Amsterdam : You will love it if you go to places you love.
The Netherlands is my home country. If you need information about this country do not hesitate to ask.
I found this on another site and ran with it from there!
Zuerich is a busy major city with industry and banks and all the big-city trappings - it has a certain charm in a few places like the old historic city core (Muenster = cathedral, Predigergasse, lakefront), but it's not a sightseeing attraction per se, not like Bern for example.
It's on the flat, on a lake, surrounded by mildly undulating and mostly built-up hills, a long way (well, for tiny Switzerland...) from the "real" mountains, so there are none of the famous scenic mountain trains starting or ending in Zuerich.
But Zuerich is a major hub, and you have departures to any place where you'll change to one of the scenic special trains.
You'll have to get up really early if you stay in Zuerich and need to first make your way to one of those places. In fact, if you only have four days, I suggest you stay two nights in really nice places, like somewhere in the region called Engadin, best known for St. Moritz (nick-named more-ritz because it is, well, swank). There are lots of smaller towns with guest houses and nice hotels in the area, and it's a very special and beautiful place.
Here's the website of a special scenic train of that region:
(only in German, but if you have a good map of Switzerland, you'll get the gist, it even shows the connection from Zuerich where you'd be leaving at 07:07 if you're taking off from there).
On the left you read down, ab means departing, an means arriving; on the right you read up, for the return journey.
If you do this from Zuerich and go all the way to St. Moritz, you have about six hours to gallivant, hike, or do whatever until it's time to take the return journey.
If nature walks is your thing, read up on the Swiss National Park,
it's a nature reserve shown in yellow on the map on the Engadin Star site, so you'd get off in Zernez with good shoes, some rain gear just in case, and a backpack with your packed lunch. They'd have a good hiking map for you near the station if you didn't already buy one in Zuerich.
Now if you go to St. Moritz, you might want to stay the night and take another super-scenic train from there (no time to go back to Zuerich), the famous Glacier Express, see
and www.glacierexpress.ch/en/4str_3.html for the route map.
So your trip could look something like this:
1st day/ night in Zuerich (also 4th night in Zuerich);
2nd day lvg Zuerich Hbf station at 07:07 for Landquart and pick up the Engadin Star train to St. Moritz, stay the night in the area;
3rd day Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt, say Hello to the Matterhorn, eat a Fondue, stay the night...
4th day - a special treat, from Zermatt back to Zuerich with this itinerary: lvg Zermatt 07:30 (by regular regional train), change trains in Visp down in the valley - arr 08:39 lvg 09:06 (just enough time for a cup of coffee and a croissant), arr Montreux 10:18, take the city-bus to Chillon Castle
Get back to Montreux in time for a lakeside lunch (Montreux is on the French-speaking Swiss Riviera, gorgeous views up across the lake Geneva onto the Mont Blanc and other major peaks), then take the scenic Goldenpass Classic train lvg Montreux 14:45 arr Zweisimmen 16:46. Now you're in the Berner Oberland where they speak the Bernese dialect related to German (but sounding much different from that spoken in Zuerich).
At 17:01 you take the train for Bern (you change trains in Spiez, arr 16:46, lvg 16:50) and at 18:21 you're in Bern where the historic city center (dating back to 1191) lies just outside the train station. It will still be daylight, good for a nice stroll and leg stretch down the pretty historic streets until your appetite commands you to enter one of the many excellent restaurants.
When you're ready, walk back to the station and catch train for Zuerich, maybe the 20:02 (arr 21:00), or the 20:30 (arr 21:28), or the 21:02 (arr 22:00). You'll be back in Zuerich for a good night's sleep... 58 mins!
Zurich Hbf 11:00 PM Paris Est 06:46 AM 3/22
Description: From Paris to Amsterdam
2nd class; 2 adult $258.00
3/22/06, Train THA-9309 PARIS NORD to AMSTERDAM CS, Seat
You should book the special trains (Engadin Star, Glacier Express, and Golden Pass) as far ahead as possible, they sell out!
The other trains can be all ticketed in Zuerich the day before you take off, write down the itinerary to save the agent time (and the times, although they don't really matter for the ticket, you're not reserving seats on specific trains at specific times).
Google all the names I mentioned for more info.
Now that's a worthwhile way to make a 4-day trip feel like you've covered much more! I just hope you'll have no fog or such nuisance that stops you from enjoying the views, so - fingers crossed, and enjoy.