I'm doing a study abroad in The Hague, Netherlands this fall with a friend. We're going over a few weeks early to travel around a bit. Since we'll be in the Netherlands, we're trying to go to locations that are somewhat further away since we can take extended weekend trips to places like Brussels, London, Paris, etc. Here's a rough itinerary...please let me know your thoughts:
Aug 3rd - arrive in Amsterdam. Train to The Hague, store luggage, rest in hostel for the night
Aug 4th - Sleep in at hostel to recover from jet lag. Train to Brussels. Explore Brussels briefly and sleep in hostel.
Aug 5th - Fly to Madrid in the AM (via Ryan Air)
Aug 6-7 - Explore Madrid. Train to Barcelona at night or early on the morning of the 8th
Aug 8-11 - Explore Barcelona.
Aug 12 - Train to French Riviera (possibly Monaco).
Aug 13-16 - Explore French Riviera
Aug 17 - Train from French Riviera to Rome. Stop in Pisa to basically take picture of the tower. Heard there's not much else there.
Aug 18-22 - Rome
Aug 23 - Train to Venice
Aug 23-26 - Explore Venice
Aug 26 or 27 - Fly from Venice to Amsterdam and train back to The Hague
We're planning on getting a one-way pass from Amsterdam to The Hague and then using the 8 day Eurail pass for the rest of our travels. Do you think that will be sufficient?
I'm not sure if there's any way we can fit Florence in to this itinerary or not...if not, should we substitute Florence for Venice?
Lastly, does anyone know where we can get information as to what trains in the country our Eurail passes cover? We've had some trouble finding this. For example, if we want to use a travel day to go from Nice to Marsielle to Monaco, will we be able to do this on the Eurail pass or is the Eurail pass mainly for country to country travel?
Thanks so much for your help!!!
If I were you and wanted to go to Florence I'd take Pisa out of the itinerary and spend some time in Florence. Maybe take a day away from rome and use it for Florence, even though 3 days in rome instead of 4 might not be enough, I'm not sure.
Anyway, I wanted to say that on the train from Barcelona to Madrid you won't have a nice time at night. I mean if you take the overnight train. It's good because you get to "sleep", but their air conditioning is basically spoiled, so you'll suffer from some real heat. I took it 3 times last summer and I still regret it, but thats up to you of course.
the one in the morning might be a little bit more expensive, but it certainly is much CLEANER and faster.
Isn't it best to fly from Amsterdam to Madrid? I think vueling does this route.
I'd suggest a stop at Cinque Terre in Italian Riviera. It has a much more cool atmosphere then the chic french riviera. They are five small villages on the top of the cliffs and you can walk between them.
Making a stop to take one picture really doesn't make sense to me. If you're not stopping at any other small tuscany city, take a little time to explore Pisa center. I was told it is cute. But my suggestion is to take two days out of Venice to explore Siena or Lucca. I'm not a huge fan of Florence and I think small towns can be quite more different from Rome and Venice.
I never used the eurorail, but i have the feeling they're quite expensive and only worthy if you use trains a lot!
I hope I've helped.
Hey, thanks for the replies. We probably will just wait until the morning to go from Madrid to Barcelona. So it's just the overnight train that the air conditioning doesn't work on? Is this characteristic of most/all overnight trains?
Great suggestions on the French Riviera - we haven't researched the area too much just yet but your suggestion definitely sounds like something worth seeing. I didn't literally mean we'd get off the train and take a picture in Pisa - we'll probably stay for a few hours and explore a bit if we end up leaving that on the intinerary. We should look into a small Italian town - the atmosphere is probably great there. Oh, and we were planning on going from Brussels to Madrid because we're broke college students and Ryanair was much cheaper than Vueling. We can fly from Brussels to Madrid for EU30 with Ryanair. We haven't booked the ticket just yet, I'm going to keep hunting around and probably book it tonight.
Thanks again for the responses, any other advice would be appreciated!
Well, there actually is air conditioning, but it's just pretty bad, so you don't feel it at all.
I'm talking from my experiences though, I know the Madrid-Barcelona overnight train is pretty...bad, but i'm not sure about the other routes.
It takes about 11 hours for 600 kms, if I remember right, while the ones that run during the day make it with 5 hours.
Hmm....sounds like it'll be best to hostel up in Madrid and go in the morning, then.
How about getting around in the French Riviera? Are the distances short enough that we could just hop on a bus and go town to town or should we anticipate rail travel?
Well if you're going from the French Riviera to Rome you'll have to pass through Florence. If you're into the Arts you should definitely visit Florence instead of Venice. You won't really have enough time to do all three. Even if you skip Florence or Venice during this trip you can always go to either during another trip.
If you are not taking the nighttrain between Madrid and Barcelona, then there is always the option to fly there. the costs are lower than taking the train. Check Vueling for that as well.
I think you are rushing Madrid anyway, and you get there on the hottest part of the summer. You might be better of to fly to Barcelona direct from Amsterdam, Eindhoven or Brussels.
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 4, 2007, at 2:42 PM by Herr Bert ]
Thinking about it, now I remember you can also take bsues that run every night, from Madrid (estación del sur) to Barcelona (arc de triomf). But mind you, i've never done this route by bus
The person I'm traveling with is really sold on Madrid and very much wants to go there. I get Barcelona, Rome, and some combination of Florence, Venice, and Pisa so it's a fair trade. I've heard there isn't too much in Madrid.
I've done a little more looking around and it seems that we can actually fly out of Amsterdam on the 4th (rather than out of Brussels on the 5th). This cuts one train ride off the trip and has got me wondering if it would just be best to do this trip flying from Amsterdam to Madrid, taking a one way bus or train from Madrid to Barcelona, flying to the French Riviera and busing around there, then flying to Rome. We could either take a one way train or bus to Florence, Venice, and or Pisa and fly from there back to Amsterdam. Hmm....
Thanks again for the replies!
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 5, 2007, at 8:28 AM by farleyUL ]