Hi, I am planning to visit Amsterdam on 16th of sept this year and I want to visit other european cities as well. So I was wondering how the train system works in Amsterdam? And if I take a train to visit for example genev or brussels or..., can I find a train so I can go back to Amsterdam in the same day and how much it will cost me? My hotel is in Amsterdam and I don't want to be stuck somewhere without having transportatio. To go back to my hotel. I did go on eurorail site and all that but it doesn't explain things all the way. And what if I want to like take a train from Amsterdam to go to brussels and stop there for 3 or 4hrs then get on another train to continue to luxembourg and stay for few hrs and then come back to Amsterdam?for extra details that may help you guys I am us citizen so will I need any kind document than my passport to pass the border of different european countries? Please I will appreciate your answer and any advice with event activities and such will help a lot. The cities I want to visit are london, brussels, berlin, luxembourg, geneva, copenhagen, paris. Also I am not interested in staying days in each city I just want to check each city for few hrs and thats it. Thank you so much.
I travel to Europe every 12-24 months for vacation. Staying for 3-6 weeks each time. For myself. I usually book my first night in the town or close to the town I pick as a final destination or departure from. I fly from West Coast of USA and my flight is generally 11-13 hours. So with everything I am usually somewhat tired on arrival. The travel system from bigger cities to bigger cities and within bigger cities is usually wonderful. Even in medium sized and some smaller cities. They sometimes have tourists passes for specific cities and for traveliling that can be a bargain if you plan to use them. Deutsches Bahn has rail passes for countries and full days of travel.depending on the data and countries determined. It reflects the cost. This is beneficial from say Frankfurt to Berlin, Berlin to Prague. They also for a additional cost have night trains. So you spend more to travel in some ways. But you save hotel costs and don't waste precious possible tourist hours on a train. When you could be in a museum, park or cafe. I was out of town Salzburg a few years back and the bus ran every 15 minutes until 10 PM. In Vienna on most days the underground runs every 4-8 minutes. If you are in less populated areas like when I was in Western Belgium on the coast, in areas of Northern Poland and around Normandy France. A car was helpful. But in most cities of any size. They are a liability with parking and driving.
Like I said I book my first night or two and my last night or two around the airport I plan to use. I have a general plan of what and where I am going. When I get to the city I am in I ask about vacancy of the hotel, hostel or place I stay. So If I find 3 days were to many for the city. I can leave. I had planned 3 days once in Antwerp. But one was enough. Frankfurt I have been to enough times I usually only stay 1-2 days. I use trip adviser and some other websites to plan my trip. I like Atlas Obscura and Traces of War. The first is odd things usually like bone churches, salt mines, ghost walks & museums. Torture museums and other odd and obscure things to see. Traces of War has military museums, sites, stepping stones, bunkers and points of interest. I usually use booking.com, Kayak and even trip adviser for booking rooms. In Switzerland once the desk person actually gave me the wifi code, so I could book online to save 20€ a night. Then I usually do independent research on hotels and tourist sites. I look to see if they include breakfast. It saves time and usually money. They are buffet style so I stock up on breakfast. Have a light snack for lunch then eat out for dinner. It saves me from having to look for a place to eat and it is usually a lot better than most hotel breakfast served in the US. some have actually been quite gourmet.
Another tip I would offer. If you are going to a country that speaks a language other than You do. I would learn 6-12 basic words or phrases. In Western Europe they speak English pretty regularly. But I have found people more friendly and eager to help when you attempt to speak to them in their tongue. Even if your only words are yes, no, thank you, excuse me, I don't speak .....? Can you help me? Where is? (Then I point on a map, LOL). Many times they go out of their way to accommodate you. The farther East You go the less English they speak. By the time you get to Ukraine....forget it! LOL. I only ran into maybe 6 people in 3 weeks who spoke any English. I could only get acrossed Yes, No and good morning. I tried really hard to say black tea and thank you to no avail:( I found cafes that had wifi and used the Internet to use my itranslate. Which seemed to work? The written language was problematic for me to. In Poland I spoke to some people in German which worked.
I have only once had a proublem with unscheduled trains in Europe. Even with a pass You are expected to get a reservation. Otherwise you must seek out a open seat. They have little LED lights above the seats that in German Speaking countries say frei or I believe the reservation name or destination. If I remember right they charge you for the reservation also? Even with the passes. It doesn't apply to the overnight train. If you are going from Amsterdam to Switzerland. You may want a overnight train. But there are also fast trains to some cities. German cities have U Bahn and S Bahn. First being city and the second are more regional. I think that is all. I will be in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and Iceland in October-November this year. I really like Europe at Christmas. But it is generally less expensive when school is in. Christmas, Summer and Easter are usually more. Take Care and travel safe.
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You won't need any documents to travel between EU cities as a US citizen. For your plans, you can't base in one place and see all the places you want to from there. You'll have to travel between them and stay in different places. I would suggest you start in Copenhagen, then fly to Berlin, then fly to Geneva, and from there go by train to Lux, then Brussels, them Amsterdam and finally London. Lux and Brussels can be done in one day which you would end in Amsterdam. Next day explore Amsterdam and board a train to London.
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If I remember right Eurail Pass is good for the day it is stamped. Use the quick trains when you can to save time. I think honestly doing more than one city in a day would be over ambitious. Some of the information in my prior post still applies as to reservations. Brussels is a large city with a pretty descent transportation system. A lot of Museums in Switzerland are free. Basel was a really nice city in Switzerland. The university had many museums and the zoo was nice. Copenhagen has a nice Viking Ship Museum about 20 km West of Copenhagen.. But that was a all day trip from Copenhagen. I haven't actually stopped in Amsterdam, other than customs since the late 1980's. I'm sure that has changed a lot.
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