My husband and I will be traveling from Bruges, Belgium to Rothenburg ob ter Tauber, Germany by train on Good Friday this year. We will be using a rail pass that we purchased for flexibility and spontaneity during our trip. I am curious, however, if I should be making seat reservations on this travel day since it is Easter weekend. I would rather not, but I'm unsure how busy travel is during Easter in Europe. We are also planning on traveling between Rothenburg and Munich on Easter Monday. Any advice or recommendations you may have for smooth travels is greatly appreciated! PS: none of the trains on these routes REQUIRE reservations.......
Answers under identical question on the Germany forum.
That normally nearly 8 hour trip from Brugge (Bruges) will be difficult and complex on Good Friday. If you look carefully at the DB app or website you will see that due to construction on the line the final train in the bunch that you will take that day is cancelled all day, between Steinach (bei Rothenburg ob der Tauber) and Rothenburg ob der Tauber so you will be looking at a replacement bus for that segment.
Some of the possible routings involve taking an ICE as part of the plan, others use a Thalys. Your pass would be valid on the ICE but not on the Thalys without a special Thalys Eurailpass fee.
On Good Friday half of the world will moving about, many by trains, and the other half will be saying how glad they are that they aren't in the crush. If you can get reservations for the various segments I think that that may be better than standing. You won't be able to get reservations for the regional trains nor for the replacement buses which are likely to be busy. You may lose the flexibility you paid so much for with the Eurailpass but you may get more certainty of a seat. That said, sometimes on Good Friday the trains are so busy the Conductor can't get through all the standees and may not be able to help you protect your reserved seat from the people who have just sat there when there is nowhere else - no matter if they or you are elderly, disabled or just want to sit down.
There is still construction on Easter Monday to Steinach (b RodT) so it will be back on the bus. There is also construction beyond Ansbach which will delay you.
Major holiday times, especially Christmas, Easter, and August, are when there are no commuters traveling so major rail works can be done then. Unfortunately that may impact on you.
Thanks, Sam. It will interesting to see if they are at all like mine above.
EDIT: fairly similar, but with less specific reference to the difficulties on that route on that day.
Nigel (or anyone who would know),
Would traveling from Bruges to Rothenburg on Saturday rather than Good Friday make much of a difference? Or still just as busy?
Thank you for your detailed response to this post!
Hard to say about the Saturday. There will still be crowds, and the construction on the railway will still be there but many of the people traveling will have reached their destinations already so perhaps fewer....