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30 Day Travel Plan via Amsterdam

My husband and I leave for Amsterdam in 10 days and I am still working on our itinerary. My tentative plan is to stay in Amsterdam for a week, fly to Berlin and rent a car after a 3-4 night stay. From Berlin we would drive all over Germany (I need help with this) being sure to see The Black Forest, The Alpine Road, possibly Frankfurt and Munich. We want to see as much of the beautiful scenery as possible and we like to spend weekends "where the action is". We also want to visit a concentration camp and other historical points of interest.

I'm not sure if we should maybe rent the car in Amsterdam instead of Germany and just keep one car and drive it through Germany, the Alps and over to the Cinque Terre, before heading south to see the Amalfi Coast and Naples. We would fly back to Amsterdam from Italy for our return flight home to California. The other option is to rent a car only in the locations we really need it and fly to Berlin, Munich, Genoa. I understand that there is a hefty charge to rent a car in one country and return it in another so I'm thinking of renting the car in Berlin, driving around Germany and possibly Switzerland, and return it in Munich or some other town with an airport where we could fly to an airport near the Cinque Terrre, travel by train to Rome or rent a car after the Cinque Terre visit to drive down to see the Amalfi coast and southern Italy. At some point we want to spend a few days in Rome. I would like to hear what others think and any suggestions for making a better trip.

Posted by
345 posts

I have never rented a car in Europe so I can't answer the rental question but Berlin to the Black Forest would be quite a drive. You can get the travel time info on-line but my guess is that the travel time is based on autobahn travel...you won't "see" much. Ten of your thirty days are already planned if you go the Amsterdam/Berlin route. Maybe instead of driving from Berlin you should fly to Frankfurt and drive from there? I don't think you will have time for Italy, but that is only my opinion.
What do you mean by "action"? Clubbing etc or something else. If I recall from my time living in Germany in the 70s, there should be a lot of local village festivals in sept plus Oktoberfest is the end of Sept. You might be able to check for festivals by Googling specific regions like Bayern.

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello tdeloache,
I recommend that you do not rent a car. Traveling long distances in Europe, the travel time is shorter if you ride in a railroad train. And riding in trains is less stressful than driving a car. A rental car is not needed in Germany : trains go to all of the places in Germany that I guess you will go to. I would fly from Amsterdam to Berlin. And fly from Berlin to Munich. See the Alps mountains in Bavaria. Fly from Munich to Milan in ITALY. Ride in a train from the big train station in Milan to a village in the Cinque Terre. It is best to ride in a train that goes from Milan to Monterosso (in the Cinque Terre) or to the town La Spezia, south of the Cinque Terre, and a quick train ride from La Spezia to a town in the Cinque Terre. Stay at the Cinque Terre, three nights. If going to Rome is a high priority for you, I recommend riding in the Express train from La Spezia to Rome (the coastal route). I do not recommend going south of Rome in this trip. The Cinque Terre is at the Mediterranean Sea coast, it looks similar to the Amalfi coast. You could go on a day trip, via train, from Rome, north to a hill town. Fly from Rome to Amsterdam.

Posted by
123 posts

If you are set on having a car in Germany, definitely pick up and drop off there. It's just not worth the high drop-off fees since trains are easy - and scenic - in the other countries you're traveling to. I agree with an earlier poster who said to choose between the Cinque Terre or Amalfi Coast but you do not have time for both. And if you choose Amalfi Coast, I would also not drive in this region either. It's just a bit too stressful and is easy enough to get around by bus, private driver, boat, etc.

Posted by
154 posts

This is a pretty ambitious trip and here are some resources that can help you plan your trip. You can get driving directions, time estimates and cost information from Michelin's website. I recommend renting a car before you go since this usually gives you better prices and I usually start that search with AutoEurope. The other issue I think you will have is many car rental companies will charge you an extra $300-500 drop-off fee if you pick your car up in one country and then drop it off in another. That will add to the rental cost options very fast.

Many of the places you mentioned don't require a car and could actually be more of a hassle with a car (cities and Cinque Terre for example). You may want to rework your trip using more rail connections and only rent a car when you really need it. You can find more information on the European trains on Rick's Rail Page along with information on how to look up schedules. If you need more help connecting the dots you may want to look into our Trip Consulting service.

Posted by
8889 posts

How about this. It is just a rough plan and I am making it up as I go along. Look up the places I mention and plan your own route in details.:

  • Cut down Amsterdam to 7 or even 5 nights.
  • Train to Cologne (Köln). 1 day in Cologne,
  • Then pick up a car and drive up the Rhine gorge. Lots of wine villages and pretty sights. Overnight in Bingen or Rüdesheim or somewhere smaller.
  • After 1 or 2 days drop the car off, and take a train to Berlin.
  • As many nights as you like in Berlin, with perhaps a day trip (by train) to Dresden.
  • Train to Nuremberg (Nürnberg). 1-2 nights. Explore city.
  • Hire car. Head south. Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber. Romantic road. 2-3 nights en route. End up in Füssen and see mad King Ludwigs castles (Neuschwanstein).
  • Munich (München), drop car off and 1-2 nights.
  • Train over the Alps to Florence (Firenze), by day so you can enjoy the view, stay a few nights.
  • Cinque Terre. I am a bit vague here, but it is another "no car" place.
  • Train Florence to Rome (Roma) is a main High Speed route. Easy.
  • Then if you have energy left, the South of Italy. Car is good outside cities, but NEVER inside cities. Do not even think of going into Rome or Naples with a car.

All the above is options. I am more familiar with Germany than Italy. Make up your own details
International one.way rental is expensive, because they can't rent out a "foreign" car, they have to drive it back to it's home country.
Why not fly back "open jaw" direct from Naples or Rome?