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Amsterdam to Germany to Start Trip

I will be finishing some work stuff in Amsterdam and then head into Germany for 2 weeks of travel before ending in Berlin for a conference.

My first inclination was to take the train into Cologne, as that is the German city always mentioned as a day trip from Amsterdam. The idea was to arrive in Cologne, spend the day and night and then pick up the rental car the next morning.

However, as I was reading threads I saw someone mention Frankfurt. There appears to be a direct train that is about 4 hours long.

I don't know our itinerary, but I know we need to visit Nuremberg and Munich and then eventually get up to Berlin.

Would it make sense to skip directly to Frankfurt? That would save us some drive time (I imagined we would head to Frankfurt from cologne on the way south).

Yes, I know I would be missing cologne and the cathedral; however, I am ok with that since I know I'll be back in the region in the future.

Posted by
16054 posts

If you want to visit Cologne, you can book your trip to Frankfurt with a stopover in Cologne at no extra cost.
You can get an 8:04 from Amsterdam, stop in Cologne for 4+ hours, and continue on to Frankfurt by 4:30 pm. Four hours is plenty time to see the cathedral, its right next to the station. Extra cost will be storing your luggage in the new fangled automated storage system at the station. The ride from Cologne to Frankfurt is only an hour on, what I believe, is Germany's only high speed dedicated rail track.

Posted by
10 posts

Sam,

Thank you! That would seem to be a perfect compromise. Getting to see the cathedral and then moving on to Frankfurt.

Posted by
12322 posts

Hi,

"I'll be back in the region in the future."

Good, in that case, my suggestion is that you skip Frankfurt and take the Amsterdam-Munich CNL night direct to Munich. Or, take that early Amsterdam-Frankfurt ICE train, stay there, after which go to Munich on the ICE before going to Berlin from Munich. Berlin-Munich also can be done by the CNL night train. You have time to take both Frankfurt and Munich before arriving in Berlin. Depending on the departure time, Berlin-Munich is not always direct.

Posted by
2828 posts

Avoid the crap night trains. though. Other than that, if you'll be back in the region, leave Köln (which is closer to Amsterdam) for a second trip.

Posted by
868 posts

If you rent a car try to avoid the big cities. Driving there is no fun, but more importantly: all big German cities were destroyed in WW2. Cologne, Frankfurt and Nuremberg almost completely, Munich in parts. Instead focus on small-town Germany, which mostly survived WW2. I would recommend to take the train to Munich and explore the city and surroundings by public transport. After that rent a car, drive to Berlin and see some sights along the way. There is so much to see, you could spend weeks there. Here are some ideas (all on the almost direct route):

Posted by
6567 posts

Your plan to take a train to Cologne and pick up a car there is great. We've twice rented cars in Amsterdam and run the length of Germany.
Just remember to pick up the car in a city location and avoid all the airport concession fees, etc.
We ran up the Rhine River valley, spending the night in Bacharach. It's a nice, enjoyable trip with time to see anything you wish.

Posted by
12322 posts

Of these big cities in western Germany, Nürnberg was most likely the worst in destruction.

Posted by
12040 posts

...but very well restored. At least the inner ring.

Posted by
122 posts

Another example is Dresden. The Altstadt (Old Town) beautifully restored but out side that ring just boring tilt-up instant construction.

Posted by
122 posts

Why not visit Hamburg - the Venice of the North (more bridges). The harbour, the Inner Lake (Binnenalster) and Harbour City (Hafenstadt). A vibrant and colourful world class city. IC rail trip 5 1/2 or 6 hours with one transfer - between E 62.00 to E 95.00 for an adult one-way ticket.

Posted by
8700 posts

If you book tickets ASAP (up to 92 days allowed) on the German Rail site, you can get Europa-Spezial Niederlande fares as low as €19.00 for Amsterdam-Koeln (Cologne) and €39.00 for Amsterdam-Hamburg. There is a limited number of seats at each price level and the cheapest tickets sell out very quickly.