We are in the initial stages of planning a land portion of a European trip and trying to decide what makes the most sense. We are strongly considering focusing our land portion on Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.The land portion of our trip will be sandwiched around a 14 night cruise from Copenhagen to the North Cape of Norway. We will have approximately 16 days pre-cruise and three or four days post cruise. We will be flying to and from Amsterdam on the Delta nonstop from Portland, OR. We are thinking that a Eurail Select Four Country Pass for the two of us makes the most sense. We intend to arrive in Copenhagen by rail the day before the cruise and depart by plane to Amsterdam the day we disembark. We spent several days in Copenhagen in 2011 and want to maximize our time elsewhere this visit. Given Amsterdam is our arrival and departure city, I was considering the following rough itinerary and would appreciate comments.
Day 1 - Arrive Amsterdam 8:30 AM, take train to Bruges. Three (or four)nights in Belgium. I am contemplating all nights in Bruges to minimize packing and unpacking, with day trips to the seashore, time for Bruges, and possibly Ghent.
Day 4 - Depart for Brussels. Spend half day in Brussels before catching train for Mosel/Rhine area.
Days 4-7 (or 8) - I am planning three or four nights in this area and would like to stay in one area with day trips to explore the area. I am leaning towards staying in Cochem and concentrating our stay on the Mosel. If we do this is it possible to do a day trip to explore the Rhine between Bingen and Boppard? We could rent a car for that day trip rather than use of a day of our rail pass, and get there more quickly.
Days 8-11 (or 9-12) - Munich/Bavaria/Tirol I would use Munich as a base for day trips, possibly to Bertschesgaden, Oberammergau, definitely to Dachau. The remainder would be spent exploring Munich. An alternative would be to omit this portion of the trip then substitute four days in the Berlin area after Erfurt. We had a short visit to Berlin in 2010 but only scratched the surface. While we did a walking tour which gave us a good overview of the city, we did not see any of the museums or the Reichstag, for example. Any thoughts?
Days 12-14 (or 13-15) Erfurt - After reading about Rothenburg and Erfurt, Erfurt's less touristy nature appealed to me more.
Day 15 (or 16) Hamburg for a quick stopover if coming from Erfurt, then on to Copenhagen the next day - followed by the 14 night cruise.
Days 30-32. Amsterdam/Haarlem with possible side trips, time permitting.
Day 33 - AM flight to Portland.
I have checked train schedules and most travel days are 4-5 hours train time plus getting to and from stations. The first day is about three hours to Bruges or Brussels from Schiphol Airport or Amsterdam Centraal. I have tried to keep travel so there are no night trains required.
I would appreciate any input you might have. We are trying to not overextend ourselves so we are moving constantly. We have been to Paris, Vienna and Prague in recent years and omitted them for that reason, as well as the added distance getting to them would entail.
It may be possible to extend things a couple of days before the cruise depending on flights.
We will be doing this trip from late May through June 2015.