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Eurail pass to benelux-france-germany

Hello All
We are a group of people who have purchased the Eurail pass to benelux-france-germany. So the pass will be valid for 5 days of travel. Can someone please suggest a travel itinerary to cover benelux and germany in the five days through Eurail. We will be travelling from paris.

Thanks in advance

Posted by
16848 posts

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the France-Benelux-Germany Eurail pass is a particularly bad value in your case as most of the fast trains covering this area require expensive reservation fees on top of what you already spent on the passes. But it is what is, unless you want to pay the penalty to get a refund.
What time of year will this trip to take place? Are they 5 day continuous passes or 5 days of travel over a specific time period? If they are flex passes, how much total time do you have for this?

Posted by
5 posts

Hi sam thanku so much for your reply. i have a few questions. yes i am aware of the reservations but then we were planning to use the trains that dont require a reservation. will that be of help? and also its a 5 day pass over a period of two months.

Posted by
31 posts

It sounds like you will be starting in Paris, are you flying out of Paris as well, or another city? When is your trip? Are there any particular places you would like to visit?

Posted by
5 posts

We will be starting our trip from paris and take the train to move out. We are looking at travelling around december end during christmas time. We are architects and are interested to discover the countries

Posted by
31 posts

How long is your trip and where do you fly home from? Do you already have tickets? If so, knowing the dates would be helpful.

Posted by
5 posts

No we dont have tickets. We have the eurail pass and plan to travel with the same by train. we are flexible by dates and currently planning around the 20th of december for 10 days. we start our trip from paris and return home to paris.

Posted by
12040 posts

we were planning to use the trains that dont require a reservation.

The cost of a walk-up ticket for many of these trains is often far less than the per diem price of a rail pass, BTW...

Rail passes are usually a particularly bad value in Belgium, where the trains are relatively cheap.

Posted by
31 posts

10 days is not a lot of time to visit 3 or 4 countries. Does the 10 days include Paris, or will it be 10 days total? If so, you could visit 5 or 6 different locations with 1 or 2 nights in each spot. With travel time between destinations, this will not give you very much time in each location, half a day to 1.5 days in each city. Since you don't already have your tickets, you might consider flying out of a different city, such as Amsterdam.

with 10 days, here is my suggestion:
Paris - 2 nights
Train to Heidelberg - 2 nights (a bit touristy, but nice traditional architecture and has a good Christmas market).
Train to Munich - 2 nights
Train to Cologne - 1 night (beautiful cathedral)
Train to Amsterdam - 2 nights
Train to Paris - 1 night
Fly home.
If possible, I would consider flying home from Amsterdam instead of Paris, which will save you both time and money.

You will need to reserve the train from Paris to a town over the German border, such as Karlsruhe or Mannheim, and this should be reserved in advance, as space can be limited for Eurail passes. Most trains within Germany do not need to be reserved.

When you travel from Cologne to Amsterdam, you should check the schedule to be sure and take a German ICE train rather than the Thalys trains, which have one of the most expensive reservation fees.

Going from Amsterdam to Paris, you will have no choice but the expensive Thalys train. You should also reserve this ahead.

I recommend using the German railway website for looking at train routes and schedules. It will also show you which trains require reservations.

Posted by
21086 posts

For future trips, you really should know more or less where you want to go before making a decision about a rail pass. I'd suggest a refund, but I see that you can't return promotional passes, and I assume you took advantage of the currently-available 20%-off deal.

It's very unlikely that a 5-day pass would be a good plan for a 10-day trip. On such a short trip, you need for your destinations to be rather close together, else you'll spend too much time on the train and not enough time sightseeing. If you're taking short trips, the regular ticket cost will be lower than the daily cost of the pass. In addition, Germany in particular has lots of great deals for groups of people traveling together.

Posted by
5 posts

this is a rough plan we have made

19th Dec Travel day 1
Tours [6.20 am] to Bruges [4.00 pm]
Bruges Local - Chocolate tour, city, etc,. [4.00 to 11.00] stay at Bruges

20th Dec Travel day 2
Bruges [7.30am] to Ghent [8.00am]
Ghent local [8.00am to 12.00 am]
Ghent [12.30] to Brussels [1.00 pm]
Brussels Local 1.00pm to 5.00pm
Brussels [5.45pm] to Amsterdam [9.00pm] stay at Amsterdam

21st Dec
Amsterdam Day 1 [City Tour, etc]
Amsterdam Night life [7.00pm to 12.00pm] stay at Amsterdam

22nd Dec Travel day 3
Amsterdam Day 2 [Cycling in Country Side, etc,.]
Amsterdam[11.00pm] to Berlin [10.00 am next day]
23rd Dec Travel day 4
Berlin Local [11.00am to 10.00pm]
Berlin [10.45pm] to Munich[9.38am next day]

24th Dec
Munich Local+Castle Visit [11.00am to 10.pm] stay at Munich

25th Dec Travel day 5
Either Salzburg [Austria] or Anywhere inside Bavaria - Bayern Pass 8 euros [6.00 am to 11.00pm]
Munich [12.00am] to Tours[7.00pm next day]

Posted by
16883 posts

The Tours-Brugge travel day needs one TGV and one Thalys reservation, as mentioned above. Your other trains don't. On the Thalys booking, you are free to choose the cheaper 2nd class seat reservation, if you wish.

Since there is no direct night train from Amsterdam to Berlin, that leg of the trip will use two travel days of the pass (or you have the option to buy a separate ticket to the connection point at Duisburg). [edited]

This train does not have sleeper cars (also no food and beverage) and so doesn't require reservations:

Amsterdam Centraal dep 18:37 ICE 221

Duisburg Hbf arr 20:32 
 
Transfer time 3:20 h

Duisburg Hbf dep 23:52  IC 447

Berlin Hbf arr 05:33 

Posted by
12040 posts

Let's examine some of the things you have proposed a little more closely. Sorry to be negative, but this just isn't a realistic plan.

Amsterdam Day 2 [Cycling in Country Side, etc,.] Don't expect the weather in December to cooperate, unless you don't mind cold rain and fog. You will probably even have trouble finding a business that rents this time of year.

Amsterdam[11.00pm] to Berlin [10.00 am next day] I looked at the Deutsche Bahn website to see what this would involve. Most overnight connections involve multiple transfers, and long waits in the middle of the night in small train stations, like Venlo and Enschede. Expect to arrive in Berlin thoroughly exhausted, and from what it looks like, you're planning on another overnight ride the very next night?

Berlin [10.45pm] to Munich[9.38am next day] There are sleeper cars available, but you still have to make connections. And if you've never ridden in a sleep car before, the experience of the plurality on this website is that it's very difficult to get sufficient sleep on one of these.

24th Dec
Munich Local+Castle Visit [11.00am to 10.pm] stay at Munich
If you visit the castles near Füssen, you won't have time to see much of anything in the city. Most businesses, including many restaurants, will close early for the holiday.

25th Dec Travel day 5
Either Salzburg [Austria] or Anywhere inside Bavaria - Bayern Pass 8 euros [6.00 am to 11.00pm]
Little will be open on Christmas day.

Munich [12.00am] to Tours[7.00pm next day] Once again, no direct trains and no sleepers. All connections involve lengthy stops in the middle of the night.

Posted by
16883 posts

I didn't notice earlier that you had more overnight rides in the plan. Because of the connection, the Berlin-Munich route would also use 2 days of the rail pass. The route is much faster (6 hours) by direct, daytime train.

The Munich-Tours connection would be all on one day if you depart at midnight, but I don't see that train running at midnight of 12/25 (= 12:01 of 12/26); if any trains are cancelled for holidays, it's typically the later hours.

See more about the night train rule at https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/using-your-rail-pass.

Posted by
16848 posts

In light of the short time period for this (1 week), don't do Berlin and Munich. You will spend way too much time riding trains and not enough time actually seeing these places. As Tom pointed out, night trains are really not an option. So here is my alternate:

Dec 22: take a 18:30 train to Cologne, it is just a 2 1/2 hour train ride. Cologne will have plenty to keep you busy for a day, Cologne Cathedral, and the Christmas market is a start.

Dec 24: take a 9:30 train to Heidelberg. Make sure you take the IC train that runs along the Rhine River to get views of the castles and the Lorelei. Not sure what the situation in Heidelberg will be on Christmas day.

Dec 26: take a morning train to Paris, then to Tours. There is a 12:51 IC train from Gare d'Austerlitz to Tours that doesn't need a TGV supplement. Metro line 5 connects Gare de l'Est to Austerlitz and you have 2 hours to make the change.