Please sign in to post.

Is this a good itinerary for my second trip to Europe?

Hi everyone!

I am planning to travel to the Netherlands from Sep 11 - Sep 26. It will be my second time in Europe. The last time I visited Europe was in May this year, and I visited Zurich, Valencia, Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin over a period of 26 days.

Out of these, I loved Seville. Vienna and Prague the most. I don't want to come off as sounding rude, but I prefer just wandering around cities and going on walking tours, trying new food, and meeting new people much more than visiting museums, learning too deep history, or visiting popular clubs. Of course, if there's a world-famous attraction, or a fun festival going on, I can't miss that.

On this trip, again I wish to travel to new countries and explore a few new cultures and environments.

This is the itinerary that I have prepared. I haven't zeroed in on the exact attractions I will visit in each city, I have just selected some popular cities that I have heard much about. Please share your advice/thoughts/recommendations.

New Delhi, India
Start on 11th Sep

Arrive at Schiphol at 11am. Take train to Rotterdam.

1. Rotterdam, The Netherlands — 2 nights 11th-13th Sep

Take the train to Amsterdam in the morning/afternoon on the 13th.

2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands — 3 nights 13th-16th Sep

(Attend a one-day conference on 14th Sep, will possibly get little time for sightseeing on this day)

Take the train to Paris in the afternoon/evening on the 16th.

3. Paris, France — 3 nights 16th-19th Sep

(Thinking to take a trip to Versailles on 17th Sep)

Take the train to Bruges in the morning/afternoon on the 19th.

4. Bruges, Belgium — 2 nights 19th-21st Sep

Take the train to Luxembourg City in the morning/afternoon on the 21st.

5. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg — 2 nights 21st-23rd Sep

Take the train back to Amsterdam on 23rd.

6. Amsterdam, The Netherlands — 3 nights 23rd-26th Sep

Take the return flight from Schiphol at 2pm on 26th Sep.

New Delhi, India
End on 27th Sep

Paris seems to be on the expensive or unsafe side (from what I could find on the internet, sorry if my perception is wrong), so I limited my time a bit there.

On my return leg from Luxembourg on 23rd, I feel I could have an extra night or two to spend somewhere else instead of coming back to Amsterdam.
Are there any suggested places that I could visit for 2 nights and come to Amsterdam on 25th for my flight next day or on 26th morning?
Or should I just be in Amsterdam?

On this trip, I am very much excited about visiting Bruges. Any other magical quaint towns in the vicinity that I can visit?

Thank you so much!

Posted by
6 posts

@lisalu910 That was my initial plan, but I have a friend traveling with me until 20th and he wanted to visit Paris primarily. So I switched the plans to Paris first and then solo travel onwards to Bruges and the other places.

Posted by
11139 posts

I do not not think you have the correct impression of Paris at all. All large cities are unsafe in some areas but I never have felt unsafe there. And there are other cities that are more expensive. If you research places to stay there, you can find less expensive options. Same for food. There are all levels of expense available.

Posted by
635 posts

Hi, Sounds like a wonderful trip! Just out of curiosity, how did you pick Rotterdam? As I happen to be the same sort of traveler with smaller, out of the way museums thrown in, I highly recommend Delft. Perhaps as an alternative to Rotterdam, which is a much larger city you could do as an excursion from Delft, or as an alternative to spending much time in Amsterdam? I would consider spending more time somewhere along the way, like Paris! I have never felt unsafe in Paris & have been there numerous times as a woman traveling solo. Consider some food walking tours? It will get you more familiar with an area, while showing you where to eat for the rest of your stay, and probably make you feel more comfortable wandering around.

Delft - I was heading to a conference in Amsterdam but had a few days first, so took a train directly from Schiphol Airport, I didn't reserve the train ahead of time, I just caught the next fast train. It was a 50 minute train ride. I do recall I had a problem with my US card with a chip in it in the automatic machine. I eventually found someone at a ticket counter where I could use my Visa card. Maybe buy a second ticket to your next destination from Delft before leaving Schiphol.

I stayed at the Best Western Museum Hotel in Delft, which was delightful. Clean, great breakfast, nice reception area and just next to the main canal & cathedral. It's easily within walking distance from train station. And I rented a bike near the train station, the people were great, but no bike helmets anywhere I rented a bike in Holland. If you're biking much, frankly I'd bring a helmet or just buy one. There are a LOT of people on bikes in the Netherlands. I also enjoyed the Delft pottery museum, an easy bike ride away, but it only needs an hour or two.

Posted by
2492 posts

I was in Rotterdam for a conference and while pleasant city, I would not go there as a tourist.

I was in Paris in 2019 after 30 years and I was struck again by what a beautiful city it is. I never felt unsafe there. I would add time there.

Posted by
15580 posts

Paris Yes, it is expensive compared to most of Europe, but it is one of the most wonderful cities in the world and it is not unsafe. You will certainly take the same precautions you do wherever you travel.

Luxembourg I'm in the beginning stage of planning a trip to Belgium and Netherlands for 3+ weeks in April/May. I had originally thought to include it, but the more I read, the less I was attracted to it so my "Benelux" trip has turned into a "Belneth" trip. Consider Belgian city instead, maybe Ghent or Antwerp.

Netherlands I've been to some of the south, including Rotterdam. Based on what you wrote, I think there are other places you'd enjoy more. Take a look at Leiden, Utrecht and Haarlem (haven't been to them yet, but they are in my plan for next year).

Posted by
7650 posts

I think you should add more days to Amsterdam and Paris.

Skip Rotterdam and Luxembourg. Luxembourg is fine, but you need more time in Paris and Amsterdam.

Yes, some areas in Paris are not so safe, but the central tourist areas are relatively safe, however, beware of pickpockets. Pickpockets are terrible on the RER from Airport to city and METR). Wear a money belt.

Amsterdam can be seen in a couple of days, however, if you like art, two wonderful art museums are in the south of the city, the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. Both will take 3 hours each to see well.

Paris needs a week to do it justice.
Bruges can be seen in a full day.

Posted by
13919 posts

I'm voting with my folks here on the forum about Paris. I am not really comfortable in big cities...except Paris, lol!! (and London!). Really as a solo woman traveler I feel very safe there. I do not stay in cheap lodging there...usually go for around 200E a night but anywhere in the single digit arrondissements will be fine and safe for you. So yes, I do think you have the wrong impression of Paris from whatever you are reading/watching.

I'd cut Rotterdam too unless you have something particular in mind. It was bombed to smithereens in WWII so much is new build and is not particularly charming. I did want to go there as long ago relatives emigrated from Germany leaving from Rotterdam in the 1700's and I thought it would be nice to make that connection. Saw the "old harbor" which may or may not have been where they left from and I was done. Interesting Cube Houses and a nice market place nearby with lots of eating choices but then I was done and ready to leave.

Posted by
1286 posts

I feel that Rotterdam is getting a lot of bad press here in this forum. For starters, it was not bombed to smithereens. Yes it’s true that a large part of the city center was bombed and destroyed in the subsequent fires, but large parts of the city escaped unharmed. The area called Delfshaven where the ship of the Pilgrims departed from in 1620 remained completely intact. Today you can still visit the Pilgrim church, see the historical ships in the harbor. In Delfshaven you can also still see beautiful warehouses and houses from the golden age of the Dutch East India company, as well as visit a working windmill.
The new modern area is great to visit too, but it requires a bit more preparation. If you do some reading, you will definitely find some great places to visit besides the obvious cube houses and the market hall. The area called Katendrecht on the south side of the river, is a up and coming trendy area with lots of great restaurants, shops etc. The nearby hotel Ney York, once the headquarters of the Holland America Line and point of departure of many Europeans moving to North America is a must visit.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much for all your replies and suggestions.

I hope I'll be able to return to and spend more time in Paris in the future. For this time we got a good deal at Novotel Suites Paris Stade de France. Is it too far from the city? For the same price, we are getting hostel dorms around the city center.

I picked up Rotterdam as it seemed close by train to Schiphol and had cheaper stays than Amsterdam. I didn't look into the other cities much initially and decided to visit Kinderdijk from Rotterdam. But based on the suggestions, it seems it will be better if I stay in The Hague and do day trips to Delft and Rotterdam from there.

I added Luxembourg primarily to visit Vianden castle and might meet a friend who will travel for a day trip from Saarbrucken. Is Vianden castle not worth traveling to Luxembourg for and should I plan something else?

Also, does anyone have advice on Bergamo?

I found a great RyanAir deal but I haven't booked it yet. If I do the itinerary would be like this,

5. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg — 2 nights 21st-23rd Sep

Take a flight to Bergamo at 12 pm on the 23rd.

6. Bergamo, Italy — 2 nights 23rd-25th Sep

Take a flight to Schiphol at 4 pm on the 25th.

7. Amsterdam, The Netherlands — 1 night 25th-26th Sep

Take the return flight from Schiphol at 2 pm on 26th Sep.

New Delhi, India
End on 27th Sep

Is this change even worth considering?

Posted by
11139 posts

Rotterdam- and you can take a river boat from Rotterdam to Kinderdijk to see nineteen windmills in their original locations. Wonderful to see!

Posted by
6884 posts

I am commenting on you hotel choice in Paris.
Novotel Suites Paris Stade de France is not in Paris, but in Saint-Denis, right by the big Stade de France stadium. The immediate area is not unsafe, however it is not perfect either, and it is surrounded by less safe areas.
Also, transportation to Paris is OK but not great - you would rely on the RER B, 10 minutes away, which is reasonably fast and frequent but very crowded, and it will take time to reach main attractions.
If you are looking for cheap accommodations, besides hostels, there are plenty of cheap hotels around the edge of the city of Paris proper, around the site of the former gates ("portes") of which nothing remain. In particular, Porte d'Orleans, porte de Vincennes or Porte des Lilas (for example the B&B hotel there) have several cheaper hotels and are decent locations with metro lines.
And within Paris, there are several Ibis hotels that are charmless but usually decent (in a standardized way) and should be quite cheap.

Posted by
635 posts

Just checking, you're considering adding a 2-day stop-over in Bergamo, Italy? While it's gorgeous, I would leave it for another trip & no matter how cheap the airfare, add time in Paris. Airplane travel time is wasted time & it always seems to take most of a day. You can easily spend a week in Paris without even taking a day trip. We've been there multiple times & there's always more to discover! The first time I visited, I stayed a month on short-term assignment with a bank. I only got as far as the Loire Valley for a weekend.
I would also cut a day out of The Netherlands & add that to Paris too, as it matches well what you said you like to do while traveling!

I prefer just wandering around cities and going on walking tours,
trying new food, and meeting new people.