We have 10 days to get to Paris where we will spend 5 nights. When we leave Bruges, we will already have been to Amsterdam for 4 nights. We are four adults traveling via train, trying to figure out an itinerary that will give us the most we can get out of our vacation, at a reasonable price, at a reasonable pace. None of us have been to this part of Europe before. Any suggestions fellow travelers?
One choice might be to go to the UK and explore England and Scotland. Take a train from Brugge to either Brussels or Lille and catch the Eurostar over to London. Another choice might be to go in the opposite direction to explore Germany and Switzerland. To get started, you could take a train to Cologne (about 3 hours) where you could begin by exploring the Rhine area. From there you could continue via Bavaria to Switzerland. Trains from Zurich to Paris take about 4.5 hrs or from Geneva about 3 hrs.
Thanks Tim - we were considering the Germany, Switzerland, France route. If we want to go to southern France on our way to Paris, from Switzerland, would this be complicated? Sounds wonderful.
If you want to maintain a reasonable pace and price, then it's just too far to go on to the South of France. I'd suggest limiting train travel to a maximum of 4 hours a day (with minimum changing of trains) and staying a minimum of 2 nights at each destination. With this in mind, here's a suggested itinerary: Brugge to Cologne, have lunch and tour the Cathedral (it's beside the station), then continue down the Rhine to Koblenz (1 hour) for 2 nights. The next day take a boat excursion on the river. Next, train it to Heidelberg (or Baden Baden) for 2 nights. Next day explore the town(and have some Black Forest trout!). Next, train it to Lucerne, Switzerland for 3 nights. It's without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in Europe..... great views of the Alps. From Lucerne, take the train to Dijon, France (heart of Burgundy wine country) for 2 or 3 nights. Actually, you'd probably enjoy it more if you stayed in Beaune (just a short train ride south of Dijon). Spend a day taking a tour of the vinyards and tasting the wines. From Dijon, a TVG train will get you to Paris in about 2 hours.
That sounds like a wonderful vacation - I'm going to take a good look at this. Thanks so much for taking the time to put together such a thoughtful reply.
Alsace is a lovely part of France . . . Strasbourg has a wonderful cathedral, Colmar is picturesque. Just across the border is the Black Forest. You could work your down from Cologne, then TGV from Strasbourg to Paris.
I think that Tim gave you two of the three best choices. If you want to see the south of France, that would be doable, but you should remain in France and perhaps north coast Italy. You could train to Avignon and spend time in Provence, Cote d'azur, Dodrdogne, Loire, and Normandy: choose any three. If you have spent time in the UK, one of the continental choices would be wonderful. I would lean toward France. If you have not been to the UK, I would definitely choose that alternative. There are many of us who can expand on what to do after Tim's suggestion of the Eurostar to London.
You've all given me lots to think about. Some wonderful suggestions. Thanks so much.