Hi all! I've decided to head out in May. I'm thinking about traveling by car to make stops around the cities. I've never traveled Europe by car and was wondering if it was wiser to travel via train. If I go to Northern Spain, I'm going to Madrid and flying out of Barcelona and will hit Toledo or San Sebastian. If I go to Amsterdam, I'm going to Harlem. I'm not familiar with the surrounding areas. So, 10 days in Northern Spain or Amsterdam? Should I go by car or train? Thanks in advance!
In both areas (Spain or Netherlands), cars and trains, up to a point, enable you to organize different styles of vacation. If you are only going to hit big cities, then you should go by train (Netherlands), and a combination of high-speed trains and planes (Spain) If you want to take trips to the countryside, then renting a car is the best option in both cases, especially if you want to get away from the major tourist spots. Despite the bike stereotype that plagues this country, majority of Dutch people drive to work as in any civilized country and you should have no problem driving your car. Driving is actually easy, the hassle is parking, so expect to use parking garages instead of street parking around major areas. In Spain, parking is easier and cheaper. Be sure to rent a diesel car.
I think you can get by better by train in Netherlands than Spain, but it does depend a lot on your destinations. Spain also has a lot of cheap busses that can get you to the smaller places. We're driving Spain in April, mostly because it's not very expensive and we don't want to rely on bus/train schedules.