Benelux/Paris Honeymoon

Hi Everyone, My fiancee and I are getting married in June 2014 and are really leaning towards a honeymoon that involves the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France. I wanted to solicit input as I've never used the Thalys before. We don't want to fly other than the flights from NYC to Amsterdam and then from Paris to NYC. However, do the Thalys or other trains typically run on time? Having just gotten home from a trip to Egypt, Jordan and Israel, we were dismayed by how unorganized Egypt's travel system was. We don't want to waste days of our honeymoon in transit, waiting for trains that run 4 hours later and take 1-2 hours longer than they are scheduled. Do they typically run well in Europe? If so, does the following itinerary seem okay? 5 days in Netherlands: staying in Amsterdam, day trips to other areas (Hague, Rotterdam, the gardens, Edam) 4 days in Belgium: staying in Brussels near Grand'Place, one day in Bruge, one day trip to Luxembourg City while there, visit to Ghent or Antwerp
3 days in France: exploring Paris before going home Looks like train rides are short (1 hr-1.5 hr) to go from Amsterdam to Brussels and then Brussels to Paris but I'd love to hear from others who have done something similar or who can vouch for the trains. Thanks!!

Posted by Andre L.
Tilburg, Netherlands
2374 posts

The itineraries look okay, slow-paced, with just 3 changes of lodging. Trains on that area are quite reliable. Sometimes they get a bit late, but when that happens it is often matter of 10 minutes, not 4 hours.

Posted by Eric
Warminster, Pennsylvan, United States
13 posts

Thanks, Tom. Definitely helpful. I included Rotterdam because we started researching not too long ago and a few sites included that as a place worth seeing. We want a combo of relaxing honeymoon time and exploring. But it seems that we could do day trips to the Hague and Delft areas and Haarlem while there. Then maybe stay in Bruge as our base in Belgium.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
4932 posts

Congratulations. Your plan sounds very good. Yes, the trains typically run on time.

Posted by Eric
Warminster, Pennsylvan, United States
13 posts

Thanks! And any thoughts on whether Antwerp, Ghent or Bruge would be better-suited as our honeymoon hub in Belgium than Brussels?

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10496 posts

Here's a run-down of those 4 Belgian cities. I'll let you decide which best fits your idea of good honeymoon destination. Brussels- government and business capital of the country. Has probably the best restaurants. Not necessarily the most immediately attractive city, but look a little harder and it has some very nice parks and residential areas. Brugge- the prettiest, but most touristy of the four. If your honeymoon ideal involves horse-drawn carriage rides through old world charm, base yourself here. Just don't let all the trinket and chocolate shops bring you down. If you want to splurge on an unforgettable meal, Belgium's highest rated restaurant (De Karmeliet) is here. Ghent- university and young professional town. Not as striking as Brugge, but still very nice in the historic core. Consider Ghent if you want a little partying after dark. Antwerp- port, trade and business. In terms of money and attitude, it's kind of like the Manhattan of Belgium. It has some striking areas, and also some very rough edges. Lots of high-end shopping, if you're into that sort of thing. I noticed you listed Rotterdam as well. Any particular reason? It definitely has it's positives, but Rotterdam is the type of city where I would least want to spend my honeymoon.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11649 posts

1:49 for the fastest Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels. My experience with the Thalys is that they generally run on time.

Posted by Sharon
514 posts

Congratulations! In our experience, Thalys train was on time. However, I would rather spend more of my honeymoon in Paris than in Belgium. We weren't fond of Brussels.