Help in Planning Travel Itinerary (Vienna/Berlin/Amsterdam?)

Hi gang, This board has been such a font of useful wisdom! I wanted to solicit the collective advice as I plan my next trip. Would love to visit Vienna and Berlin. I have friends who live in Amsterdam and would like to pay them a visit either at the end or the begining of my trip. Is Vienna/Berlin/Amsterdam a viable itinerary, ideally by train, for say about a 10-day visit? This would be my first time in Vienna and Berlin, but I've been to Amsterdam a couple of times before so that would primarily be for seeing my friends rather than hitting the sites. Thanks!

Posted by Emily
397 posts

Todd, have you ever been to Prague or Budapest? While not un-do-able, Vienna and Berlin are not all THAT close to each other. If your heart is set on one or the other (love them both, with Berlin taking the cake), maybe try Prague/Dresden along with Berlin, and Budapest/Salzburg (or Munich) with Vienna.

Posted by Todd
Los Angeles
77 posts

I haven't been to any of those cities either (have been to Munich and Salzburg, and loved both). Thanks for the idea of the 2 alternate itineraries. Some of the trains can be so fast and cover such a vast range, I wasn't sure how feasible my initial idea of both Berlin and Vienna was. I was thinking of going in May (trying to beat some of the summer crowds). However, I could take in some opera in Munich, if I did your suggested combo with Vienna, later in the summer.

Posted by Thomas
Vienna, Austria
517 posts

It is do-able. But those are some long hauls by train. Overnight trains might be an option. But this is what I want to toss out for discussion: These days some of the bargain airlines are as cheap as the train if you book in advance. My family often jumps around for long weekends. You might try Air Berlin and Air Niki. We've even had luck with the larger carriers. Good luck!

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

I agree with Thomas - I'd want to fly between Berlin and Vienna, except maybe Amsterdam-Berlin. Flying on a budget airline will certainly be cheaper than a private bunk in an overnight train, which is the only way I'd consider taking an overnight train honestly. I just don't think it would be very pleasant sardined in there with strangers. Amsterdam to Berlin can be done in 6.5-7 hours, which makes taking the train during the day versus a cheap air flight will work out about the same door-to-door, maybe with an edge to the flight, depending on which airports you fly into and how fast you are getting to/from the airports. But it's hard to say which will be cheaper, I'd explore both options and see what looks best.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4152 posts

Hi, To answer your question on doing a 10 day trip involving Berlin, Amsterdam, and Vienna, if it's "viable," yes, it is, very much so, depending on how you time it, all easily done by train, which is what I would do. The best way here timewise is to do an open jaw flight, presumably, from LAX to Vienna. After Vienna, I suggest here the night train to Hannover, which you arrive at a little after 06:00. You transfer there to Berlin Hbf., a short ride on the ICE. This way you stay within Austria and Germany. After Berlin spend the last two days at the end of the trip visiting your friends in Amsterdam where you depart for LAX. I would time it so that Berlin-Amsterdam by day only requires one transfer in Duisburg taking the ICE on both legs. You'll arrive in Amsterdam in the late afternoon. The other departures you'll be changing 2-4 times.

Posted by Todd
Los Angeles
77 posts

Thanks, everyone. I knew you'd come though with great suggestions!

Posted by Angela
Sammamish, WA
403 posts

If you are interested in opera, for heavens sake, see it in Vienna, not Munich. I suppose Munich is fine, but Vienna is one of the top opera houses in the world! Vienna and Berlin would be wonderful contrasting cities to visit. Flying between them would be more efficient than the train.

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
336 posts

Overnight trains are a viable option on both of those routes- if you book ahead for a "savings fare" it could come out cheaper than a budget flight, plus you save the cost of a night's lodging. If you've never done a trip on a couchette, it can be a memorable experience (in a good way). I did it at least a dozen times, although plenty of people dislike it. Also, I think there's nothing wrong with the direct night train from Vienna to Berlin that goes through Prague.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
22015 posts

Todd, Your proposed trip should be easily possible in a 10-day time frame. Using open-jaw flights would make the trip more efficient and provide more touring time. You might consider something like this.... > D1: Flight to Amsterdam > D2: Arrive Amsterdam > D3, D4: Amsterdam > D5: Train to Berlin (~6H:20M, one change in Hilversum - it's a very easy trip) > D6, D7: Berlin > D8: Train to Vienna (~9h:30M, 08:45 departure, arrives at Wien Meidling - that will be a full travel day, so you might consider a budget flight on that route - I believe Air Berlin and Lufthansa both offer direct flights - that would provide most of a day for sightseeing in Vienna) > D9: Vienna > D10: Flight home You could also reverse the order if preferred. Happy travels!