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Switzerland,Germany or Paris

We are planning for a 10 day trip to Belgium-Nehterlands.Our planned itinerary includes 2 or 3 nights each in Bruges,Amsterdam and possibly Brussels,Antwerrp or Dhelft.I've been tossing around the Idea of spending a couple of nighs in Germany,Paris or Switzerland.Another thing that I need to consider is cost of train rides.I don't want to spend an extra $1000 on trains.

I pose one more question,We'll fly in to Brussels and possibly fly home via Paris or Germany.I've never had to book flights arriving at one airport and departing another.Is it usually more expensive to do that?I've always booked my flights myself using one of the many travel sites,but those were all in the U.S.Would you recommend using a travel agent for flights.I'll be arranging lodging myself.Any help would be appreciated.

Posted by
12040 posts

"I've never had to book flights arriving at one airport and departing another.Is it usually more expensive to do that?"

No, not usually, unless one airport adds a considerable distance to your travel. Obviously, if your trip included Moscow, that would add considerable cost to booking an open-jaw flight.

For only 10 days, I would leave Switzerland for another trip, as it's too far away. If you added Germany, you could do two options. Either concentrate on the northwest of the country (Muenster, Aachen, Koln, Dortmund, etc) and fly out of one of the many large cities in the area, or head further south to the Rhineland and leave via Frankfurt.

Although I personally like Antwerp, with only 10 days, I'm not sure I would spend that much time there. Perhaps you could spend a few hours there between Amsterdam and Bruges.

Posted by
5554 posts

My suggestion for a quickie in Germany:

From Bruges, you could visit Brussels on the way to Cologne for overnight. It's about 3.5 hours travel time Bruges-Cologne, about 40-50 Euros each. Stay near the station and cathedral.

On the second day, see the cathedral and immediate area in the morning. Then take a train south along the Rhine to see Marksburg Castle in Braubach - the only tourable, never-destroyed castle on the Rhine - then continue down the Rhine past castles and vineyards to FRA for your last evening and fly out of FRA. You might have time to stop in Ruedesheim or Mainz prior to FRA. This journey should take 2-3 hours on the train, 40-50 Euros each for this stretch.

Posted by
3101 posts

Here's what Rick says about flying "open jaw."

"Consider flying "open jaw." I almost always fly "open jaw": into one city and out of another. In general, the fare is figured simply by taking half of the round-trip fare for each of those ports. I used to fly into Amsterdam, travel to Istanbul, and (having rejected the "open jaw" plan because flying home from Istanbul costs $200 more than returning from Amsterdam) pay $200 to ride the train for two days back to Amsterdam to catch my "cheap" return flight. Now I see the real economy in spending more for "open jaw." "Open jaw" is cheapest when the same airline covers each segment of the round-trip journey."

When you price tickets for "open jaw" travel online, use the "Multi-City" feature!

Posted by
64 posts

Terry,

Have you ever been to Paris? If no, and you don't go this trip, what are the odds you'll make it back in the next 5 years?

Posted by
9 posts

With the cost of this trip,I doubt that I'll be returning within the next five or ten years,but who knows.So,do you recommend Paris?I've always wanted to go there.

Posted by
1631 posts

Matt has a great idea: Fly into Amsterdam (3 days), train to Bruges (2 days), train to Paris (4-5 days), fly out of Paris.

Posted by
22 posts

Dhelft is a beautiful little town. However, I do not know if I would stay 3 nights - We just did it as a day trip from Amsterdam. Inquire re the market day - that was great fun. also Bruges is one of my favorite places. We have gone by train from Amsterdam to the Rhein river several times. We stay in Bacharach. You could fly back out of Frankfurt.

Posted by
20 posts

I also agree that you should definitely do Paris! I am not a big shopper, didn't think i would care that much for it, but it was my favorite!!! SO ROMANTIC! Try www.kayak.com for air.

Posted by
8764 posts

We flew to Amsterdam this last December, then went to Bruges and finally Paris. We flew home from Paris. We had been to Amsterdam before (not my favorite place) but our daughter wanted to go to the Anne Frank House. We only spent one night, then trained to Bruges. If you have not been, two nights is probably enough, three if you do a day trip from there. Two nights in Bruges should be enough there. You can stop in Brussels on the way to Paris. If it were me, I would plan to spend the rest of the time (5 or 6 nights) in Paris. You won't have any problems finding plenty to do there. Paris is fabulous. For 5 or 6 nights I would recommend you look into an apartment rental. It is usually less expensive than a hotel, and European hotel rooms are very small. We rented a one bedroom apartment in Paris and saved a ton of money by not having to go out to eat for every meal.

You shouldn't have any problems arranging a multicity flight yourself. I paid the same amount to fly into Amsterdam and out of Paris as if I had flown round trip. One word of warning - Amsterdam is very expensive.

Posted by
518 posts

There are places in this world that everyone should see -- Paris is one of those places. Go to Paris. You won't be sorry. Flying to the US from Paris is easy -- many non-stop flights to various places.

Posted by
58 posts

Avoid Brussels.
After Brugge, it will not be the same.

Use the rest of the time in Paris, or hit up the French coast or the wine areas for rel France.

Posted by
9 posts

O.K.It looks like Paris is the overwhelming winner!!!!!Does anyone now have the name of a B&B that they've stayed at and would highly recommend in Paris?What else do you recommend we see/do while we're there?I'll be 40 and my wife 37 if that makes any difference on recommendations.How many of you travel with ALL of your clothes/stuff in one pack?Just a little laugh for you,I told my wife she could only take what she could put in a backpack.I can't tell you her exact response on here but it wasn't favorable.

Posted by
515 posts

The next time we go to Paris, we want to stay in a small apartment. Many on this board have recommended this site. http://vacationinparis.com/

And you will find many on this board who pack VERY lightly. I take an RS rolling carry-on and a small backpack as my personal item and that's it. On the return, I check my carry-on if I have enough souvenirs and other items to fill an expanding tote.
Paris is wonderful. Enjoy. Personally, I'd skip Brussels.

Posted by
1668 posts

"Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." Forgive me for quoting Hemingway, but it is true. Go to Paris---you will never forget it.

Posted by
521 posts

It doesn't need any more support - but yeah, PARIS! It was a city that grew on me. I didn't love it at first and now I am trying to find a way to end every trip there.

The food, the food, the food. It's a gorgeous city. The sites are iconic. Paris is such a major hub that you shouldn't have problems with getting good flights - though CDG won no points with me for being user friendly.

We stayed at Hotel Londres de Eiffel near the Eiffel Tower and I liked it a lot. Small, nice staff, clean, free wi-fi.

Have fun - you will be back. This is a bug that bites hard.

Posted by
11 posts

Hi Terry, you don't mention what time of year you're traveling, or what your budget is. We stayed 2 nights in Brussels, saw the tourist sights in Brussels the first day, then did Bruges as a day trip from Brussels. You could easily do the reverse, if you want to stay in the more charming city of Bruges. Brussels to Paris is a quick trip on the TGV, which will require advance reservations.

If you are going in Spring time, you should visit Keukenhof Gardens, which is between Brussels and Amsterdam. We stayed 2 or 3 nights in the Hague (Den Haag), which has a lovely wide (though touristy) beach, Scheveningen, with great tram service from downtown. We spent one day at the beach, one day at Keukenhof Gardens (tulip capital of the world)then did Amsterdam as a day trip from The Hague. The hotels are less expensive than Amsterdam, and we appreciated the nice beach. One full day in Amsterdam was enough to take in the Van Gogh museum, Ann Frank's house, and the Heineken museum tour. You will probably have a line at all 3, so check to see if you can buy tickets on line in advance.

Yes, there is no doubt, you MUST do Paris!! I could write a book about why you should visit Paris, but check out my blog, I have recently posted 3 great day trips from Paris, plus the Normandy D-Day beaches.

http://www.enchanted-traveler.com

Paris is even beautiful in the rain. Here's a link to a short video I shot last December http://enchantedtraveler.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/paris-on-sunday/

Beware though, the more you research Paris, you may decide to spend all your time in France. What is your budget for a hotel in Paris? I have stayed in all prices ranges, including 2 star and been happy. Just know that rooms are small. Enjoy, and bon voyage.
Mary Ann

Posted by
9 posts

Mary Ann,we're going June of next year.I know it'll be busy,but we want to go when the weather is at it's best.As far as budget,we're looking for lodging in Paris at about $140 usd per night.We'll book B&B's in the other towns.So perhaps we should just do Bruges as a base camp for a few days making day trips around the area and then paris for 5 or 6 days?I just don't want to spend too much time in one city to end up getting bored.I looked up vacationinparis.com.They have a lot of nice places for reasonable rates.Which part of Paris should we stay?