Figuring out how to get from Amsterdam to Salzburg

Hello everyone. We are planning a multi-city Europe trip this summer (early June through early July) and struggling to figure out the most comfortable and economical route between Amsterdam and Salzburg. We are a family of 6, and have been looking at a sleeper car on the Euro Rail web site. There are two problems we have found so far - Euro Rail would not let us look at their schedules and costs as far out as June, and if we look for sample fares in next month or two they seem outrageously high - $160+ per person on their overnight train in their 2nd class sleeper cars. We also looked at some airline fares and they were even higher. If they are no reasonable rail options than I am even willing to rent a van (can't rent a car with 4 kids) and drive to Salzburg. Finally, we do plan to go from Salzburg to Prague, then to Inverness (Scotland), and eventually to London, so also looked at a general Euro Rail Pass but that pass was coming up to something like $1500 per person. We weren't expecting these kinds of prices for rail travel--are we missing something? Thanks! Do you folks have any recommendations?

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

You want to use Bahn.de for booking the night train from Amsterdam to Munich, not RailEurope. But you probably cannot get reservations for June yet. Mthere is a special area for booking groups of six; hopefully someone here can explain how to work it through as there appear to be rules regarding the ages and number of children.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

You're doing almost an equivalent of New York City to Houston to Seattle to Miami to Atlanta... and all of that by rail. There's a cornucopia of sights between Amsterdam and Salzburg. Also coming from Western Europe Prague is almost surrounded by a mountain range. The most logical access points to Prague are Nuremberg and/or Dresden. Coming from Amsterdam you may want to check Germanwings.com and AirBerlin.com low cost flights from Cologne and Düsseldorf. It's easy to get to either of those two airports from AMS. Also instead of flying all the way to the expensive Salzburg airport consider flying into Munich and take a train or the shuttle bus.

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

1. Your itinerary is going to be very difficult to , especially with 6 people. 2. Most people buy point to point train tickets. 3. Unfortunately, you didn't say where your vacation was going to start. Most people would fly into one city and out of another city at the far end of their journey (open jaw'd). 4. Inverness is in the far north of Scotland, and far away from other cities. They do have flights available from/into Gatwick and Amsterdam, however. 5. It's also difficult to get to Salzburg from Amsterdam except by train or auto. You can always travel via train during the daytime, where sleeper cars are not required. It'd be a shame not to stop in Munich. 6. Amsterdam to Salzburg to Prague to Inverness to London is anything but a straight line. 7. From Amsterdam to Salzburg by van would take you up the Rhine River, and there are many, many great tourist sights like Cologne and the River Valley to see. 8. Car rental drop off fees are very expensive in a different country.
9. You cannot see it all on one visit. Travel is best taken slower, even if it means not seeing a couple of cities.

Posted by Amy
Houston
9 posts

Thanks for these replies. We are seeing now that our destinations are all really too far apart. We've decided to add in a few cities in between, and have shorter train rides that way. The good thing is that we have an entire month, so we are not going to be rushed, even with some extra cities. Still, I wish Deutsche Bahn would let us look at fares for June.

Posted by Monte
Genesee, ID
1376 posts

Amy, get a copy of the map "Rail Map Europe" by Thomas Cook. In my opinion it is the best planning map there is. We use it for every trip and the 18th edition is the one we have now. There is probably a leter edition. Amazon sells it. If you use it you can get a good idea of the relationship of the points you want to visit with each other. That might point out some further planning on your part.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

New timetables will go into effect on bahn.de on the second Sunday in June. However, they are likely to be the same as they are today and you will be able to book up to 92 days in advance of your travel date. If you enter a date of 2 May, you will see that you can get a discount fare of 69 euro for a bunk in a six-person couchette on the CNL night train from Amsterdam to Munich plus the Railjet from Munich to Salzburg.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
912 posts

The fundamental advice to this sort of post, which occurs all the time, is to look at www.seat61.com to help you understand everything about travelling by rail.

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2700 posts

Hi, If you decide to travel by day, I would suggest this route if you don't mind practically all day on the train: Amsterdam-Frankfurt, direct, on the ICE, change to Munich direct on ICE, then Munich-Salzburg on the RJ. Time it right to take these connections.

Posted by Tim
Minneapolis, MN, USA
8646 posts

Adding to my previous post. Enter a similar date on oebb.at, the Austrian Rail site, to get timetables and fares for Salzburg-Prague. One leg may be on a bus. Prague-Inverness: Fly Prague-Edinburgh on either easyJet or British Airways (one connection on either airline) and take the train from Edinburgh to Inverness. Inverness-London: Book a cheap non-stop flight on easyJet.