September 2013 Transportation

1.We will be arriving into Germany Mon,Sept 23rd 2013 and departing from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Sat,Sept 28th back to Canada. We can fly into any airport in Germany. MY QUESTIONS It would be great to visit Berlin but not sure if this is possible given our limited time. In which case we can fly into Frankfurt. I would like suggestions as to how best to arrange our busy week to get as much in as possible with train transportation suggestions for the week. 1.I would like to take a KD Full day Rhine River Cruise from Rudesheim-Cologne to see the castles 2. Stay a day in Cologne to visit the cathedral 3.Stay a day to explore Amsterdam famous red light district on Friday,Sept 27th 4. Flying home Sat Sept 28th from Amsterdam Air Transat What would be the most cost effective way to arrange transportation for 6 adults please quote per person price. THANK-YOU in advance!
Betsy

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1960 posts

If you didn't want to do the Rhine River cruise, I'd suggest you rent a mini-van in Frankfort and drive down the Rhine River stopping at Bacharach, Koblenz, etc. It's an easy drive alongside the river to Cologne, and you will certainly get your fill of castles. Turn the van when you arrive in Cologne and catch the train into Amsterdam. You can do that itinerary in 5 days. Don't forget to allow time to see Amsterdam, as it's worthy of more than one day.
See Bavaria Ben @ http://www.bensbauernhof.com for travel suggestions in the Rhine River Valley, including great suggestions on where to stay.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2253 posts

Nothing wrong with your plan, done it myself. Be aware that it could be a crappy day on the 24th of September. It was for us, drizzly, damp, and cold. Be we still enjoyed it. There is a Regional Express every 2 hours from the Airport Regional Bahn Station (NOT the Fernbahn Station), 21 minute train ride for 4.25 Eu, or a 26 minute S bahn local every half hour. Spend a night in Mainz getting over jet lag and seeing a bit of the town, then catch the K-D boat at the river docks. The boat originates here so you can stake out a prime table before all the tourists who follow the RS itinerary of boarding at Rudesheim get on. It will take the better part of the day to get to Cologne. Recommend the Lyskirchen Hotel a short walk from the dock. Modern, comfortable, and not too expensive if there are no conventions going on in town. Visit Papa Joes Biersalon in the Alt Stadt to see the antique music machines and see the "Tunis & Schael" animatrons. Food is served and be sure to drink some "Koelsch", Cologne's local beer. Next day, see the Cathedral, Hohenzollern Bridge, Romische Museum, then a 7:17 pm direct train to Amsterdam. Its a 2 hour 40 minute ride available at 34 Eu Advance purchase savings fare. That'll give you 2 full days in Amsterdam before heading home.

Posted by Betsy
London, Ontario, Canada
2 posts

Thank-you David and Sam. I very much appreciate your suggestions. Any advice about Berlin? I should mention we are flying into Germany from Athens on Mon,Sept 23rd,so jet lag wont be too bad. We can fly into Frankfurt or Berlin. From Berlin is there a ICE train to Mainz? Amsterdam is very expensive for hotels so we are thinking of staying near the airport and shuttling into the city centre 20 mins away? Then flight back to Canada Sat,Sept 28th we will be jet lagged for sure! Also thank-you for including the costs involved that really helps when planning a trip like this.
Betsy

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2253 posts

I edited my previous with more details about Frankfurt Airport to Mainz. I have never been to Berlin, but there are some fast ICE connections to Mainz via Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof in the evening, 4 hour 15 min. IMHO you are not doing Berlin justice with a one night stand. And I think staying inside the canal ring or the Vondel Park area in Amsterdam is worth the extra $. To save a bit of $, stay 2 nights in Cologne and take a 6:45 am direct ICE to Amsterdam which gets you there by 9:30, so you will have a full day. There should be 19 EU savings fares available when they go on sale 90 days from the departure date. I should mention that the ICE train fare prices and train times are subject to change when the summer schedules come out in June, but they usually don't change much. Right now there is a 50 Eu savings fare listed 90 days out for Berlin-Mainz.
The Hotel Schottenhof across from Mainz Hbf is a decent budget hotel.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
2253 posts

One more tip. Look at getting the K-D tickets through Viator. They show a price of $38.78 USD for Mainz to Cologne, where as K-D "list" price is 63.20 EU, about $82 USD.

Posted by Southam
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
910 posts

I would love to spend all that extra time, which looks like five to six days depending on travel, in Berlin alone, a city full of history and exciting new ideas. If you have any flexibility, your departure for Toronto (I presume) could be switched to Berlin to give you more time on the ground.