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Taking the train from Schiphol to Koblenz and beyond

We are landing at AMS at 8:40 AM on August 28 and want to travel by train to Koblenz that day. On August 31 we will continue on from Koblenz to Salzburg, and on September 2 we will go to Ljubljana (all by train). We've used trains a few times in the past in Europe, and we've tried doing some research for this train trip, but we still are confused.

Should we be buying our tickets now? Is DB the best option for tickets? What tickets would enable us to travel on any train that day (if our plane is late or we miss a connection). Is there a pass we should purchase? We will both be 69, so we will get the senior ticket.

Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you:)

Posted by
2136 posts

Schiphol - Koblenz: Buy ticket from www.bahn.de, and buy a "Flexpreis" ticket.
Koblenz - Salburg: www.bahn.de again.
Salzburg - Ljubljana: www.oebb.at

But compare prices with that of a Eurail Pass, which in your case may be a good option.

Posted by
7024 posts

mnannie, when you buy them, I think it's more efficient to download the DB Navigator app, as then you can set up an account, then buy the tickets (either on a laptop or your phone), but they will automatically be saved to your phone. Then you just show the QR code to the conductor.

As Wengen said, the "Flexpreis" ticket would be best to get to Koblenz, just in case your flight is delayed. However, you could get the cheaper tickets from Koblenz to Salzburg and then on to Ljubljana. There's no reason to pay the higher price for the flexible ticket, and you can save quite a bit of money. Also, the earlier you book those tickets, the cheaper they will be. For example, heading from Koblenz to Salzburg on your date would cost €162.20 for the Flexpreis ticket, but around €35 to €65 for the Sparpreis or Super Sparpreis.

The same goes for ÖBB tickets from Salzburg to Ljubljana. Just checking, I found tickets on your date for around €30, give or take. You can do the math with the Eurail pass, but I have a strong feeling that you will be better off buying the tickets singly.

Posted by
681 posts

Mardee, that all sounds good!

I will look at buying them tonight!

Posted by
6803 posts

You will probably save money using the saver fare tickets for the Koblenz > Salzburg > Ljubljana segments. Keep in mind that these tickets are non-refundable and non-changeable. Your trip is 3 months away, and your plans may have to change before you leave, or even during your trip. We recently did a Schiphol > Germany > Austria > Zurich Airport itinerary using Senior Eurail global passes, figuring that it would provide some level of insurance for us if "stuff" happened. We did not have to pre-purchase our passes far in advance (as you will want to do with the saver fares for the best price.) Because we got our rail passes relatively "last-minute", there was a smaller chance that our plans would change and that we would want a refund, but we were glad to know that if something did come up, the global pass would be mostly refundable.

Nothing changed our plans... until about Day 4, when we both came down with nasty colds that immobilized us for about 60 consecutive hours. But because of the railpasses, we were able to change our travel plans and did not lose $ on any pre-purchased, train-specific tickets - nor did we have to purchase any new tickets to make our next journey on a different day or at a dfiferent time. The railpass alone enabled these changes at no extra cost.

And there were a couple of times when we decided to leave at a later hour than planned. Nice flexibility for that with the pass. Also, on one day, we took a short spontaneous train outing right after arriving at our destination town for no charge (which you cannot do with a saver fare ticket.) That was handy too.

Two 4-day senior global passes at $562 would cover AMS > Koblenz > Salzburg > Ljubljana plus one additional travel day. What are your plans after Ljubljana? That works out to around US$70/travel day each. So I am thinking you might just find the rail pass a convenient alternative and a good value for several reasons, whether it is cheaper or not.

Posted by
681 posts

Thank you, Russ. While the global pass is more money, I do like the flexibility it provides. Was it easy to reserve seats on the trains that require them? The cost of the pass would basically be the same now as it will be in August, right? If I buy individual tickets in advance, I will add them to my travel insurance policy.

Our trip was a "spur of the moment decision" when I saw there were two openings on the RS Best of the Adriatic starting 9/3 in Ljubljana and ending 9/16 in Dubrovnik.

We have 6 nights to get from Schipol to Ljubljana. Currently we have 3 nights reserved in Koblenz, 2 in Salzburg, and 1 in Ljubljana, but I can cancel any of them without a fee. We've thought about stopping in Cologne for the first night, but 3 nights in one spot (Koblenz) is appealing, too.

We want to spend some time on a boat on the Rhine River. We've been to Salzburg on a RS tour, but there are places I missed, so unless there is a better stop along the route, I'd like a stop there. As long as I haven't bought train tickets yet, if anyone has suggestions on how to make the journey between AMS and Ljubljana better (things to see, etc), I'd welcome suggestions.

After the tour we have one additional night in Dubrovnik before flying back to Amsterdam for 2 nights before heading home. Our main flights RT are non-stop MSP/AMS. We are used to staying up all day when we arrive in Europe, and because we live in a rural area, we are used to riding (in cars) for long periods of time (6-7 hours on a train doesn't scare us).

Posted by
6803 posts

Railpass prices: Unlike p2p saver fares, pass prices are completely immune from price hikes that are imposed as ticket availability increases. Of course it's POSSIBLE that Eurail could raise pass prices at any time on other grounds, but mid-year price changes are unusual, I think.

3 nights on the Rhine: A good choice, I think. The railpass of course resolves the Day 1 dilemma.

We've thought about stopping in Cologne for the first night: I'd prefer the first 3 nights in one place. But it should be no problem to break up the journey in Cologne for a couple of hours if you wish (Germany's single most popular tourist sight is the Cathedral... or whatever else you have in mind? There are numerous southbound trains leaving Cologne for the Koblenz area, so the railpass allows you to do the leg from Cologne whenever you like.) One thing to be aware of: Cologne has two DIFFERENT train stations, the Hbf (main station) and the Messe Deutz station... A stopover like yours should always mean that you get off at the Hbf station where there is a bag storage facility and where the cathedral and most of Cologne is. To ensure you get off there, any train schedule you search for should request arrival at and departure from the Hbf station. If you select only "COLOGNE" the DB site might well send you to the Messe-Deutz station.

(to be continueed...)

Posted by
7024 posts

We've thought about stopping in Cologne for the first night, but 3 nights in one spot (Koblenz) is appealing, too.

I agree that you could potentially stop in Cologne for a few hours on your way, especially if you have a rail pass. Cologne is well worth seeing. I think their cathedral is one of the most beautiful things I've seen. And the city itself is a lot of fun. It has a really interesting vibe and you'll find street musicians and fun pop-ups in random areas.

It's easy to get to the cathedral as it's only a 2-3 minute walk from the train stations. If you decide to have lunch or a meal there, I can recommend Brauhaus früh am Dom, which serves authentic German food, which was very good. And it is a close walk from the cathedral.

Posted by
6803 posts

Currently we have 3 nights reserved in Koblenz, 2 in Salzburg, and 1 in Ljubljana, but I can cancel any of them without a fee:

My Rhine suggestion would require an extra 15-minute ride on the train beyond Koblenz to the town of Boppard, a smaller, more scenic, more atmospheric town than Koblenz where you can find some nice hotels with riverfront locations and good views and still be close to the train station for coming and going. In much larger and much more modern Koblenz, the more atmospheric part of town (which is fairly small) will require a healthy walk to reach the train station. Staying in Boppard puts you closer to other nice Rhine towns (St. Goar, Oberwesel, and further south Bacharach) and the river cruise zone (Bingen > Boppard.) And Boppard also means you can do certain train outings for free - no need to add railpass days to your Eurail pass if you wish to visit St. Goar, Koblenz, Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Rüdesheim, Cochem on the Mosel River. Just check into your Boppard hotel and you'll each receive the VRM Guest Ticket, valid throughout your stay. Boppard is the only town that offers this perk universally:

https://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets/tickets/leisure-tickets/vrm-guest-ticket/

Boppard information:
https://www.boppard-tourismus.de/media/was-ist-wo-broschu__re_en_190219.pdf

I think your Salzburg stop makes good sense as well. Sounds like a really nice time altogether.

Posted by
681 posts

Thanks, Tim. I'm realizing Boppard, instead of Koblenz, would be a better place for us to stay.

Posted by
6803 posts

In my 6/1, 11:11 post above, I mistakenly referrred to the scenic cruise segment as (Bingen > Bacharach.)

Please note that BINGEN > BOPPARD is what I meant. Cruising only Bingen > Bacharach would skip most of the scenery.

I have edited the post in question.

Posted by
7024 posts

mnannie, I did like Boppard and would recommend staying there. I stayed at the Bellevue Rheinhotel, which was quite beautiful. Prices were pretty reasonable, too. It’s been around since 1887 and is very ornate, clean, comfortable and with great service. It's in a wonderful loca, too. It sits right on the Rhine River and the KD Cruise line port is just steps away. So you can stroll along the river very easily. They have a cafe that sits outside, and a more formal restaurant inside the hotel.

The train station is about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, and there are plenty of cafes, shops and restaurants in town. It was a lovely place to spend 3 nights and I really enjoyed my stay there.