Eurail Planning Website
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Dec 12, 2012 12:39 PM Last Post By: Aribo
Dec 9, 2012 2:03 PM
Eurail Planning WebsiteI had stumbled upon a website a few months ago where you could type in your starting train station, and then check how far you wanted to travel and it would bring up possible destinations within that distance on a map. You could then add it to your itinerary on the left hand side of the page, and then select more destinations. However, I can't seem to locate the website again! I've searched and searched with no luck. I am traveling to Europe this coming summer for university and am looking to get a good idea of what places I can travel when we have 3 or 4 days off from classes. Does anyone know of any helpful planning sites? I have been to Europe once before but I was 15 and with a group tour, so I have little grasp of the best method to plan travel by Eurail. Any help would be wonderful! I will be in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Dec 9, 2012 2:10 PM
1You wouldn't mean the Average travel times map on the Interrail site: http://www.interrailnet.com/planning/timetables?
While this map gives a rough idea what's possible and what not, you couldn't do better than use the pan-European rail planner of the Deutsche Bahn for the actual journeys: www.bahn.de.
Dec 9, 2012 2:21 PM
Dec 9, 2012 2:51 PM
3Not many things are so irritating as that wonderful, almost perfect website you forgot to put in your list of favo(u)rites...
As a pointer, from the Netherlands, where I live, large parts of Germany and France can be reached within 5 or 6 hours. Even the semi-slow train to Berlin takes only some 6 hours. (Living in a small country has its advantages.)
It does pay to plan in advance and have a sharp eye for the pricing policies: one weekday can be much cheaper than the other. And there are always unexpected deals. I once got to Berlin for only EUR 30 one way. The superfast Thalys to Paris (only some 3 hours from Amsterdam) can be booked for the same price or even less if you're on time. Try the Hispeed website: http://www.nshispeed.nl/en
Dec 9, 2012 5:40 PM
4Thanks for the advice! Our college is in Maastricht, if you have ever been there. The town itself looks pretty, but we are definitely looking to explore more of the Netherlands and Germany as well, as we are both learning German at university here in America. Do you have any recommendations for towns or sights in the Netherlands to visit?
Dec 9, 2012 11:15 PM
Dec 9, 2012 11:20 PM
6Maastricht, as you will discover, is one of the most exotic and un-Dutch city of the Netherlands. Actually, that part of the country, was until around 1860 part of a German political union.
You should definitely see Holland, the western part. Amsterdam is an obvious choice, but don't forget cities like Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden, Delft, Rotterdam (if you like modernism) and the much underrated Dordrecht. But everything along the rivers is also worthwhile. The IJssel has the nice string of Zutphen, Deventer, Zwolle and Kampen. And there are worse ways of spending a nice summer day than have a stiff walk or an easy bicycle ride between Culemborg and Gorinchem. And, although there will be a lot of tourists around, there is not much that can beat Kinderdijk.
Dec 9, 2012 11:40 PM
Dec 9, 2012 11:40 PM
8Excellent advice re the Netherlands by Ton above. Another vote for Leiden, in particular. Another town in the south of the Netherlands that I'd like to add is 's Hertogenbosch (more commonly known as Den Bosch), which has one of the mosf stunning cathedrals in the country as well as canal tours along canals that are just a bit different from those elsewhere.
In Germany, Aachen, Trier, Cologne and Dusseldorf would be obvious choices that don't involve too much travel.
Note, by the way, that "Eurail" is just the name of a rail pass, there are no Eurail trains. See German Railways for timetables and pricing: http://www.bahn.co.uk. You can plan any journey within the Netherlands, including by bus/tram/ferry etc on http://www.9292ov.nl.
Dec 10, 2012 3:19 AM
Dec 11, 2012 5:41 AM
Dec 12, 2012 11:52 AM
11Thank you all for your suggestions! I'll likely be posting more as we plan out some of our trips. We Have 4, 4 day long breaks from class. Two are while we are in Maastricht, two are while we are in Martigny, Switzerland. We are flying in a week early into Dusseldorf, then through Cologne on our way to Maastricht. We are also planning on staying a week or so after classes end to travel Italy. (Likely Florence, but perhaps Rome instead).
And also, thanks to the two of you who corrected me. I researched more about the rail system after I posted this and realized I'd made an error. We originally had planned on buying a Benelux eurail pass, but since we have no idea where all we're traveling, the freedom of just buying point to point tickets may be best. But then again, we're college students after all so we're really just looking for the most economical means of transport, which we haven't found yet.
Dec 12, 2012 12:08 PM
12The most economical means of transport is either bus or else buying train tickets well in advance. In Germany there is also a ride-share system.
Dec 12, 2012 12:39 PM
13What bjd says about train tickets applies mainly to international trains as well as the long-distance trains in Germany. Domestic tickets in the Netherlands cost the same regardless of when you buy them, and the same goes for German local and regional trains.
Search the forum for posts by abalada, who's made several useful contributions on regional, weekend and group discounts in Germany.
Discounts on Dutch Railways are few and far between and usually require purchase of a discount card that may pay off if you travel by train a lot, outside rush hours. But since distances are relatively short here, even the longest train journey isn't that expensive.
Edited by: Aribo
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