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Start point Paris (3 days)>>>Berlin (3 days)>>>Barcelona (3 days)>>>Paris (1 day)>>>then fly back to US

  • 22 August 2023
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My partner is running the Berlin Marathon and figured we’d travel to a few countries in Europe while we’re at it. First we arrive in Paris…

Option 1 (Paris - stay 3 nights)>>>(Berlin - stay 3 nights)>>>(Barcelona-3 nights)>>>(Paris-stay 1 to 2 nights)

Option 2 (Paris - stay one night)>>>(Amsterdam - stay two nights)>>>(Berlin - stay 3 nights)>>>(Barcelona-3 nights)>>>(Paris-stay 1 to 2 nights)

Which would be more feasible?  

What is there to do in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and Barcelona? What are the must visit places and food places to visit? or should we replace our visit with another country?

 

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Best answer by BrendanDB 24 August 2023, 09:30

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Those are quite long journeys by train, especially Berlin - Barcelona is hardly doable in a day.

I assume that flights have been booked but otherwise could you not land in Barcelona and leave from Berlin ? This is the most logical route.

If you have to land/leave from Paris I'd say that Barcelona is too much out of the way (7h in the opposite direction). You could look at Brussels, Bruges, Gent instead for example.

For schedules you can use bahn.com or DB Navigator app.

 

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Thx Thibcabe! I have a stupid question...when using the Rail Planner app, I enter my starting point which is Paris.  Upon entering, it shows me a bunch of rail stations in Paris.  How would I know which rail station to select? Same with Amsterdam and Berlin...how do I know which rail station to pick in these countries? It's a bit confusing and was hoping I could get some clarity? Much appreciated!

Actually DB stands for my last name, but the DB connection is a nice cross-reference.;)

Some tips for when you travel:

Only use the rail planner app to register the trains you take to the app. The app isn’t updated that often, so you might miss out on some last minute changes in departure times e.g.

Best use www.bahn.com and DB-navigator app, for your theoretical planning.

The stations you need for Paris depend on the direction you go.

  • Paris (Gare du) Nord for trains north of France, Belgium, Netherlands and Eurostar to London.
  • Paris (Gare de l’)Est for the east of France (Grand-Est region, with destinations like Strasbourg and Germany, Luxemburg,...)
  • Paris (Gare de) Lyon  for trains to the southeast of France, direction Lyon, Côte D’Azur, Spain, Italy, Switzerland)
  • Paris Montparnasse for the Southwest of France (Bordeaux and beyond)
  • And so on… Best look on the map of Paris. The wind direction of the station, usually dictates where it trains go.

If you just enter PARIS or BERLIN in the planner of www.bahn.com and it will tell you to which station you’ll arrive and need to leave. Always count at least an hour to switch trains and station in Paris (between Nord and Est less time is needed, as they are close to each other).

  • For German speaking countries, the Hbf (or Hauptbahnhof - Central station) will be best.
  • Centraal station in the Nl, Belgium (although Bruxelles-Midi, Brussel-Zuid is the main international station for Brussels/Belgium as a whole)

Anyway, just enter Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris in capital letters at www.bahn.com and it will lead you to the main stations of each city.

You’ll need some seat reservations too, mainly for every TGV (high speed train) out/in of Paris. See this guide:

In Germany reservations are optional, recommended on busy trains, but not really necessary

If you need any help with that, just ask it here too.

Thanks Brendan! This is very, very helpful! Much appreciated!

Cheers,

Pete

Thanks, Thibcabe! Unfortunately, Berlin is in the middle of our journey. We will look into Brussel, Bruges or Gent...or maybe Munich. What are the must visit places in Brussels, Bruges and Gent? I'm sure can look up in Google but maybe locals know where better to go. Thanks in advance!

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Depends what you like, I lived in Brussels, work in Bruges and live in Ghent 😅

You only need one accomodation in Belgium really, there fast, frequent connections between all of the cities.

Bruges can be done in a day, perfect to wonder around in the mieieval streets. Try the Groeningemuseum.

For Ghent defintely go to the St. Baafskathedraal, STAM Museum and the Gravensteen. Skip the bars and restaurants at Korenlei and Korenmarkt (too touristic) and go and find something to eat and drink in other streets and squares (Oudburg, Steendam, Ottogracht,...).

For Brussels, try to discover things out of the centre (Terkamerenbos, Villa Empain, Mima, Wiels, Food Market Gare Maritime, the big parks in the east of the Brussels region around the tram museum,...)

But general advice for all overseas tourists: don’t try to combine it all. Less is more.

 

Thanks BrendanDB! This is very helpful and much appreciated.  DB for Deutsche Bank? I've worked at DB for 25 years before being laid off during the pandemic. Though working for a German Bank, I've never had the opportunity to travel to Germany let alone Europe...so here's my chance now. We have our plane tickets booked now...just figuring what countries/cities to visit now.  All inputs and suggestions from everyone is appreciated. Thx, Pete

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DB is Deutsche Bahn or German Railways ;)

Thx Thibcabe! I have a stupid question...when using the Rail Planner app, I enter my starting point which is Paris.  Upon entering, it shows me a bunch of rail stations in Paris.  How would I know which rail station to select? Same with Amsterdam and Berlin...how do I know which rail station to pick in these countries? It's a bit confusing and was hoping I could get some clarity? Much appreciated!

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