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Old Mar 9, 12, 4:08 am   #1
 
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Cheapest way to get from Amsterdam - Cologne - Brussels?

I've looked at both Bahn.de and Thalys.com and I don't see any cheap fares. Using Bahn.de, I think I see a fare as low as 34 EUR for April 6, 2012. I tried using Thalys' website and even though Cologne is listed in their route map, I can't seem to select an Amsterdam - Cologne route.

Any suggestions and or comments guys?
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Old Mar 9, 12, 4:32 am   #2
 
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6 April is a Good Friday, which is probably a peak travel day on the railways. At just 4 weeks out, I think you are too late for cheap tickets.
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Old Mar 9, 12, 6:17 am   #3
 
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There is no Thalys train between Amsterdam and Cologne, only between Amsterdam and Bruxelles, and Cologne and Bruxelles. If you don't absolutely need to take the detour via Cologne, you could book Amsterdam-Bruxelles direct, or change the itinerary to go from Amsterdam to Bruxelles and then to Cologne.

I believe that there are no direct trains between Amsterdam and Cologne except for the ICEs Amsterdam-Frankfurt vv, but if you don't mind changing trains, you might as well go to Nijmegen, Venlo (change there to trains to Düsseldorf resp. Mönchengladbach and from there to Cologne) or Heerlen (change there to a train to Aachen/Düren and from there to Cologne). You might end up paying around 50-60 EUR for a fully flexible (oneway) fare on those routes, but be advised that they require you use regional trains to cross the border.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 1:33 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by bruce80 View Post
There is no Thalys train between Amsterdam and Cologne, only between Amsterdam and Bruxelles, and Cologne and Bruxelles. If you don't absolutely need to take the detour via Cologne, you could book Amsterdam-Bruxelles direct, or change the itinerary to go from Amsterdam to Bruxelles and then to Cologne.

I believe that there are no direct trains between Amsterdam and Cologne except for the ICEs Amsterdam-Frankfurt vv, but if you don't mind changing trains, you might as well go to Nijmegen, Venlo (change there to trains to Düsseldorf resp. Mönchengladbach and from there to Cologne) or Heerlen (change there to a train to Aachen/Düren and from there to Cologne). You might end up paying around 50-60 EUR for a fully flexible (oneway) fare on those routes, but be advised that they require you use regional trains to cross the border.
I don't want to take the first option because that involves backtracking.

Is there no cheaper way to go from Amsterdam to Cologne without changing multiple trains and paying up to 60 EUR? I don't need a fully flexible fare. I can book in advance for it.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 4:01 am   #5
 
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I just checked, there is the non-stop ICE from Amsterdam to Cologne from Deutsche Bahn, which is available for 34 or 39 Euros on 6 April. Leaves at 07:04, 08:04, 10:34, 12:34, 14:34, 16:34 or 18:34. The one at 18:34 is 29 Euros, the one at 16:34 is 49 Euros in 1st class.

This is all available on bahn.de - so not sure where you have been checking.

What I don't understand is the "Brussels" in the thread title - do you need to go to Brussels? and when? Or did you just think you had to go via Brussels if you need to go from Amsterdam to Cologne? This is not the case.
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Old Mar 10, 12, 2:37 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
I've looked at both Bahn.de and Thalys.com and I don't see any cheap fares. Using Bahn.de, I think I see a fare as low as 34 EUR for April 6, 2012. I tried using Thalys' website and even though Cologne is listed in their route map, I can't seem to select an Amsterdam - Cologne route.

Any suggestions and or comments guys?
I understand you're asking for fares from Amsterdam, via Cologne, to Brussels. I assume there is a specific reason you wish to travel via Cologne (otherwise it would be certainly be quicker and easier, and probably cheaper, to take the direct Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels).

As bruce80 mentioned above, there is no Thalys service between Amsterdam and Cologne, so Thalys will not sell you a ticket for your desired route. As far as I know, bahn.de will not sell you this route as one ticket, but you should be able to buy it as two separate tickets:
- As SmilingBoy said, there are regular ICEs between Amsterdam and Cologne, which are available for around €39 on 6th April;
- There are regular Thalys or ICE services between Cologne and Brussels. It seems that ICE services are available for €39 on 6th April; some of the Thalys might be a bit cheaper.

So, you're looking at around €78 for Amsterdam-Cologne-Brussels. You might be able to get this a bit cheaper, if you can be flexible in times of travel.

A DB BahnCard25 would get you a 25% discount on these ICE fares, and most other fares in Germany (but not, I think, on the Thalys fares). I think you can get a Probe-BahnCard25 for €25 for 4 months (?) so if you're doing any other train travel in Germany in a 4 month period, this would probably save you money.
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Old Mar 11, 12, 4:56 am   #7
 
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Originally Posted by SmilingBoy View Post
I just checked, there is the non-stop ICE from Amsterdam to Cologne from Deutsche Bahn, which is available for 34 or 39 Euros on 6 April. Leaves at 07:04, 08:04, 10:34, 12:34, 14:34, 16:34 or 18:34. The one at 18:34 is 29 Euros, the one at 16:34 is 49 Euros in 1st class.

This is all available on bahn.de - so not sure where you have been checking.

What I don't understand is the "Brussels" in the thread title - do you need to go to Brussels? and when? Or did you just think you had to go via Brussels if you need to go from Amsterdam to Cologne? This is not the case.
Yes, I do need to go to Brussels because I'll need to catch a flight to Milan. My plans have changed. Originally I was going to work my way from Amsterdam to Brussels with stops in between for Antwerp and other cities before stopping in Cologne to catch a flight to Italy. Now I want to go from another direction.

That's kind of strange because I honestly didn't see that price. What's the lowest price for that route if one does book early enough? Is 29 EUR a decent price (I know I'll have to pay for it if that's what's available)? I might book as late as tomorrow because I don't want to lose the price. Will Bahn.de accept US credit cards? Is there anything that I need to know to book German train fares? This is my first time doing it so I'm very unfamiliar with it. I just don't want to make a mistake with a non-refundable ticket.

Thank you!

Last edited by lsquare; Mar 11, 12 at 5:04 am..
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Old Mar 11, 12, 5:03 am   #8
 
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Originally Posted by KQ321 View Post
I understand you're asking for fares from Amsterdam, via Cologne, to Brussels. I assume there is a specific reason you wish to travel via Cologne (otherwise it would be certainly be quicker and easier, and probably cheaper, to take the direct Thalys from Amsterdam to Brussels).

As bruce80 mentioned above, there is no Thalys service between Amsterdam and Cologne, so Thalys will not sell you a ticket for your desired route. As far as I know, bahn.de will not sell you this route as one ticket, but you should be able to buy it as two separate tickets:
- As SmilingBoy said, there are regular ICEs between Amsterdam and Cologne, which are available for around €39 on 6th April;
- There are regular Thalys or ICE services between Cologne and Brussels. It seems that ICE services are available for €39 on 6th April; some of the Thalys might be a bit cheaper.

So, you're looking at around €78 for Amsterdam-Cologne-Brussels. You might be able to get this a bit cheaper, if you can be flexible in times of travel.

A DB BahnCard25 would get you a 25% discount on these ICE fares, and most other fares in Germany (but not, I think, on the Thalys fares). I think you can get a Probe-BahnCard25 for €25 for 4 months (?) so if you're doing any other train travel in Germany in a 4 month period, this would probably save you money.
I want to drop by Cologne and Bonn because of its history and architectures. Like I mentioned earlier, I was planning to go from Amsterdam to Brussels to Cologne, but plans kind of changed so now I want to go from Amsterdam to Cologne to Brussels. I am flexible in time of travel within the day, but not with the dates.
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Old Mar 11, 12, 10:18 am   #9
 
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I believe E29 is the cheapast it ever gets on the Amsterdam-Cologne route (non-stop ICE), the minimal price E29. If the price gets higher it means that fare has been sold out. The cheapast available fare for Cologne-Brussels (non-stop Thalys) is E25.

Right I'm not seeing any E29 fares for April 6th anymore (E34) to get to Cologne, but I still see some E25 for trains from Cologne to Brussels.

Conclusion: E34 is the minimum price you'll have to pay to get to Cologne, it's not gonna get any cheaper. Same goes for the Thalys to Brussels. My suggestion would be to book asap, as the price does tend to go up. Book the ICE on the Bahn.de site, and the Thalys on Thalys.com
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:35 am   #10
 
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Originally Posted by Roberts1987 View Post
I believe E29 is the cheapast it ever gets on the Amsterdam-Cologne route (non-stop ICE), the minimal price E29. If the price gets higher it means that fare has been sold out. The cheapast available fare for Cologne-Brussels (non-stop Thalys) is E25.

Right I'm not seeing any E29 fares for April 6th anymore (E34) to get to Cologne, but I still see some E25 for trains from Cologne to Brussels.

Conclusion: E34 is the minimum price you'll have to pay to get to Cologne, it's not gonna get any cheaper. Same goes for the Thalys to Brussels. My suggestion would be to book asap, as the price does tend to go up. Book the ICE on the Bahn.de site, and the Thalys on Thalys.com
Thanks for the information. 34 Euros is fine and it's my fault for not booking earlier.

One other questions. Once I get to Cologne and I want to go to Brugges, will I need to book two fares to go from Cologne to Brussels and then Brussels to Bruges or I can book one fare going from Cologne to Bruges? What's the cheapest way to do this? Will I be using Thalys or Belgium's train system? Sorry, this is all very confusing to me.

Man, I thought Bahn.de's website was bad. Thalys takes it to the next level. These European agenices need to work on their web design. It's just awful.

Last edited by lsquare; Mar 12, 12 at 2:47 am..
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:51 am   #11
 
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Man, I thought Bahn.de's website was bad. Thalys takes it to the next level. These European agenices need to work on their web design. It's just awful.
What's bad about bahn.de? I've never had any problems with it, and most people here seem to highly recommend it. And it would seem that several people have gone to a lot of trouble to look up information for you on that very web site.

Can't comment on the Thalys web site as I haven't used it.

And don't you think you're over-generalising rather a bit about European web sites?
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Old Mar 12, 12, 2:54 am   #12
 
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What's bad about bahn.de? I've never had any problems with it, and most people here seem to highly recommend it. And it would seem that several people have gone to a lot of trouble to look up information for you on that very web site.

Can't comment on the Thalys web site as I haven't used it.

And don't you think you're over-generalising rather a bit about European web sites?
What are you trying to imply there? I'm pretty grateful for all the help that people on FT have provided me with. I don't understand how that relates to what I think are bad website designs.

Actually, I really love the UK's centralized train fare booking system. It's much easier to use than Bahn.de's website.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 3:21 am   #13
 
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One other questions. Once I get to Cologne and I want to go to Brugges, will I need to book two fares to go from Cologne to Brussels and then Brussels to Bruges or I can book one fare going from Cologne to Bruges? What's the cheapest way to do this? Will I be using Thalys or Belgium's train system? Sorry, this is all very confusing to me.
Travel from Brussels to Bruges will be on an IC train, operated by SNCB (the Belgian national rail company). It seems that bahn.de will sell you a combined ticket Cologne-Brussels-Bruges, if the Cologne-Brussels stretch is on an ICE, but not if it's on a Thalys. The price (€39) is the same as just for Cologne-Brussels. (I haven't checked either the Thalys or the SNCB websites).

If you want to spend some time in Brussels (up to 48hrs, I think) you can book this using the 'via' option under 'Advanced Search Options' on bahn.de.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
Man, I thought Bahn.de's website was bad. Thalys takes it to the next level. These European agenices need to work on their web design. It's just awful.
I actually quite like bahn.de, and find it works quite well for most purposes. I've never used the Thalys website. And AFAIK, www.nationalrail.co.uk shows train times and prices, but doesn't actually sell tickets (instead, it just directs you to various operators' websites).
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Old Mar 12, 12, 3:27 am   #14
 
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Originally Posted by KQ321 View Post
Travel from Brussels to Bruges will be on an IC train, operated by SNCB (the Belgian national rail company). It seems that bahn.de will sell you a combined ticket Cologne-Brussels-Bruges, if the Cologne-Brussels stretch is on an ICE, but not if it's on a Thalys. The price (€39) is the same as just for Cologne-Brussels. (I haven't checked either the Thalys or the SNCB websites).

If you want to spend some time in Brussels (up to 48hrs, I think) you can book this using the 'via' option under 'Advanced Search Options' on bahn.de.
Thanks a lot man! I think Thalys shows that the cheapest fare for Cologne to Brussels is 25 EUR. Even then, it doesn't seem like the Cologne to Brugges fare is that bad.



Quote:
I actually quite like bahn.de, and find it works quite well for most purposes. I've never used the Thalys website. And AFAIK, www.nationalrail.co.uk shows train times and prices, but doesn't actually sell tickets (instead, it just directs you to various operators' websites).
That's true, but it was way easier to use and I didn't get lost that easily. I don't want to go off-topic and I do apologize if some people are offended by that comment.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 3:29 am   #15
 
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Seriously, what is difficult on bahn.de?

Go here: http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en

Insert your origin, destination and the date and time you want to travel, click "search"

It then requests you to select, which Amsterdam station want to depart from as there are several, but it defaults to the central station. Click search again.

And there are your results. Telling you the "savings fare" of 34 Euro for the first two trains. If you want to depart later, click on "later" and you'll get more options.

Only difficulty I see for someone from the US is that the date is shown the European (proper ) way (DD.MM.YY). But you should get used to that anyway before going to Europe.
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