Amsterdam may want Brits to stay away, but that hasn't stopped it from remaining a firm favourite with UK holidaymakers. Now, one Brit has revealed that he managed to get from Cambridge to Amsterdam for less than £30.
Tom Burnett, from CambridgeLive, says that the 12-hour Flixbus journey was "like getting a private taxi" because of the space and comfort he enjoyed. It cost him just £27.99 – that’s cheaper than most train journeys around the UK. He explained that booking was "easy enough online" and that you could even choose your seat for free. However, you can also pay an additional £13.99 to keep the seat next to yours empty – just incase you don’t fancy spending 12 hours next to a stranger.
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Tom said: "This is a really good feature. It might help some less confident travellers who are catching the bus alone feel safer knowing they're not going to be sitting next to a stranger for the entire journey. Not me though, I just forked out the extra because I'm a bit anti-social and invariably end up getting stuck next to someone who doesn't understand that 2am is rarely ‘start chatting to strangers’ time."
Tom used booking.com to find a hotel within "walking distance of a pub" in Amsterdam and headed off on the new bus service. He had to show his passport and ticket to board, but as the bus was originally quite busy he thought the £13.99 was "a solid investment".
Unfortunately, Tom discovered that the toilet on the coach was out of order which is not what you want when taking a 12 hour journey. But, thankfully, when the bus stopped at a couple of London spots, lots of people got off the bus and only about 14 people were left for the trip through Europe, in a coach he says felt "designed for a number closer to 60".
He added: "The coach was quiet the entire way to Dover, it was not raucous and was exceptionally peaceful. In the age of cheap flights the stag dos/raucous party groups fly to the Netherlands. If you are looking for a quieter way to get to Amsterdam and have the time to spare then this may well be it."
Tom said that the coach was "about as comfortable as you might expect" with coach seats and facilities. The toilet was fixed eventually and then he liked that you also got free Wi-fi and a USB charging slot. The traveller did dislike having his passport taken by the driver for check-in with DFDS ferries as it made him "nervous". But, he got it back quickly and even got a meal voucher for use on the ferry.
He warned that the queues for food were long, even at 11.50pm but that he opted for fish and chips, admitting that it "wasn’t bad" for "free food on a ferry". He also had a pint at the cafe on the back of the ferry while he crossed the English Channel and noted that the journey "could not have been smoother".
Around 90 minutes later the ferry crossing was done and they arrived in Calais where Tom got back on the bus. The next leg of the journey would cross France and Belgium and end up in the Netherlands. He tried to get some kip and said "everything was designed to accommodate that" from dim lights and a quiet coach, adding that there were no further border controls so he could rest undisturbed. He arrived Amsterdam's Sloterdijk station shortly before 8am, from where it was a short train ride into the city's centre, with a ticket costing €3.50.
Tom added: "So overall, is this coach journey for you? I think it very much depends on what you're trying to do. If you're planning a loud weekend of drinking in Amsterdam then you're probably better off taking the plane. It definitely isn't a party bus – and a good thing too.
"Similarly, if you like an uninterrupted night of sleep, then you've probably got better options than this. You're not going to arrive in Amsterdam feeling refreshed and lively after this journey most of the time. However, if you're looking to get to the Netherlands on the cheap, don't mind feeling a bit knackered at the end of things and aren't expecting to spend a night on the cans then this is the closest you're going to get to getting a taxi from Cambridge to Amsterdam."
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