Scandinavia trip advice

Discussion in 'Travel' started by nik_pand, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. Dear All,

    My wife and I are planning an 8-day trip to Scandinavia, particularly
    Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo in June, 2007. We live in the United States.
    We are thinking about flying into Stockholm, spend about 3 days there, rent a
    car and drive to Oslo for a couple of days. Then drive back to Stockholm (? Is
    this a good idea) and take a train to Copehagen (we want this experience for
    sure). This is our sketchy plan as of now to fit 3 cities in 8 days. I have a
    few questions before we finalize.

    1) How many days would you recommend in Stockholm and what other places to
    visit near Stockholm? (we have 3 days in Sweden). Is the High Coast feasible
    and worth it?

    2) How many days would you recommend in Oslo, 2 or 3 and how many in

    3) Is it a good idea to drive to Oslo from Stockholm and back or would you
    recommend something else?

    I would greatly appreciate your suggestions and recommendations.

    Thank you in advance
  2. I was not all that impressed by Oslo when I was there, Stockholm however I really enjoyed. Lots of art, green spaces, people.
  3. When are you planing to make the trip?

    All three cities are wonderful. Oslo is the smallest and I would recommend two days there and three days each for Stockholm and Copenhagen.

    I am not sure about driving between S-holm and Oslo. It will take you longer time and will make you more tired.
    On the other hand you will see more and always have the oppertunity to stop where you like.

    Considering your limited time, I vote for train between S-holm and Oslo by a small margin.

    There was just a big damage on the main railway between Oslo and Copenhagen (as well as the main road E6) due to a big earth-slip. It will likely take a couple of mounth to rebuild the ground or whatever they choose to do, but I guess they had fixed it before June.

    If not it will be compicated and time consuming to solv the problem by train.

    A nice and relaxing alternative is to take a ferry from Oslo to C-hagen. It depart every day from Oslo in the morning and you will see the beautiful Oslo fjord.

    In Stockholm, there is a very good turist information a few hundred meters from Sergels Torg (the main underground central).

    I dont think its a good idea to vist the High coast in the limited time you have. I would instead recommend a day in the huge archipelago of S-holm if the weather permits.

    Typically I know the least about K-hagen (from a turist point of view) althou I live just 20 miles from it on the Swedish side.

    In a way, I would recommend to arrive in K-hamn and then go to Oslo and S-Holm. Stockholm is really something very special in the summer and would be a worthwile final on your trip.

    I am sure you will have an unforgetable trip.
    Good luck!
  4. I think the most impressive part of Norway is the west coast, Bergen, the Hardanger Fjord, the Sogne Fjord. Start in Copenhagen (I would suggest two days), take the train to Hirtshals, take the ferry to Christiansand (prepare to be very seasick), then follow the "Discovery Route" by train, bus, and ferry up the coast to Bergen (for a day), then take the train over the mountains (spending a night in Finse} and on to Oslo. A day in Oslo and then to Stockholm by however. I'm jealous.
  5. I spent a lot of time last year in Stockholm on business. Fabulous city! May I suggest the Hilton Slussen as a great hotel. It is right on the subway line, and also located right next to Old Town, which is the island where all of the older historical building are.

    I can send you a list of the most wonderful restaurants in Old Town and the photo-ops are fantastic. In alte June you will have sunlight till midnight. It's a very happy time in Stockholm.

    I can't talk to the travel to Oslo or Copenhagen, but I wouldn't bother with the upper coast. Don't drive, take a ferry or the train wherever you go. Many Swedes commute via air travel to Guttenberg.

    There is a non-stop low cost high speed train from the Airport to the center of Stockholm. It's a ~$12 for the train. (Instead of $60 for a taxi.) I wouldn't bother with a car. The traffic is thick and you're better off with the subway.
  6. Stockholm is wonderful! We visited last summer and picked up a new Saab at the factory in Trollhatten (a very good deal on the car and a $2,000 travel allowance to defray persona; travel costs).

    Sorry, I've never been to Oslo. But consider train travel, and purchase your tickets in advance to save $$$. I purchased tickets last summer from Stockholm to Gothenburg (2 adults and 2 children) for less than $100. They were for the high speed train non-refundable (3 hours by train vs. 5 hours driving).
  7. Stockholm is fantastic. Oslo is underwelming which is a shame because the rest of Norway is incredible. Still worth a visit though. Copenhagen is somewhere in between. I would try and squeeze more time seeing the places in between. What I would do with 8 days

    Fly into Stockholm, spend 2 days there.
    Rent a car, start driving and spend 1 day in the beautiful island of Oland.
    Spend 1 night in the nice small town of Ystad. Check out the Ale Stones nearby.
    Drop off the car in Copenhagen if possible, spend 2 nights there.
    Take the night ferry to Oslo. When they say ferry in Scandinavia, think cruise. Quite nice. This is 1 night.
    Spend 1 night in Oslo, fly out.
  8. Thank you Bengt, Steve, Robert, Tommy, Charles and Tim very much for your suggestions!!

    We have tentative dates of leaving New York the evening of June 7 and back on June 16. Bengt, since you are a local person, I believe you would have a better idea on driving time and car rentals in S-holm. As Robert says it's 5 hrs from S-holm to Oslo, then I think it's great. What better way to see the Swedish hearland than driving? Are there any car rentals that offer 1-way drop-off?(that is rent in S-holm and drop-off in Oslo). I checked Scandinavian car rentals and it does NOT offer this option. But most importantly we want to take the train from either of the 3 cities. I checked RailEurope and it does not seem bad. Are there any other ways to book train tickets? About 3 weeks ago we took the train from Chicago to Seattle, WA. Took us about 46 hours (of course we had our own bedroom, otherwise it can become a drag), but the trip was worth every penny. Great scenery especially in Idaho and Washington, took lots of pictures.

    Steve if you dont' mind could you please send me a list of restaurants in S-holm? Can one find all international cuisine? Yes I have heard a lot about Bergen but we won't have the time to go to the west coast. Now I guess I have to fine-tune my plan, whether to start the trip in C-hagen or S-holm. If you guys are still around I shall again turn to you when the plan is finalized.

    Thanks again!


  9. I am the worst offender when it comes to trying to see too much in too little time. However, I think you will enjoy the trip much more if you choose just two of the three cities. I'd recommend doing Stockholm and Copenhagen. Each city deserves two days at a minimum, more if you are into museums. Likewise, there are good daytrips out of both cities. As best as I recall from 20 years ago, the drive from Copenhagen to Stockholm was more interesting than Stockholm to Oslo. I would avoid long ferry rides. They consume too much time. FWIW.
  10. I have been thinking more about your trip and the best solution in my opinion would be to start in C-hagen, spend two full days there and take the evening ferry (its like a crousier) the third day to Oslo.

    The ferry departs at five or six aclock in the late afternoon from C-hagen and you will have a beautiful start at the sea between Sweden and Denmark where you can watch both coastlines closly. You will have a pleasant evening with good food and entertainment before you go to bed in your cabin.

    The next morning, you wake up early and eat breakfast while watching the Oslo fjord.
    You will save almost one extra day in C-hagen this way.

    If you still insist on driving, the nicest part to drive would be between C-hagen and Oslo. You can make the trip in 6,5 h (rushing) but I would recommend to spend a full day or about 10 h in order to see something more than just the highway.
    If you wish, I can guide you where to drive so you see more interesting landscape and culture on the way to Oslo.

    Btw, It is no problem to rent a car in one of the cities and leave it in another. I checked this at Eurocar and I think other major car rentals offer the same service.

    Spend day four and five in Oslo, but make sure to take a early train to S-holm day six, else it is better to take a late train day five.

    S-holm really deserves three days.
    Dont worry about the darkness, at that latitude it is dark about two hours in the night.

    Feel free to e-mail me closer to your trip. I can tell you about that to do (especially the must do things) in the cities, if you wish.

    At last, where do you live in the United States ?
  11. Don't go too far out of yor way for that Oslo-Stockholm drive, there are nice drives in Sweden, this really isn't one of them.
  12. Take a piece of advice from a norwegian like me; if you're only having a couple of days in Norway, do not waste them in Oslo. In fact, don't waste any dyas in Oslo even if you have 200 days in Norway.
    Stockholm and Copenhagen will give you all the city you need.
    Yes, Oslo is the capital of Norway, but it has very little norwegian to it. Norway is all about mountains, fjords, waterfalls and scenic landscapes. You won't find much of that in, or around, Oslo. You need to go either north or west, and west would be your best bet as Oslo lies pretty far south in the country.

    If i may, I would suggest an alternative route. Driving Stockholm - Oslo and back is quite a long drive, going all the way across Sweden. I would recommend you start in Bergen or Stavanger, both being fairly small, cozy port-towns. Both have a larger number of well-preserved historical buildings in the city center. Bergen having Bryggen, dating from the Hanseatic period, which is on the UNESCO list for world cultural heritage sites. Stavanger has the cozy Old Stavanger, which is one of Europes largest collections of wooden buildings, most dating from the 19th century. From Stavanger you can also take a boatcruise of the majestic Lysefjord, lasting about three hours, which shows Norway at its best. If the weather is good, you can see people sitting on top of the 600m high Pulpit Rock, dangling their legs over the edge. If you don't feel like seeing the fjord from the water, you can always take the hike up to Pulpit Rock yourselves and enjoy the magnificent view of the fjord and surrounding mountains, and if you dare, take a peek over the edge.

    From your starting city, Bergen or Stavanger, you rent a car and drive to Oslo, either taking the coastal road or driving over the mountains. I would recommend the latter as the southern and eastern coast can't compare to the beauty of the mountains. Driving from Bergen/Stavanger will take roughly a day if you don't stop too much, but being in the middle of summer, you won't mind driving at night as it hardly gets dark. If you don't spend too much time on the road, or in your starting city, you could spend a day in Oslo if you really want to see the city, otherwise you can perhaps spend a day taking a hike, as norwegians love to do. From Oslo you can either drive all the way to Stockholm or drive over the border and take a train.

    Alternatively you can fly into Copenhagen and start there, and drive from Oslo to Bergen/Stavanger and catch a flight home.

    - Jan Bremnes
  13. Thanks a lot again Bengt, Tommy and Jan for your advice!

    It seems from all the above posts Oslo ranks the lowest on everyone's list. My wife looking at all your recommendations has already made-up her mind and Oslo is out for her. I am still debating...

    My guess at this point is we will start our trip in either C-hagen or S-holm as there might be more options in flights and air fares from New York City. I will also do more research in terms of places that Jan and Bengt mentioned. I will be getting DVDs on travel to Scandinavia from my local library.

    BTW I live about 35 miles outside of Manhattan. But thanks again for your tips and I will contact you when we have finalized our plan.


  14. Considering the eight days, I have to agree that it is a good idea to limit it to C-hagen and S-holm.

    I feel sympathy for my neighbour Jan. He lives in the most beautiful country in the world and just want you to taste a little from it. In a way I feel the same since I know exactly what he is talking about.
    I did what he was proposing to you, four times! And I am sure it will be again in the future.

    Norway is absolutly fantastic for people who loves nature and landscapes, but you need patience and time. It rains a lot in the west part during the summer and one should take that into account.

    Stockholm is the most beautiful capital in the world, so please dont change your mind about the visit.
  15. Hi Jan and Bengt,

    As Jan suggested start the trip in Bergen spend day 1 and 2 there. Day 3 drive to Oslo. Stay in Oslo overnight and take morning train on day 4 to S-holm. Spend day 5 and 6 in S-holm. Take evening train on day 6 to C-hagen. Spend day 7 and 8 in C-hagen. Day 9 fly back home. This sounds great, the only hitch being that month of June has 17 'wet' days in Bergen (that is more than 50%). I believe the odds of rain will be much more and we won't be able to enjoy the fjords and the scenery.

    Another option I thought about is fly into C-hagen and spend day 1, 2, 3 there. Day 4 drive to S-holm. Spend day 5, 6, 7 in S-holm. Take a train the evening of day 7 to Oslo. Spend night in Oslo and drive to Bergen day 8 (this will be only for the drive from Oslo to Bergen as Jan suggested it is spectacular). Spend night of day 8 in Bergen and fly back home on day 9 (I believe we need to make another trip just for the west coast to witness its true glory and Bengt would agree).

    What do you guys think? If you think it's not worth the drive to Bergen from Oslo, then we can cancel Bergen and just drive to Oslo from C-hagen and spend 1 day in Oslo (c'mon now 1 day in Oslo can't be that bad) and then take the train the next day to S-holm. So this way we can get 3.5 days in S-holm, 2.5 days in C-hagen and 1 day in Oslo.

  16. The road between C-hagen and S-holm are not very exiting ( just forest one each side most of the way), so I suggest either the night train or by airplain.

    I didnt drive from S-holm to Oslo, but I dont think it is worth it either to spend the time to do it.

    In Norway I can see two main alternatives. You can start from Oslo and drive the mountain road to Stavanger. It takes a full day. The next day you take the ferry to Lysebotn at the end of Lysefjorden and back. If you like you can take a hike (about three hours) to the famous pulpet rock. You will finish in Stavanger in the evening and fly out the next day.
    As an alternative to the hike, you can drive the coast road from Stavanger to Bergen.

    The other alternative is to fly direct from S-holm to Stavanger. Take the ferry to Lysebotn etc. This way you will have time for both the hike and the trip to Bergen. You will then fly out from Bergen.

    In my opinion is the drive from Oslo to Stavanger very exiting and beautiful with more and more facinating landscape.

    50% rain in Bergen is not too bad. Figures in July and August will exceed 80% for sure! If possible, It is a good idea to watch the wether report for south Norway during your visit in S-holm and decide from that what to do. Heavy rain in Norway makes it a much better choise to stay in S-holm.
  17. I am so glad we came upon this forum. We are planning a 10-12 day trip to Scandinavia in June, too. We would like to see 'the best' of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, without packing in so much that we can't sit and enjoy the cities and the scenery.

    We like to drive so we can be in control of where and when we go. When driving, you can stray off the road to see a village, etc.

    From what I have learned so far, it appears Oslo is to be avoidec, but that Copenhagen (my mother was Danish) and Stockholm (other relatives are Swedish) are spectacular.

    It is wonderful to have people on this site who know the countries--and I have some questions I hope you can help us with:

    Is there a spectacular part of Norway near or south of Oslo?

    Is there a train from Bergen to Stockholm?

    Is it realistic to drive from Copenhagen to Bergen?

    Are there day trips from Stockholm that are easy to arrange?

    Thanks in advance. And if anyone would like to contact me directly, please feel free to do so at

    Lauren and Fran Steele
    Charlotte, NC
  18. After considering your posts and researching on the internet, we have come up with this potential itinerary. How does this sound?

    1. Fly from Charlotte to Oslo. Spend one night in Oslo.
    2. Take train to Bergen. Spend two nights in Bergen, including a half-day fjord tour on the White Lady boat.
    3. Fly from Bergen to Stockholm. Spend three nights in Stockholm.
    4. Drive from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Spend three night in Copenhagen and then fly back to Charlotte.

    This looks doable to me, but I would love the input of some of you who know and/or live in Scandinavia. Thanks.

    Lauren and Fran
  19. If you do consider driving in Norway bear in mind that you probably will average about 30-40 miles p/h as most of the roads are winding (they follow nature: rivers and mountains); even the highways have a natural limit of some 60 mph. In June you might see wonderful nature in Norway and it's summer, so you'll have light untill 02.00AM.
    Enjoy norway.
  20. All,

    We have eventually finalized our plan to Scandinavia this summer and the plan is set in stone as we have BOUGHT (non-refundable) TICKETS TOO!! Here it goes. Fly into Stockholm June 15, leave for Copenhagen on June 19 and take overnight ferry to Oslo on June 22. Leave for New York on June 24.

    We will spend 2 full days in Stockholm, 1 day in Uppsala and 1 day in Goteborg. My question is, is the 1 day worth in Goteborg and 1 day in Uppsala or would you rather recommend something like Dalarna or Varmland, that way we can enjoy both a cultural and urbane Sweden in Stockholm and a wild Sweden is say Dalarna or Varmland?


  21. Hi to all-5 of us are planning a trip at the end oj June to Scandinavia. We will fly to Copenhagen from Chicago for 2 nights, then to Stockholm for 3 nitesthen to Oslo for 3 nites,with a full day trip to Bergen. We fly back from Oslo to Chicago. Would it be advisable to drive or take a train? The car costs lessto lease but I dont know about the cost of gasoline and the cost of parking in Stockholm. Any thoughts? Thanks.

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