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traveling Scandinavia

Any help with planning trip to Norway, Finland and Denmark. Especially interested in boat trip to fiords, 3 weeks

Posted by
2308 posts

If you want a boat trip to the fjords, consider the Norway in a Nutshell tour or Hurtigruten.

Otherwise, a very popular route of Scandinavia is Stockholm-Copenhagen-Oslo-Bergen, if you have 3 weeks you have time to expand the route a bit as well.

(And you will probably get more answers if you don't post in the Beyond Europe-forum.)

Posted by
385 posts

I agree, Norway in a Nutshell is a great way to see the fjords in Norway. We went from Oslo to Bergen and it was very enjoyable. You can do it in one day, or split it up and stay overnight along the way.

Definitely post in the specific countries, as well as General Europe, and you will get more helpful answers. Also if you can expand on who is traveling and when, and what your interests are, that helps a lot.

We loved Norway and Denmark and would love to go back.

Posted by
19217 posts

Is omission of Sweden intentional? Do you have special interests as tourists--art, history, outdoor activities? Will you be traveling with children?

There's a lot of useful information about those countries right on this website in the form of earlier posts in the individual country forums. I'd suggest reading back through the threads at least as far as fall 2018, when people were planning their 2019 trips. Especially in regard to the Norwegian fjords, many questions have been asked and answered in detail.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/norway

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/denmark

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/finland

I'm planning my own trip for the first summer possible (hoping for 2021 but not paying out any money at this point), and these are some of my gleanings:

  • The Hurtigruten trip--or part of it--is a great way to see the coastline, and the ship travels into the Geirangerfjord on its northbound itinerary on the way from Bergen to Kirkenes. However, the full Hurtigruten cruise takes 6 or 7 nights, is usually very expensive during peak season, and taking a segment of it may involve some time getting yourself to the starting point or back from the ending point. Not everyone can spend that much time on the water. (For those who cannot, some variant of Norway in a Nutshell is probably best.)

  • An additional company was supposed to start service along a similar itinerary this year. I don't know where that stands under current circumstances. I believe it is called "Havila Kytruten".

  • For those without the time and/or interest to spend a large chunk of their trips on the water, some variant of Norway in a Nutshell is an efficient way to see some beautiful fjord scenery. Rick provides a lot of details in his Scandinavia guide book, but you'll need to verify the transportation details in fjordland, because there were some changes between 2015 and 2019, and there may be more before your trip takes place.

  • Norway is heart-stoppingly expensive (unless you live in Alaska, Hawaii or Manhattan--and I don't mean Kansas). For an extreme example, take a look at the cost of the Hurtigruten excursions (see link provided above). How do you feel about a 2-hour walking tour in one of the port towns from $145? A lot of my meals are going to be from supermarkets, that's for sure.

  • The summer season is rather short in Scandinavia, and western Norway, in particular, gets a great deal of rain. This is a factor for those hoping to spend time in outdoor, rural activities.

  • The ferry trip from Stockholm to Helsinki is considered especially scenic, because it traverses the Stockholm Archipelago.

Posted by
1240 posts

Why is this in the "Beyond Europe" forum?? When I took geography (I admit is was more than a few years ago) Scandinavia was in Europe. Have they moved?

Posted by
3254 posts

If you haven’t considered it, a driving trip through the fjord region for 5 or so days (including several short ferries) is probably more satisfying and less expensive than one of the cruise options. Less expensive because you can shop and cook for yourself and stay in fjordside AirBnb cabins. Done this way Norway is about 20% more expensive than Germany or the USA.

Posted by
4948 posts

If you elect to rent a car and drive, be careful what time of the year you go. We did a cruise and were in the port of Geiranger in the south of the country. We took a tour that went up into the mountains. There was snow in mid June. We were told that the highways were closed a week earlier due to a large snow storm.

Southern Norway has some great rail options, but we were told that if you plan to drive and go up to the north of Norway that you need to drive into Sweden then back into Norway. If you want to go to the North Cape, best to take a cruise.

Denmark is not as scenic, but Copenhagen is great and you can take day trips to places in the countryside, like the viking museum.

Stockholm, Sweden is great for a few days. Don't miss the Vasa Museum.

Posted by
19217 posts

One of our posters did a house swap outside Alesund a few years ago. There's a lot of information on the Norway forum about drives she took in that area. I think she had a great time. It's not something I'd want to do because of cost (I'm a solo traveler) and the narrow roads, on which I understand one sometimes has to back up when meeting another car. No way on earth I'm prepared to do that, especially in mountainous terrain.

Posted by
3254 posts

Normal highways in Norway are not narrow (nothing like Scotland or New Zealand) so no backing up and no single lane bridges. Highway speed limits are quite low, about 45 mph, and traffic is light; it feels very safe driving. We didn’t see any snow along the roads mid-June, in normal driving around the fjord area which looks mountainous and is but it’s all below 4000 ft. There’s quite an incredible system of long tunnels across the fjord area which keeps cars near sea level much of the time.

acraven: even as a solo traveler a car would be cheaper. Restaurants and standard hotels are budget busters and with a car and apartments or cabins you can mitigate these 2 expensive categories (teetotaling is another way to reduce cost).