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14 days in Scandinavia ending in Copenhagen

The Scandinavia itinerary that Rick recommends is great, but we need to end in Copenhagen. Not sure whether to start in Bergen and work our way back to Copenhagen, or start in Helsinki, or Tallinn, and travel back through Sweden to Copenhagen. Unsure whether to skip Norway, or skip Finland and Tallinn, or make all of it happen using some alternative route. Something like Helsinki/Tallinn to Stockholm, then fly from Stockholm to Bergen and travel to Copenhagen through Oslo... Would even consider St. Petersburg forgoing Norway.

It will be early to mid June, if weather is a factor. We will be traveling with our daughter who will be doing a summer semester abroad in Copenhagen so my wife and I could do Copenhagen on days 15 and 16 without her, then head back to states.

We are active travelers that like a mix of urban and Rural, museums/historical sites and nature, and always interested in good food. Love riding bikes as a way to get around. Accommodations are a place to sleep, not spend time. We can stay in hostels.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
1418 posts

I think 14 days is too few to do the entire itinerary. You can use Rick's suggested 14 day itinerary, but I don't know anyone on this forum who would ever recommend covering as many places in so little time as that. It allows no time at all to take any day trips, which there are many worth taking.

I would recommend foregoing one piece of the itinerary, even if you add 2 nights in Copenhagen at the end. Either skip Tallinn and Helsinki or skip Norway.

I wouldn't recommend which to skip. (I am going to Norway for the first time this May, but have already been to the other destinations and I loved them all.)

If you skip Norway, I'd recommend 3 nights in Helsinki (and make a day trip to Naantali, which I loved and wish I'd allowed more time for). Then if you take an early ferry to Tallinn, you could spend just one night there and depart on an overnight ferry to Stockholm the next day. Or two nights there is even better. Then 4 nights in Stockholm, 2 nights in Kalmar (with a day trip to Oland), and 4 nights in Copenhagen.

Since I haven't made it to Norway yet, I won't try to suggest an itinerary that includes it. Someone else probably can come up with some advice on that.

Have a great trip! You'll have lots of daylight to enjoy your time there.

Posted by
5652 posts

The RS 14 Day Best of Scandinavia tour "only" covers three countries with overnight stays in seven cities/towns and is orchestrated and supported by a professional guide and bus driver. You are considering five countries in 14 days seeing a mix of urban and rural etc. Are you looking for an "If it's Tuesday This Must be..." kind of tour?

We have done mostly self-organized/guided tours mixed with guided tours and have concluded that self-guided tours are more relaxing but only see/do a half or less of what an organized tour patron sees/does. If you really want to get out and walk about exploring City life and rural nature, you should concentrate on two countries plus Copenhagen.

Sweden: The one Scandinavian country I have yet to visit.

Norway minimum: Three nights in Oslo (meaning two full days), Norway in the Nutshell train Oslo to Bergen with at least an overnight stop in one of the Fjord villages en route. Two nights in Bergen (one full day). [Depending on your interest, the Norwegian Mountain e.g. Jotunheimen could be a must see/do.] Fly to Copenhagen
http://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-go/
says it distinctly:

Norway is large. Far larger than most people realize. We recommend you
take your time as you travel, and enjoy the scenery, the food and the
culture along the way. As they say, sometimes the journey itself is
the destination.

Having just visited Copenhagen this past January, our three nights in Copenhagen was in my way of traveling, the minimum time to experience the town and doesn't include travel to rural Denmark.

Mixed feeling about Finland. Finland is sort of off the beaten path and sort of not Scandinavian. Yet I loved our two visits to Finland the first combining Helsinki and Lapland, the more recent Helsinki and the Lakeland central area of Finland. Helskinki's tourist sights are pretty compact and you could touch on them in two nights (a full day), but three nights would be more relaxing allowing you to visit the open air folk museum and take the ferry to Suomenlinna:
http://www.kansallismuseo.fi/en/seurasaari-openairmuseum
http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/
And a third night would allow time to take the fast boat to Tallinn.

You will need to pick and choose, cutting it down to two countries plus Denmark/Copenhagen. This would be a hard choice if this is your only lifetime trip to Scandinavia/Northern Europe.

Posted by
16847 posts

Rick's 14-day plan doesn't include Tallinn, either for the tour or for the independent traveller. If you start in Helsinki or Stockholm and head toward Norway by either train or flying, I think you can find a cheap flight from Bergen to Copenhagen, as well; try www.skyscanner.com. Maybe a couple of flights is best for you, saving the scenic train-riding for between Oslo and Bergen (either direction).

Posted by
971 posts

The propesed itinerary is far too rushed, but seeing the plan by public transport suggested by Rick Steves that Laura has linked to, you can't be suprised, since that is a bit of a mess as well. Like the suggestion of going from Ærø to Kalmar, thats over 8 hours of ferries and trains. Or visiting Legoland or Århus from Copenhagen, thats 3 hours by train each way for both places. You will spend half ogf your holiday in transit if you follow that itinerary.
Not to mention that neither Finland or Estonia is even in Scandinavia.

Posted by
2 posts

Okay, narrowing in on my "first world" problem of planning this trip.

Requirements:
- We need to fly in and out of Copenhagen since my daughter needs to leave a bag there for her semester abroad.
- My daughter checks in on June 24.
- I can only take 2 weeks off.
- We would like to fly out a couple of days after we drop her off so we can have a few days to ourselves.
- Would prefer using public transport over a rental car

June 12th - Arrive Copenhagen [Copenhagen]
June 13th - Copenhagen to Stockholm [Stockholm]
June 14th - Stockholm [Stockholm]
June 15th - Stockholm to Oslo [Oslo]
June 16th - Oslo [Oslo]
June 17th - Oslo to Aurland (Norway in a nutshell) [Aurland]
June 18th - Aurland to Bergen then night train back to Oslo --OR-- Night in Bergen [Oslo --OR-- Bergen]
June 19th - Oslo to Kristiansand --OR-- Bergen to Kristiansand [Kristiansand]
June 20th - Kristiansand to Aaurhus [Aaurhus]
June 21st - Aurhus to Ærø [Ærø ]
June 22nd - Ærø [Ærø ]
June 23rd - Ærø to Copenhagen [Copenhagen]
June 24th - Copenhagen [Copenhagen]
June 25th - Roskilde/Copenhagen [Copenhagen]
June 26th - Trip over

The tricky part that I don't see in the Scandinavian guide is getting from either Bergen to Jutland or Oslo to Jutland a scenic way... I would prefer to stay in Bergen after "Norway in a nutshell" and get to Jutland. Or do we just cut out Stockholm and leave more time for Norway, less travel time...

Thanks for your previous feedback

Andy

Posted by
5652 posts

June 18th - Aurland to Bergen then night train back to Oslo --OR-- Night in Bergen [Oslo --OR-- Bergen]
June 19th - Oslo to Kristiansand --OR-- Bergen to Kristiansand [Kristiansand]

Bergen is worth spending a full day's experience. Why not fly Bergen to OSL the morning of June 19th?

Or if you want to skip OSL, Widerøe/SAS flies Bergen to Kristiansand.

Posted by
5652 posts

Just sent you a PM with the SAS booking info for June 19 Bergen to Kristiansand. Cheapest SAS class for the 50 minute flight is displaying on the SAS site at $106.50/adult. That allows you to spend the night of June 18 and morning of June 19 in Bergen getting you to Kristiansand by the afternoon.

Posted by
971 posts

There is no direct link between Bergen or Kristiansand to Århus. There is a night ferry from Bergen to Hirtshals in northern Jutland or a ferry from Kristiansand to Hirtshals(3 hours or so). From Hirtshals it's a 3 hour train ride with one change to Århus. Another option is a flight via Oslo.
You can check out danish ferry schedules on http://www.faerge.dk/?sc_lang=en and public transport on www.rejseplanen.dk.