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18 nights Denmark-Norway August trip 8/4-8/22

Hi dear fellow travelers,

We are an active couple with a 10 year old who is able to hike 10+ miles a day. We love nature and we also enjoy museums/historical sites/city walks. This is going to be our first trip to Scandinavia. We tweaked RS's suggested itinerary based on our dates and would like to get your inputs, please see below. We are going to fly in and out of COP and take a rental car for the entire trip. (Yes, car rental and gas prices are insane but considering the plane tickets flying to Oslo or the 8.5hr bus ride, we decided it's better to pay for the flexibility. plus is it better to have a car going around Norway? I am open to cancel the car reservation if I can be convinced otherwise by your experts, :).

Any suggestion is appreciated.

day sleep
0 in air
1 Gothenburg
2 Gothenburg
3 Oslo
4 Oslo
5 Oslo
6 Oslo
7 Jotunheimen
8 Lustrafjord/Aurland
9 Bergen
10 Bergen
11 Kristiansand
12 Aarhus/Billund
13 Aeroskobing
14 Aeroskobing
15 copenhagen
16 copenhagen
17 copenhagen
18 copenhagen
19 in air

thank you all so much!

Posted by
1270 posts

I suggest you take the ferry ( from Copenhagen to Oslo, ent a car in Oslo and drive to Krisitiansand, return the car and take the ferry ( to Hirtshals. Rent a car and continue your trip as per your plan. You will need to book the car before you get there.

In Aarhus be sure to visit "Den gamle by" ("the old town"

Return the car in Copenhagen.

In Copenhagen I suggest you look at:

Amalienborg (The Queens residens). The best way (IMO) is to stand at the corner of Gothersgade and Rosenborggade at 11:27 AM and follow the Queen's guard when they walk from their barracks at Rosenborg to Amalienborg. NOte: they walk pretty fast.

Posted by
15 posts

hi l.p.enersen,
thank you so much for taking the effort to help, I appreciate it, after much reading and research we decided to do the following:
we are going to mainly focus on Norway.
day sleep Activities
0 in air

1 Oslo arrive COP 7:15am, pick up rental. COP to Oslo: 595km; lunch/break at Gotenburg
2 Oslo Oslo city tour
3 Rjukan drive Oslo – Notodden – Rjukan: 186km; 3hr drive, town, funnicular + hike
4 Odda drive Rjukan – Haukeli – Odda: 186km; Vemark (10:00-18:00)
5 Tent 11:00 meet at hike trolltunga tour, sleep in tent
6 Hardanger drive from Trolltunga 3pm and around Hardnger
7 Hardanger HM queen Sonja hike (6hr);
8 Lom? Hardanger - Sogndafjord - Lom: long drive; two sceanic routes
9 Geirangerfjord drive: Lom- Gamle Strynefjellsvegen - Geirangerfjord: 125km
10 Geirangerfjord Geirangerfjord
11 Bergen Geirangerfjord - Bergen: 371km / long drive
12 Bergen Bergen
13 Kristiansand drive: Bergen - Stavanger -Brufjell – Flekkefjord – Mandal -Kristiansand: 4.5hr to Stavanger, then scenic route 4.5hr
14 Aarhus or Billund, DK Kristiansand - Jutland - Aarhus: 5hr 326km
15 Copenhagen Aarhus - COP: 3hr drive; return rental
16 Copenhagen Copenhangen City
17 Copenhagen Copenhangen City
18 Copenhagen Copenhangen City
19 in air flight 12:20pm COP - IAD 3pm

Posted by
24821 posts

Have you had the experience of traveling overseas (preferably more than once) and sleeping really well on the overnight flight? I would not be safe to drive 60 km after a sleepless night, much less nearly 600.

Edited to add: I'm currently in Gothenburg. It's a very attractive place with lots of nice areas for walking around, but:

  • There's a weekday congestion charge.

  • I'd recommend that you plan where you will park the car ahead of time rather than driving around and looking for a place.

  • It's quite a large city. I would choose a smaller place for a mid-day break on a day with a long drive. It will surely take some time to get into the center of the city, get the car parked, etc.

  • Even on sunny days the wind can pick up and feel quite chilly. A windbreaker may be handy.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you acraven, especially for the tips about Gothenburg. I think it a good idea to avoid the break at a big city.

Yes, we consider us pretty seasoned travelers, we have been going to Europe twice a year for the last 6 years except 2020. Our typical practice is to do overnight flight then drive to the furthest location of the trip and work backward and do the capital as the last stop so we can fly out directly. But I agree with you 600km will be approaching the upper limit of our tolerance. we have done Rome to Florence, Paris to Avignion, Madrid to Granada and Lisbon to Algarve. The most challenging one is from Reykjavik to the northern town of Siglufjordhur., which is about 400km but about 5hr-6hr drive, if no stop, due to the zigzagging of the road. :) So we are going to venture this one and see, thank you so much for your consideration though. :)

Posted by
15 posts

acraven, May I trouble you for suggestion on a town/spot/restaurant to break the drive between COP to Oslo? I totally agree with you to skip Gothenburg traffic.
thank you so much!

Posted by
5272 posts

I agree with acraven that driving from Copenhagen to Oslo is a bad idea. For your plans for Norway, having a car will be advantage. But that doesn't mean you have to have a car for the whole trip. Just renting a car in Norway will save you a lot money. Partly because it is a shorter period, partly because you save a lot of road tolls. And because electric cars are easy to rent in Norway, which saves you a lot on petrol. And, if you plan to drive a Danish car to Norway, you need to make sure you know how to pay the road tolls there. With a Norwegian car, that is usually handled automatically.

Alternative suggestion:

Once you arrive in Copenhagen, take the regional train to Gothenburg. They run once an hour, stop at the airport and the price is fixed so you can buy a ticket in a machine when you arrive. Have lunch in Gothenburg, spend some time there before you take the train or bus to Oslo. Pick up the car as you leave Oslo and return it in Kristiansand before you board the ferry to Denmark.

Posted by
15 posts

Hi Badger,
thank you so much for you help. I did check rental price when I made the plan and even today I just checked again.
On Sixt, for Oslo-Kristiensand, 8/6-8/17, it comes to $2032 before adding additional insurance; for Cop pick up and drop off 8/4 - 8/18 the total price is $623. I am having hardtime justifying the $1400 difference.
Any suggestion on where to find more affordable car rental?

here is the update:
Transport day sleep Activities

car 1 Oslo COP to Oslo: 595km; lunch/break at some small town mid point
car 2 Oslo Oslo city tour
car 3 Rjukan Oslo – Notodden – Rjukan: 186km; 3hr drive, town, funnicular + hike
car 4 Odda Rjukan – Haukeli – Odda: 186km; Vemark (10:00-18:00)
car 5 Tent 11:00 meet at hike trolltunga
car 6 Hardanger drive from Trolltunga 3pm and around Hardnger
car 7 Hardanger HM queen Sonja hike (6hr);
car 8 Lom Hardanger - Sogndafjord - Lom: long drive; two sceanic routes (400km)
car 9 Geirangerfjord Lom- Gamle Strynefjellsvegen - Geirangerfjord: 125km
car 10 Geirangerfjord Geirangerfjord
car 11 Bergen Geirangerfjord - Bergen: 371km / long drive
car 12 Bergen Bergen
car 13 Kristiansand, NO Bergen - Stavanger -Brufjell – Flekkefjord – Mandal -Kristiansand: long drive
car 14 Copenhagen Kristiansand - Hirtshals : ferry 2hr15m; Aarhus to COP drive 5hr (483km) - long drive
car 15 Copenhagen Copenhagen
bus/taxi 16 Copenhagen Copenhagen
bus/taxi 17 Copenhagen Copenhagen
bus/taxi 18 Copenhagen Copenhagen
bus/taxi 19 in air flight out of COP

Posted by
7000 posts

You were smart to focus on some Norwegian fjords, which are amazing. Denmark is great, but you can do that on another trip.

We have visited Norway twice on cruises.
The last one we visited six ports all the way to the North Cape. Fantastic.
Here is my detailed review of our trip and cruise.

There is no better way to see the fjords than with a cruise. You don't have to pay high Norwegian prices for food and lodging, since you are on a cruise ship. Stavanger is one of the best fjords.

Alesund, Flam and Tromso are great as well. Bergen we did on another cruise and enjoyed that city and the funicular going up to the hill overlooking the city.

Posted by
5272 posts

Does the total price include fuel and road tolls?

I don't know where you looked for rental car prices but I did a search and if you are willing to return the car to Oslo I found some reasonable prices. E.g. 4536 kr for an e-Golf, the drawback is that it only includes 100 km per day, but paying the extra 2 kr/km should probably still be cheaper than what you found.

Posted by
60 posts

I'm going to add my voice to the opinion that the itinerary has too much unnecessary driving. I know that most of us Americans tend to want to drive everywhere since that is what we are used to, but you have to remember that it's different in Europe. I would recommend the car for the Norwegian portion of your trip only (outside of Oslo). The rest is easier done by train or bus. Not everything that you will want to do will have a parking lot attached or even nearby, so driving will not save you the time that you might think it would.

I shall also highly recommend the overnight ferry between Copenhagen and Oslo. It's almost like being on a mini cruise. There's a buffet restaurant, a bar, shops, and it wasn't expensive at all as I recall.

Posted by
15 posts

Hi badger, where did you look for car deals? I was on sixt US site. Interestingly/surprisingly, the quotes on were even more expensive.
Also we sadly can’t drive the much cheaper manual cars.

Posted by
5272 posts

I checked at Oslo bilutleie, And the e-Golf is electric, so it has a fixed gearbox.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you badger, I checked the bilutleie website, the rate is so much lower than sixT or any other rental cars, thank you so much!
Have you used the company before, they seem rather small and only have only a few locations in Oslo.

Posted by
5272 posts

I've never used them before, so I can't give you a review of them. But they seem to have a good selection of electric cars at affordable prices.

Posted by
15 posts

Hi kblur9,
I think you and folks eventually convinced me. I am exploring flying to Oslo from Copenhagen and ferry back. Surpassingly for our august dates the ferry from Oslo to Copenhagen on 8/15 is only half of the price for the one from Copenhagen to Oslo on the 4th. I used DFDS site, any other recommendation?

Posted by
8936 posts

Wow, I feel bad for whoever else is on the road with you as you are driving 600 km after an overnight flight from the States.

Posted by
5272 posts

Great idea to not drive all the way from Copenhagen! But I still recommend the train from Copenhagen to Oslo, with a stop in Gothenburg. I know it is a Denmark/Norway trip and Gothenburg is in Sweden, but it is a charming city on the way, and I think not stopping there for lunch at least is a mistake.

For the ferry back, you can take the ferry from Oslo to Jutland, I think Fredrikshamn, so you can still follow your plan for Denmark, which is probably best done by train.

Posted by
15 posts

thank you Kim and all folks who provided the feedback, actually the driver aka hubby did encourage the driving plan but I made changes eventually to cut down the drive to the part only in norway and outside Oslo. I also cut the part to Krisantient.
here is the new itinerary the only pending is whether to fly to oslo or ferry. suprisingly the ferry to Oslo is double the price coming back on the same route.
day sleep Activities
0 in air flight to COP 07:15
1 Ferry Ferry to Oslo depart 15:00
2 Rjukan Oslo arrive 10:00; car pickup; drive Notodden – Rjukan: 186km/3hr, town, funnicular+hike
3 Odda Rjukan leave late – Haukeli – Odda: 186km; Vemark (10:00-18:00)
4 Tent 11:00 meet at hike trolltunga
5 Hardanger drive from Trolltunga 3pm and around Hardnger
6 Hardanger HM queen Sonja hike (6hr);
7 Lom Hardanger - Sogndafjord - Lom: long drive; two sceanic routes (400km)
8 Geirangerfjord Lom- Gamle Strynefjellsvegen - Geirangerfjord: 125km
9 Geirangerfjord Geirangerfjord
10 Bergen Geirangerfjord - Bergen: 371km / long drive
11 Bergen Bergen
12 Oslo Bergen drive to Oslo, 6 hour drive, return car
13 Oslo Oslo
14 Ferry ferry Oslo to COP depart 15:00
15 Copenhagen Copenhagen
16 Copenhagen Copenhagen
17 Copenhagen Copenhagen
18 Copenhagen Copenhagen
19 in air flight 12:20pm COP

Posted by
60 posts

DFDS is what we used for the Copenhagen - Oslo ferry. I am not familiar with any other companies.

Posted by
5272 posts

By the way, I assume that by COP you mean Copenhagen? It's usually better to refer to cities by their name and not some home made abbreviation.

Posted by
10083 posts

I was also confused by your use of COP. Copenhagen’s airport code is CPH.
Glad you aren’t picking a car up in one country, and dropping it off in another country incurring huge drop fees.

Posted by
15 posts

Sorry you guys are right, it should be CPH or Copenhagen.
Glad I am done planning eventually. It took me one full week to research and plan, like literally 40 work hours lol