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Denmark, Norway and Sweden

I am looking into a two-week trip to the above three countries. l would appreciate any itinerary suggestions and best way to get around (public transportation, car or train). We like staying in B&B's. We enjoy museums as well as scenery. While major cities are nice, we enjoy small towns as well. Meeting locals and fellow travelers. Our time frame would be late May/early June or September.
Must see places will help narrow our planning and route.
We are active retirees and have travel a lot through other parts of Europe. I have been to Denmark on business and thought this would be an interesting region to explore.
Any suggestions would be great.

Thnaks,

Steve

Posted by
6528 posts

It depends on what you want to see and do. It is a big region by European standards and two weeks will not allow you see all, far from it. But you can see a bit of it. It also depends on what travel pace you prefer.

A popular two week intinerary through Scandinavia is Stockholm-Copenhagen-Oslo-Bergen. But of course there are many other possible options. It will give you a overview, but only focuses on the southern parts. And if you enjoy small towns a slower pace with stops in other places than just the capitals is probably a good idea.

In general public transportation is the best option. But a rental car might be useful in rural areas.

Posted by
7 posts

I'll second Badger here: Denmark's compactness notwithstanding, Scandinavia is large and two weeks isn't a huge amount of time once you account for travel. To put it in US terms, Norway and Sweden are each roughly the size of the western seaboard. Even if you cut out their northernmost reaches, the heavily-populated areas of each are still about the size of California.

Your planned time frame is great — the weather's generally very nice — but you'll have to make some hard decisions on where to allot your time and what to leave out. The upshot is that it's very easy to get to and from smaller towns in all three countries (the rail system generally runs right through them), so when you want a dose of that small town charm it doesn't require too much effort to make a sensible itinerary: the train's probably stopping there anyway.

Are there any particular kinds of museums or scenery you absolutely love (or absolutely don't care for)?

Posted by
45 posts

Thanks for the feedback. I looked at the Rick Steves' Scandinavia tour (not that I am going to go on it) and it look ambitious. We are not crazy about one-night stays unless absolutely necessary. We like to get to know the people and the country. Not hit and run. What makes it special and unique. This can be the culture or the land or the food. The coastal towns look fantastic. The mountains and the beaches also look wonderful. We have traveled throughout Europe and enjoy a little of this and a little bit of that, city and countryside. We enjoy small towns where the people tend to be more authentic. Sorry for the rambling. Again, thanks for your thoughts. I need to narrow down my thinking.
By the way, just came back from Portugal. If you have not been there, add it to your list.

Steve

Posted by
27337 posts

It was thanks to Badger's earlier post that I learned about Sundsvall--a great place to go if you really like Art Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture. However, it's pretty far north of the typical tourist stops in Sweden so probably not a convenient choice for those with limited time.

My favorite large city was Stockholm, of course; my next favorite was Gothenburg. Visby's really lovely (and might have more appeal to the average tourist than Sundsvall) but a bit time-consuming to reach and very touristy. It also has very high lodging rates and books up far in advance. Lund, Ystad and Uppsala are good options if you will be traveling through those areas; Uppsala's a viable side trip from Stockholm.

Posted by
7804 posts

We have visited all three countries and enjoyed each one.

We have been to Denmark three times, Norway twice and Sweden once.

For fantastic scenery, Norway wins hands down. Norway is a mountainous country with fjords that are just amazing.
I strongly recommend taking a cruise up the coast of Norway, if possible all the way to the North Cape.
We did that in 2019 and loved it. We stopped in six ports and all were great, especially, Geiranger, Flan and Alesund. Bergen is great as well (we did that on another cruise).
Royal Caribbean, NCL and other cruise lines have great cruises. Ours started in Copenhagen.

Denmark is a great trip and has a lot to see, be sure to visit the countryside outside Copenhagen as well as the city. Don't miss the Viking Museum outside that city.

Stockholm is a great city and loved the Vasa Museum. The Vasa is a virtually intact wooden 350 year old ship that floundered after launch and was preserved in the harbor until removed and a museum built for it.

Scandinavia is expensive, especially Norway. I remember visiting Norway the first time on a cruise and a beer cost $10 and on that same trip we visited Portugal where a beer was a little over $1.

Taking a cruise helps with costs, since you have meals and lodging covered by the cruise ship. Still, if you do a cruise, plan a land trip prior to or after your cruise. I think our cruise was 11 days.

Posted by
147 posts

Our family travelled to Denmark and Norway this past summer. We had an ambitious plan and for the most part it worked out. We joked about adding Sweeden since it's fairly easy & nearby when we were in Copenhagen but had sense to know it would have been two much.

You asked about tranasportation and I would suggest taking the overnight boat either from Denmark to Norway or vice versa when going from one country to another. It serves as a convienent "hotel" overnight stay. We used public transportation/walkng/biking for the duration of our travels in both countries and found it was a great way to get around.

In Denmark we really enjoyed Copenhagen and Rosklide. In Norway we enjoyed Oslo much more then we were thinking we would. The Resistance Museum and Munch Museum were highlights there for us. We did the Songeford in a Nutshell train and stayed a night in Balestrand in fjord country. While there was absolutely nothing to do and it rained it was still really cool to be in this setting.

Finally, I would suggest that when planning to visit sites check their websites leading up to your trip and then again while on the trip. A few times we found that info the RS book was wrong with some infofor instance one day we had planned in Bergen to visit the Greig estate they were not open. Also, the cathedral in Rosklide is worthwhile but the hours can change if they have events booked so keep that in mind.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
965 posts

We (59 and 72) spent six weeks in Norway, Denmark and Sweden in September/October this year. We travelled exclusively by public transportation - trains, buses, ferries and a couple of short flights. We stayed in a mix of hotels and apartments.

Norway was absolutely stunning and very easy to get around by train and public buses. We particularly liked Alesund and the bus trip from Bergen to Stavanger was beautiful.

In Denmark we went to Aalborg, Aarhus and Copenhagen. Aarhus was a lovely mix of modern art and history.

In Sweden we visited Stockholm (where I spent five days in bed with COVID) and Gothenburg which is a lovely city and the Volvo museum was great.

I strongly recommend taking a cruise up the coast of Norway, if possible all the way to the North Cape.

Friends are currently on a Hurtigruten cruise and are making us jealous with their pictures. We didn't take a cruise as we were worried about COVID as I am immune compromised.

Posted by
6528 posts

It was thanks to Badger's earlier post that I learned about
Sundsvall--a great place to go if you really like Art
Nouveau/Jugendstil architecture.

Happy to hear that you liked Sundsvall!

Taking a cruise helps with costs, since you have meals and lodging
covered by the cruise ship. Still, if you do a cruise, plan a land
trip prior to or after your cruise.

Scandinavia and in particular Norway can be expensive. And there certainly are arguments for taking a cruise, but if you think a cruise will save you money compared to travel on land you are mistaken.