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Edited request for ideas - Thank you!

I realize I posted something totally confusing!

We can leave Aalborg on Aug 9th (have to be there for a family issue ahead of that). Then we are free for 3 weeks before needing to be in Scotland (also family issue). So we get to fill that time as we please. We are vaccinated, but also concerned for all involved. I'm thinking maybe we cross into Sweden and drive up amongst the fjords, but we could really go in any direction. We will have just been in Copenhagen. I'm perusing the guidbooks and the forum, but would love any tips of places you found especially wonderful that we may overlook. We have never been to Denmark or any of the surrounding countries--so we are starting from scratch!

My original confusing post:
You find yourself in Aalborg on Aug 9th. You have 3 weeks. You've never been to Denmark or any of its neighbors before. You are a slow traveler, meaning easily enjoy twice as many days in a town as most travelers. You are over 50, but don't feel it. You love photography even though you aren't that good at it. You can talk to anyone anywhere and you love those opportunities. You love BnBs, good food, great prices. What would you do with your time? Thank you!

Posted by
2142 posts

That explains it, I thought you had 3 weeks in Aalborg! Where in Scotland are you going?

Anyway, in that case travelling through Sweden and Norway sounds like a good idea, ending up in Bergen or Stavanger before taking a short flight across the North sea to Scotland. If you have been intoCopenhagen, you could see a bit of northern Jutland, spending a night or two in Skagen, before taking the ferry to Gothenburg, travelling through Sweden for a week or two before spending the last one or two weeks in Norway.

There are hundreds of lovely places that are often overlooked, But it would be helpful to know a bit more about what you are looking for. Is it cities, small towns, nature or something else?

Posted by
1013 posts

Hi zoomcd, after rereading your posts, I'm editing my original comment. I would take a direct train from Aalborg to Frederikshavn (1h 15m) and then a ferry to Gøteborg and rent a car and drive to Fjällbacka (1h 45m). From there I would drive to Örebro (4h 15m) and drop off the car. You can take a direct train from Örebro to Stockholm (2h) and spend time in Stockholm before flying to Bergen and take the Norway in the Nutshell tour to Oslo. You can then fly non-stop to Edinburgh.
I would focus on seeing Scandanavia since you’ll already be there and yes it’s expensive, but summer is when it’s cheapest compared to the colder months.
I would also buy this guidebook: https://shop.lonelyplanet.com/products/sweden-travel-guide-7?via=Z2lkOi8vbG9uZWx5LXBsYW5ldC9Xb3JrYXJlYTo6Q2F0YWxvZzo6Q2F0ZWdvcnkvNTllZTQ5YmJmOTJlYTE0MTg2MDU4NjEw.

Posted by
18865 posts

Having done research on that part of Europe for my 2020 trip that didn't happen, I know there are lots of great options. The most dramatic scenery is in Norway, but the Stockholm Archipelago is also very scenic, and there's certainly pretty countryside in Denmark as well. All three of the capitals seem worth multiple days, and each country has multiple other towns that made it onto my tentative itinerary. I suggest reading through a Scandinavia guidebook with a map at your side so you don't fall in love with places that are just too far apart.

I think the most complex part of the plan may turn out to be the fjord region in Norway. The Norway in a Nutshell routing (which has multiple variations) is intended for people who have very little time and want to see some of the best of Norway's mountain and fjord scenery. Those itineraries can be done independently (but most segments need to be pre-booked), or the transportation (train, boat, bus) can be purchased as a package at extra cost. If you are more into scenery--with or without hiking--than cities, you should probably devote more than the standard 1- or 2-day NiN time allowance to seeing the fjords. Rick explains the options pretty clearly (it's a bit of a tricky subject) in his guide to Scandinavia. Variations have been discussed many times on the Norway forum here, with folks who've traveled through that area giving their views on the towns along the way. If you're willing to rent a car for part of your time in Norway (which I assume is a pricey proposition), you'd have the freedom to lodge in smaller towns with little or no public transportation and see beauty spots not full of folks on the NiN itinerary. But don't plan to pick up a car in one country and drop it in another without checking on the international drop charge. Also verify what sort of ferries you'd be allowed to take the car on; there might be limitations. Putting a car on one of the international ferries might be costly; I haven't checked into that since I didn't plan to do any driving.

In case you haven't done any research on Norway yet: My reading indicates that it is very, very expensive, though I never progressed to the point of booking hotel rooms. You can probably get an idea of comparative costs by looking at lodging rates on a website like booking.com. I believe restaurants are also more expensive in Norway than in Denmark and Sweden.

Posted by
2142 posts

I'm sorry MaryPat, but that is not the best advice. If you've arrived at Copenhagen central station, you might as well take the train Stockholm. Flying will not save much time (10-20 minutes at best) and costs a lot more. If you really feel that you need to fly there is no need to remain on the train all the way to Copenhagen, alight in Århus, about 100 km south of Aalborg. From Århus there are direct flights to Stockholm. Pre Covid there where also direct flights from Aalborg to Stockholm, but if they will be back in August is hard to tell. You can however fly Aalborg-Stockholm with a transfer in Copenhagen. But the direct flights from Aarhus to Stockholm are bookable in August. Also, booking a flight with Norwegian outside Norway at the moment can be a bit risky.

An even better way from Aalborg to Stockholm is in my opinion train to Fredrikshavn (1h) and ferry to Gothenburg (3-3.5h). From there you can take the train to Stockholm (3h), but even better is to stay in Gothenburg for a few days.

Stockholm-Bergen-Oslo-Scotland means a bit of backtracking. Sweden-Oslo-Bergen-Scotland is a more logical order so see things. Also, Norway in a Nutshell has nothing to do with Rick Steves, it is run by a Norwegian tour company.

Posted by
33 posts

Lots of good ideas here! This forum is amazing. Thank you! I'll keep going with my research and will likely ask more specific questions soon!

Posted by
2142 posts

To comment on acravens post: Yes, Norway is expensive. Really expensive. Sweden and Denmark are a lot cheaper. And apart from alcohol which costs more in Sweden, there is no big difference between the countries in my opinon.

For stunning scenery there are few places that can beat Norway but there are as mentioned beutiful nature in the other countries aswell. The Stockholm archipelago gets a lot of praise, which it deserves, but there are others. An in my opinion the west coast archipelago (from Gothenburg and a bit north) is prettier. But that is a matter of taste…

NiN is as the name suggests "in a nutshell", a quick one or two day overview of the mountains and fjords between Oslo and Bergen. But if you have the time I suggest spending a bit more time in the area. Don't assume that small towns mean no public transport, there are buses where the trains don't go. But renting a car can make sense if you want to explore the Norwegian countryside. Just remember that it will not be fast, there are few highways in Norway and apart from the Oslo area even major roads are usually narrow and winding and may have ferries. And don't bring a car on the international ferries, it is a waste of money. Road tolls are also quite common in Norway. There are no huge tolls that I know of but many bridges and tunnels are financed by smaller tolls. So you can encounter several 20-30 NOK tolls, and they can add up.

Posted by
2142 posts

Sorry for not making myself clear. My suggestion is based on spending
time in Copenhagen before flying to Stockholm. I also recommend seeing
Stockholm before flying to Bergen. Do sightsee in Bergen too before
taking the Norway in a Nutshell tour.

I assumed zoomcd isn't interested in spending more time in Copenhagen since they wrote "We will have just been in Copenhagen". Also, flying from Copenhagen to Stockholm is not the best advice, no matter what you've done before (unless you have a connecting flight in one end). The train takes about the same time, is way more comfortable and costs a fraction of a plane ticket.

Visiting Stockholm is not necessary, but if zoomcd wants to see Stockholm, a better option after that would be to fly to Oslo, NiN to Bergen and then fly from Bergen to Scotland (or if they have the time, continue to Stavanger after Bergen).

Posted by
1013 posts

fly from Bergen to Scotland

Badger, I edited my original post…
I don’t see a non-stop flight between Bergen and Scotland.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks everyone! To clarify: We will be in Copenhagen before and again after a couple of months so for the rest of August I'm looking at other ideas. I think a Denmark/Sweden/Norway combo with a final flight to Edinburgh looks about right. So now it's down to how much time in each area and specifically where to go. We do drive, so I'm thinking that may be the best way to see the fjords in Norway, although I'm enticed by the Bergen/Flam train trips too. Should we do those and then rent a car in Flam and keep heading north?

I'm noticing flights that aren't possible now, but may become available by the end of summer. I'll keep an eye out for options. Badger's guess is right--we will be flying into Edinburgh one way or another by the end of August for a family event on the outskirts Sept 1...

Posted by
2142 posts

I don’t see a non-stop flight between Bergen and Scotland.

Might be suspended due to the pandemic, but normally Widerøe flies Bergen-Aberdeen and Loganair flies Bergen-Edinburgh and Bergen-Sumburgh. Other options are Stavanger-Edinburgh with Loganair or Stavanger-Aberdeen with SAS. The latter is a very important route to SAS and in low risk of suspension due to the pandemic. For a while last year, Stavanger-Aberdeen was the only route outside Scandinavia SAS operated from Norway.

Posted by
2142 posts

I did a quick check to see which flights are operating at the moment. Bergen-Aberdeen and Stavanger-Aberdeen are flying currently. Loganair's flights are not, but they are in the booking system (marked as "sold out") so I guess they haven't decided when to resume the flights yet. But if they don't, spending a day or so in Aberdeen before taking a train to Edinburgh is not wrong.

Posted by
2142 posts

Having reread the edited post above, I have a few comments. August is still high season and Fjällbacka is a popular destination, so driving there has some drawbacks (like finding somewhere to park). My suggestion is to take the train and bus. If you still want to drive, start by taking the train to Uddevalla and rent a car there, that saves you pain of negotiating Gothenburg traffic and the Gothenburg congestion tax.

If the goal after Gothenburg is to visit Stockholm, there are direct trains in 3 hours. If you want to see something in between, having a car can make sense. Then travel to Oslo, either direct by train or flight. Or make a stop along the way in Karlstad. From Oslo, take the train or the Norway in a Nutshell trip to Bergen before flying to Scotland.

And if you have the time, adding Stavanger to the schedule after Bergen is not a bad idea. It often gets overlooked but deserves more attention.