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Making the most of our Scandinavia trip

Hello!
I'm looking for advice on how to make the most of our trip to Scandinavia next year. We're a family of five with three young children and haven't been to Scandinavia before (coming from the US). We're taking a 7 day cruise leaving from and returning to Copenhagen. We plan to spend another 7-10 days in the region. Should we spend it all in Denmark? Are there other places we should consider?
Open to any and all suggestions.

Thank you!
Celeste

Posted by
27360 posts

What time of year will the trip be?

I think it would be good to know the precise ages of the kids at the time of the trip. There are some kid-focused sights (including Legoland), but their suitability will depend on the kids' ages.

Mountain and fjord scenery is a very, very big deal in Norway. In my experience (thinking of my own childhood), youngish children are not usually much for the scenery that so appeals to adults. My instincts suggest sticking with Denmark rather than going to the expense of traveling to Norway. In addition, the cost of travel in Norway is very, very high.

Caveat: I've spent a lot of time planning a trip of my own to northern Europe, but it was scheduled for 2020, so it didn't happen. I'm making this suggestion based on things I've learned from this forum and from books. Others will be able to give advice based on first-hand experience.

Posted by
9 posts

Hello! Our kids will be between 3-8. We’ll be traveling in the early summer. Legoland is an option, but since we have them in the US, I’m not 100% sure if we want to spend time there. They’re very into nature, but I’m not sure if we’d have luck whale watching at the time of year.

Posted by
3615 posts

Denmark has great open-air or living history museums. We visited one near Copenhagen where families were participating in cooking over a fire, chopping wood and paddling a dugout boat. There was another which had toys and games that kids could experience, like hoop rolling and stilt walking. At the Viking Museum at Roskilde there were appropriate costumes for dress up, and you could take a ride in a reproduction Viking boat.

Posted by
15565 posts

Where is your cruise taking you?

If they are into nature, I'd suggest an overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. (Get up early to see the scenery on the arrival into Oslo.) Then take the Norway in a Nutshell excursion from Oslo to Bergen. Don't do it in one day. Make it two. I sayed overnight in Flam.

https://www.norwaynutshell.com/

Posted by
9 posts

The cruise goes to Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki. Scandinavia isn’t an area we’ve researched for travel, so this is really out of our comfort zone (in a good way)!

Posted by
6567 posts

Since the cruise doesn't take you to Scandinavia apart from Stockholm (and Copenhagen) the big question is, what do you want to see and do? Are you outdoor persons who want to spend your vacation in nature, do you want a week of great art museums, walk around in old charming towns or just be close to a beach?

Legoland is of course an option. Even if they exist all over the world nowadays there might be some attraction in visiting the original ones. On the other hand, there are other amusement parks in Scandinavia that they might enjoy more. The three most famous ones are Gröna Lund in Stockholm, Liseberg in Gothenburg and Tivoli in Copenhagen. And if you are looking for open air museum, you should not miss Skansen in Stockholm. Gotland, and especially Visby are also worth a stop if you are looking for ideas, but there are things to see on the mainland as well.

I once read a post from someone who planned to take a Baltic cruise starting and ending in Copenhagen. They planned to leave the ship in Stockholm (last port before an overnight sea journey back to Copenhagen) and continue the trip through Scandinavia on their own.

Posted by
15565 posts

I'm sticking to what I wrote before. But....I'll add....

Spend 2-3 days in Copenhagen. Plenty to see and your kids will like Tivoli Gardens.

Take the ferry up to Oslo. Spend a couple of days there. Lots to see and do in Oslo. Then Norway in a Nutshell to Bergen. You can see if there are any cruises you want to take in Bergen. (whale watching?) Or visit more of the fjords. Bergen has a good size airport with connections back to the USA.

If you have time in Stockholm, I agree with Badger and visit Skansen. Nearby is the Vasa museum which the kids might also find interesting.

The nice thing about Scandinavia is that everyone speaks English. It doesn't get a lot of play here compared to France, Italy and Germany but it's one of my favorite areas of Europe. I'll be going back next spring.

Posted by
10 posts

I agree with Enersen. I also suggest Bakken. Eat the danish national dish, pork with parsley sauce and potatoes. Try different attractions, the food and drinks are quite affordable here because you are allowed bringing your own food.
I've written a couple of lines about the amusement park on bikedenmark.nu .

I would also suggest Visby. An ancient town with a lot of historical buildings, walls and, don't forget. Pippi Longstocking where recorded here so you children will propably recognise some of the streets and houses. You've got a kind of Pippi Longstocking museum a couple of kilometers soth from Visby. See some pictures on world-info.se
Another place I would recommend is Old town of Stockholm. Kings palace should be the biggest in europe. Lot of cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops and things to see.

Posted by
9 posts

Thank you, everyone! This has given me so much to research--I'm excited to dive in and learn more!

Posted by
6567 posts

And if you answer the questions, you might get even more advice…

Posted by
7829 posts

We love Scandinavia, but it can be expensive.

Your could spend a week in Denmark and not be disappointed. Since you are into cruising, as we are, consider taking a cruise up the coast of Norway to the North Cape. We did a fantastic one in 2019 in June with Royal Caribbean. NCL also has one that goes all the way to the North Cape. The scenery in Norway, especially with the fjords is amazing.

Here is my lengthy trip report on that cruise as well as another we did from Copenhagen (and spent some time in that city and the surrounding area.
Stockholm and Norway Aritic Circle
https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=659526&et_cid=3214772&et_rid=17221689&et_referrer=Boards

North Sea/Atl and Transatlantic
 
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=264272

Posted by
11354 posts

The Hurtigruten coastal ships connect the small towns and large one too up the whole Norwegian coast. Passengers get on and off and goods are delivered. Fabulous food. Not a cruise ship ( which we avoid) but the scenery is your entertainment. Few passengers from US, mostly northern Europeans. A great experience.
Oslo is a wonderful city to explore. Spend several days there.

Posted by
9 posts

It doesn't. I've been trying to figure out if we have time to get to see some and make it back to Copenhagen for our return flight.

Posted by
3025 posts

I would go to Norway then to see fjords. The Norway in a Nutshell self-guided tour is good if you’re pressed for time.

Posted by
11354 posts

On Hurtigruten, we went into Gierangerfjord on our ship. Most cruise ships can’t enter the fjords.

Posted by
3201 posts

Make sure you bring or have at your disposal, plenty of money!
I was in Copenhagen in 2017, and only had two meals out as it was so expensive.
The rest I made in my rental apartment.
Lunch one day in a department store cafeteria: a ham and cheese bagel sandwich and one coffee was $21.
Another lunch, in a restaurant this time : an open faced smorrebrod sandwich and a bottle of sparkling water: $70.
Start saving!

That said, I loved Denmark.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the head's up! I've heard dining is expensive and, since there are five of us, grocery shopping will most likely be part of the plan. Is this specific to Copenhagen, or did you find this to be true in other parts of Denmark, as well?

Posted by
6567 posts

@S J: It sounds like you encountered some tourist traps. Copenhagen is not the cheapest city in Europe but you should not have to pay more than 200 DKK for a lunch at a restaurant.