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Where to visit and what to do in and near Stockholm and Copenhagen

I am 70 years old and love to travel. I really enjoy visiting museums, learning about the countries culture and history. I will be traveling on a tour when I visit Norway and Finland, seeing many cultural and outdoor sights.

I’ll be spending a week in Sweden and a week in Denmark. I wii not be joining an organized tour in Sweden or Denmark unless they are day tours. So I have question about this part of my trip.
How many days should I visit Stockholm? What other places would you recommend for me to visit outside of Stockholm? The same question I have for Copenhagen.

I will be arriving in the middle of May. Are there any special events or festivals going on during this time?

Posted by
4359 posts

In Stockholm, museums I enjoyed were the Vasa Museum and the Nordic Museum. I had 4 full days and could have occupied several more with no trouble. The 72 hr Stockholm Pass (in 2018) was good value for me. I did not expect to enjoy Stockholm like I did.

In Copenhagen, I particularly enjoyed Rosenberg Castle and Tivoli (just wandered and enjoyed). I had 4 full days there as well, but one was day trip to Roskilde. I would not have needed more days there. I used the Copenhagen Card as well - did the math and saved a little money and a good amount of trouble.

Posted by
27453 posts

Rick's guidebook to Scandinavia will help you a lot.

Here are the places Rick especially recommends in Denmark: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/denmark. Click on At a Glance.

Here are his top sights in Copenhagen: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/denmark/copenhagen. Click on At a Glance.

Here are the places Rick especially recommends in Sweden: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/sweden. Click on At a Glance.

Here are his top sights in Stockholm: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/sweden/stockholm. Click on At a Glance.

Posted by
6690 posts

How much time are you planning in Norway and is that before or after the time in Sweden and Denmark? And where does the Norwegian tour start and end?

If you have two weeks for Sweden and Denmark I'm not sure my suggestion would be to split the time equally. Since Sweden is a much larger country by area you might want to consider 8 or 9 days in Sweden and the rest in Denmark.

How much time to spend in the capitals is a good question but I'd suggest 3-4 days in each. You can spend more without being bored, but on the other hand there is a lot to see outside as well. For culture and history of Sweden a visit to Uppsala is a must, Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala) on the outskirts of the city was the centre of Sweden during the Viking age and the time when Sweden united as a country, and the modern city is also worth a visit. So there are a lot of rune stones in and around Uppsala. Gotland and especially Visby is also a great place to stop. You might also want to consider the west coast and especially Gothenburg. For culture and history, consider Skoklosters slott a bit south of Uppsala (https://skoklostersslott.se/en). The castle/palace is the biggest private residence ever built in Sweden and was built during the baroque era and is still very much in its original shape as it was never finished.

There are many other things to see as well, but it would be helpful if you told us a bit more than just museums, culture and history.

Posted by
400 posts

My wife and I spent 9 nights in Denmark a few years ago. Upon our arrival at CPH, when took the train right from the airport to Odense where we spent the first two nights. We really enjoyed it there - a much smaller city, with a beautiful centrally-located park, enough interesting things to do (an outstanding open-air museum south of the city, lots of Hans Christian Anderson-related things as that is where he was from, a river "cruise"). If we had another day, I think we would've rented bikes and/or gone to the Egeskov Castle. If I recall correctly, Odense was only about a 90 minute train ride from CPH.

We then went back to Copenhagen where we spent the last 7 nights. You do not need a full week in Copenhagen to see the main sites. However, we did several day trips using the city as a base. One to Roskilde, a short, 20-30 minute train ride, which features the UNESCO World Heritage site Cathedral where all Danish royalty are buried as well as an outstanding Viking ship museum. A second to Helsingnor, which is home to castle where Hamlet is set, has an outstanding maritime museum, and on the way back to Copenhagen, we stopped at the Louisiana Museum for Modern Art (which was incredible). A third day trip to Hillerod (and the Frederiksborg Castle). In all three, we spent time walking around the towns and getting a slice of Danish life outside of the main city.

And then of course Copenhagen itself merits several days.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you for your quick response.
I will be purchasing the RS books on Stockholm and Copenhagen. I love following the suggested walking tours. The walking tours make it much more interesting.

On the tour portion of my itinerary I will be visiting: Helsinki, Finland the Lapland area then off to Svolvaer, Oslo, Bergen Ivalo, including the" Norway in Nutshell."

We were thinking of staying at the Marriott Hotel in Copenhagen since we are Marriott members and get points, but I read a RS post that the Marriott is now owned by the cruise line companies and that it would be hectic and not a wise place to stay. What other hotels would you suggest or should we stay at an Airbnb? As a tourist what area of Copenhagen should we stay?
Is it better to stay all nights in Copenhagen and just take day trip outside the city?

Posted by
400 posts

I can only speak to Copenhagen and I don't have specific experience on the Marriott, but I have read that too, from other posters on this forum.

Based on my experience, and the extremely good public transportation all around the island of Zealand, I really do think staying just in Copenhagen and doing day trips outside the city is the way to go. I'd only stay somewhere else if you want to leave Zealand.

We stayed at the Kong Arthur Hotel. I really liked the location - it is pretty close to the Rosenborg Castle and gardens, Nyhavn, and many other places of interest. We really enjoy walking in cities that are new to us, so we walked just about everywhere, as far as Christiania, the "Meatpacking District," even as far as the Little Mermaid statute. But as far as connecting to public transportation, the Kong Arthur is very close to the Norreport station (which I believe is the best connected station after the Central). At the time of our visit, the hotel also offered a free "cozy hour" late each afternoon with a complimentary alcoholic beverage. My wife was pregnant at the time, so the bartender prepared special non-alcoholic cocktails for her each day.

Probably the most central location for a tourist to stay would be somewhere between Tivoli and Nyhavn, although that area is also really busy and the most touristy, in my opinion.

Posted by
3265 posts

In addition to the RS Sweden book, I suggest a more comprehensive guide along the lines of Lonely Planet Sweden. With that you can read about areas that interest you. Rick doesn't like Sweden (he admits that) and doesn't give it justice as a result or cover much of it. IMO He is of Norwegian descent after all... :p

I think the middle of May until midsommar is the perfect time in Sweden. Long days, spring flowers, and fewer tourists. Although you will also find some sites have not wound up for the season yet; ie, outdoor museums. Nonetheless, I still loved Skansen in Stockholm.

Or just listen to Badger! He knows.

Posted by
6690 posts

On the tour portion of my itinerary I will be visiting: Helsinki,
Finland the Lapland area then off to Svolvaer, Oslo, Bergen Ivalo,
including the" Norway in Nutshell."

That sounds like a very strange itinerary to be honest. Finnish Lapland would not be my choice for a trip in May. Does the tour end in Oslo?

What other hotels would you suggest or should we stay at an Airbnb? As
a tourist what area of Copenhagen should we stay? Is it better to stay
all nights in Copenhagen and just take day trip outside the city?

Scandic is in general a good hotel chain in the Nordics. No luxury hotels but good rooms at an affordable price. If you are just planning to stay on Zealand it might be easier to just stay in Copenhagen.

Regarding guide books, Wikivoyage is also a good option. Not perfect, but free, so at least worth the money :-) And there are some gems there, they have an excellent article on Uppsala e.g. https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Uppsala

Rick doesn't like Sweden (he admits that) and doesn't give it justice
as a result or cover much of it.

I'm not surprised to be honest.

Or just listen to Badger! He knows.

Thanks! I certainly know a bit about Sweden .

Posted by
12 posts

I am going to Finland and Norway towards the end of my trip after Sweden and Denmark. I will be visiting Finland and Norway the beginning of June.

All of you on the travel forum are helping me with your suggestions.

Posted by
156 posts

Just a note, Uppsala might be best done as a day trip from Stockholm.

For more culture and history, consider a day trip to Lund from Copenhagen. Founded by Denmark but is in Sweden now. The train takes less than an hour and departs every 20 minutes. There is an open air museum in the city center and the streets around it have many older street houses too.
https://www.kulturen.com/welcome-kulturens-museums/kulturen-in-lund/
Close by there is a large older university building and a cathedral.

Posted by
6690 posts

If the tour starts in Finland, my suggestion is that you start in Denmark. Fly to Copenhagen, it is the largest airport in the Nordics and have direct flights from several north american cities, look at SAS to see the options.

Spend 4-5 days in Copenhagen, including a day trip or two. Then travel north towards Stockholm stopping somewhere. Maybe along the west coast, spending maybe 2-3 days in Gothenburg. Another option is along the east coast. You could start by 1 night in Kalmar, then take the ferry to Gotland and spend 2 nights there before you take the ferry to Stockholm. Or maybe stay on the mainland, stopping in Eksjö if you like smaller towns, and Norrköping. Before you take the train to Stockholm. Spend 5-6 days in Stockholm, including day trips, before you take the overnight ferry to Finland.

That is a suggestion, feel free to modify it as you see fit.

Posted by
6690 posts

It depends a bit on what you are looking for, the archipelago could be an option but you will get quite a good view of it from the ferry to Finland. Skokloster is a good day trip but in may you might need to check the opening times first. Or Norrtälje for some small town charm.

Posted by
12 posts

I was thinking of possibly staying at an Airbnb. Is this Airbnb in a good safe neighborhood? Is it easy and quick to get to the tourist activities from this location?
Here is the description:
Lovely bright apartment with balcony on inner Vesterbro, the apartment is located away from the street and has a nice farm environment. Located 500 metres from Central Station and 800 metres from Town Hall Square. There are a multitude of lovely restaurants within walking distance. Nice bright apartment with balcony, in the heart of Vesterbro, the arpartmen turns away from the Streets and is placede in a Nice courtyard. It is 500 meter from the central trainstation and 700 meter from cityhall squar. Close by thier is alot of Nice restaurant.

Posted by
6690 posts

You'll struggle to find a neighbourhood that is not safe. Whether it is good depends on what you are looking for. Vesterbro is not that central, but not far from Indre by so could be good if that is what you are looking for. It has a bit of a bad reputation though, but I'm not sure if that is warranted anymore. And it's not that hard to get to Indre by. I'm not sure what you mean by tourist activities but there are a number of bus routes that serves Vesterbro and if it is only 500 m to the central station you have good access to metro and local trains.