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10 days Copenhagen-Stockholm-Oslo road trip

Hi,
A friend and I are doing a 10-day road trip leaving from Copenhagen, my question is should we rent a car in Copenhagen and drive to Stockholm-Oslo or take the train to Stockholm and rent a car in Norway to spend more time in Norway?.
Also would like to get some tips on where to go/what to see on southern Norway, and cool hotels as well
Thanks

Posted by
73 posts

I did these three cities a few years ago and I only used the trains. I went Stockholm-Copenhagen and found the train cheap, timely, clean, and very easy to use (it was actually my first European train trip, so I was very nervous and didn't know what to expect), and the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. Having a car in Stockholm itself is prohibitively expensive to my mind, and unless you think you would make stops along the way, I don't really see the point. I also did not have a car in Oslo and instead did the Nutshell tour via train/bus/boat. Your trip is not long enough imo to warrant the hassle of pick up/drop off, parking, etc. and the trains are so cheap and convenient.

For hotels, I really enjoyed the Crystal Plaza Hotel in Stockholm (they gave me a nice free upgrade!). In Oslo, I stayed at the Thonn Astoria, which was an inexpensive but centrally located chain hotel. It was fine, but not a lot of character (I was traveling alone and location and price were my two most important hotel qualities).

Posted by
490 posts

Cities do not require cars and transport from one city directly to another and in 3 countries has train travel written all over it!

Posted by
971 posts

A car is a bad choice for travel between the capitals, train or fly instead. The Swedish railways have very low prices if booked in advance, look at www.sj.se
There is also a night ferry between Copenhagen and Oslo, www.dfds.com
A car would really only be usefull to explore the western fjords in Norway, which are jaw droppingly stunning, but with only 10 days and 3 cities on your list, you hardly have time for that.

Posted by
11704 posts

I don't think trains are the way to go, they are expensive and time consuming. You will save both time and money by flying (especially to Norway). If you want to try something different, take a ferry. As far as I know there isn't one between Copenhagen and Stockholm, but you might take a ferry to Tallinn or Helsinki and back. The archipeligo getting into Stockholm is spectacular.

Ten days isn't a lot and the cities aren't a short drive from each other, and the drive won't be particularly scenic. I flew SAS to Copenhagen and they offered cheap Scandinavian flights as part of the package. I think you should do what the locals do and fly.

Posted by
8889 posts

Renting a car in one country and returning it in another usually involves a large surcharge.
You do not want a car in cities (Copenhagen, Stockholm or Oslo), you would have to find somewhere to park it (cost), and use public transport.

Apart from that, if you want to see the countryside outside the cities, and you can work out a plan to return the car in the same country as you picked it up, this is feasable.

Posted by
971 posts

"I don't think trains are the way to go, they are expensive and time consuming. " Brad, have you checked the prices on trains between the Scandinavian Capitals recently? SJ have direct trains between Copenhagen and Stockholm for as little as 300 Swedish Kroner or 34 US$. That's cheaper than flying even if you don't factor in the train tickets from the airports to the city centres. The trains are a bit slower than flying, but much more relaxing and overall quite competitive with the airlines on both time, price and comfort. I'm a local and I took the train on my last trip from Stockholm to Copenhagen.

Posted by
533 posts

"I don't think trains are the way to go, they are expensive and time consuming. You will save both time and money by flying (especially to Norway)."

As Morten says, I don't see how this can be true - at least for trips between the capitals, which is what the OP seems most interested in - especially once you factor in the time and money to get to and from the airport. Stockholm's Arlanda airport, in particular, is a long way outside of town. Of all the ways to get there from the city center, some are quick (the Arlanda Express) and some are cheap (train to Marsta connecting to the 583 bus) but none are both.

Posted by
2860 posts

Take it from one who has done it, the drive between Copenhagen and Stockholm is very long and not particularly interesting. We had a free car and free fuel as part of a house exchange. Even so, knowing what I now know, I wouldn't do it.

Posted by
11704 posts

I looked at DB, picking a day far enough into the future to get a good price. The time for a train between Copenhagen to Stockholm seems to be consistently between 5 and 6 hours. Is there a high speed train I'm missing? Flight time is one hour. Copenhagen to Stockholm is faster than a train from Copenhagen to Oslo (8 hours and up).

As far as getting to the airport is concerned. I can get to the airport from the Nyhavn area in the same time as the central train station. When you are on a ten-day vacation, a train eats up a lot of valuable hours traveling between stops.

Using the same advance purchase time, a flight is $70. Each person has to balance the value of the hours. If I'm in no particular hurry, a $34 train trip might be the better deal. When I have limited time, I personally will trade $35 to save four hours.

Posted by
971 posts

Brad you should look at www.sj.se for the best prices and timetables, since they run the train. Yes the fast train from Copenhagen to Stockholm is 5 and a half hours and flying is a little over an hour. However that's not considering the time it takes to get to the airport, check in, go trough security, wait for your luggage etc. and Stockholms Arlanda Airport is quite far from the city, so the express train will also cost you 280 Kr. I do the trip a few times a year for work, and I can make it in about 2,5 to 3 hours total from city centre to city centre when I fly, but I also know my way around the airports and train stations and I only have a carry on. If you the for the first time and have luggage, you can probably add up to an hour for the same trip. Yes the train is still slower, but you don't have to go trough the hassle and stress of getting to and from airports, check, security etc. you just sit down and relax for 5,5 hours or get some work done and it can be significantly cheaper as well. Planes win on time, but loose on price and comfort, what's most important is up to the individual.

Posted by
11704 posts

Thanks Morten,

I agree about trade-offs. People sort those through their own personal preferences and don't always arrive at the same answer.