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How expensive Scandinavia and Iceland could be and other questions...

Hi !
we are slowly making plans for ou 2019 summer family trip. We are now studying the idea of goin to Scanadinavia with a stop In Iceland for 5-6 nights.

We are leaving from Montreal and Icelandair and WOW allows to make a stopover in Iceland befor heading to final destination. That plan would suit us well.
We are 2 adults and 2 kids (7 ans 11 years old), We have 50 days of vacation in july and august but would have budget for 25-30 days (more or less) of traveling.

Now questions:

1) How many nights we need to visit Reykjavik, rent a ar and go around Iceland for a Quick look ? Remember is not our main goal but a bonus.

2) i know Iceland is expensive, but what would be the mid-budget price for car rental, acoomodations and food (mix of resturants and grocery)

3) Our idea to scandinavia was to make a circle road trip. maybe flight to Copenhagen and go see Norway and Sweden from there. What would be the best place to flight to and from ?

4) What would be the highligts to see ? We would have something between 17-23 nights for that trip.

5) once again what is the budget we should have ? We like to get airbnb or basice clean hotel (when doing one or 32 nights), we love good food and beer. We can ddo grocery and eat at the airbnb if needed, but most of time it's just more practical to eat in restaurtant. We dont have limitations or allergies and are very open minded about food.

Thanks a lot !

Posted by
8025 posts

I have not been to Iceland, however I had a cousin that lived there working as a Marine embassy guard. He just loved the place. I do understand Iceland is terribly expensive, even in comparison with the Scandinavian countries I have visited on a cruise. Given the chance for a stopover, I would do it but only stay for 2 nights. Check online for car rental prices.
We flew into Copenhagen and spent 4 days before getting on our cruise ship that took down to Warnemunde, Tallin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and back into Copenhagen. It was simply the best cruise of our 20 something cruises, and far and away the least expensive way to see the region. We stayed one more night in Copenhagen, flew to Oslo and took a Norway in a Nutshell train/ferry trip through the fjords over to Bergen, Norway.
A cup of coffee or Coke will set you back over $4 in Scandinavia. We ate a burger, fries and Coke at TGI Fridays in Oslo and it was $30 each. That's double what you would pay in the U.S. Yep, we found Scandinavia deadly expensive which would make me hesitant to take a family on a road trip there. Our cruise on Norwegian was very reasonably priced--a bargain actually.

Posted by
207 posts

Did you abandon England, France and Spain?

Posted by
1829 posts

Both Norway and Iceland are very expensive. You can of course do them cheaper but some sacrifices need to be made which may or may not work for the entire family.
WOW airlines bag policy is ridiculous; a year or so ago they provided a tremendous value now I am not sure I would ever fly with them ; their return flight home rates have gone up and by the time you add the basic services the other airlines provide the cost is often a wash if not higher between them and Icelandair or Norwegian.
I know many people that do Iceland on the cheap but they eat the food from grocery stores and at the gas stations, hot dogs, snack/junk food basically or in the summer might rent a camper van and stay in the various camp ground facilities.

Time for Iceland really depends on what you want to see, most recommend a full week if you want to see Reykjavic, drive the entire ring road. Otherwise with less time (and I think the stopovers are limited number of days less than 1 week) then you have to pinpoint what you want to see as your plan will involve driving to the furthest point and then back from where you came, as the circular ring route you likely don't have time for. Of course since you will have near 24 hours of light in the summer some will sacrifice more sleep than usual and travel further each day.

Giving numbers is near impossible because their are options at all price ranges.
Stating things in nice restaurants cost double is probably a good reference point ; when I say nice I am thinking of your average in town, sit down place not an overly fancy affair. Often brought up is the high cost of alcohol ; and it is true alcohol costs close to triple what it does in the US but for a family vacation I cannot imagine that really matters in the grand scheme of the trip/overall budget. if you really love beer though, expect at a hotel to pay between roughly 15 USD for a pint. Norway seems to have a good regional microbrew culture.

Gas will cost a little more than double. Car rental daily rate is a little more than here in Norway ; in Iceland a bit higher plus they seem to make a good amount extra on insurances which most opt for. Norway seems a little better for rental cars overall and I also believe Iceland in the summer is so popular right now (the cheap flights are a major reason) that car rental availability will book up quickly. Sweden and Denmark I believe are less expensive than Norway for rental cars and most everything else as well.

Since you posted this on a Norway forum I assume you are very interested in seeing Norway. From Copenhagen driving it would be hard for you to visit more than just the most southern sites in Norway though. If you are asking what would interest me the most, I would have no problem entirely skipping Sweden and Denmark and spend your time in Norway.
Norway is really big (tall and narrow) and traveling around it often requires domestic flights (not just driving) to cover a good amount of it.
As I recall a pilot stating when we were flying into Oslo that shocked me, Oslo is closer to Rome than it is to Svalbard, Norway.

Lodging all depends, should be able to find reasonable places on Airbnb ; for a party of 4 hotels are likely not going to come cheap outside of very basic ones

Posted by
1946 posts

Q 1 & 2 you shall post in Iceland forum.

4) It really depends on what you want to see. If it comes to Norway here is a rough choice: As mentioned the distances are huge and the chance to speed is very low in some regions, e.g. western fjords. So may be a combination of fly & drive will come out at the end.

3) Depends on answer to (4). From a buget perspective (rental car) Germany (Hamburg) is a good place to start and end. You can try also to find good offerings in Sweden. From a reality perspective. Fly into the placs you like and book rental car for round trip. This year I made Berlin - North Cape in 25 very intensive days. If you are interested I can send you a link to the overview web page, also with day itineraries, routes and some photos. Norway's #1 highlight is nature.

5) To get a rough idea you can compare prices of two countries here: In Norway you can also try to rent huts ("hytte") or b&b rooms ("rom").

Have a look at the posted link and share feedback what you are interested in. Then we could help you further.

Posted by
3387 posts

You've posted the exact same thing in 4-5 different sections of the forum...separate it out by country and you will get more thorough answers.

Posted by
5835 posts

Eating out in the Nordic countires is a celebration splurge. But if you are very open minded about food, ethnic resturants run and staffed by immigrants can be an (relatively speaking) economic but tasty option.

One way to test your budget is to use Google Maps to locate resturants near your places of lodging. To use Oslo as an example, search for "kabab resturants, Dronningens gate, Oslo, Norway".

As a for example, "Handsken Kevab" is one of several Kabab shops and checking their menu (use Google Translate) some options include:
Steak Kebab In Roll = Large 119 NOK
Kebab in Pita = Small 80 NOK or Large 99 NOK

Or Asian:
Little Saigon Resturant (Bernt Ankers gate 7, Oslo)
Combination menu #1 = 179 NOK

And if you want to go really upscale, one of the better Chinese resturants I have experienced is the "Dinner Bar and Restaurant" (Stortingsgata 22, Oslo)
where a Peking Duck for 4 will cost 1800 NOK

And if you are a Jo Nesbo (Oslo crime mysteries), Detective Harry Hole's favorite resturant:
Restaurant Schrøder (Waldemar Thranes gate 8, Oslo)
DAGENSRETTER (Daily Special) for Monday:
MEATBALLS served with herbs, cranberry juice, sauce and potatoes Kr.159, (NOK)

Posted by
971 posts

I seriously doubt that a Cruise is the cheapest way to see Scandinavia.

Posted by
7510 posts

Not sure about the cost of a cruise vs. land trip, but we booked an Arctic Circle Norway cruise for June 2019.

This cruise visits six ports on the West coast of Norway and goes all the way past the Arctic Circle.

I suspect if you tried to do that by land, you would have some flights.

A cruise is great, since you unpack once. Also, all your meals and entertainment are included. Because we are Diamond on that line, we get free drinks (alcoholic) during a 3.5 hour happy hour. Tours are extra, but I have booked one ship's tour and four private tours for a total of about $400 each person.

Our 11 day Royal Caribbean cruise runs about $3000 per person for a balcony cabin. An inside cabin was available for less than $2000 per person.

We visited Norway once before and a single beer cost 9 euros. Cost of a beer in Portugal 1 euro.