My husband and I have to make a quick decision on where to go for 10 days next May. (We are doing a Holy Land Tour and want to add on to it) We love to hike, mountains, views...more outdoorsy kind of people than big city people. Where we live, most of the mountains stayed snowed in until July. What is Norway like? We would not be doing high mountain hikes, but would like to see some Fjords, the Norway in a Nutshell, etc. (things we have seen on Rick's shows) Has anyone gone in May? Any Advice? I know the RS book says Scandinavia is best in summer...but how closed down will every thing be in May?
I went to Norway this past May and it was spectacular. You won't have any trouble seeing the things you are describing. A few of the ferry routes might not be running yet, but you should find enough that are running so you won't be limited in doing what you want to do.
Thanks Lane. I think we are going to book it. How long were you in Norway. We are considering adding Stockholm and some of Sweden.
This past May I did 10 nights in Norway (4 in Oslo, 2 in Balestrand, 2 in Bergen, and then flew to Trondheim for the last 2 nights). That was at the end of a trip that started in 12 nights in Belgium and the Netherlands. I had been to Stockholm on a previous trip.
If you decide you want to add some Sweden, I feel Stockholm itself deserves at minimum three full days (four would be better), and Oslo two full days, and Bergen two full days, so that only gives you two days for seeing fjords. It's doable, but I'd personally rather spend the whole time in Norway. It was just so beautiful, and I feel like I didn't even scratch the surface. There's so much more to see than what I had time for.
thanks Lane. I forgot to mention that when we added Stockholm, we added 4 more days. I just finished buying the airline tickets and booking us onto the Holy Land Tour. (It is our first "guided tour" with a group. I put my husband's name in and the next question was what name does he want on his name tag. My husband hates name tags lol. I am not sure we are tour group people. However, we know everyone on this tour, so hoping we will dispense with the name tags He has already asked me a couple of other questions where my response was "i am not sure you can do that on a guided tour"....It could be interesting. We have traveled independently for so long...) Anyway, we did add 4 days. We arrive in Stockholm about noon on May 14 and depart from Oslo at 6 AM May 28th. (13 full days) We are mainly doing Stockholm in Sweden. We assume we will return to see Denmark (We did spend 4 days in Copenhagen on one trip) and we will do Southern Sweden then. We were planning on driving for part of the trip. I am wondering if some of the beautiful road trips RS has in his book will be open. Did you drive at all? I am hoping to have 5-6 nights outside of Oslo
What did you do in Stockholm? I was really planning on 3 1/2 days there and 2 1/2 in Oslo. What do you highly recommend in Stockholm. Did you go outside the main city at all. I know we can't see everything, but want to be aware of any "don't miss" while we are planning.
Connie, I'll give you these links to my blog posts from my time in Stockholm back in 2012. But there are great guidebooks as well as tons of information in this forum and elsewhere on this site about top things to see and do in Stockholm. You might want to post specific questions on the Sweden forum if you have any.
Thanks Lane, I ready your first post and am looking forward to more. I know I have my work cut out for me, but I enjoy the planning process. (We have traveled in Europe 32 weeks the past 15 years and I love it). This was such a quick decision....until yesterday, we were thinking about Spain. My husband went to the library last night and got the current version of RS on Scandinavia so we will start there. I will post more specific questions (if necessary) after we do our own research. Still just on the "I want to know everything now" high since we have booked the tickets and are going for sure. Thanks again.
I think you'll like Stockholm; even though it's a big city, it's built on multiple islands, and really is designed to showcase its relationship to water (even more than Seattle, you always know that water is nearby).
Rick's Scandinavia book is very good for the parts of Scandinavia he does include; of course, he misses huge parts of each country. For Stockholm, though, it's all you need. Personal highlights for me were the Millesgården, the Vasa Museum, the Nordiska Museum, and just walking around the lovely city.
We did a very similar trip in May 2014. We only had one day in Bergen but wished we had stayed another night. We picked up a car as we left Bergen and drove Aurland which is situated right on the Sognefjord. This was a great base for exploring the region. We spent two days hiking mostly in warm weather gear. The weather at the beginning of our trip was mostly drizzly mad highs in the 50's. Not ideal, but if you are prepared it can be very enjoyable. The day that we were cruising the Sognefjord, it was sunny but cold; the rain resistant fleece blocked the wind and kept us warm. We were also glad that we had hats and gloves.
By the time we got to Oslo, the temps improved and we put the cold weather gear away for the rest of the trip. We loved Oslo and did not do everything we wanted in our 3 days there.
Took a flight to Stockholm instead of train.
Someone else mentioned the Vasa museum, it was really something to see. I was there with 3 ABBA fans so we went to the ABBA museum. If you are a ABBA fan it's a must.
Harold- I somehow missed your post. Thank you for the feedback. It helps to hear what others think while we prioritize what sights are must sees. Vasa has always been a must see...Nordiska Museum and Millesgarden were on my "if we have time". I will take another look at those for sure. We are only doing the Stockholm area in Sweden. We will have to return another time to do the countryside.
Nick-It was encouraging to hear you did some hiking as that is on our list of things to do. The fjords are proving to be one of the more difficult parts to plan. (Are some roads still closed, will hiking be available) Here in Washington, we have a road that usually doesn't open until Memorial day and many of our hikes are under snow until late June, early July (the last 2 years have been an exception since we have not had as much snow) What hikes would you recommend? (We are experienced hikers...not to brag (well maybe I am a little) we hiked Mount Triglav in Slovenia last September) Where did you stay and for how long? Cold weather is not a problem (We have good gear that handles any weather...we are from Seattle!!) Any first hand experiences would be helpful.
We are working on the 2 cities (Oslo and Sweden) to determine what we can see. (The Fjord area of Norway is our first priority). I know we will not be able to see everything, so we are each making a list in order of what is important to us. Then we will put the lists together and decide. I do like that there is lots to choose from. We made the decision to begin our trip with the 2 night one day Baltic cruise to either Tallinn or Helsinki. We will be coming from a very intense 14 day Holy Land tour and feel we can relax and rejuvenate on what sounds like a fun short cruise. (We are not night time party people, so sleep will be a part of the 2 nights) In our experiences traveling in Europe, cities can be very tiring. We know we will enjoy Stockholm more if we are not exhausted.
Our spring trip followed a snowy winter And cold spring. We had to modify our hiking plans. One hike that is possible is to hike from Myrdal to Flam or vice versa and take the cog wheel train back or to the start. If you start in Flam, it's all uphill. I think it is about 12 miles. We could only hike 7 miles due to snow at higher elevations. This is not technical and it is easy to follow much of it is on a dirt road. You pass a few tiny villages of 5 to 10 buildings. We hiked down. It's very beautiful with many waterfalls. The train operates I this same narrow valley.
The Osterbo to Vassbygsi hike is part of a 4 day trek. This is perhaps the most famous leg and it is at the lowest elevation. It's possible to get a bus to the trailhead and hike down. We had snow issues here as well and started at the lowest point and made it 7 mile up and back. Much of this single track and a bit more technical than the previous. This is beautiful as well. This was near Aurland.
There was another famous trail ... I think it is Gende that was near the Jotun..... National park. Snow prevented us from tjhinking about this one.
There are hiking opportunities in Oslo and Bergen but we did not do any of them.