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Norway/Scandinavia Planning Ideas

Hello Rick Steves disciples! My husband and I are starting the planning process for our annual Spring/Early summer International trip. Looking for any tips/what to think about as we plan.

We’ve decided on Scandinavia. I’ve been to Stockholm and Copenhagen but my husband has not. He grew up in Seattle so I think he’ll love Stockholm so that’s a must. Otherwise I want see a Norwegian fjord. We love to have a mix of larger city and small town local culture with a mix of light outdoorsy adventure like day hikes/boats/kayaks. Museums are fine but just being in lively town with good scenery is better for us. (For example on our last adventure to Ireland, Dingle/Kinsale were more enjoyable to us than Dublin). We have 15 days/13 days on the ground not including the big travel days at beginning/end. Very rough idea:

Fly into Amsterdam (Nice easy direct from Portland, Oregon). 3 nights.
Fly to Bergen, Norway. 2-3 nights to explore fjords. Open to staying outside of Bergen too.
Train to Oslo. 2-3 nights.
Train to Stockholm. 3 nights.
Either to Copenhagen, Helsinki, or Estonia. Fly out from wherever we end. Or add days elsewhere pre-Stockholm and fly out from there.

Any must sees in Norway or Sweden to add in there or is Estonia/Finland worth tacking on at end?


Posted by
1494 posts

In my opinion 4 countries in 13-15 days is too much.

If you want to do a little special round trip my idea:

  • Fly into CPH after AMS.
  • Enjoy Copenhagen for 2-3 days.
  • Night ferry to Oslo.
  • 1 full day and a night in Oslo.
  • NiN to Bergen including Myrdal / Flam with Naeroyfjord
  • 2 nights in Bergen
  • If already in June: Hurtigruten ship to Alesund (port-to-port 1 night on ship) but exit on the evening embarkment in Alesund (not morning) after ship was driving into Geirangerfjord. Not possible in May.
  • 1 night in Alesund,
  • Evening / late afternoon flight to Stockholn (likely via OSL)
  • Home from Stockholm

Add more days / hours at locations mentioned. I would not do further traveling to have a well-balanced trip experience.

Posted by
3350 posts

Are you only looking for answers from Rick Steves disciples or would some comments from a native Scandinavian do?

Adding Copenhagen, Helsingfors or Estonia might be a bit too much as you are already spending time in Amsterdam. A fortnight is not too much time. When are you travelling? What some people call spring/early summer can still be winter in Scandinavia.

Bergen-Oslo-Stockholm is not a bad plan, but you can easily spend more than three nights in Stockholm and the surrounding area. For small town local culture, you could stop halfway between Oslo and Stockholm and spend a night in Karlstad, an nice town built on the delta where Scandinavia's longest river enters the largest lake in the EU.

From Stockholm a trip to Visby can also be worth considering, and maybe spend the last night in my home town Uppsala, famous for its castle, a 13th century cathedral and the oldest university in the Nordic countries (founded in 1477) as well as a lot of Viking age history.

Posted by
9 posts

Tentative dates are June 20-July 5. So really early summer in Pacific NW world and maybe more spring like in Scandinavia.

My husband wants to do Copenhagen but I’d rather spend a little more time in the smaller areas of Norway/Sweden.

I’m getting the feeling that Oslo is more of a short stay city and being out in smaller villages/areas are more worthwhile in Norway.

Posted by
3350 posts

Late june is usually summer in Scandinavia so you can expect warm weather.

But, as much as I love Oslo, you're right. The beautiful landscapes are the big sight in Norway.

Posted by
971 posts

If Scandinavia is your main focus and your husband really wants to see Copenhagen, then I would suggest you skip the 3 nights in Amsterdam, however tempting it might be to see it while you are there, and just get a connecting flight to Copenhagen. From there you can take the DFDS night ferry to Oslo. I agree that Oslo is the least interesting of the Scandinavian capitals and one day would be enough for me. If stunning scenery and nice, small towns is your thing, then follow Markks advice and head to Ålesund after Bergen, the fjords of Western Norway really are stunningly beautiful and worth spending more time around.

Posted by
5630 posts

Best way to see Norway is on a cruise ship. Your plans only include Oslo and Bergen. You want to do Norway in a Nutshell!

Scandinavia is great, but expensive. A beer in Bergen was 8 euros. Earlier that year, purchased a beer in Lisbon, it was 1 euro.

Posted by
2216 posts

I did a trip report on our recent trip to Borway for 10 nights on this forum.

We loved stopping in Flam for 2 nights on the NIN route.
If you want to see the fabulous museums in Oslo, then 2 nights min there.