Please sign in to post.

Scandinavia (plus some) in 34 days: Itinerary Feedback

Hello fellow travelers! I'm planning a long trip to Scandinavia and surrounding countries from May 20 to June 24. I would love to hear your thoughts on my very rough itinerary if you've traveled to Scandinavia before. I took Rick Steves' suggested itinerary and added some:
Copenhagen (4d); Arhaus (2d); Roskilde, Odense, Ærø (2d); Kalmar (2d); Stockholm (5d); Helsinki (3d); Tallinn (2d); Oslo (3d); Aurland (1d); Bergen (4d); Vienna (6d) (out of the area, but had a free flight).

Also, will the weather in these cities be relatively similar as far as packing for the trip?

Thanks in advance! :)

Posted by
1910 posts

The date of travel is a really good one. Weather is really unpredictable - especially in different cities of different countries. In Scandinavia you can rely on forecasts 2-3 days ahead and in parts of Norway only 24 hrs ahead. End of last May Oslo had temps around 30C but this is not necessarily. You can also find 10-15C.

Unfortunately you miss to tell your interests or criteria of what you want to see / experience.
So, no chance to reflect in your interest or to bring up new ideas.

Reading your rough itinerary a few things come to my mind:

  • Scandinavia is more nature experience than only city hopping. That part comes massively too short. Spending such a time in Scandinavia without visiting Lofoten or Vesteralen with whale watching can be a missing must-have (depends on criteria).
  • Also the time in scenic Fjord Norway is very short.
  • You totally miss the opportunity to experience midnight sun above Arctic Circle.
  • DK: Why Ærø? Why not Skagen and Hirtshals? Or Ribe? What about white cliffs on Møn?
  • SE: Why Kalmar? Why not Gothenburg or Helsingborg? Or Kiruna?
  • If you are interested in culture you will totally miss unique Sami culture with your criteria.
  • Obviously Vienna is far away (also cultually) and imo does not really fit into that travel experience: Just to fit it in for free flight destroying environment twice is a personal decision that others may not follow.
Posted by
971 posts

Markk why Ærø and not Skagen you ask? Because Rick says so, that's why. But I totally agree with you, this itinerary has too much city hopping, too little nature and too little personality. Also I don't think your routing makes much sense, you will be backtracking all the way across Denmark, instead of going straight to Norway.
OP do yourself a favour and try to look beyond Ricks suggestions. Think about why you want to see these places, what you interests are and do a bit of research. Scandinavia and the Nordics has much more to offer than what Rick happens to suggest. And remember the more detailed questions you ask, the more detailed answers you will get.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your candid feedback. I will be travelling with my bf. We are both city folks (from Chicago), but we also like to slow down and enjoy the countryside. We like the outdoors, but don't consider ourselves too outdoorsy, e.g. we camp out but only two nights (max). We are foodies, but not picky eaters. This will be our 2nd European trip; our first was in 2017 for 3 weeks in Amsterdam, London, Prague, and Budapest. I loved London the most because of the rich history, while he enjoyed Budapest the most because of the mood and relaxed pace of the city.

After much consideration, I think it's best to remove Tallin and Helsinki so we can spend more time in actual Scandinavia.

Regarding the route, our flights into Copenhagen (5/21) and out from Bergen (6/18) are booked, so we can't change that where we start and end our trip.

For Denmark, I would love to visit each of the three biggest islands: Arhaus or Skagen (N. Jutlandic Island); Odense (Fyn); and Copenhagen (Zealand). Is this doable or even a good idea? If so, what order would make most sense? Is it worth going out of the way to do some amber hunting? It sounds like a fun activity, but it might be a waste of time.

Next is Sweden. Instead of Kalmar, what do you think of spending 2 days in Visby instead? After that, Stockholm for 5 or 6 days?

Then to Norway. From Stockholm, take the train through Flam, then another to Myrdal, then a cruise/boat to Balenstrand were we can stay for 2 or 3 nights and go on fjord cruises. From Balenstrand, to Bergen and stay for 1 1/2 - 2 days. I've been reading about Lofoten or Vesteralen, which I find very intruiging, but the logistics of getting there is intimidating for a relatively inexperienced traveller like me. Any tips on travelling to there?

Posted by
5944 posts

I saw that you got some answers on TA as well (I presume it was you who posted the question there).

For Denmark, the three largest islands are pretty similar, so I don't see the point in visiting them, just to see them. And while Nørrejyske Ø is an island, but for most reason more or less a part of Jylland. So my advice would be to try to find out what you want to see and why. But it is a great idea to try to see more of Denmark than just Copenhagen, Denmark has a lot more to offer.

For the Sweden part, I would replace Kalmar with Visby, it makes more sense. Maybe make a short stop somewhere in Småland, like the "Crystal Kingdom", the glass area if you find glass works interesting. Or a couple of hours in Oskarshamn before the ferry, it is cute town. 5 or 6 days in Stockholm will give you a good tour of the city, but also allow for a couple of day tours.

For Lofoten, it is very easy to reach from Stockholm. Take the overnight train to Narvik from Stockholm, then Lofoten is just a bus ride away.

Posted by
3 posts

Yes, I posted on TA, as well. Thank you for your tips! I will pick one more city in Denmark to visit. In Sweden: Visby, Stockholm and one or two days trips.

This is the first time I've read/seen suggesting going to Lofoten through Narvik from Stockholm! Thank you so much! Most of the info/recommendations I've read say to fly from Oslo to Bodo then taking a rough ferry ride for a few hours to the Lofoten Islands. An overnight train ride is sounds way more comfortable. However, which route makes more sense?
- Stockholm - Navrik - Lofoten Islands - Tromso - Oslo - Norway in a Nutshell - Bergen
- Stockholm - Oslo - Tromso - Lofoten Islands - Oslo - Norway in a Nutshell - Bergen

Posted by
1910 posts

And again no criteria for assessing the two routes (e.g. travel times). Obviously 2x Oslo in a row is less attractive.

The fastest way to get onto Lofoten is to fly into Leknes airport. You can also fly into Narvik / Harstad airport (EVE) and drive rest on scenic routes by rental car.

By far the most scenic travel would be to fly into Tromsø and take Hurtigruten ship south to Svolvær.

Forget Bodø imo, to me the ugliest city of Norway. A real tourist trap - living from their ferry route. You do not need it if you do not have a car.

Posted by
971 posts

I don't think anyone is suggesting that you should not visit Ærø or Kalmar, just that there is more to Scandinavia than what Rick happens to promote.
Visiting the 3 main Danish Islands just for the hell of it makes little sense, rather find something that interests you and see that.
Regarding amber hunting, I'm not sure how easy it is to find. Another suggestion could be an oyster safari in either the Wadden Sea
or in the Limfjord
You could also head south to Møns Klint and hunt for fossils on the beach below the spectacular cliffs.

Posted by
5944 posts

What have you read? From southern Norway going via Bodø makes the most sense, but from Stockholm via Narvik is in my opinion the best option. The overnight train is pretty comfortable, and the last part of the journey (after Kiruna) is pretty scenic. Since the Lofoten islands more or less form a peninsula they can be accessed via bridges from Narvik. So my recommendation would be Stockholm - Narvik - Lofoten - Tromsø - Oslo - NiN - Bergen or Stockholm - Narvik - Lofoten - Tromsø - Bergen - NiN - Oslo. For a more scenic trip, take Hurtigruten south along the coast.

Posted by
114 posts

Here's my take on visiting Lofoten. From my post :)
Still, haven't traveled there but if you like some ideas. You are lucky you have lots of days!

Finally after a week of research and lots of help from this thread :)
25th Fly into Tromoso from Stockholm(got reasonably cheap tickets). Rent car(car rental Autoeurope $1000 for 4 days....crazy!!), do the cable car and go to the brewery.
26th: Drive to Henningsvær. Stay the night there. Stop on the way...follow the science route there.
27th /28th: Stay two days in Ballstad. explore the lower northern area. (Nusfjord, Reine, Hamnøy bridge, Å, and some beaches)
29th Fly to Oslo out of Narvik (late evening flight )cheaper, quicker and direct flight to Oslo
30th Norway in a nutshell from Oslo to Bergen.
1st stay in Bergen
2nd fly out from Bergen to Copenhagen.