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Wanted Reviews of Road Scholar The Beat of the Nordic Heart & adding days

Has anyone taken Road Scholar The Beat of the Nordic Heart and if so how did you like it. Thinking of flying in ahead to Oslo and hire a private guide before the trip, stay 2 nights and then fly to Copenhagen for the start of the tour. Anyone taken the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helskini (end of tour) and then hired a private guide. From there fly back to states. What would be a budget for the extra days. Thinking 2025.

Posted by
2524 posts

I haven't taken that RoadScholar tour, but have taken a few, and recently returned from the Rick Steves Scandinavia tour.

In general, I feel Rick Steves tours are better run, and to be specific, Norway was the highlight of the Scandinavia tour, and the RoadScholar tour doesn't include Norway.

Here's a link to the tour:
https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-adventure/21898/The-Beat-of-the-Nordic-Heart-Vibrant-Copenhagen-and-Stockholm

Posted by
59 posts

Thanks Liz. I just returned from a Rick Steves trip and felt it missed it mark. Had a better experience in 2019 with Road Scholar.

Posted by
2651 posts

I have not taken this Road Scholar tour but I have taken 3 others in Europe and have another one booked for May. I like them - their itineraries have better pacing than I lot of companies - for me - because I really don’t like 1 and 2 night stays. The reviews all look good except for one. The hotels look okay. If there is one thing I usually worry about with Road Scholar, it’s hotels. But I also have been disappointed with the hotels on the one Rick Steves tour I took. It’s probably just me - picky about room size and location.

Posted by
14269 posts

I've been loyal to both brands, Rick Steves (12 tours) and Road Scholar (13 tours). I experienced some disappointment with both companies on my last tour with each but that would probably not keep me from traveling with either. I've not done the Nordic one, though.

Are you on any of the Road Scholar FB pages? I am on both Friends of Road Scholar and Women of Road Scholar (don't know your gender so might not apply). I'd recommend you join either or both of those groups to see if someone has done this tour. In general I find that Road Scholar participants are not as adventurous as Rick's participants so there may be no one who has added on like you're planning to do. I know nothing about the area but always vote for more time before and after a tour, lol!!

Posted by
2674 posts

I looked at the posted link and I was not able to recognize an advantage to explore the cities one day with a local guide and one alone. It is more tailored to your interests; of course you will miss the pros and cons of a group.

Use also the visit ... websites of these cities and countries which provide great insights and tips.

Even if both countries are labelled under Scandinavia I see cultural differences and different attitudes of the people.

Posted by
27427 posts

I think two nights in Oslo right after the transatlantic flight would be quite limiting unless you'll be flying business class and are able to use the first, partial day productively. I never can.

Norway is expensive: Hotels are expensive (check booking.com), restaurants are expensive (and alcohol in restaurants very much so), taxis are expensive. The mid boggles at the thought of hiring a private guide in Norway.

There's also the issue that it would be reasonable to say Oslo's not the No. 1 destination in Norway--the fjords are. If I had just two extra nights before a tour, I'd be inclined to spend them in or around Copenhagen. Save Norway for a later trip and include the fjords and Bergen at least.

Posted by
960 posts

I am not sure why a private guide is needed in Oslo. What did you want to see? Or, were you perhaps thinking of a driver to facilitate getting quickly between stops?

English is well spoken in Norway. Two nights will give you one full day. Depending on your sightseeing interests and hotel, it may be easy to walk and/or ferry to museums and sites.

You can easily estimate your hotel costs by checking a few places on Booking.com. Restaurant meals can be quite high or a pizza which wasn't much higher than home. Sandwiches are available at take-out places. Restaurant menus are posted on websites - you can check some.

"Expensive" is a relative term. I paid less for the same quality hotel in Oslo than I typically do in London. Probably best to set your budget and then check to see if that is possible in Norway (or Sweden where I have not traveled).

I can't think 6 months out - let alone 2 years!!

Posted by
2744 posts

The new overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki is a great idea. Sailing through the Swedish archipelago is a wonderful experience. I took the Silja ship at the recommendation of friends who live in Stockholm. They said the Viking ship was more of a party boat. This was almost 25 years ago, so you need to check to see if this is still the case. We spent just a day in Helsinki and it was easy to get around on our own, and I felt no need for a guide. Interesting city!

Sorry I can’t help you with the tour. I would not be interested in a Scandinavian tour that excluded Norway. I agree with the poster who suggested that Oslo is not the best place in Norway. Of the Scandinavian capitals, Oslo was my least favorite. It had some sights I enjoyed, but overall I was not thrilled with it. I adored Bergen, and the fjords are gorgeous.