We are traveling this summer with our teenage daughters (15 & 18) to Scandinavia. None of us have been to Scandinavia before and this will be my children's first overseas trip. Our goal is to have fun together, get a little exercise (bikes, hike? kayak?), and get a taste of life in a foreign culture. Airplane tix have been purchased. We have a red-eye into Copenhagen and I have a hostel booked for 2 nights there. We fly out of Bergen. Not counting the flight travel days in & out, we have 8 days. I thought to have a little fun in Copenhagen, then take express train to Stockholm, spend the night, then the next night take the night train to Oslo, then NIN tour to Bergen, then spend two full days in Bergen. The itinerary feels a little tight, especially the Stockholm/Oslo bit. Should we ditch Stockholm and trade for Gotheburg? Should we ditch Sweden altogether given our limited time? Should we ditch Oslo and do NIN & daytrips from Bergen? I don't really want to do three big cities in a row. I thought if we were going to Scandinavia it would be a shame to miss Sweden. We will not be renting a car; we plan to take trains/busses etc.
One day in Stockholm will be very rushed. I haven't been but heard that Oslo isn't a must. If it were me, I'd skip Oslo and spend a second day in Stockholm.
I and my family visited Denmark and Sweden in 2015. After about 6 days in Copenhagen (including a couple of day trips), we rented a car and drove from Copenhagen to Stockholm. It took a full day, but allowed us to stop in Jonkoping for a nice, relatively leisurely lunch. The countryside reminded me a great deal of the countryside in Western Washington, where I live.
The two most enjoyable and most interesting things we did in Stockholm were visiting the Vasa ship museum (one of a kind, and not to be missed), and taking the trip out across the lakes to Drottningholm's Slott (the Queen's summer palace), which boasts one of the very few surviving baroque theatres. I doubt you could see both of them in a single day. (But you could see easily see some other things in addition to them if you invested part of a day in visiting each of them over the course of two days).
Other fun things included visiting the royal residence and grounds in the old town area, the open air folk museum, wandering around the old town and the newer downtown shopping mall area, having a nice meal on the water by one of the many lakes, and having lunch at an old fashioned market.
So, there would be plenty for your family to do for two days in Stockholm. (I think we stayed 3 or four nights).
Afterwards, we took a ferry out to the island of Gotland, visiting the well preserved medieval town of Visby, (not discussed in RS, but well worth the visit if you have the time), and staying for several days in the countryside on the island. We then headed back down along the coast (Kalmar, Ystad) back to Denmark, where we flew home. It was a great trip.
I haven't been to Oslo, so I can't really comment on it or compare it to Stockholm.
I do think that your trip as planned sounds too rushed to really enjoy each location. I'd cut out either Stockholm or Oslo. Stockholm and Oslo are both lovely, both are modern, friendly Nordic cities. Both have good folk museums, harbor tours, and accessible walking & biking. Stockholm has the Vasa (excellent) while Oslo has the Vigelund sculptures park, the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon-Tiki, and the Fram. If you want to do the whole NIN tour (Oslo to Bergen) then I'd skip Sweden. Or, if you want to do Sweden, then you could fly from Stockholm to Bergen and just to the Bergen-Flam-Bergen portion of the Nutshell.
get a taste of life in a foreign culture
Your itinerary is too rushed and heads to wrong destinations for a taste because you will visit 3 cultures, not one Scandinavian. Furthermore the national culture is less in the cities and towns which have less local culture than more European city / town culture. Example: Copenhagen and Stockholm are not so very different from culture of German Hamburg. One other thing that Scandinavia is not city-hopping, it is nature experience but not in cities. An example is midnight sun but for that you need to be above Arctic Circle.
To Kathy - flying stockholm to Bergen is a scenario I hadn’t considered but it would eliminate the need to overnight in Oslo just to pick up NIN tour. I could then do the fjord tour from Bergen. Thx
Mark - I’ll research Malmo, as that’s another option I hadn’t considered. Points well taken regarding countryside and cities. Thx.
That is very rushed, and you need to try to figure out what you want to see/do.
I wouldn't bother looking in to Malmö, if you want to explore southern Sweden, Lund, Ystad or Helsingborg are better options.
Three nights in Copenhagen
Train to Gothenburg, Two nights in Gothenburg
Train to Oslo, one night in Oslo.
NiN to Bergen, two nights in Bergen.
I agree with other posters. Don't go to all 3 capital cities. I like Badger's itinerary. I would go to Ystad (one hour train ride from Copenhagen) instead of Gothenburg.
Ystad is nice and can be done as a day trip from Copenhagen. Gothenburg is a good stop along the way as it is roughly halfway between Copenhagen and Oslo. And is a very nice city, with a beautiful archipelago.
I've enjoyed Oslo but haven't been to Stockholm. If you are doing the full NiN (which is high on my list of scenic train and boat rides), spending a full day in Oslo is a good start to the journey. A full day exploring Oslo and the Bygdøy peninsula musems would be my minimum if you are starting the NiN from Oslo. And walking about Frogner Park and Holmenkollen is a nice walk in the parks.
If you want to do a 24 hour sprint in Oslo, the Oslo Card can be a good buy:
The itinerary suggested by Badger is one we had considered. I worried that I’d be sorry to miss Stockholm, but Gotheburg is on the way North more or less, so that makes the most sense. Thx.
I worried that I’d be sorry to miss Stockholm
Yes, you probably will. And there are plenty of other nice towns an cities in Scandinavia you'll miss as well. But with only 8 days you can't see everything. Try to focus on what you'll see, instead of what you won't see.