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Traveling throughout Scandinavia

This May/June I will be taking my first trip to Scandinavia, and would appreciate any advice anyone has. This is my 3rd trip to Europe, but my first trip to a country where I don't know any of the language. I am tentatively thinking of flying to Stockholm, going to Norway to see the Setesdal valley, the fjords, and north to see the midnight sun. I would really like to see Lapland. I then need to get to St. Petersburg where I'm meeting someone, and was thinking of traveling down through Finland. The last part of the trip is fairly easy(St. Petersburg for 1 wk, Estonia, ferry back to Stockholm to fly out), but I'm worried about the first 1/2. All this has to be done in about 3 weeks and as cheaply as possible! Is this too ambitious? Can it all be done? I really want to see some spectacular scenerey, so that is my first priority, and I want a peaceful, outdoorish experience in Scandinavia. Any ideas?
Thanks very much!

Posted by
20 posts

Don't worry about the language at all in Scandinavia, although people love it (and are shocked) if you know any! You can take a train to Oslo from Sweden, and then a great quickie way to see the spectacular scenery of Norway is to do the "Norway in a Nutshell" train/ferry trip. Even though it's touristy, it's amazing, especially if you don't have a lot of time. You truly can get a great feel for Norway in just a few days, but the north is great too if you have the time.

Posted by
1717 posts

To go to all those places, I suggest fly to Oslo in Norway. Travel west, in trains, to do the "Norway in a Nutshell" trip (includes boat ride on fjords), sleep at Aurland or Voss, ride in train to Bergen. If you insist on going to Lapland, the most enjoyable way to go to the far north is to ride on a Hurtigruten coastal Ferry ship from Bergen to the extreme north end of Norway. From there, I suggest go to the nearest airport to fly to Stockholm. Fly from Stockholm to Helsinki, and fly from there to St. Petersburg. To make the most efficient use of your time, fly from St.Petersburg to Moscow(inexpensive flight with air airline of Russia), and fly from Moscow to U.S.A. (nonstop, or via London). The lowest priced airline tickets might be with British airways. I would skip Helsinki.

Posted by
65 posts

My husband and I traveled independently through Sweden and Norway in 1995 and thought the ScanRail Pass was a good value. It covers some water travel too. If you buy this pass, be sure to read the instructions about making reservations and paying surcharges on the fast trains. Brekke Tours specializes in Scandinavian Travel. Their website http://www.brekketours.com has options for independent travel.

Posted by
6 posts

I have been to Norway a few times and cannot speak or understand one word of Norwiegian-which really sucks when I get letters and emails from relatives in Norwiegian! I have had to get help from strangers on the street of Oslo on where to find a laundramet, had to locate a taxi in a deserted train station (I still dont know what that mailman told me but I did what I thought he said and got a taxi-and a great friendship with the driver and his wife also and located family I never knew existed). There seems to be no real problem with language. Someone will usually act as translater. One bit of advise is that the travel time in Norway is grossly underestimated. Also make sure your connections are available at the time you want them. Enjoy!

Posted by
4 posts

Planning to visit all 4 scandinavian countries in August . Would welcome any tips. Planning to take the train from Helsinki to Kolari (lapland)
Already found accomodation at oslo.check out two good sites
www.bbnorway.com
www.visitnorway.com

Posted by
2 posts

I'm either going through with a ScanRail Pass or by car in August! I'm thinking of starting in Copenhagen and ending in Copenhagen 14-21 days later hitting through well-known cities such as Roskilde, Kalmar, Stockholm, Oslo, Lillehammer (as far north I'll go, I think), Bergen, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Arhus on the way. My question is what would be my more economic choice? Would I be better off with a car since I will be traveling with my family of 4 (and possibly with a friend to fill the small car up) or go with the train? Personally, I think the car because 1. Rick Steves says so and 2. More flexibility and less rushing to get to the train station (which may be quite a ways to walk in some cases). Thanks for all your help and to that last poster from Dubai who's going in August: Let's meet up!

Thanks,
Jeffrey

Posted by
505 posts

You might want to consider a car for the more northerly parts of the trip, but stick with public transportation in Denmark and southern Sweden.
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For one, not being on the Euro, Scandinavia tends to be expensive, and gas is likely to be more than $6 per gallon. Four people and luggage would make a very snug fit in a small car - remember a small car here is not what you'd consider a small car in the US. And the larger a car, the more gas you have to buy. Also, parking in places like Copenhagen is expensive and the roads often crowded. In Copenhagen & environs you will never be more than a very short walk from a train, bus, tram or Metro station, and the transport is very efficient. You can also get family discounts on longer distance trains.
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A car is likely to be more useful farther north where there are fewer train stations and you want to meander off the beaten path. Perhaps you could pick up a car in Stockholm etc., and do the first bit by train.
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Have fun
Kate

Posted by
2634 posts

Hi Marie, if you want to see the Lapland and the midnight sun I would suggest that you fly from Oslo to Kirkenes, Norway which is on the Russia-Norway border. It is beautiful up there. I was also suggest that you go to see North Cape.