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Where are the Scandinavian Experts?

I was just checking back through the To the North part of the Helpline and noticed that most of the posts with 0 responses are for questions about visiting Scandinavia. I really wish I could help, but I've not been there yet. ; ) All I can advise is to try TripAdvisor. Do we have any Scandinavian experts out there? If not, why not? Is it price? Pam

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks, for noticing, I have been checking other areas online for the train and ferries in Norway.
Pam

Posted by
5668 posts

After your trip you will have to become the Scandinavian poster. ; )

Posted by
1525 posts

I'm hardly an expert. I was there just once, three years ago with the family. But we did do a lot in those three weeks, seeing every country, capital city (including Tallinn, Estonia) and at least one rural area of every country. So I have done my part to respond to questions I knew something about. The main problem is that this is a big area to cover, most of what we did was in Rick's book and a lot of questions I can answer are easily answered by reading his book. Sometimes I get the feeling that many of the posters here have not even gone to the trouble to read his book yet, and THAT should be step number one. Not that you have to follow Rick 100% of the time, but you are at his web site - don't you think it would be relevant to read his book? Just go to a library if you don't want to buy it. But Yes, I suspect the number of regulars here who have been to Scandinavia is about 20% of the number who have been to London or Paris or Munich or Rome, etc.

Posted by
85 posts

I've also wished that a Scandinavian expert or two would post here. I would dearly love to go to Norway, and any advice would be a great help. Yes, for me it is the price - it is simply not in my budget at the moment because lodging and food seem to be much more expensive than other destinations.

Posted by
1663 posts

We did a one week driving trip to the fjords and Bergen in 2005. I have responded several times to posts, based on that trip. Very few others ever seem to respond, except with info about Norway in a nutshell or the mail boat that goes up the coast. Or they try to scare people off with caveats about the prices!

Posted by
864 posts

I have family in Stockholm and even mooching off them (works both ways) Scandinavia is so so expensive. Scandinavia is off the radar for the majority of travelers as a practical matter. Italy or France for three weeks or Sweden/Norway for one. It's a trade off. Scandinavia is the only European area where a cruise is almost a cost effective alternative (well, not really but.....)

Posted by
1425 posts

We have been to Copenhagen twice (and surrounding areas) and to Sweden twice. In Sweden, our trips have been to unique locations (since we were guided by my Swedish relatives). I have replied to questions about these areas but unfortunately cannot address anything else. I think our trips to Scandinavia have been fantastic and we plan to go again. I highly recommend it.

Posted by
3428 posts

I, too have noticed the derth of comments about Scandinavia. I have been twice. Once a general "big bus" tour of Denmark, Sweden and Norway and once on our own just to Oslo. I love the area it is beautiful and the people are great. But it is very expensive.

Posted by
12040 posts

My guess is that you see less comments here because... well, less people visit Scandinavia. It's somewhat geographically isolated from the rest of Europe, so you have to go out of your way to visit there. Plus, it is quite a bit more expensive than just about everywhere else except Switzerland. I'm planning on going to Copenhagen this weekend and Norway later next month, so perhaps by then I'll have something to contribute... EDIT: ... and the guy who usually watches our dog while we take weekend trips isn't available this time. Copenhagen trip canceled, damn...

Posted by
252 posts

My Scandinavian knowledge is almost 20 years old. I tend to only give advice if I have been there recently. And, as much as I enjoyed the area, I doubt I will go back. Some things don't change, but the type of info people are looking for (hotels, transportation, etc) do tend to change quite often. That's my excuse anyways.

Posted by
251 posts

I've only been to Denmark for 5 days, so I'm hardly an expert. What I do know, I share. I miss Danish lunch and akavit!

Posted by
265 posts

I live here, and have replied a couple of times on various subjects. Questions about hotels are alway difficult for us natives to answer, though, since I don't often stay at a hotel in the city where I life. But I would be happy to answer other questions.

Posted by
4529 posts

I try to answer when I can but my experience is limited. But one thing I noticed is that the prices do not have to be as high as many people think if you plan smartly and avoid large intakes of alchoholic beverages. And it is always fustrating when people just ask what they should do in a city. Few of us will have secret places not in the guidebooks and none of us know anyone else's interests.

Posted by
55 posts

I travelled (mostly) overland from Bergen to Helsinki (and on to Tallinn) a couple of years ago. Scandinavia is expensive, but if you lower your expectations and forgo the booze, it's not much more than the UK or France. I'll gladly share my experiences if anyone asks.

Posted by
4640 posts

There are number of reasons why there is little Scandinavian expertise on this board. First it is such a large area to cover. Sweden alone is larger than California. There is so much to Scandinavia beyond Copenhagen, Oslo, Norway in a Nutshell and Stockholm. And the major cities are far apart. You can hardly even get a taste on a 3 week tour. Second, it doesn't seem to be a place that people visit in their first few trips to Europe unless they have family roots there. Third, the tourist season is short; it really is spectacular in the middle of summer, but not so enticing in winter when the sun sets around 3pm (although I love Christmas time in Stockholm). Fourth, it is not a cheap place to visit; I remember the sticker shock I experienced when I made my first visit in the early 90s. I spent nearly every night in hostels and had a lot of lunches of cheese and wasa knäckebröd from the grocery store. I'll be happy to help with Stockholm, general tips for Sweden, and Swedish language and culture. My knowledge of the other Nordics is more general and dated, but I try to help when appropriate.

Posted by
1525 posts

I don't want people reading this who have never been to Scandinavia to be scared off by the cost issue. Yes, it is expensive, but it's all about the choices you make. You have options. Stay in bargain lodgings. Eat snacky meals. Don't drink alcohol. Drink a lot of tap water. It's really not that bad. Our family of five with three children traveled there for three weeks three years ago during a period of a lousy currency exchange rate and the whole thing (airfare and rail passes included) broke down to a little over $600/day. By comparison, a 30-day stay in France a year later (so the transportation costs were spread out thinner) broke down to about $440/day. It's a beautiful place - and it's different. Being less visited than other places is a plus, too. Think of it at Europe's gigantic "back door".

Posted by
11798 posts

I've been there but don't consider myself an expert. When a question is specific and I know something about it, I'll chime in. Otherwise I hope others know. Christophe was helpful to me when I was planning our trip to Denmark.

Posted by
4529 posts

I agree with Randy, the cost issue is overblown. Paris and London for example are just as expensive, if not more so. In summer, most hotels offer deep discounts for advance reservations since they have few business clients and conferences. I stayed at a very nice business hotel in Helsinki for about $100 a night in August. Fancy dinners will be expensive, but eating at food markets is very affordable and a great experience. Taking overnight ferries are both fun and a cheap way to spend the night (and drink). And flying there can be cheaper than to other parts of Europe.

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Pamela. When I was planning my trip to the Scandinavian countries, I asked questions about Norway and Sweden, at the Traveler's Helpline. I did not receive any replies. I asked the same questions at the internet website www.Frommers.com/Community/Europe : Norway, Sweden. There I received good replies. One of the repliers is a Norwegian person residing in the U.S.A. One of the repliers is a Swedish person residing in the U.S.A. But I do not like the Frommers travel guide books. I think the best travel guide book on Norway is "Rough Guide to Norway" written by Phil Lee. (I have the 2007 Edition).

Posted by
11 posts

We are going to Denmark and Southern Norway next month. We are staying at two places I booked on airbnb.com. The prices were very good but I'll know more after we arrive. We are going to Lego land and then taking the ferry to Kristiansand where we are visiting a cousin we have not met in real life. This trip is costing us more than usual but with our kids and grand kids we are 9! I hope to be able to answer questions when we return.

Posted by
13 posts

I'll be happy to answer anything on Norway and western Sweden (the only places I've been often enough to feel confident in giving advice). I think others have laid out the reasons why there aren't a lot of Scandy experts pretty well though: cost, location, and short tourist season.

Posted by
92 posts

I've lived in Finland more than 20 years. Have very little experience with Norway, rather/quite outdated familiarity with Stockholm. Tallinn is somewhat familiar. If someone has a general interest question, ask. If not general interest, try a private message.

Posted by
16 posts

Not sure if it's just Norway in your plans. Tickets to Norway from NYC are around $1200 today. Helsinki, they are $768 on Delta. These are for July BTW. I'm from MT, so booked to Helsinki and am going to Stockholm and Norway. You can try open ended from either city too and you may get better airfare. This is my first time going there, so can't tell you much more than that.