Please sign in to post.

Combining RS Sicily Tour with Scandinavia On Our Own

Hi Everyone!
Hubs and I have done two RS tours - My Way Europe and My Way Alpine and loved them both! I am now looking at the RS Sicily tour and not only because it's snowing in Minneapolis right now - I've been looking this tour for a while. I am particularly interested in the November 2018 dates, because November here is so dull until Thanksgiving - grey and gloomy. I have developed many skills to combat this "going into winter" mindset over the years (happy lights, more exercise, blah, blah) but I thought an even better idea was to just get the hell out of here. I don't think I'll find any arguments here on the forum about that. I thought I'd combine this trip with a visit to my cousins in Denmark and Sweden and go there first - fly into Copenhagen, spend time with cousins there and in Malmo, Sweden, and then travel on to Bergen and jump on the Hurtigruten boat for a few days - I know a lot of things are closed this time of year but the Hurtigruten ships are working boats - they travel in any weather. And yes, I know, it may be cold and grey in Scandinavia, but at least we are someplace else! And then fly on to Italy. So 11 days in Scandinavia and 11 days in Sicily - what do you think?

Posted by
1068 posts

Sounds good. I just did the Sicily tour and loved it. Combined it with some travel on my own and then the RS Belgium and Holland tour. Had a blast. Sounds like you know what you are getting into with Scandinavia so go for it!

Posted by
6443 posts

Sounds great

On the other hand maybe do it in reverse so going home from Sicily is not such a weather shock? ( just kidding..... umm, errr, may not :-) )

Posted by
8715 posts

I'm sort of doing the same thing next Spring. Start in Sicily, spend six weeks in italy, end in Venice, then fly to Copenhagen to start three weeks in Scandinavia.

I'm going south to north because I want to beat the heat in Italy but get as much as possible in Scandinavia.

Posted by
6543 posts

November in Scandinavia is not as cold as you'd think. But there is precipitation so many days. We were there the first week of September and had unusually wonderful weather--according to the locals in Bergen. We were also told in St. Petersburg now had the weather is starting in September.
We try to save our travel that far north for the Summer.

Posted by
5544 posts

...and then travel on to Bergen and jump on the Hurtigruten boat for a few days....

Consider a "Norway in a Nutshell" route from Bergen via Voss, Godvangen, Flam, Myrdal to Oslo. Fly to Italy from Oslo after touring Oslo for a full day or two. The Godvangen to Flam is via boat through a narrow fjord.

Yes, Hurtigruten boats (ships) are working vessels and sail daily. However, extreme weather conditions can stop/delay sailing.

You will be able to use your starting from/return to Minnesota clothing in Scandinavia.

You will need some Danish Krone, Swedish Krona, Norwegian Krone and then Euros.

PS Norwegian climate is somewhat mild considering how far North Norway extends because of the Atlantic influence. Bergen is relatively balmy.

Posted by
141 posts

Thanks for the replies and information! Edgar, believe it or not, I actually woke up this morning thinking about that Hurtigruten ship and the possible complications from rough weather that late in the year - and that was before I saw your post! I love the idea of the NIN route if that time of year is less crowded than peak or even shoulder season. We did the very last My Way Alpine tour (late September/early October) and Hallstatt was so crowded we walked in the street, dodging traffic, due to the sidewalks being full, and the Bavarian castles were an absolute mob scene! Am I glad we had the opportunity to see these beautiful places? Absolutely. Do I wish everyone else would stay home so I could have these places to myself? Of course not. I'm a tourist too. But if I can find a month where the crowds are smaller I think it would make an already wonderful experience even more memorable. One of my fondest memories of that trip was sitting alone on a rock high up in the Alpe de Siusi doing nothing more than appreciating the incredible beauty of the Italian Alps. I'd like to have an experience like that in Norway.

Frank II, I am so envious of you spending six weeks in Italy and then three in Copenhagen!! How exciting. Hopefully I will be able to do that someday, but now it looks like I may be traveling solo this time, so I'll have to settle for a month.

Liz

Posted by
5904 posts

The only problem I see is packing two different
sets of clothing, jackets, etc due to vast differences in weather. We went on the Hurtigruten in August and had to wear thermal layers, gloves, ski hats outside on deck or in ports. We went up to Kirkenes next to Russia. Loved the Hurtigruten style experience.
I remember at Mpls airport you could leave your winter coats in lockers when leaving town.

Posted by
141 posts

Thank you for posting, Suki! I'm not too worried about packing - Minneapolis is a strange place to live as far as weather is concerned - 27 degrees below zero to 100 degrees above. I'll just bring everything - oh wait, I only travel with a carry on. I would absolutely love to hear more about your Hurtigruten cruise - do tell! And anyone else out there who has done this please feel free to chime in! My parents did it several times and went all the way to Kirkeness - I wouldn't go that far due to time constraints but I'd still like the experience.

Posted by
5544 posts

My experience with the Hurtigruten is extremely limited to one night traveling from Mehamn in the far north to Kirkenes on the NordNorge. (We ended a ski tour at Mehamn and were being transported back to Finland by boat then van.) The arctic night was spectacular and we traveled in sight of the Norwegian coast. As you noted, the Nord Norge was a working boat with multiple short stops at small villages off-loading and loading people, vehicles and cargo.

We had great sailing weather that night. We heard from our Finland guide service that the French group of skiers one day behind us had much different weather. The Hurtigruten service was halted because of extreme sea conditions (month of April) and the French had to be driven back from Mehamn.

The NordNorge that we boarded is not a giant cruise ship but is big enough to conduct an Antarctic rescue several years after our voyage: http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/53579/mv-nordnorge-antarctic-rescue-of-mv-explorer
Hard to believe that weather could have stopped the NordNorge's sister ship a day after our trip.

And yes, your getting to and from the Minneapolis airport clothing should be adequate for Scandinavia.

Posted by
974 posts

Keep in mind that flying from Scandinavia to Palermo (where the RS SIcily tour starts) will involve a complicated and relatively expensive air itinerary. You might consider flying to Rome, staying overnight and continuing on to Sicily. The airfare savings will pay for your night in the eternal city. We did this when we flew from the US to Palermo for the RS Sicily tour in 2016. In addition, at the end of the trip we flew from Catania to Rome, stayed overnight, and continued to the US on the next day.

Posted by
5904 posts

Hurtigruten- We sailed from Bergen to Kirkenes on the Trollfjord in August, a very nice ship. We had a small room with two beds, one folded up against the wall during the day. The food was incredible. We only took one excursion which we didn’t care for, , and preferred doing the ports on our own. The ship gave out maps and info and there was always a tourist office nearby the dock. Less than 10% were from US, most were from Northern Europe. I remember one passenger complaining that they hadn’t served any reindeer yet, obvuiously something she regarded as a regular menu item! These are not cruise ships but ships teaveling between coastal towns, passengers getting on and off, pallets of goods off loaded at these towns.