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traveling to Norway, Denmark, Findland and Sweden July 2020

Hello, trying to find the best way to travel to the countries mentioned above. We have explored the EuRail mentioned on this website, but we are trying to decided how long to stay in each country. Tips, ideas are greatly appreciated. Is it better to just go with a guided tour instead? Our 14 yr old is coming along. Travel dates: July 2020. Flying out of BWI/DC/Philadelphia area.

Thank you in advance!
Cynthia

Posted by
6190 posts

We flew SAD between those locations and it was less expensive than taking the train.

Posted by
3450 posts

You posted this in Rick Steves Tours, so I'm guessing you are somewhat open to that option.

Here's the link to the Best of Scandinavia in 14 Days tour. It looks like there are many July dates still available. I took this tour in 2018. It's well worth the money. Click on the Itinerary and keep in mind that there is much more to it than the things highlighted in the short daily descriptions.

You could add a side trip before or after to Finland. Or maybe do the Best of St. Petersburg, Talinn & Helsinki in 9 Days before or after.

If this is your first trip to Europe, it would be good to thoroughly explore all the sections of the Travel Tips on this website.

For details on the Scandinavian countries, go to Explore Europe and click on your country of choice. This is a very useful starting place for helping to plan the trip by yourself. Having self-planned all of my trips before 2014 I can definitely say that I learned much more on my RS tours than if I'd planned a similar itinerary on my own. And we went places that I'd never have even thought of on my own.

The bad thing about going to Scandinavia is that all the currencies are different. The good thing is that cash is rarely used. Almost all transactions, even the smallest, are done by credit card.

Most seasoned travelers will tell you that Eurail is probably not the best option wherever you want to go. From the Man in Seat 61, these are the train resources for your countries:

•Denmark - www.dsb.dk
•Sweden -www.sj.se - you can also use •Omio.com (formerly GoEuro.com), www.snalltaget.se or www.bokatag.se
•Norway - www.nsb.no (see advice on using this system)
•Finland - www.vr.fi

All are covered by DB Bahn, but you have to go to the specific country's train service to make your reservations. You will need to fly or take a ferry between Finland and any of the others. DB Bahn covers Finland itself.

Posted by
6554 posts

I have found traveling through Scandinavia to be very, very expensive. At TGI Fridays in Oslo, a burger, fries and Coke was $30. A cup of coffee in Copenhagen or a Coke will run you $4.50 or more.
We found that taking a cruise ship through the region and over to St. Petersburg is the best bang for the buck. We hit Warnemunde, Germany, Tallin, Estonia, St. Petersburg (2 nights), Helsinki, Finland, Stockholm, Sweden and back to Copenhagen, Denmark.
We flew a budget air flight from Copenhagen and to Oslo where we got on the Norway in a Nutshell trip to Bergen. And we flew home from there.

Posted by
5623 posts

Norway's NSB train is now VY: https://www.vy.no/en

https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/vy-norwegian-state-railways-(formerly-nsb)/491/

Vy (formerly NSB) is the national Norwegian railway company, and
offers train services in most of Norway and between Oslo and
Gothenburg. Train tickets and information about schedules, prices and
services are available at vy.no, tel. 61 05 19 10 and at the train
stations in Oslo.

Norway VY advance purchase discounted fares: https://www.vy.no/en/travelling-with-us/train/tickets/minipris

Minipris low-fare tickets are offered according to demand and
available capacity. That means that Minipris ticket prices may vary,
and there may be few or no low-cost tickets for our most popular
departures.

Finland: https://www.vr.fi/cs/vr/en/frontpage
Advanced purchase train tickets are available but the senior price was cheaper and didn't require advanced purchase.

Posted by
1029 posts

If you decide to go on your own, be sure to check the ferry between Copenhagen and Oslo: https://www.dfds.com/en-gb/passenger-ferries

It makes for a nice break as you sail in the night. We live just outside Copenhagen and sometimes take the ferry as a short cruise just to relax.

And they have the best breakfast I have experienced.

Posted by
1747 posts

That is a very broad question. To get to the countries, SAS has direct flights from Washington to Copenhagen, and one stop options to most major cities in the Nordics so that is probably the best way to get there. And if you are willing to get to Newark there are more direct flights as well as one stop options to more or less every airport in the Nordics.

How long to stay there is a good question, but to see all four countries, a fortnight would be aa absolut minimum in my opinion. Apart from Denmark the countries are very large, a combined area of about 1.155.000 km2. To put it into perspective, that is 23% of the EEA or the size of France and Spain combined (or for Americans, the size of Texas and California combined). And also rather elongated so the distances can be long.

A Eurail card can be good value, but can also be a waste of money. I suspect the latter. There are decent trains in all countries and with ferries and maybe an occasional flight it is pretty easy to get around, even if the distances mean it can take some time.

It is very easy to get around on your own, and all countries are safe and most tourist attractions have multilingual signage and many museums and sights offer guided tours if you want to know more about what you are seeing. So I'd recommend that you go on yourself instead of a tour. But it's hard to make recommendations without knowing what you are interested in. For a city vacation, Stockholm and Copenhagen are the most popular and probably for a reason. If you want natural beauty, it doesn't get better than Norway. If you want cute small towns, there are several. As well as historical sites, if you are looking for Viking history e.g.

Posted by
5623 posts

Following up on Badger's note that SAS flies to Copenhagen. CHP is SAS' hub to the Nordic countries. We took advantage of CPH being a SAS hub by booking a multi-city route stopping for a half week in Copenhagen before continuing to Helsinki. Adding the CPH stop was essentially at no additional cost to flying to HEL, our final destination. You could explore flying to HEL with a stop at CPH before continuing to HEL. Make your way to Sweden via Ferry. Continue to Oslo. Nutshell train-boat-bus from Oslo to Bergen. Return flight from Bergen.

Posted by
16817 posts

The four-country Scandinavia Eurail Pass is pretty well priced (cheaper than the wider-ranging Global pass), e.g., around $270 per adult and $235 per youth for 5 rail travel days within a month. (That does not reflect this month's 10% off sale.)

Of course, it makes sense to plan your route first, before trying to make price comparisons. That includes deciding if there's a long leg you'd rather fly to save time, such as from Helsinki to Bergen (and then perhaps train to Oslo to fly home). www.skyscanner.com is a good search engine and flights should be bookable now. Swedish advance-discount train tickets can go on sale as early as 6 months out, Norway and Denmark about 3 months.

Posted by
1747 posts

You could explore flying to HEL with a stop at CPH before continuing
to HEL. Make your way to Sweden via Ferry. Continue to Oslo. Nutshell
train-boat-bus from Oslo to Bergen. Return flight from Bergen.

That is an option, but I would suggest a small change to the plan. Instead of flying to Helsinki from Copenhagen, fly to Tallinn. Spend a day or two in Tallinn before taking the ferry to Helsinki. I know that Estonia is not in the OP's plan, but it is worth a stop along the way.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you very much for all the info. So much to take into consideration. We love nature but also enjoy the flavor of small towns as those are a true indicator of a country's culture which is our main goal: explore, learn and enjoy!!