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When is the best time to take the Best of Scandinavia tour in 2016?

My husband and I want to book this tour before the Tuesday, December 1st deadline, but are up in the air in terms of the best time to travel. We would like it to be warm, but want to make sure that things are open, it isn’t too rainy, etc. I had heard that there are many Jazz festivals and that the big vacation time for the locals is July. Hence, we have been pondering the possibility of the 1st or 2nd week in August. Any suggestions?

This will be our second RS tour. We took the BOE in 21 days in June 2014. We will be traveling on to London for 5 days after the tour to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

Best,
Debbie

Posted by
1173 posts

I have not been on this tour, have looked at it and it looks wonderful. But I have been to Norway, went the end of July for two weeks. I think the first or second week of August will be fine. July and beginning of August is the best time to go to Scandinavia. No later than the 2nd week in August. I would bring layers, a rain jacket with a hood, pair of jeans, sneakers, layer as it can be warm during the day and then cooler in the evening. I was in the very south of Norway where is was a bit warmer. We then we on the Norway in a Nutshell tour and going north, it was cooler and the layers were needed. Rain happens anytime so it could be rainy even in July. The weather can change all day long and you are going to different countries and will be on a ferry and will be near water, so you need to be prepared for changes in the weather. But as long as you have a rain jacket and layers you will be fine. And you could hit a hot spell too. Have a wonderful time.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks, Laura and Ann!

We plan to arrive a few days early so that we can see the Archipelago islands off the coast of Stockholm. We also plan to stay a few days late and take the self-guided version of Norway in a Nutshell from Bergen to Oslo.

Based on what I am hearing, it sounds like we should leave the 2nd or 3rd week in July to account for all for these pre- and post-trip excursions.

I am finding the organization of the Norway in a Nutshell tour a little overwhelming. Would you recommend an organized tour, or is it just as easy to do it on your own? I will be 60 by them (where did the time go?!) and my husband is 65 — so we will have the chance to use some Senior discounts.

Posted by
544 posts

Hi Debbie,

In Norway you aren't a senior until you're 67. So be sure that you're 67 when you're buying tickets (joking).

For the Nutshell trip, you can buy the tickets on fjordtours.com. They aren't guided tours, but they arrange all the tickets. It might cost more than booking each connection on your own, but it's easy that way.

However, the "Best of Scandinavia" tour you're taking already duplicates most of the nutshell trip. The only part you're missing is the Flåm railway and the train to Oslo. The scenery will be comparable to what you will get on your bus trip with the tour.

If you want to extend your Norway visit, I would consider taking the kystbussen bus service (or cheap flight) to Stavanger, visiting the oil museum and either taking a cruise in the Lysefjord or hiking the Pulpit rock (if you're up for a tough hike). You can easily fly to London from Stavanger. One-way flights to London from Stavanger are as low as $60/person on British Airways, cheaper on Norwegian without a bag.

Nordheim

Posted by
91 posts

Stockholm has a Cultural Festival for 6 days in August. This year was Aug 11- 16, so likely dates for 2016 would be Aug 9- 14. We did this tour in 2014 and arrived 2 days early during the festival. They set up outdoor stages for a variety of music and other performances during the day and into the night. We enjoyed the experience and August was a great time to visit all the countries weather-wise. Aero Island was not very active at that time of year however. There were limited restaurant choices on Aero Island so make a reservation for your supper early in the day.

Posted by
4637 posts

If you want nice warm weather then July and August are the best months in Scandinavia.

Posted by
1173 posts

This may not be helpful as you may not have a place to store your luggage. I did the Norway and the Nutshell trip ( as I already stated) with my girlfriend. We were staying at her father's house so I was able to leave my luggage at the house. We were gone two nights and two full days. We took the train, fast ferry, scenic ferry and a bus and it was a blast. But we took only a large knapsack each to wear on our backs. My girlfriend had done this trip before and said you want your arms and hands free so that you can get on the bus, trains, the ferries easily and not have to hassle with luggage, even if it is a small suitcase. Have the camera around your neck as the photos you will be taking will be amazing. And was she right! It made the trip easy and more fun not having to struggle with a small suitcase with wheels. We just hopped on to the different modes of transportation. I am very happy she knew this before hand. If there is a way to store your luggage somewhere and just have your knapsack then please take my advice and do that. Again no matter when you go in July or August layer and bring a rain jacket with a hood. Have a great time.

Posted by
18 posts

Thanks, everyone! Your responses have been very helpful!!

Based on all of the input that we have received, I have just booked the July 17, 2016 tour. That will start us out in Stockholm on July 17th and end in Bergen on July 30th.

We are still working out how many days to go early and how many days to stay late depending on the ‘must sees’ for Stockholm on the front end and the ‘must sees’ for Bergen on the back end.

I don’t mind splitting things and spending 3 days up front and 4 days on the back end, etc. The determining factors will be what we want to see in each of those locations. It looks like Stockholm has a lot to offer beyond what has been included in the tour. One option we are considering is to spend all the 7 extra days up front, rent an AirBNB in Stockholm for a week and just live like a local until our tour starts on the 17th. Another option would be do just go 3-4 days early in Stockholm to allow us to have more time in Bergen at the back end. That second option would allow us to do the Norway in a Nutshell tour as a multi-day event via a round trip tour from Bergen — storing our luggage at the last hotel or train station. (We live in New England and have traveled many times to islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. On trains and ferries it is even more important to travel light and keep your hands free so I appreciate the advice to take only a backpack. We had the same advice on our Rick Steves BOE in 21 Days tour when we went to Venice due to the canal journey and all of the stairs for the walking bridges. It was smart to be suitcase free!)

I am a huge photography buff and am going to bring my DSLR camera on this trip. I left my ‘big camera’ at home for the BOE/21 and really regretted it. In fact, I just bought the new Nikon D810 as a present to myself for completing my Masters. I wanted to get used to that new camera before our trip so decided to buy it now.

I would be interested to hear people’s thoughts regarding the pre- and post-trip itinerary. We bought our Rick Steves Scandinavia guide early and are reading it from cover-to-cover to help point us in the right direction. But, I find people’s actual experiences the most helpful!