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Norway & Sweden -- 15 Day Itinerary Suggestions

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Hi all! I’m planning a 15 day tour of Norway and a bit of Sweden this summer. The only thing booked right now is flight into Oslo on August 23 and out of Stockholm on September 6. I’ve done a lot of research on the major places I’d like to visit, but would love feedback on how to tweak/improve this itinerary before I start booking the rest of it.

About us: Traveling with my girlfriend, both in our mid 20s, athletic, love the outdoors & amateur photography. Want a healthy balance of time in bigger towns/cities for history & culture, and also out in more wild & remote parts where we can get a little adventurous. Comfortable with very full days; generally prefer to keep moving & exploring rather than sit around relaxing.

Budget: Conscious but not shoe-string. Always appreciate creative ways to cut costs without huge sacrifice / inconvenience. (E.g. overnight train from Trondheim to Bodo is great way to save money on hostel/hotel).

Rough Itinerary:
Aug 23: Arrive Oslo early afternoon, night in Oslo (hostel/hotel TBD)
Aug 24: Day & night in Oslo
Aug 25: Train to Bergen with detour to Flam; night in Flam
Aug 26: Train [or boat?] on to Bergen; night in Bergen
Aug 27: Full day in Bergen, then depart for Trondheim via the MS Nordlys @ 8pm
Aug 28: Full day on the Hurtigruten (cheapest cabin). I’m told this stretch from Bergen to Trondheim is best for fjords?
Aug 29: 8am arrival in Trondheim. Full day in Trondheim, then take overnight train to Bodo
Aug 30: 12:30pm arrival in Bodo; immediate transfer to ferry to Svolvaer. Night on Lofoten Islands
Aug 31: Day 1 / night 2 on Lofoten Islands; probably do a long hike
Sept 1: Day 2 / night 3 on Lofoten Islands; activity suggestions welcome
Sept 2: Morning ferry back to Bodo, then flight from Bodo to Stockholm (via Oslo); night in Stockholm
Sept 3: Ferry into Stockholm archipelago; island hopping during day, night on an island - maybe Grinda?
Sept 4: Continue exploring the archipelago; night on Sandhamn?
Sept 5: Back to Stockholm; night 2 in Stockholm
Sept 6: Afternoon flight home from Stockholm

Questions - General
- How does this itinerary look overall, and how might I improve it?
- Is the overnight in Flam really worth it? What is there to do? Should we just see it and continue on to Bergen? If no night there, where should we spend the extra night?
- Getting from Flam to Bergen: I understand there is a boat that will take you there, or alternatively you can double back on the train to Myrdal and then continue there via train. What is best / what are the trade-offs?
- Is a day sufficient to explore Trondheim? I know it will be rushed but I think I’d rather have an extra day in Lofoten than in Trondheim
- Any island recommendations for the Stockholm archipelago portion?
- Any suggestions on affordable housing options in any of the places we’re visiting?
- Any suggestions on must-see / must-do activities in these destinations?
- Any suggestions on favorite restaurants / coffee shops / etc? Love tips about under-the-radar spots popular with locals.
- Anything big we’re missing? I’d wanted to get up to Tromso but decided to cut it out for an extra day in the Lofoten Islands

Questions - Lofoten specific
- I’ve heard it’s best to rent a car for ease of mobility / not being beholden to bus schedules. Is this true? Where is the best place to rent… can we do in Svolvaer to avoid putting it on the car ferry from Bodo? Any recommendations on rental companies to use?
- I got a recommendation to stay at Eliassen Rorbuer, which looks great, but I notice it’s pretty far out on the archipelago, ~2hr drive from Svolvaer. What is this location like; are we better off staying elsewhere? Could the distance be a problem? Should we consider renting a car in Moskenes instead of Svolvaer?
- Have we allocated enough time to the Lofoten Islands? I’ve heard such great things, but I’m not sure what I’d be comfortable cutting out from the itinerary to add a 4th night there.
- What activities should we plan to fully take in all the natural beauty? What’s the best hike?

Any other advice also welcome and appreciated. Thank you very much in advance for any help, we’re looking forward to an incredible journey!

-Jon

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