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Advice on Scandinavia Itinerary with Young Kids

Advice on Scandinavia Itinerary with Young Kids

May 14th, 2018, 04:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 2
Advice on Scandinavia Itinerary with Young Kids

Our family of 4 (2 parents, a 4 year old and a 1.5 year old) will be vacationing in Scandinavia in late August. Would appreciate any thoughts on the rough itinerary I’ve put together. I’ve priced out/researched each transportation leg but nothing is booked yet so open to suggested changes or thoughts on other can’t miss sights/activities (both kid and adult oriented)! We will probably stay in air B&Bs but would also appreciate any suggestions of particular neighborhoods to focus on, or alternately any family friendly hotels you’d recommend in each location.

Days 1-4 Copenhagen (arriving at ~10 Am on day 1)
Must dos: Tivoli Gardens, Rosenburg Castle, National Museum, Christianburg Palace, Canal boat tour, Tovernhallen market
• Possible day trip to either Kronborg Castle or Frederiksborg Palace
Any suggestions on which of these two would be better?

Day 5-9 Stockholm (train from Copenhagen to Stockholm morning of day 5, arriving mid-afternoon )
• Must dos: Skansen Museum, Vasa Museum, Junibacken Museum, Swedish history museum, Royal Palace
• Possible daytrip to Sigtuna and/or Drottningholm Palace

Day 9-12 Helsinki (overnight Ferry from Stockholm arriving in Helsinki morning of day 10)
• Must dos: Suomenlinna Island
• Possible daytrip to Tallin, Estonia (via Ferry) Realize this would be a long day but leaning towards doing it, particularly as we don’t have many other must-sees in Helsinki

Day 12-14 Bergen (direct flight from Helsinki to Bergen afternoon of Day 12)
• Must dos: Funicular Ride, Bryggen

Days 14-17 Oslo
• “Norway in a Nutshell” Tour on Day 14 (departing Bergen ~8:30 Am and arriving in Oslo ~10:30 PM)
A little concerned about this being a very long day for the kids, but given that we’re not looking to add on any hiking type excursions not sure it makes sense to break it up with an overnight somewhere and figure they can always sleep on portions of the train ride. Welcome any alternative suggestions though!

• Must dos in Oslo: Norwegian Folk Museum, Akershus Fortress
Any other suggestions for Oslo?

Day 17 depart Oslo to return home, via air

*A few things to note: We have travelled pretty extensively with our kids and they are generally pretty easy going and good travelers (for their ages). We usually aim to do just a couple of sights per day, at least one of which is kid oriented, and plan in a decent amount of down-time or will trade off with one parent taking the kids while the other visits a less kid-friendly museum/sight we’d like to see. We generally prefer cities to nature-focused vacations and are not big on hiking/biking etc, but definitely do want to see some of the natural landscape- particularly in Norway.
c8leigh is offline  
May 14th, 2018, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,423
I would recommend taking a flight between Copenhagen and Stockholm. It’s a long way by train and Swedish Rail is not always reliable.
Bakken and close by Bellevue beach might appeal to the kids, there is a deer park too.
Odin is offline  
May 14th, 2018, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,563
You need to seriously consider paring this down. Your itinerary is set as if you would not be traveling with kids. But with a four-year old and a toddler, this itinerary is a LOT. You have 2.5 weeks, you should consider no more than THREE hubs, day trips from there, and minimal moving around. Right now you have five hubs and are considering long day trips. That's not good with small hobbits. Long days with small children is no fun for you and terrible for them.

Look: if you're at an age that you have tiny kids, then you're young enough to go back and see what you missed before. And if you do that when they're 11 and 8 or so, you may have more fun.
BigRuss is offline  
May 14th, 2018, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,012
Bakken for sure. It's an amusement park in a deer park, and has great rides for the little ones, a punch & judy show, as well as a small, but nice wooden roller coaster,
Surfergirl is offline  
May 14th, 2018, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Copenhagen-Stockholm is 5 1/2 hrs by train - flying may be quicker but not that much - getting to airport and back in - having to check in early - anyway see the Sweden in between Copenhagen and not fly over it - anyway for loads on trains and booking your own tickets online check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

Second Odin's recommendation of Bakken and if nice day great beach - Bakken is world's oldest amusement park I believe and free to enter - better for kids probably than Tivoli though that is a must too.
PalenQ is online now  
May 15th, 2018, 01:25 AM
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Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 2
Thanks all for the suggestions. Will definitely look into adding Bakken to the agenda in Copenhagen!

BigRuss- realize the itinerary sounds a little ambitious, but we have previously done trips of a similar pace without issue and our kids do pretty well with being on the move and/or napping on the go. (We're an expat family currently based in Africa so they're also used to long journeys with far less comfortable/convenient modes of transportation.) That being said, will think about striking Helsinki/Tallin from the agenda. If we were to do that how would you recommend allocating the extra days?

For Odin and PalenQ, regarding the train versus plane to Copenhagen: I was thinking along the lines of PalenQ that a plane would not save much time once factoring in having to arrive early and transit to/from the airport and that a train would probably be more relaxed and comfortable. However, I was not aware that Swedish Rail was not all that reliable. Odin can you elaborate on the issues? Are there frequent cancellations/strikes? Will definitely check out the links PalenQ provided as well.
c8leigh is offline  
May 15th, 2018, 02:44 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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I would not use PQs links for booking rail - use the official website which will also have info on scheduled disruptions. There are pros/cons to each way of getting to Stockholm, rail can be unreliable, cancellations, delays, unexpected change of train, people sitting in the seat you have reserved, schlepping luggage up the stairs on the train and trying to keep an eye on it, announcements only in Swedish. It’s a long old journey with scenery that is very much the same all the way, marginally better though than by road.
Equally flights can be cancelled/delayed too of course & time factor of getting to/from the airports and Arlanda Express is expensive.

Odin is offline  
May 15th, 2018, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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"will think about striking Helsinki/Tallin from the agenda. If we were to do that how would you recommend allocating the extra days?"

I don't know that area of the world and won't pretend to, but you seem to have a good bit of requirements for Copenhagen and may want to consider adding there, especially because it's your first destination and you'll lose time to jet lag.
BigRuss is offline  
May 15th, 2018, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I would not use PQs links for booking rail - use the official website which will also have info on scheduled disruptions>

Those links are not booking sites for information about trains in general and with seat61.com what sites like you're talking about to book on - the official sites always IMO - no middlemen - so we agree.
PalenQ is online now  
May 15th, 2018, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 153
Odin is right about Swedish trains being unreliable. It's not cancellations or strikes but delays. I live in Stockholm and people are ALWAYS complaining about delays. Trains stopping in the middle of nowhere or travelling very slowly. For instance right now the train from Malmö is 20 minutes late. Just look at this cartoon from one of Sweden's largest blogs
Advice on Scandinavia Itinerary with Young Kids-sjbingo.jpg

Unfortunately in Swedish but it gives you an idea. Also, the view from the airplane will be nicer. Sit on the right side and chances are you'll get some very nice views of the archipelago before landing.

I'd take a boat to Drottningholm and skip Sigtuna.
ticino is offline  
May 15th, 2018, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 76,555
odin and ticino are obviously right about Swedish trains, them living in Denmark and Sweden but it comes as a shock to me - we tend to think everything in Scandinavia is so modern and efficient but sounds more like Italy!

Flying makes sense here unless you're the type who don't like flying and are not on a tight schedule as locals taking trains might be.
PalenQ is online now  
May 15th, 2018, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 143
We did Scandinavia a couple of years ago --pretty much your itinerary except no Helsinki. (Although we used to travel to Europe with our children when they were young, we didn't have them with us. This would have been too fast paced an itinerary for our children when they were 4 and 1.5. Plus at 1.5, there would have been nap time.) All the destinations were great, but we enjoyed best the 8 days in Stockholm because we got to settle in a bit. Your kids might like Luna Park (amusement park) on the same island as Skansen. Our travel was Copenhagen (nonstop from US), 3 nights: fly to Bergen, Norway in a Nutshell from here, 3 nights, (scenic) train to Oslo, 2 nights; fly to Stockholm (8 nights). Last night was at the hotel in the airport, very convenient!
mocha_dolce is offline  
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