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Help me plan a 3 week trip to Scandanavia!@

Help me plan a 3 week trip to Scandanavia!@

Old Mar 14th, 2024, 02:13 PM
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Help me plan a 3 week trip to Scandanavia!@

Before Covid , my wife and I were traveling extensively: Japan, Germany, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. This will be our first trip to Scandavia and our first traveling internationally since 2020!

We want to spend 3 weeks visiting Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and spend time seeing the fjords. We want to travel in May and need help in creating an itinerary; where to fly in and out or; how many days in each location; how best to visit the fjords; should we be renting a car to see the fjords or should we consider Norway in a Nutshell? Looking for suggestions in lodging in each location as well.

A little about us: we are an active senior couple who love experiencing new places, people, visiting museums, photography ( my wife is a photographer), moderate hiking but not interested in bicycle riding. We love our wine and my wife is a vegetarian ( I"m not). Regarding driving a car: neither one of us drive a shift nor do we enjoy driving in darkness . Not sure how much of a problem this will be in May.

I am always appreciative in how the Fodor community have always helped me shape our trips!!

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Old Mar 18th, 2024, 09:50 AM
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I am now considering the following itinerary: Fly from San Francisco on May 7 to Copenhagen and return flight on May 28 from Stockholm. We would stay in Copenhagen 4 days; Oslo 3 days; Bergen 3 days; ** 4 days visiting fjords; 5-6 days in Stockholm

My questions are : How reliable is flying with SAS Airlines for International flights?
How best to spend time visiting fjords? Do you recommend Norway in a Nutshell and if so what experiences have you had with this company?
Does this itinerary work? Will the weather in May allow us to view the fjords?

Once I make the flight arrangements I will start to fill in what we want to do and see in each location.

Thank you.
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Old Mar 18th, 2024, 10:58 AM
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I did a similar trip - flying into Copenhagen and out of Bergen. Copenhagen was a laid back town and easy to get around and very flat if you want to bike. We then drove up the west coast of Sweden on the main thoroughfare so it wasn't that scenic or interesting frankly. Olso was nice but a large city and I was itching to get out to the mountains and fjords.

We went up over the mountains to Gaustappen which was awesome. We stayed at this place called Kvitavatn Fjellstuel which were little cabins that was a ton of fun. This place looked cool too btw: Gaustablikk Hoyfhellshotel

We then drove over the Haukeli pass (stunning) to Hardangerfjord which is on the base of the fjord. We stayed in a 100 year old house that was partially over the water. We got the little BBQ kit at the store and some fish and grilled it up fjord side with some wine which was cool.

We then made it to Bergen which is a real fun town and I'm sure you've watched all the travel shows on it so you'll know what to do. Anyhow, great trip and hopefully there's a piece here that may work for you.

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Old Mar 18th, 2024, 12:41 PM
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Thank you jconway82 for your helpful suggestions! I will check out each of the places you posted.
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Old Mar 19th, 2024, 08:17 AM
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I am interested in suggestions which neighborhoods / hotels to stay in Copenhagen and Oslo. These locations are the first two places on our itinerary. The initial plan is to stay in Copenhagen for 4 days and 3 in Oslo.

Thanks again!
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Old Mar 19th, 2024, 04:25 PM
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We went to Scandinavia last June. My third visit but after many years. Obviously the cities of Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo are worth visits but they are not huge cities like London or Tokyo so you do not have to spend all your time in these cities. I think our best time was spent driving around Norway. Much better than NIN. There is a Norwegian web site of scenic drives which I would study. Driving is easy and the tunnels and the car ferries simple. Weather however can be an issue as it rains a lot in Norway but it is what it is. Nasjonale turistveger is the website. We drove the Gaularfjellet, Aurlandsfjellet and Hardanger and did the Sognefjord cruise. Wish we had more time to drive further around Norway.
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Old Mar 19th, 2024, 07:11 PM
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Hi allyboy!

We did a similar trip for my 50th (20 years ago!) and had the best time. For me, it was a repeat of my backpacking travels 30 years before that, but instead of staying in hostels, we were able to experience nice hotels and more adventure!

When I planned the trip, it was designed for the comfort and convenience of the family . . . with our then 12 year old son.(who was, by then, a very seasoned traveler). As we are huge train and boat fans, we took advantage of the great transportation.

We also like being close to everything.

For Copenhagen, we HAD to stay at the iconic Arne Jacobsen designed Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, which is right across the street from the Tivoli gardens. It was fabulous. We booked two rooms (back then, there were no family rooms, and the rule was 2 persons in a room per code), corner rooms on a higher floor, one with a view of Tivoli. In summer, Tivoli Gardens has weekly fireworks around 11 p.m., now on Saturday nights. Which you can see either in the Gardens in Tivoli, or from your room at the Radisson, assuming you select the Tivoli view. In my view, it's better from the Gardens, as there's a light show going on there before the fireworks begin, and it is simply magical. While the Radisson has gone through several renovations since we were there, while still maintaining some of the original Jacobsen design elements, including his egg and swan designed chairs (super comfy!), they have maintained the somewhat unknown (but famous to those who love Jacobsen's designs) Room 606 in all of its original design and fixtures. Called the Arne Jacobsen suite (and most expensive room in the place), but certainly worth 1 night. If you choose NOT to spend the money on that room, if it is not in use, a quiet chat with the manager, they will be happy to take you up there to tour. Anyway, great hotel, perfectly situated for all the sights you want to see.

In Oslo, we stayed in one of the 3 Radissons . . . this was the Radisson Scandinavia at Holbergs gate 30, right off the tram line that goes to the harbor and train station. Huge room, beautifully decorated, fabulous indoor pool, and perhaps the best buffet breakfast we've ever had. My recollection is back when we were there, Munch's The Scream and other wonderful art was exhibited within walking distance of the Radisson. Most of the art from various museums in Oslo were merged into the new National Museum, which is a must-see. You can also see another version of the Scream (there are 4, I think) at the Munch Museum.

Yes, the Norway in a Nutshell tour is fabulous! We took the 8 a.m. train from Oslo, and my recollection is we ended up in Bergen around 4 p.m. or so, with a stop in Voss after the fjord portion of the trip. You can bring your luggage with you all the way, so once you get to Bergen, you'll have everything with you.

Again, we stayed at yet another Radisson Blu Royal in Bergen on Bryggen wharf . . . another hit! There, it was my son's birthday, and staff brought up an exquisite chocolate cake (best I've ever had) with a firework display on top! They even sang Happy Birthday to him! He was in awe!
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Old Mar 21st, 2024, 08:48 AM
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Thank you to both mjs and Surfergirl for your input!!
We will definitely explore the Arne Jacobsen hotel and room 606.

Regarding the Norway in a Nutshell tours. Does anyone have any experience combining two tours? You can add on Hardangerfjord tour with basic including overnights in Bergen and Ulvik. In fact you can stay in Bergen for a few nights. There's also the separate Sognefjord in a Nutshell tour offered but not as a combination which can also include an overnight or return to either Bergen or Oslo as a day trip. So confusing!! Any and all suggestions will be helpful!!








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Old Mar 21st, 2024, 04:26 PM
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As you enjoy museums, I expect you'll enjoy Oslo. My husband and I were only there for three nights, two days--not enough days--in June 2018, but we spent one full day visiting several museums and a couple of other art-filled attractions: the National Gallery, which have since been incorporated into the new National Museum that opened in 2022; the Munch Museum, also now housed in a brand new museum that opened in 2021 near the impressive Opera House; the Astrup Fearnley Museum (contemporary Norwegian and international art); City Hall, which has colorful reliefs and murals and hosts the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony); and Vigeland Sculpture Park. With the addition of the new musums, Oslo has become a showplace for contemporary archictecture.

We spent our second full day visiting the museums of Bygdoy (a peninsula on the western side of Oslo), which can be reached by ferry or bus from downtown Oslo. These museums include the Kon-Tiki Museum, the Fram-Polar Exploration Museum, the Norsk Folkemuseum of Cultural History, and the Viking Ship Museum, which was terrific, but, sadly, will be closed for renovation until 2027. The museums are fairly close to one another and we could easily walk from one to the other. Later on, back in central Oslo, we visited the Historical Museum to see runestones, but the museum also had many other ancient Norwegian artifacts and a diverse ethnographic collection.

We each purchased a 48 hour Oslo Pass at the Oslo Visitor Centre, which covered public transportation and entrance to most of the museums we visited. Vigeland Park and City Hall were free to visit.

Bergen also has a busy, but well-staffed tourist info centre, from which I picked up a handful of brochures (so we could plan a return trip). You might find the Fjord Norway brochure handy. The 2020-2021 version is available online. it describes hiking trails, and the various fjords.

We also just had two full days in Bergen. On our first full day we visited Kode Museums, took the cable car up to Mt. Floyen, and walked around Bryggen. I also wanted to catch the cable car up Mt. Ulriken or visit the Fantoft Stave Church, but as we flew in early that day from Copenhagen and had to get up early the next morning to ride the Flam Railway and do a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) ride through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, my husband insisted on an early dinner instead. We had prebooked a "basic tour" through Norway Active. The RIB was great but I would not recommend it in your case as your wife would have an easier time taking photos from a larger, more stable, non-inflatable vessel.

On our third morning in Bergen, we took the train to Oslo, which I booked through NSB trains, which has now become Vy. This was supposed to take less than 7 hours, but took nearly 10 because the heat wave had caused the rails to expand. There was also a fire on part of the track. Scandinavia experienced a heat wave in June 2018.

You mentioned being concerned about driving around in the dark. I think the days will be long in May. Have a look at this page.

Before Bergen, we spent 4 days in Copenhagen, where, by day, my husband attended a conference. The heat sometimes made sightseeing uncomfortable and places I planned to visit, such as Christianborg Palace, the Design Museum, the National Gallery, just didn't happen Still, I managed to visit two wonderful art museums, Glyptoteket and the beautiful Louisiana Museum of Art in Humlebæk, about a half hour by train from downtown Copenhagen. From the Humlebæk train station, it's a 10-minute, well-marked walk to the museum. If you stay on the train it continues on to Helsingør, also known as Elsinore (English name).
Glyptoteket represents the private collection of Carl Jacobsen (1842–1914), the son of the founder of the Carlsberg Breweries. Wikipedia describes it well. I'd add that they have rooftop terrace with views of the city and some serene interior courtyards. The vast Egyptian collection is a dimly lit basement, which made me feel as if I were touring a crypt--as I was alone in these galleries, the experience was a bit creepy, but I enjoyed it. .

On more temperate days, I took the metro and walked with no set agenda, checking out bustling tourist areas like Nyhavn, walking through the pretty Botanical Garden, admiring buildings like the Round Tower and the Opera House, and visiting Amager Beach

As your wife is a photographer, you won't want to miss Fotografiska in Stockholm. While there in June 2017, I caught a fabulous special exhibition of Irving Penn's work, among many other special exhibitions. It's attractive museum, as well. After our visit to Stockholm's Fotografiska, we took a ferry ride to Vaxholm, in the Stockholm Archipelago. By the way, Copenhagen also has photography museum/national collection, which I didn't visit, in the striking Black Diamond building.

If you enjoy modern art, you might enjoy Stockholm's Moderna Museet's fine collection and its colorful sculpture garden featuring works by Niki de Saint Phalle and others.

Many visitors visit Stockholm's Djurgården, where the Vasa Museum, Abba Museum and the open air museum Skansen can be found. Of these, we only visited Skansen (for the Midsummer celebration). My husband had been to the Vasa Museum on a previous visit and didn't feel like seeing it again, otherwise, we probably would have visited it as well..

We stayed at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, which is not far from the train station (we caught the express train in from Arlanda Airport) and Stockholm's City Hall. It was worth signing up for the informative City Hall English language tour. The Nobel prize banquet is held in its Blue Hall.

From our hotel, it was a scenic walk to Gamla Stan (the Old Town). The hotel also had an incredible breakfast buffet. And the room had the best blackout curtains and blinds ever, which was needed on Midsummer (maybe not so important for you). Things I didn't like: the lobby, which didn't have enough seating and the weird mini-bar regulations (I hope this has been changed).

On our June 2018 trip, we flew from Copenhagen into Bergen on SAS and also flew on SAS from Helsinki to Stockholm in June 2017, but these were just short flights so I can't comment on how the longer internatonal flight from SFO would be. (In 2018, we flew into Copenhagen from New Zealand via Hong Kong, and i 2017 from New Zealand into Helsinki via Singapore) You can, however, read reviews on Skytrax Personally, I think flight experiences are subjective, depending on the level of service you pay for, and luck--even an economy seat can be fairly comfortable, if you luck out with a row of seats to yourself or if you pay a little extra for a seat in an exit row.
Skytrax, like CN Traveler, also does a list of "top international airlines."
Given recent incidences with the Boeing 737 Max, SAS seems like a fairly safe choice as I think they have replaced their Boeings with Airbuses.

Last edited by Diamantina; Mar 21st, 2024 at 05:03 PM.
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Old Mar 21st, 2024, 09:10 PM
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I have been told that you can see a lot more of Norway and more impressive scenery by driving around Norway than taking the NIN by multiple people I met in Norway. Having driven around some of Norway and watching a video post of the NIN leads me to believe it's true. Driving Norway with GPS is really simple. There is not much traffic in the countryside. All the tourists seem to be taking the NIN or taking a cruise. The roads are in great shape and in early June it gets light around 0430 and dark around 2300.
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Old Mar 21st, 2024, 10:32 PM
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Also we rented a Toyota RAV 4 hybrid in Bergen with an automatic so easy to drive.
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Old Mar 24th, 2024, 11:53 PM
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allyboy, have you seen this link to Norway's Scenic Routes?
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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 09:29 AM
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A huge thanks to iamantina and mjs for such detailed suggestions!! Diamantina: We may enjoy visiting museums but I think you are in a class of your own in enjoying your Museum visits!!

Here's a huge question: We ended up booking the Kong Arthur Hotel in Copenhagen for 5 days. The next part of our trip is giving me trouble with way too many options. The goal is to spend time in Oslo, Bergen, see the Fjords and eventually fly to Stockholm. We will have 8 days to create an itinerary that will allow us to experience the beauty of Norway and spend a few days in both Oslo and Bergen.

Questions: Should we fly to Bergen from Copenhagen and work our way to Oslo?
Should we travel to Oslo and work our way to Bergen?
What about renting a car in either Oslo or Bergen and dropping it off in either city?
What would you suggest is the best itinerary for us to explore the fjords?

I need to answer these questions before booking hotels in any of these locations including locations for any overnights we may do.

I need help!!

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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 02:37 PM
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allyboy, yes, i appreciate great museums, especially art museums. I use to work at a couple of them.

Regarding flyng home to the US out of Oslo or Bergen. Which of these cities has the most direct connection? Which is cheaper? Where would you like to see yourself spending your last night?

We enjoyed Bergen, but there was more to do and see in Oslo. Also, Bergen has the reputation of being one of the rainiest cities in Europe. We luckily enjoyed brilliant weather while we were there, but we went in June during a heat wave. Rainy weather would have left us with a different impression. Both cities had easy connections to and from the airport from the city centre.

We flew into Bergen, caught the train to Oslo, then caught Norwegian Airlines to Mallorca, where we spent two and a half weeks. We flew home to NZ out of Barcelona, where we spent a few nights (we'd been there before). This worked out well for us.
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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 04:38 PM
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Oh, I see you are just flying to Stockholm from Oslo. I would still opt for Oslo for the same previously mentioned reasons.
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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 09:42 PM
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There is no perfect itinerary but many good ones. I suspect you are starting in CPH because you are flying SFO-CPH non stop. I think Copenhagen needs a minimum of 3 nights but 4 would be good. The same for Stockholm and Oslo. Bergen needs a full day or two nights at minimum. I am sure you can fly home from any of these cities. We flew home from Bergen to EWR-SMF but I am sure you could fly easily to SFO as well. Obviously the number of days in each city should reflect how much time you need for your interests. I would do something like this: CPH 4 nights. Train to Stockholm for 4 nights. Train to Oslo for 4 nights. Do the NIN to Bergen, Spend 1 night in Bergen. Rent a car at the airport than drive around Norway for the remainder of your time except for one last night in Bergen before you fly home. I should note that when I was researching air fares there was not that much difference in flying back from Bergen or Oslo or Stockholm but this year may be different. I should also note that renting and dropping off a car at the same location is by far cheaper than dropping off at another location. If it were not so I would consider renting a car in Oslo and dropping off in Bergen but that would more than double your rental car costs.
Norway is also as noted above quite rainy so what you see in your travels will be dependent on the weather. Bring Gortex type water repellent shoes, jackets. etc. Do try to plan your driving itinerary using the above Norway scenic road web site. You will find driving in Norway (with GPS of course )to be easy and the scenery is beautiful.
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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 09:44 PM
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Actually I would spend the last 2 nights in Bergen to give yourself some time in Bergen. No idea about vegetarian food but I suspect there is a fair amount available. Lots of seafood as well as hot dogs for some reason.
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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 05:14 PM
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Our itinerary is basically set regarding Copenhagen, Bergen and Oslo.
We will fly into Copenhagen from San Francisco ( SAS) on May 8 and I've booked The Kong Arthur Hotel for 5 nights.
Next we will fly from Copenhagen to Bergen (SAS) on May 13 and I'v booked The Hotel Oleana in Bergen for 4 nights.
I have rented a car (Hertz) , pickup at Bergen airport and will use it for road trips out of Bergen and will use it to drive to Oslo.
We arrive in Oslo for 4 nights and staying at the Hotel Thon Rosenkrantz.)

Questions: 1. I'm interested in suggestions for day trips out of Bergen that we can use our car. We will of course also book a few Fjord cruises as well
2. When we leave Bergen and drive to Oslo we would like to stay overnight (Flam?) and tihen the next day drive to Oslo. Looking for suggestions where to stay other than Flam and places to see on our drive.
3. We will fly from Oslo to Stockholm for 6 days. Looking for suggestions for areas to stay in and Hotels.



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Old Mar 29th, 2024, 11:46 PM
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How long after your four night stay in Bergen will you take to drive to Oslo? 2 days and 1 night?
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Old Mar 30th, 2024, 07:31 AM
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mjs We will have 2 days and 1 night leaving early from Bergen and drive and drop off our rental.
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