Norway and more Scandinavia

Oct 29th, 2009, 08:00 AM
  #1  
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Norway and more Scandinavia

I would like some help please planning itinerary for trip in July. I have traveled many times to Europe but this will be first visit to Norway. I am a senior retired woman who enjoys travel independently but have taken some tours. Is Scandinavia easy to get around using public transportation? I am open to suggestions, starting perhaps in Bergen and onward to Copenhagen/Stockholm/Helsinki if this can be covered in about 2 weeks. I could begin my tour from any of the above cities as I will look for budget airlines between UK or Ireland.
I am also looking at some of the escorted tours on UK websites and might even consider taking a land package with tour operato if this would work out better if I find a good deal. I am not familiar with the ferry routes or transport, but will visit the tourist offices to plan my route once I have a plan in place. Thank you.
Cavangal is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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From Bergen you can take the Norway in a Nutshell tour which will give you a taste of the fjord country. I believe that you can do it either as a round trip or as a one way to Oslo.
Michael is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are all very easy to navigate for English-speakers, as so many people there speak English. I think Finland may be a little more difficult.

If starting in Bergen, you could take the "Norway in a Nutshell" route to Oslo. This is not so much an organized tour as a packaged route involving train and boat. It covers a very scenic part of Norway. From Oslo, you can take a ferry to Copenhagen. You could visit other parts of Denmark by train from Copenhagen (be sure to go to Roskilde for the Viking ships museum).

The Baltic Sea ferry system can take you to Stockholm and Helsinki, but it might be nice to travel by train between Copenhagen and Stockholm. Maybe someone else has experience with this and can advise you.
enzian is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 10:10 AM
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>>> Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are all very easy to navigate for English-speakers, as so many people there speak English. I think Finland may be a little more difficult.

No, it is not. Everybody starts their first foreign language at the age of 9, and usually that is English. That means 10 years of English in school alone.
elina is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 10:17 AM
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We found Scandinavia very easy to navigate independently. We flew SAS between Oslo, Bergen, Stockholm and Copenhagen and these flights were very inexpensive. Everyone we dealt with or met casually spoke perfect English. The cities had easy to use, efficient public transit systems; we bought transit cards, heavily discounted for seniors. They also had excellent train service directly from the airports to city centers. In Bergen, we walked everywhere and used their Flybussen from the airport to the city center.
We were thrilled with Scandinavia. It exceeded our expectations. We also took a Hurtigruten ship up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes which I highly recommend too.
Beautiful scenery and cities,high quality in so many areas, welcoming people, delicious food-especially if you love seafood as we do, and everything works so well.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 09:05 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for responses. I now feel I will be able to do the trip independently which means more freedom and time to enjoy some places. I could begin the trip at end of June from any of the cities or from Dublin but will look at airline routes and prices as I have to return to Shannon area by July 15 for return. I need some help in planning accommodations in tourist type hotels or B&Bs and how to check the train/ferry routes to get ideas on schedules and prices. Will be back to this site when I a bit organized. Your help is always appreciated.
Cavangal is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 10:35 AM
  #7  
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I just checked Ryanair flights. They have service from Dublin into Stockholm so could begin from there onward to Helsinki. Would then take ferry back and work route to Bergin and return flight from Oslo to Dublin. If I have enough time could I do the full route planned by taking these routes by ferry and train(s)? Is there a good bus service in Scandinavia and what is the website for checking routes? Thank you.
Cavangal is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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You might want to look into the B&Bs we found in Oslo, Bergen and Stockholm. Click on my name to find my trip report from last summer.
Michael is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 12:04 PM
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I strongly suggest that instead of flying from Stockholm to Helsinki take the Silja Line overnight ferry from Stockholm. There are other lines but, in my view, Silja Line is the best. Departures are around 5pm to 6pm daily.

In July, with the long periods of daylight, the evening departure ensures truly spectacular views of the Stockholm archipeligo, and the ships are like small liners.

It is far better to go from Stockholm rather than to depart from Helsinki, as the Helsinki archipeligo is not anywhere near as attractive as the Stockholm one, which you would have to get up very early in the morning to enjoy if departing from Finland.

While in Helsinki, try to find time to go to Talin, the capital of Estonia. There are several catamaran, ship, hydrafoil, hovercraft options - personally I always preferred the catamaran, and the old town of Talin is really something.
You can make a day trip of it and, being so close, it would be a shame for you not to see it.

It is better not to go on a Saturday, as a lot of Helsinki residents go across to Estonia to do their weekly shopping as the prices in Talin are far lower there, so the ferries (and the city - which is very small, but equally picturesque) can get crowded at week ends.
DavidSXM is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 12:22 PM
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Cavangal,

I can only speak or Norway and I did the Norway in a Nutshell tour Bergen to Bergen. I then went on the Hurtigruten to Kirkenes but can honestely say the the Norway in a Nutshell 'does what it says on the tin'. Much as I loved my Hurtigruten voyage (I say the northern lights twice!!) the norway in a Nutshell was excellent.

Be careful about booking Ryanair flights. I love them but their flights to Oslo, Stockolm and Helsinki are not the main airports.

Check or flights from both Ireland and England

http://www.flysas.com/Default.aspx?v...epslanguage=EN

www.norwegian.no/

Most of all don't worry about the language as most people will speak fluent English.
cambe is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 01:22 PM
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Take in mind that Ryanair flights to Stockholm is to Skavsta, 100 km south, but from there you can go by same airline to Rygge in NOrway, then bus into Oslo. Ryanair's Oslo is not Oslo byt Rygge, 50 km south or Torp Sandefjord, 100 km south. SAS and Norwegian have direct flight from Dublin to Oslo Gardermoen (main airport)
rjsol is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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I agree about the Silja Line ferry between Stockholm and Helsinki instead of flying. Or a ferry Stockholm-Turku (the old capital of Finland). Turku´s archipelago is every bit as lovely as Stockholm´s, so you could get the best at both ends, and a stop in Äland in-between. Train Turku-Helsinki takes about two hours, and a catamaran Helsinki-Tallinn is just 1,5 hours. Then you could take a ferry Tallinn-Stockholm. That is one possible route.
elina is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 01:31 PM
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Hah, Åland, not Äland. Those two are next to each other on the keyboard.
elina is offline  
Oct 31st, 2009, 07:06 PM
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"I strongly suggest that instead of flying from Stockholm to Helsinki take the Silja Line overnight ferry from Stockholm. There are other lines but, in my view, Silja Line is the best. Departures are around 5pm to 6pm daily.
"


Agree! However, don't expect to get a lot of sleep on your ship. We have done this several times, most recently as last month, and there is a party mentality among some travelers that sleep is the lowest priority. We had the misfortune to be situated right across some all-night screamers.

Nevertheless, it is a pleasant way to go. You can make your reservations here: http://www.tallinksilja.us/

Be careful about Ryanair. Sometimes you get what you pay for: http://tinyurl.com/yhp6zbm

A final word: Don't pass up the dinner buffet on the Silja Line ship. It is really good!
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 03:00 AM
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I lived in Stockholm for nearly 5 years and had a lot of business in Finland - mostly in Helsinki, and some in Turku and elsewhere, and I made the voyages to both destinations very frequently. Personally I prefer the Stockholm / Helsinki route, and I mainly found the 'noisy party atmosphere' on week end sailings.

The ships are 'duty free' and the Swedes and Finns love to drink - particularly when the cost is so much less than it is at home where the price of booze is exhorbitant - so they tend to take maximum advantage of their shipboard time !

Make sure that you get an outside cabin - inside ones can be rather claistrophobic - and, unless you want to stay in the bar areas, or on deck, all night I would be surprised if you have any serious noise problems.

It would be a good idea to check on the web the public holidays in both countries before booking, as in addition to week end sailings, those are the times when you might perhaps find the party crowd.

Do not let the comment made by Orlando_Vic deter you from missing a wonderful experience. You will regret it if you do. Also try to make it to Tallin - as suggested in my earlier post. It really would be a shame not to take the opportunity as you will be such a short distance away when you are in Helsinki.
DavidSXM is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 03:29 AM
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You might want to check out the scanrail pass - it is an excellent deal and the sleeper cars are a great way to get from place to place - the sleeper supplement is only $40 which is unreal for the quality.

We visited Scandinavia in June 2007. We flew into Copenhagen, spent the day there, and then took a ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. We booked it online and in advance and got a great rate (like $70 US pp). Then we spent a day in Oslo,,, spent the night at p-hoteland took the train in the morning to Flam and then headed to Balestrand, where we stayed in this gorgeous hotel
http://www.balestrand.com.

Next, we awoke and took a combination of ferries to Maaloy and stayed in a lighthouse!
http://www.ulvesundfyr.no/UlvesundFy...esund_Fyr.html

Then we ferried to Alesund, which is a beautiful port city. Then we took a bus to the train station and took the scenic route back to Oslo.

From Oslo, we took the night train to Stockholm and spent three days there - one of my favorite cities in the world.

We did this in ten days. Had we had more time, we would have definitely taken the ferry to Tallinn. I thought we really got a bit off the beaten track in Norway and it was wonderful.
puttakka is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 03:53 AM
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I just want to add to what DavidSXM said. Don't let my comments discourage you. I should have mentioned that it was a Saturday night when we went in September. It really is a nice experience, particularly in the summer when you can see such amazing scenery as you pull out of Stockholm harbor and make your way through the archipelago.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
Nov 1st, 2009, 06:21 AM
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Public transport bus, ferry, train, plane, taxi is safe and reliable,
rjsol is offline  
Nov 12th, 2009, 05:13 PM
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I did this exact itinerary, extended over 2 months this past summer. You can absolutely do it independently. And no need to worry about English, including in Finland (especially Helsinki).

To echo previous comments, definitely take the Silja line over the Viking line. I finally took the Viking line to check it out and was underwhelmed.

Here is a good Norway website with slide shows showing you some of the places you may go . . .

TheNorwayFjords.com
http://thenorwayfjords.com

Norway Fjords Photo Gallery:
http://thenorwayfjords.com/Photo-Home.html
NorwayFan is offline  
Nov 14th, 2009, 09:21 AM
  #20  
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With thanks to all for so much encouragement. I now plan doing the trip independently. I will look for flight to Stockholm and after a few days will take the ferry to Helsinki. I looked at a few UK tour companies' itineraries and will follow some of the stops and check out hotels listed. I hope to return from Helsinki to Copenhagen and then on to Oslo and Bergen and will take the advice from this board about the ferry routes and trains. I need some web addresses for booking the ferry and how to look at train and bus schedules. I hope to be able to get this route covered in 14-15days. I greatly appreciate the support I have received here. Kate
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