Norway and Netherlands

Jul 29th, 2015, 04:08 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
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Norway and Netherlands

I could really use some help. we are planning 19 days trying to cover southern part of Norway Stockholm, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Bruges. All I have planned at the moment is our ticket to Oslo and trying to now nail down where to go and what to see. We love beautiful scenery and quaint cities. Our favorite places we have been to Venice,Switzerland and Tuscany-
London, Paris nice but would not want to spend tons of time there. We are not big museum people but like to touch on the main attractions (we are from NY so big cities are not as enticing)
We will be heading to London for Wimbeldon at the end of the trip.
I am thinking to spend 6 days in Norway to really appreciate some of the fjords (do the Norway in a Nutshell and perhaps veer off for a day or two and then hang in Bergen for a few days then fly to Stockholm from there.
Right now I have us in Stockholm for 3 days, Copenhagen 3, Amsterdam 3 and 4 days in Bruges (with side trips to Ghent and maybe Brussels)
I know its a lot to cover but we did something similar when we went to Europe last time and did not feel like we we were running around too much and felt like we got taste of each place which is what we are hoping for here. We know we want to visit Norway and Bruges for sure
So my questions are this...Stockholm, Copenhagen and Amsterdam--are three days enough in each enough, too much --is it worth seeing all three should we skip one are they similar and spend more time in Belgium and Norway? I think they might be different enough that its worth doing all but not sure. Any advice would be appreciated.
We will not be going back -- my H is turning 70 and odds are we will not be making too many more trips like these as they do take a lot out of one. Future trips may be more canal cruises so we want to take advantage of this one and don't mind just doing the "taste" of the country by going to their main cities.
Thank you in advance. I am reading up on all and trying to get more information but would love some first hand info.
Barbara_Mckeon is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 04:24 PM
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While Bruges is charming I think you have too much there and not enough in Stockholm. You can do Bruges and Ghent in 2 days and IMHO Brussels is not worth it

Also - I don't see where you have accounted for travel time - the 1/2 to 1 day it will take to get from one city to another. Is that taken out of the time of the departure city or the arrival city?

I would lay this out day by day so you can see where the travel time is and how much time you will actually have to sightsee in each city.

I have been to all of these places and I would rank stockholm and Copenhagen as my favorite cities, with Oslo interesting but much smaller. But then were aren't hikers/ourdoors people and the 2 days we spent in Norway fjords/countryside were plenty.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 29th, 2015, 10:17 PM
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In Oslo I would really take advantage of Oslo Fjord and its archipelago on your doorstep. And besides NiN there are other tours to the fjords:

Personally, I think Bergen is a much more interesting city than Oslo, but that's a personal preference.

Then: maybe choose either Stockholm or Copenhagen. They're very different cities, but the added benefit of Stockholm is - again - its archipelago: 5 days in Stockhlolm would give you a day, or maybe an overnight on a small island, by ferry.

Brugge for 4 days is indeed a bit long, but you might want to set up camp in Antwerp, not Brussels, and do Gent and Brugge as daytrips and maybe forego Brussels.

3 days in Amsterdam, with traveling and getting to the airport for London, is really one full day. I'd suggest taking a day from Belgium and adding that to Amsterdam to give you two days. One to do a few essential things (canal tour, Anne Frank house, Rijksmuseum and such), the other day to hang out, have a stroll, a leisurely lunch and nice dinner somewhere to round off your entire trip.
menachem is offline  
Jul 30th, 2015, 02:49 PM
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Thank you have both given helpful feedback. I did not plan to spend more than one day in Oslo as I agree based on what I have read Bergen and the west coast is where we plan to stay. I will explorr i the fjord trips as that is what we most want to do and I read many complaints about the Norway in a nutshell tour that the boat part was short crowded and hard to see.
I read so many wonderful things about Brugees that is why I thought we would overnight there and do our day trips from there
I was not even thinking of going to Antwerp but will check it out.
I have travel built into these days so yes you are right there is less time more like 2 1/2 days in those cities that are three.. but we are not going to London from AMsterdam we are going from Belgium so will have 2 1/ days in Amsterdam --the only reason I planned 4 days in Brugge is because I planned the side trips so one day in each and a day for travel but if you think Brussels is not worth it and time would be better spent elsewhere i will take that into consideration,
Thanks for all this food for thought. I will work on exploring more!
Barbara_Mckeon is offline  
Jul 30th, 2015, 03:12 PM
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Many folks are disappointed in Brussels and are satisfied with a quick look - like when going to London on the Eurostar train - just over two hours from Brussels lus you gain an hour on the clock - spend a half day there and end up in London town.

Right now I have us in Stockholm for 3 days, Copenhagen 3, Amsterdam 3 and 4 days in Bruges (with side trips to Ghent and maybe Brussels)>

Id take a day off Bruges and put it in Amsterdam a city with so so much varied things to see and do for all interests (and then some!).

Or scrap the Lowlands and go to Oslo and Bergen instead - the Norway in a Nutshell trip is FANTASTIC - and then fly from Bergen or Oslo to London - the Oslo to Bergen Railway is ubiquitously listed amongst Europe's most dramatically scenic rail lines and Bergen is a sweet town - Oslo a modern city with some neat things of course but if time is limited...

Taking trains - for planning a rail trip in Scandinavia or eslewhere in Europe check these superb IMO sites:; and If traveling on several trains in Scandinavia consider the ScanRailpass which besides trains and boats also gives discounts on many chain hotels in those countries and yes Norway is outrageously expensive IME - Sweden just a bit less and Copenhagen quite a bit less but still pricey - bring everything you can carry in that you will need1
PalenQ is online now  
Jul 31st, 2015, 10:13 AM
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If you do go to Bruges and London via Eurostar from Brussels be sure to get the ABS - All Belgain Stations - fare where for about 5 euros you can take any train from Bruges to Brussels within 24 hours of your Eurostar train - much cheaper than buying a Bruges to Brussels ticket - again could see a bit of Brussels en route - put bags in Gare du Midi lockers.
PalenQ is online now  
Jul 31st, 2015, 03:15 PM
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Great ideas! thank you.. PalenQ we are planning to go to Bergen yes before the lowlands we are flying into oslo spend one day there then taking the norway in a nutshell (maybe) heard many complaints about that ferry ride .. and the crowds and lack of customer service when things go awry wondering if we should just do our own thing. In Bergen seems we can pick up some fjord trips from there and so maybe better to just take the train over to Bergen and possibly stop on route and overnight in one of the cities on the way we would have 4 days in Bergen with some tours out of Bergen. We could do another day in Amsterdam so will explore whant we want to =do there and in Belgium and then determine the days. Good idea about half day in Brussels before the train to London.. since we have been to London before i don't mind losing a half day and taking a later train. Great info re: that fare!! Thank you
Barbara_Mckeon is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 02:39 AM
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When are you travelling? Norway in a Nutshell is just public transport, self-guided, no group - so yes no service and if you do it in the middle of the tourist season there are going to be other people on the same route - but the views and scenery are fantastic. The reviews on Trip Advisor are overwhelmingly positive with just a few complaints about crowds and customer service from people who obviously didn't understand the concept.
There are no cities between Oslo and Bergen and nowhere really worth staying in summer unless you have activities planned. From Bergen you could do Hardangerfjord in a Nutshell - again public transport, no guide, no group but somewhat less crowded as not quite as spectacular.
dyoll is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 03:55 AM
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thank you that is good to know-- there are some recommendations for towns to stay in overnight but not longer than that. I really want a tour where I am on a boat for more than just an hour.
Barbara_Mckeon is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 04:40 AM
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About Bruxelles, please get yourself a guide about it and make an opinion for yourself.
I'm appalled at how many people discard this city, which has wonderful sites and places.
However it is not a homogeneous city and needs preparation to appreciate it.
Maybe that's why ?
Living close to Bruxelles, I've been there a lot of time and it is a nice city.
pariswat is offline  
Aug 1st, 2015, 07:32 AM
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I'm appalled at how many people discard this city, which has wonderful sites and places.>

Have to put yourself in the shoes of a say American tourist who is expecting something more old-worldish - I'd say yes Brussels lures are diffuse and need time to ferret out but th city as a whole and its IMO rather blah modern look turn many off - what with Bruges being one of the most wondrous old-world looking places in northern Europe folks do that first and then if time a quick look at Brussels - but given again any city has its gems just that Brussels' overall look is not a key calling card - at least not in the city center - the broad tree lined boulevards to its north yes - a nice tram ride out there in a leafy neat setting but in the town center since I started going there decades ago amny old buildings have been bulldozed and modern structures as befitting a mjor world and EU capital - arise in their place.
PalenQ is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2015, 05:31 AM
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Interesting all you have both said.. with so little time to see so much I kind of agree with PalenQ-- I am sure there are things to see in Brussels but coming from NYC I am not into big modern cities--If I had time to spare it would be a different story. I do plan to read up on it though and make my own opinion because everyone looks at things differently. I do want to spend my time seeing things that are different from what I see at home.
Bruges was appealing for its old world charm and from the pics I have seen its a place I would love to spend time in.
I have to read up on all the places we are considering but ask others because I have found their input helpful.
Barbara_Mckeon is offline  

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