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Scandinavia Trip -- ItineraryFeedback Requested

Scandinavia Trip -- ItineraryFeedback Requested

Jun 16th, 2011, 08:57 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Scandinavia Trip -- ItineraryFeedback Requested

Here is our proposed plan:

- Day 0: Fly into Copenhagen
- Day 1-3: Sightseeing in Copenhagen
- Day 3 (evening): Overnight ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo
- Day 4-5: Sightseeing in Oslo
- Day 6: Oslo->Flam->Bergen (Norway in a Nutshell)
- Day 7: Sightseeing in Bergen
- Day 8: Fly to Stockholm
- Day 8-11: Stockholm Sightseeing
- Day 11: Train to Copenhagen
- Day 12: Fly home

Too ambitious? Right number of days in each town?
Hotels have not been chosen yet anywhere. Seems hard to find in Copenhagen something that is both good quality and reasonably (by US standards) priced.
pittsburgh is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 05:24 PM
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I haven't been to Norway and its been a very long time since I've been to Copenhagen or Stockholm, but I'll jump in with a few observations.

People differ so greatly in what they want to see and experience and at what pace that it is difficult to comment, but I think this a tight, but very doable itinerary. I like that you are giving Stockholm 4 days +.

Could you fly home from Stockholm instead of Copenhagen? That would save you some time. If so, and if you are coming from Pittsburgh, you might want to add the day to Copenhagen since you'll likely "lose" some of your time there to jet lag. (I think Copenhagen deserves at least 3 full days - again, just one opinion!)

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 01:57 PM
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All cities and virtually no exploration of countryside. However, if want you want is buses, trams, etc. then you will get plenty. For me, I would get a car in Norway and explore the western fjords.
AlwaysOnTheRoad is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 03:16 PM
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Your will be going about the same route as did we a few years ago except we had added days in Helsinki. I guess I'm inclined to more days in Bergen which I love with less in Stockholm. Yes, it would be nice to fly out of Stockholm to save that train trip. And yes, you might explore the fjords further if more time though you have the Nutshell trip plus can see some fjords in sightseeing out of Bergen if you wish.
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jun 18th, 2011, 04:25 PM
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Debating whether or not to do Norway in a Nutshell in one day (Oslo->Bergen) or two days, spending overnight at one of the towns in between. But the towns in between look fairly sparse. Is it worth spending the night, doing some hiking, and then going to Bergen? Or not worth it and instead spend the extra time in and around Bergen?
pittsburgh is offline  
Jun 30th, 2011, 10:54 AM
Join Date: May 2011
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Hi pittsburgh,

we are leaving for our Scandinavian trip tomorrow and we actually decided to spend a day in Flam during the Norway in a Nutshell. I arranged a kayaking trip with a local company that I am very excited about. Not sure how soon you want to plan your trip, but I can definitely let you know about our stop in Flam when we come back on the 13th.
I, as well, encourage flying out from a different city. We are flying in to Oslo and out of Copenhagen and the prices were fairly similar to using the same city.
In Copenhagen, we will be staying at Clarion Hotel Twentyseven. It's not cheap, but it seems to have a good location and also dinner is included and in the end is not more expensive than the other choices we had. Clarion now has a 'book early, pay less' promotion that could save you 20% on the room prices. We used this promotion for hotels in Oslo and Stockholm, but used Expedia for the one in Copenhagen.

Hope this helps!
chicago_bound is offline  
Jun 30th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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What time of year are you planning the trip?

A lot of people cut the Norway in a Nutshell in 1/2 with a night in Flam and enjoy it. It was not something I think my family would have enjoyed so much, simply because it would be too boring -- for them. For me it wouldn't have been boring. They were excited to see all that breathtaking scenery, then spend a fabulous night in Bergen.

For me, if it's in summer, I'd prefer to spend more time in Oslo than 1 day. Oslo is, imo, a very underrated city. There's so much to see and do, and aside from its incredible picturesque beauty, it has stellar art and sculptures! You have to see Munch's the Scream -- the National Gallery is a gem -- made me totally fall in love with Norweigian artists, like Harriet Backer. Then the Vigeland Sculpture Park will just blow your mind! These are just 2 of the killer stuff you can see and do in Oslo!

If you had more time, I'd recommend a trip up to Trondheim, my favorite of all towns in Norway -- where, in summer, you ALMOST get the midnight sun, and if you're there at the very end of July, you can partake in the St. Olav festival -- so much fun! Trondheim has a huge student population and summer is the best time to experience this wonderful town.
Surfergirl is offline  
Jun 30th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Even with a seemingly limited rail travel you should still check out the ScanRail Pass, good on trains in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and also valid on many boats, either for free passage or more typically a 50% discount. Would cover the Bergen to Oslo railway in full as well. Regular fares like between Stockholm and Copenhagen can be, like anything in Scandinavia, dauntingly expensive - some great sites on Scan trains, passes, boats, etc - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. Note this pass only comes in 2nd class but if you wish first class travel, IME with decades of incessant rail travel all over Europe always advisable for folks on the trip of a lifetime - especially if hauling luggage around - then check out the Eurail Select Pass valid Denmark, Norway and Sweden - a 3-country Eurail select Saver (if traveling with others) Pass.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2011, 03:36 PM
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Pittsburg, we are taking almost the same trip for 18 days. I started a lengthy thread on the subject which you can see by clicking on my name. We are breaking up the Nutshell with 2 nights in Aurland which is just north of Flam. Our trip starts next Thursday so of course i am very excited.

Chicago_bound, we are also staying at the 27 in Copenhagen arriving July 20. If your stay is before that I would appreciate any direction on what room to ask for. High floor, in back ect. We have reserved a standard double. Thank you!
InMiami is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2011, 05:29 PM
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Not bad but IMHO rushed - you don;t have time to see much outside of the cities. There ar several day trips you will want to do from both Copenhagen and Stickholm. And exactly when you are going matters. If it's now you will have beautiful long days - later in the year - not so much.

And Scandinavia is expansive overall vs the US. Don;t expect bargains.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 3rd, 2011, 12:21 PM
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don't expect bargains indeed - bring whatever you will need in as sticker shock here has been known to cause cardiac arrest! Denmark is a bit cheaper than the rest - booze in the other three is particularly expensive!
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 11th, 2011, 07:24 AM
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Thanks all for the feedback. I should have added that we are doing the trip in the beginning of July, meaning that we just returned home yesterday!

So, here is my 1st update on the trip -- the hotels we stayed at:

- Copenhagen #1 (2 nights): Scandic Front. Turned out to be a great choice. Short walk from the metro station so was able to go from airport to hotel with just a quick ride + walk. Located one block behind the row of restaurants in Nyhavn. Hotel made sure we got an upper floor room overlooking the harbor and the Copenhagen Opera House. Easily the best view we had the entire trip. They also brought us a complimentary fruit plate our first day that was a nice touch. Highly recommend. Room size was ok. Bathroom was a tad on the small size. But as you would expect in Europe.

- Oslo: Thon Panorama (2 nights). Again, loved the location. Walking distance from the ferry terminal (we took the Copenhagen->Oslo ferry). Walking distance to the train station (we left by train). Walking distance to the pier and Aker Brygge. No view at all from the room (a wall across a courtyard). Room was partitioned into two (bedroom and sitting area). Both were small but comfortable and each had its own tv. Bathroom was extremely tiny and the shower was basically on top of the toilet. So, great location but ok room.

- Bergen: Grand Terminus (2 nights): Again, great location. A 10 second walk from the train station (great at the end of a long Norway in a Nutshell day) and an easy walk into town. Room was very large and spacious which was a nice change of pace. Definitely recommend. Breakfast selection was slightly more limited than the first two hotels.

- Stockholm: Nordic Sea Hotel (3 nights): Again a 10 second walk from the Central Station (easy to take Arlanda Express from the airport). Room was again on the smallish side. Easy walk to all the key Stockholm sights.

- Copenhagen #2: Hilton Copenhagen Airport (1 night): Was upgraded to the executive floor. Much more obvious as an American hotel with a very good sized room and bathroom. Great view over the airport. We stayed there because of an early morning flight. And used the day to instead head our to Dragor instead of back into the city. Was a great decision. Would not recommend if wandering the city but great for its usage.
pittsburgh is offline  
Jul 11th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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am eager to find out about the ferry and train part of your trip - did you do the Norway in Nutshell loop from Bergen - IMO that is one super fantastic adventure.
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 11th, 2011, 10:11 AM
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Here is what we did for transportation:
- Travel to/from US to Copenhagen: Free tickets using frequent flyer miles on Delta. Luckily somehow got an upgrade to biz class for the return flight from Copenhagen to Atlanta. Was less miles to fly in/out of Copenhagen than Stockholm.

- Copenhagen->Oslo: Took the DFDS ferry. Very comfortable ride. Did shell out for the added expense of a commodore de luxe room. Spacious room, bigger than some of the hotel rooms we had. Nice lounge access with free food, drinks, and wi-fi. Only unhappiness was that the restaurants onboard all closed fairly early (we wanted dinner at 10pm and found out that we were out of luck). Definitely a fun way to make the trip between these cities. Would recommend.

- Oslo->Bergen: Did the 1-day Norway in a Nutshell. The 1st leg is a train from Oslo to Myrdal but there is construction currently so it turned into a bus+ train ride. Train had reserved seats (which was nice as you will soon see...). Myrdal->Flam by train. Gorgeous geography and waterfalls. Big negative was how crowded the train was -- standing room only, so we had no seat but at least then we could see the action on both sides of the train. You do get out at one of the major waterfalls for additional pictures and to experience the waterfall. Flam->Gudvangen on a boat. Another lovely set of geography through the fjord. Gudvangen->Voss by bus. No one there to help give info so lots of confusion waiting for the buses but all turned out ok although the rush for people getting on the buses again made us wish there were assigned seats. Voss->Bergen: Easy train ride. Overall, trip was definitely worth it although rushed. Based on what we saw though, we will definitely do another visit to Norway focused on just spending time in the countryside.

Bergen->Stockholm: Found a cheap fare on Finnair. Nothing much to add other than Finnair does not have electronic kiosks at the Bergen airport so if you don't print out your boarding pass ahead of time, you need to wait in line at their counter.

Stockholm->Copenhagen: Found a cheap fare on SAS. Was cheaper and faster than taking a train.
pittsburgh is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 04:26 AM
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You bring back memories of our trip a few years back. Incl. overnight to Oslo, Nutshell to Bergen, etc. About the same route as ours except we did fly to and from Helsinki. Also perhaps more days in Bergen? Was the weather good? We were lucky, in fact, quite warm though in August. So far you haven't commented on what you enjoyed seeing/doing.

Bill in Boston
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jul 12th, 2011, 07:52 AM
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thanks for the Oslo-Bergen Nutshell details!
PalenQ is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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Weather was picture perfect for basically the entire trip. A little rain one morning in Oslo. And some rain during the first train leg of the Nutshell trip. But everything else was blue skies, 70 degrees and perfect. The Nutshell day cleared up nicely and was perfect for the boat ride.

4 best meals that we enjoyed (not ranked):
a) Bergen Fish Market -- 1st time I ever ate whale. Norway allows a limited amount of whale hunting each year and several vendors at the fish market sell it. Had a whale steak for lunch (about $15). Not necessarily memorable from a taste standpoint. But definitely unique.
b) Gondolen (Stockholm): Gorgeous view of the city. Restaurant literally is up in the air overlooking the city giving amazing views. Food was also very good. My opening appetizer of a plate of Pata Negra was a huge pile of ham that made me very very happy. Would have been 2-3x the cost for the same in the US given how pricey that ham is and how much they gave.
c) Cornelia Brasseri (Bergen): Excellent fixed price meal with venison as the entree. But given that this was Norway was one of our more expensive meals ever.
d) ??? (Dragor): Found a tiny little building with a long line. Was selling fish to the locals as well as some food that could be eaten there. We ordered the food that could be eaten. The workers couldn't answer us in English as to what we were being given but they asked their customers and they said cod. Two different dishes -- one was a fairly standard breaded cod filet (fish and chips style). The other was an absolutely magnificent ball of salted cod. Other than the Pata Negra(#2), the single tastiest thing I ate on the trip. No idea what the name of the place was. But located right along the waterfront.
pittsburgh is offline  
Jul 14th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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at the 27 we got a room on the 3rd floor facing the courtyard where they have a bar and we were a bit worried when we saw the earplugs on the nightstand!!! In the end the noise wasn't too bad if you closed the window, which we did. There was more noise coming from the bathroom fan (which cannot be turned off!!!) than from the bar. If you can, ask for a room that's not facing the bar area or is at least on a higher floor. I think it will be a bit noisy regardless, especially with the City Hall clock so close by.
The dinner was very good, but you have to pay for bottled water, unless you buy alcohol so if you don't want to drink, you should go to the supermarket to buy water for a third of the price. there is a Netto supermarket 5 minutes away.

hope this helps!
chicago_bound is offline  
Jul 15th, 2011, 07:33 AM
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And some rain during the first train leg of the Nutshell trip. But everything else was blue skies, 70 degrees and perfect. The Nutshell day cleared up nicely and was perfect for the boat ride.>

ah yeh the fickle sea-climate weather around Bergen - anyone really wanting to enjoy tha fantastic IMO Nutshell trip should build in an extra day or so in case foul weather sets in and if the weather is half clear the first day hop on it!
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 14th, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Found the name of the Dragor restaurant (#4 above): Dragor Rogeri (translates to Dragor Smokehouse). Webpage: http://www.dragor-rogeri.dk/
pittsburgh is offline  
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