Scandinavian cities trip

Jan 3rd, 2010, 11:32 AM
  #1  
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Scandinavian cities trip

After a conference in Copenhagen, we plan on a two week trip to some of the cities around the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland—Stockholm, Helsinki, and Tallinn.

We’d welcome any suggestions or opinions to the following preliminary itinerary.
From Copenhagen, train to Stockholm -5 nights.
From Stockholm, ferry to Helsinki -3 nights, and 1 overnight on the ferry.
From Helsinki, ferry to Tallinn -4 nights.
Fly back to Copenhagen to catch flight to US (round trip ticket) or fly from Tallinn to US (depends on the ticket price).

Some questions are:
1. Are there any quaint, small towns between Copenhagen and Stockholm that the train passes through and that would be desirable for a night or two?
2. Should we rearrange the direction of these cities to coincide with any events? The time period will be midsummer. The conference in Copenhagen ends June 12.
3. Have we allotted a reasonable amount of time for each city, to include at least one side day trip for each?
4. What about St. Petersburg? Add it, or are we trying to cover too much?

Thanks, Kathy
kathleen is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 11:59 AM
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1. I would reduce the days in Stockholm from 5 to 3

2. Two full days in Helsinki is enough to see all the major places.

3. Four days in Tallinn is a lot
( In 2 full days you can see everything if you are organised , the same with Stockholm and Helsinki)

4. With the days you shaved off in Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallinn......... you could do (Do Not Miss) St. Peteresburg.

However, you now have to get from St.Petersburg to Tallinn, whereas

when you are in Helsinki you only have to go across to Tallinn on the ferry.

Tallinn is directly across the Gulf of Finland from Helsinki.

If you have two weeks ,there is no reason to miss the Pearl of this Baltic loop...St.Petersburg
Percy is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Riga would be another good stop. A few hours from Tallinn. Click on the city and then 'instant' for downloads for Riga and Tallinn.Richard www.inyourpocket.com
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Victoria,the Crown Princess of Sweden, is being married in the Cathedral in Stockholm, on June 19. That could present problems with hotels, or perhaps, it would turn into a wonderful experience to be in the city at that time. We were there last September and heard a lot of excitement about the upcoming wedding.Five days in Stockholm would be perfect but perhaps after the wedding.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 02:59 PM
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Also, I imagine that the day trips out to the Swedish family's residence, Drottingham Palace, might be curtailed during the wedding and a trip there should not be missed.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 03:19 PM
  #6  
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Thanks everyone.
Percy, I took some time to reread your trip report. It sounded like you had a wonderful time. I think that we'll need more time in each city since we'll be getting ourselves there and away, and that takes time. Plus we want to go outside each city for a full day trip. That said, you do have a point about including St. Petersburg. We are considering it. We just can't decide. We can certainly add a couple of days--just not sure if we want another large city.

Iris, thought about Riga, but just not that interested and not sure why. It would be a logical addition for the loop trip. The In Your Pocket downloads are terrifie. Thanks for pointing them out to me.

HappyTr, I would like to avoid that wedding day, definitely, since the city might be crazy with tons of people. So if we get there on the 13th--no stopping en-route for a day or two at some small quaint town-- we should be able to depart Stockholm before the wedding festivities begins. And I would like to visit Drottingham Palace, so we'll try to do that soon after we arrive.

Kathy
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 03:46 PM
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From Helsinki you could take the train to St. Petersburg, and then go from St. Petersburg to Tallin and back to Helskinki. That's what we did in 1995, but I understand that the overnight train option from St Petersburg to Tallin is no longer available.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:13 PM
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kathleen

Well if you want to go to places out of town in say Stockholm or Helsinki, then yes, I guess you will need extra days for the travelling.

I saw all the major places in the main cities you listed.

The only places I went out of town was:

To Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm

To Suomenlinna Islands in Helsinki

To Peterhof and Catherine's Palace in St.Petersburg.

I just do not want you being so close to St.Petersburg and not going there.

It is the Pearl of any Baltic Cruise.!

That is why I would rather you cut off a day here and there and see St.Petersburg.

You may be better off just seeing the major city sights in Stockholm ( including Drottningholm Palace)
then Helsinki

then St.Petersburg....then Tallinn ..because
if you
want to see a lot of out of town places, there is no end to the amount of time you will require !

Anyway you know what is best for you .

Good Luck in you planning
Percy is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:18 PM
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I would trade St Pet for Talinin. You could take those days - and if you want take 1 from Stockholm (but I think there is easily 5 days worth of things to do in Sotckholm and surroundings). I really don;t think you can do all of those plus St pet in the days you have - unless you just want a quick overview.
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Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:56 PM
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From Copenhagen you could train to Oslo Norway. Take the Norway in a Nutshell tour to Bergen and back to Oslo.
Train to Stockholm, overnight ferry to Helsinki on the Silja Line.
Take a day trip to Tallin by high speed ferry from Helsinki.
Take a 4 day train tour with Finland Tourist Bureau to St petersburg. We reserved the tour with www.nordicsaga.com. They also got the required Visa for our going into Russia.

You would end your tour in Helsinki. From there you could fly to about anywhere you wanted to go.

We flew to Munich, rented a car and went to Rothenburg and Bavaria. This was on our second trip to Helsinki.
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Jan 4th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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Okay, taking some suggestions, here is a revised itinerary:

1. From Copenhagen, train to Stockholm -4 nights in Stockholm.
The train ride will take up a half day (at least) so it leaves 3 ½ days for Stockholm. Plus we’ll be departing Stockholm at an earlier date (to avoid the big wedding day).
2. From Stockholm, overnight ferry to Helsinki -1 night in Helsinki.
The ferry arrives in the morning so we’ll have most of the day to sightsee.
3. From Helsinki, train to St. Petersburg- 3 nights (Nordic saga tour with return train to Helsinki—thanks for the link Bratsandbeer, that tour might just work for us!), 2 nights Helsinki.
According to the tour itinerary we would arrive back in Helsinki late evening, so staying 2 nights would give us a second full day and evening to sightsee (the first being before the train tour to St. Petersburg).
4. From Helsinki, ferry to Tallinn -2 nights.
We cut this down to two nights, since we’ll have two full days there-hope it is enough.
5. Fly back to Copenhagen to catch flight to US (round trip ticket) or fly from Tallinn to US (depends on the ticket price).

I took 1 night off Stockholm and 2 from Tallinn. (Taking your suggestion Percy) Now, the same number of nights but includes St. Petersburg, (since all of you seem to be strongly indicating that we should not miss St. Petersburg). And actually, I am really interested in the Hermitage Art Museum. With this tour suggestion we’ll have a museum tour plus enough extra time on the final day to return on our own (trading the optional morning tour outing for this repeat opportunity). I know I’ll need more time in the museum. For me, the museum is THE reason for visiting.

NYtraveler I hope, as you say, that I’m not doing so much that I feel like I’m skimping on what each city has to offer. But, I think it will work. I do want to see Tallinn so I can’t drop that one off—I love old, old town areas and Tallinn is supposed to have one of the nicest. By the way, we’ll be in NYC in a couple of weeks for a long weekend—love that city!

I appreciate everyone’s suggestions, so please add any more that you think will improve the trip. Kathy
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Jan 4th, 2010, 06:17 AM
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Yes, Tallinn has a nice old town area - not real large. We were there in 2003 and they were doing a lot of renovation on buildings at that time.

We only spent the one full day there - took the ferry back and forth from Helsinki. I felt at that time that the one day was enough.

Also, we were warned by shopkeepers to watch our cameras and purses. There were groups of Russian boys that would try to take them from you. A group did follow us and we went into a shop to avoid them. That is probably not happening anymore.

Helsinki is great for walking. We stayed at the Marski Hotel and it was a good central location. The first time in Helsinki we stayed at the Hotel Anna - it was a few blocks away from the center - the Marski was larger, nicer and a better breakfast. The Stockmans Department Store is across the street and the Esplande where a lot of shops are. Since you are leaving at 7:30 am (if that is still the same time) on the tour to St Petersburg, you may want to find a hotel closer to the train station. We had no problem walking to the distance to the station that early in the morning, but it is something to think about.

We walked to the Lutheran Cathedral and also the Greek Church in Helsinki. Both are worth seeing. Don't miss the market by the wharf. Hope you enjoy Helsinki as much as we do.

I hope to be going back this year. We have relatives in Finland.
bratsandbeer is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 06:19 AM
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Don't overlook the possibility of simply flying from Copenhagen to Stockholm. Flights are very, very cheap on this route, and would give you some more time in Stockholm.
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Jan 4th, 2010, 07:33 AM
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Kathleen, as a test , I went to the hotel we satyed in last September and put in a range of dates around the wedding. They were booked solid a week ahead of the wedding. You might want to visit Stockholm after the wedding.Victoria is in line to be Queen of Sweden and there was so much talk about it when we were there. I also suggest taking the ferry to Oslo, then on to Stockholm by train or plane.
We spent a week in Stockholm and didn't get to do everything we'd planned. Make sure you go out to Millesgarden, easy to get to with a combination of subway and bus. We're eager to return to Stockholm.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 4th, 2010, 10:20 AM
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kathleen:

You are getting some good advice here ,and I too would say do not miss St.Petersburg.

I am glad you read Percy's Baltic trip report because I think he wrote the "Baltic Bible" (as I refer to it ) for the Baltic Cruise.

Tallinn will be the oldest place you will see on this trip .

bratsansbeer: Thanks for the nordicsaga website .I saved it
jmvp is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 10:40 AM
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Stockholm is lovely lovely lovely (especially in midsummer) but I do believe that three days is enough. There is a ferry/booze cruise from Stockholm to Tallin that is quite affordable (researched it but haven't taken it).
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Jan 4th, 2010, 03:23 PM
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Let’s try this itinerary revision, which is basically a direction reversal. This has us arriving in Stockholm a few days AFTER the big wedding. I think it will work.


From Copenhagen, fly to Tallinn -2 nights.
From Tallinn, mid day ferry to Helsinki -2 nights.
From Helsinki, train to St. Petersburg -3 nights (Most likely through Nordic saga tours with return train to Helsinki).
Helsinki -1 night.
From Helsinki, ferry to Stockholm -3 nights, and 1 overnight on the ferry.
Fly or train back to Copenhagen to catch flight to US (round trip ticket) or fly from Stockholm to US (depends on the ticket price).
Comments??

Thanks for information about including Oslo, but I believe we should limit the destinations to those already listed. (Tempting though).
Bratsandbeer, Thanks. I will check into hotels in Helsinki that are near to the train station.
Jmvp, Looking forward to the charm of old Tallinn.
Usernameismistaken, I think a ferry/booze cruise might be noisy, so probably won’t work. I want my sleep.

I really do appreciate all these responses, and am looking forward to this trip.
kathleen is offline  
Jan 4th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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Thank You jmvp ( hmmm a Bible ,never though of it that way )

Thank you bratsandbeer , I also saved the website.

kathleen:

You have ample time in all the places to see what you want to see.
I like that you are flying to Tallinn, rather than driving or attempting to ferry ( that would be wasting time)

The ferry is easy from Tallinn to Helsinki. Try to get the first ferry in the morning to give yourself more time in Helsinki.

If you are like me and love old buildings and old town walls and towers ....you will like Tallinn.

Before St. Petersburg was a gleam in Peter the Great's , Tallinn was already more than several hundred years old.

Nordicsaga tours in St.Petersburg will show you all the main sites I am sure.

Ah... Stockholm, in my opinion Stockholm is the walking jewel in your whole trip .

If there is nothing more you want to see in Copenhagen, then I would fly from Stockholm to London to USA .

Have a great time , you seem to be all set. ( Yes,now that you mention it I am jealous )
Percy is online now  
Jan 4th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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bookmarking

I just came back from Stockholm and loved it.
I plan to go to Oslo, Malmo, Helsinki, and Tallin on future trips.
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Jan 4th, 2010, 06:56 PM
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I have only been in Helsinki over midsummer. Folks left work early the day before (others took the entire day before off) so they could travel to their lake houses, so the airlines and trains were busy 1-2 days in advance. The day of midsummer eve (does that make sense?) was quiet, but some museums, etc. were open but closed early and others closed all day. Same for groceries and other shops. (My friends said they were all out barbequeing.) Nice to witness the midsummer bonfires, music, dance somewhere like the folk museum island in Stockholm. The next day everything was closed--no city buses that morning, no stores or museums open all day, etc. (My friends said they were all sleeping off the drink + many of them stay up all night.) So, you will want to plan your tourist visits accordingly if you are in Stockholm. Walking around and viewing the lovely waterfront is always open.
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