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Six week look at Scandanavia, Germany and Austria

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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:28 PM
  #1
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Six week look at Scandanavia, Germany and Austria

Firstly, let me thank you all for the incredibly accurate and helpful advice we received for our recent 8-week trip visiting Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Switzerland and Italy. My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip and had no hiccups throughout. Organising our own accommodation and using trains to get from city to city was definitely the way to go.

Now, for our next planned adventure:

Off the top of our heads we decided on visiting Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Austria - with perhaps a quick visit to Prague on the way through Germany - and cannot be away for more than 6 weeks.

I have visited Germany and Austria before, many, many years ago, but have to confess that I don't know anything about the Scandanavian countries other than Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo are their respective captials.

On our last trip we discovered that spending any less than 5 days in 1 place would leave us wanting. As has been mentioned many times in this forum, the day of arrival and departure do not really count and so we would like to factor in enough time to comfortably see the highlights of our destination.

With that in mind, we are happy to omit a country or city if it makes more sense to leave those places for another trip. In other words, if Sweden has less to offer than Austria, then we can save Sweden for another time. Or if Prague is just another big city then perhaps we could save the whole of the Czech Republic for another trip etc.

As far as Germany is concerned, we plan to visit Hamburg, Berlin and Munich but don't know about other "must see" cities. Eg: Heidelburg, Frankfurt, Cologne, Nuremburg etc etc.

Also, we will again be travelling by train so would prefer to base ourselves in Munich for other sights such as Dachau, Neuschwanstein Castle etc.

Could someone please advise us on the best way to allocate our six weeks on visting Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria and Prague - or some of those countries as the case may be?

Thanks in advance.

Steve
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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The Michelin Green Guides, at least the older ones, offered tours of 3 days, 5 days, a week, etc. for the region the guide covered. The guides for the respective countries might prove useful in this regard.
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Aug 30th, 2012, 12:34 AM
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Hello again. Any Fodorites travelled through Scandinavia recently? We would really appreciate some advice regarding our planned trip.

Thanks in advance, Steve.
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Aug 30th, 2012, 01:39 AM
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Hi Steve, I have traveled through Scandinavia recently and would be happy to give advice. Just let me know what you are wanting to do/what your interests are and I'll do my best
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Aug 30th, 2012, 02:18 AM
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I was in Denmark this past weekend and have been many many times to Denmark (Sjaelland) and southern Sweden.
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Aug 30th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Hello Irishwhistler,

Thanks for the response. Basically, as I outlined at the head of this thread, my wife and I are just trying to understand what there is to see in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. We are also trying to fit in Germany and Austria so if there is far more to see in Germany than Sweden, for example, then we may have to leave that for another time.

We are basically typical tourists. When posters say something like "but the area is very touristy" then it is likely that we would want to see it. For example, when we were in Sorrento we saw Pompeii, Herculaneum, Amalfi Coast and Capri. In Rome we saw The Spanish Steps, Roman Forum, Colosseum, Vatican, Trevi Fountain, Tivoli etc.

So, what would you recommend is best to see in Denmark, Sweden and Norway given we would be visiting for around 20 days?
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Aug 31st, 2012, 12:11 AM
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Well, I didn't go to Norway at all, but the Stave Church in Oslo is apparently quite amazing!

In Sweden, definitely spend a good few days in Stockholm, and if you like an old world feel, try to stay in Gamla Stan itself (I did, and it was amazing waking up every morning to the early sunlight upon the cobbled streets). I highly recommend the Vasa Museum, The Under the Bridges of Stockholm boat tour, the Medieval Museum, The Royal Palace, and you HAVE to watch the changing of the guard! It's quite a scene to behold! The Ridderholmen Church isn't as amazing as I had hoped, though the royal church is pretty good. I only had three days in Stockholm, but really could have done with a couple more, P.S., the Viking Shop "Handfaste" is amazing and also the Viking Restaurant "Aifur" in Gamla Stan. Also in Sweden (though I didn't quite get to these places due to the fact I decided to focus on Denmark) I thought that Visby looked pretty darn epic and also Lund.

In Denmark I stayed in Copenhagen for 6 nights and ended up in the Nyhavn area, which I heartily recommend (the central station area is being dug up currently to build a new metro line). I spent 1 and a half days in Copenhagen itself, though I could have done with more. The other days I did daytrips to Helsingor and Hillerod, Bornholm, Roskilde, and Lejre.

Kronborg Castle at Helsingor is really cool, and so is Frederiksborg Palace on the lake at Hillerod, you could do both in the same day like I did or spend a whole day in each town, having a proper exploration.

Bornholm is amazing! To get there you go on the bus to Ystad, Sweden, then ferry to Ronne, Bornholm. If you could afford it, I would seriously consider spending 2-3 days there, it's gorgeous! I did it as a Daytrip, departing at 7am, back in Copenhagen at 2am and yes, it was a long day...but sooooo worth it! The Hammerhus ruins are spectacular, the vibe is peaceful, and the quaint villages and round churches make the little island very unique and lovely.

Roskilde - to be honest I was a little bit disappointed with Roskilde. Mainly because the minute we got to the Domkirke we were forced to leave due to a baby christening, then upon arriving at the Viking Ship museum we found out that we couldn't row the boats because the places were all filled. It was still a cool museum, but I really really wanted to row a replica Viking ship...

Lejre was fantastic! You get there by train and then catch the bus to Sagnlandet Lejre, which is an experimental archeology centre, with reconstructed Stone Age, Iron Age, and Viking settlements, complete with archeologists who partake in showing off their skills for you. Pretty cool! Afterwards I walked through a forest/field track for another 2km to reach Gammel Lejre or Old Lejre in order to see the place where Heorot (the grand hall in the Beowulf story) once stood. Most amazing thing I did in Denmark! To see the ancient burial mounds, the windswept fields, and the remnant of long ages past was a truly breathtaking experience! I highly recommend it! I just walked along the cycle path from Old Lejre back to Lejre station, past beautiful fields of poppies, and swampy fens. It's great! If you are there, you should totally do it!

I would have liked to go to the Viking Ring Fort at Trelleborg near Slagelse, but I didn't quite have time. And also, would have loved to go to Odense, Jelling, Aarhus, Ribe and Aero, so yeah, Denmark has loads of really cool things to do.

Hope you have a great trip! I haven't been to Germany or Austria, but I imagine they are amazing! Pretty much all of Europe is amazing!
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Aug 31st, 2012, 12:58 AM
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Wow - thanks Irishwhistler,

That's what I call giving me a few recommendations. I will now pore over a few decent maps of Sweden and Denmark and work out some sort of an itinerary.

It's funny you mention Aarhus, because out of all of Scandinavia I actually know several people who liver/work in that area through my own work in Australia. I was hoping to get there just to see them but have since heard that there is a lovely "old town" part of Aarhus that is worth seeing.

You are right about "pretty much all of Europe is amazing!" As I mentioned, during our first trip my wife and I visited Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris, Switzerland and Italy over 8 weeks and it was truly AMAZING! Loved it all and can't wait to get back.

Thanks again for your detailed travelogue and helpful ideas.

Regards,

Steve
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Aug 31st, 2012, 01:18 AM
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Yes, last year I went to England, Italy, Switzerland, and Paris, then this year I was in Helsinki, Tallinn, Stockholm, and Denmark...I quite like Europe and sympathize totally with you over the crazy-long flights (I'm from NZ). And, as you might of worked out...l am a big Viking and medieval enthusiast! So my itineraries usually incorporate anything with a literary connection, anything medieval, and lots of castles/old towns. I'm pleased to be of service.....
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Aug 31st, 2012, 03:21 AM
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I didn't notice what time of year you are travelling. The Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen are a must, it's an old fashioned amusement park with some very old gentle rides, the gardens are beautiful and in the evening when lit up, quite romantic. There are many dining options within the gardens and during the evening they put on an illumination show. The gardens are not open all year though.

The Carlsberg Glyptotek is also very interesting and worth seeing if you like art. They have a cafe set in a lovely indoor garden.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 02:23 AM
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IrishWhistler,

You must have been rapt when they decided to film Lord of the Rings in NZ - right up your alley. BTW, although we all share a love of Europe, my wife and I have been to NZ twice during the past 3 years and it is also one of our favourite destinations. Gotta love NZ!

Odin - what a perfect name for commenting on Scandinavia!

Sorry, I should have said that we plan to visit Denmark in late May next year. And, yes, prior to consulting Fodors, Tivoli was the only place I was sure we would visit when travelling through Denmark. It's all the other places of interest I wasn't aware of.

Thanks for all of your input/help.
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