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Trip Report - Copenhagen & Stockholm in Sept.

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I got some helpful info on this site before our quick trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm (3 nights in each city) so I thought I would do a little trip report.

We flew Icelandair so we had a short layover in Iceland each way. Our flights were on time and uneventful. The food was edible. Really, it was the low airfare I liked the most.

We arrived in Copenhagen and bought the 72 hour Copenhagen Card. It was handy to use on the trains and buses but I'm not sure of it's a good deal overall. I should have researched it a bit more and crunched the numbers. Some places that used to accept the card no longer do (Tivoli Garden, Viking Museum in Roskilde).

We took a quick train to the central station and found our hotel which was located practically across the street.

We stayed at Hotel Nebo and were very pleased. We had the economy triple so the bathroom/shower was down the hall. The room was large and comfortable with a sink and a TV. There was never a wait for the washroom and it was always spotless. Breakfast was included and it consisted of cold cuts, bread, fruit, eggs, cheese etc. With prices what they are in Scandinavia we always ate up at breakfast.

That arrival day we visited the Royal Stables, which have limited opening hours. It was interesting to see the nice digs the horses have, what with the marble pillars and such. One of the horses was getting a massage when we were there. There is also a display of ornate old carriages.

Next up was the DFDS canal tour from Nyhavn. This was very enjoyable and a good introduction to the city. We then went back to the hotel and turned in early the first night.

The next moring we took a bus to the Danish Resistance Museum (free). This was a fascinating museum and I would definitely recommend it. From there we walked though the garden with the big statues and over to the Little Mermaid to take our obligatory picture.

Next, we hopped a bus back to the Kongens Nytorv area and strolled around the pedestrian streets a bit. That afternoon we visited the Round Tower and the ruins from the King Absalon period under the Christiansborg palace.

In the evening we went to the Opera. We had bought tickets online a few weeks before. The bus left from near the train station and dropped us, and a busload of other opera-goers, right at the large impressive opera house. We really enjoyed the opera and we are not opera people.

The next day we took a regional train to Roskilde to see the Viking museum. The weather was beautiful. As it was Sunday, the buses were running infrequently so we walked. It was a nice walk through the town and then through a park area to the museum.

The viking museum was interesting. There is a movie in english - you have to request it to be shown. We took the guided tour as well. And we did the boat trip in the little replica viking boat. I was a tad unsure about the rowing but we had a good little group and it was a lot of fun. Probably one of the highlights of the trip.

On the way back to the train station we stopped in to the cathedral. It was very impressive. Many Danish kings and queens are buried/entombed there.

Back in Copenhagen we spent our last evening at Tivoli Garden. It was their end of season event so it was very crowded. I would say if you're interested in going on rides you should definitely go early in the day. We saw the Tivoli Boys' Guard do their thing and it was kind of funny - a horse had left some droppings behind and the boys were marching right for it. Some did some fancy footwork to avoid it but others stayed in form and stepped right smack in it.

We then found a bench facing the concert hall by the fountains and it turned out to be an ideal spot to watch the spectacular fireworks show at the end of the night.

That was it for Copenhagen. The next morning we were off to Stockholm. Some notes on Copenhagen:

Hotel Nebo is in the dodgy area but it is really only on the edge and the dodgy area is really not that bad at all. Plus, it's handy for catching an early train.

If you're a hot dog afficianado then Copenhagen is the place for you.

Public transit is very ease to use. Use the guidebook with your Copenhagen card to see which bus you need.

Food is expensive but here are a couple of tips. Riz Raz is a place that offers a very reasonably priced vegetarian buffet with good pizza and lasagna. It was a nice "cheap" sit-down restaurant. Cofoco Le Marche (a 10-15 min walk from Hotel Nebo) offers one reasonably priced take-away meal a day. It changes twice a week - you can check online. It is an offshoot of the french restaurant, Cofoco, located nearby. We brought ours back to the room and it was excellent.

One last note on the pricey nature of Copenhagen. As we waited for our train to Stockholm a man asked me for money for a hamburger. I offered him my last 6 Danish kronur. He was terribly insulted at such a paltry sum and walked away. I thought, man, even the beggars are expensive in Copenhagen.

However, we really enjoyed our 3 night visit and wished we had time to see more sights. It would have been nice to visit the castles outside the city as well.

I'll go over the Stockholm part later.

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    I enjoyed reading your trip report.

    My daughter is a high school junior and will be going to Denmark this Spring as an exchange student. Tonight, I'm going to the first meeting for parents, and I imagine that many of my questions will be answered then. But I was struck by your comment on the "expensive begger" at the train station.

    I'd like to get a feel for how expensive Denmark is, i.e., if a hamburger costs $5.00 here, what does it cost in Copenhagen? The students from Denmark just arrived here, and my daughter asked one boy if they had paintball there (I hope she'll get more out of this trip than the ins and outs of playing paintball in Denmark). He said yes, but that it was too expensive to play.... So, your reference to costs is the secong red flag in two days.

    Any information or advice would be useful. Thanks.

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    Denmark has always been expensive. I was an exchange in Copenhagen area in the early 70s and it was expensive then. I went back, almost annually for whole summers, the first decade after coming home from my exchange program, and then the second decade for partial summers. I then took a 10 year absence and when I returned, in the early 2000s, it was REALLY expensive. Smiles. Happy Travels!

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    Sorry for the delayed reply - yep, Scandinavia is pricey. I can't recall exactly how much more expensive things were but, generally speaking, food seemed like it cost at least a third more or perhaps even double what it would be back home. We only had one "sit-down" meal at a restaurant. We were trying to do this week-long trip "on the cheap" as much as we could and it was a challenge. However, we did have a fantastic time.

    After our 3 nights in Copenhagen we took a morning train to Stockholm. I had booked the tickets online as soon as they became available three months before. This was a great saving - the price went way up over time. I took my confirmation printout with me and printed the ticked from the Swedish Rail kiosk at Copenhagen central station.

    The platform was quite a distance from the station and we had to cross the street with our luggage and dodge the many cyclists. One of us was not as alert and nearly got nailed but the cyclist yelled "Allo!" I thought that was a very polite way to say get the hell out of the way.

    The train was a fast X2000 train and we made no changes en route. We had booked three seats around a table. The person in the fourth seat for most of the trip was a friendly Swedish woman with whom we chatted at length about life in Sweden and she shared her opinions on North America.

    Upon arrival we found our way to the subway and onto our stop in Sodermalm. Then it was a bit of a walk down to our boat hotel. When we were researching accommodation I looked for some place relatively central for as low a price as I could find and decided on the LogInn hotel. We had a triple room with its own bathroom. I have to say, my initial impressions were not all that favourable. The vacuum toilet was a tad frightening when it flushed and the air was a bit stale. Of course, you can't open the window/porthole. However, by the third night we agreed that all in all it was an acceptable place to stay (pretty glowing review eh?). On the plus side the breakfast room had a terrific view of the city. The included breakfast was the standard Scandinavia fare - cold cuts and cheese. It wasn't quite as ample as at the Nebo but still more than sufficient.

    Anyway, we had purchased the 72 hour Stockholm card at the train station. We agonized a bit over this as there was also the option of the 72 hour transport card and paying admissions separately. The only activity we did that wasn't covered by the Stockholm card was the ghost walk.

    So by the time we checked in at the boat it was mid-afternoon. We opted to walk to the Old Town. Although I read a number of reviews of the LogInn that mentioned how one could walk to the Old Town, we only walked there once. It's just easier to take the metro we found.

    We took a stroll up the main pedestrian street and then caught the bus that goes out to the Kaknas Tower. I think we got off one stop too early but it was a nice little walk through the woods to the tower. (I think the bus actually stops right at the tower as well). This was a nice activity on a clear evening. There are nice sitting areas up on the observation level and the views are terrific. And as a bonus, in the gift shop at the bottom there was free internet. (There was no internet terminal at the LogInn. One could pay for internet access at the MacDonalds or the 7-11 nearby however.)

    We went back down the wooded path and caught the bus again. Very easy. On our way back to the boat we stopped at a couple of grocery stores and bought food. This was a great way to save on funds while in Stockholm.

    The next day we did the boat tour that was included with the SC. It wasn't an open air type of boat - there were headphones instead of a live guide but it was very interesting and worthwhile.

    Next up we took the bus to the Vasa Museum. Really, this is the highlight of Stockholm. We timed it so we were there for the english tour and the english movie. Both were very good.

    Another quick jaunt on a bus and we were at Skansen - the big open air museum. This place is very big and it would have been nice to spend more time there. We did spend a few hours and visited some old farmsteads and saw lots of animals. Still, there was quite a bit we didn't see and the farmsteads with the folks in costume close at 5 pm (though the park closes later).

    We ended our jammed pack day with the Stockholm Ghost Walk in the Old Town. This had to be booked ahead of time. It was quite entertaining and I would recommend it even though none of us were "ghost tour" type of people. The guide was a real character. It was a good way to see the Old Town in the evening and hear some interesting history.

    On our final day we did the tour of Stockholm City Hall. This is a very impressive building where the nobel prizes are awarded. We cut it close and got there just in time to join the english tour (one can only go around with a tour). Again, very worthwhile to see.

    After watching the changing of the guard (not a "must-see" but interesting) we did something of a museum blitz around the palace in the Old Town. We saw the Royal Staterooms, the Tre Konor Museum, the Royal Armoury and the Royal Mint. By then we were museumed out. The highlight of those would be the Royal Armoury. Definitely pay and get the audioguide. Unfortunately mine started acting up a bit half way through. I mentioned it to the woman at the counter when I left and she gave me a book as consolation.

    We spend the evening buying a few souvenirs on Drottninggatan, the pedstrian shopping street. We found some of the shops on the street had the same stuff for much better prices so it pays to check a few stores.

    Some comments on Stockholm:

    A good cheap meal can be found outside the Slussen metro station, one stop from the Old Town. You can get the special of fried herring and mashed potatoes at "Nystekt Stromming" stand for a good price and it's excellent.

    To keep costs down we did end up patronizing the "golden arches" and Subway while in S'holm but going to the supermarket was both interesting and cost-saving.

    There are a number of ways to get to Arlanda airport. There's the Arlanda Express which costs the most, and the FlyBus which costs less. However, we used our Stockholm cards and took a commuter train to Marsta where a bus to the airport was waiting. The only hiccup was trying to find the right platform for the "pendeltag" (sp?) train - we had to make sure we were on the train covered by the card. But we found it and the morning train out of Stockholm was practically empty. I had read that this was an inconvenient way to get to the airport but that was not our experience at all. However, our flight didn't leave till after 2 pm so we had plenty of time. Perhaps an early morning flight would be difficult that way.

    The public transportation in both cities was great - especially the buses.

    We did jam in a lot of sightseeing and one could have an enjoyable trip spending the week in just one city and of course end up a bit less tired than we did. No regrets though, we enjoyed both. Next time I would budget ahead of time for dinner at a nice restaurant. It would have been nice to do the royal smorgasbord in Stockholm but we just couldn't take the plunge. At that point we were already prematurely thinking about saving for the next trip!

    One final comment and perhaps this goes for Europe in general. This was mid-September, we had beautiful "sweater weather" and the museums were practically empty. It was wonderful and I would definitely plan to go to Europe in September again.


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