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Help Needed Scandinavia - Here we come?


100+ Posts
Appealing to the SlowEurope hive mind. We are thinking about 2-3 weeks in Scandinavia . This would be our first trip there. We are great southern European travelers, but Scandinavia is way out of our usual comfort zone - different food, different language, different culture. We like both city and nature experiences, and would definitely like to see the fjords. Not sure how much is doable in that amount of time. Any suggestions, tips or advice (really ANY) would be appreciated. Hotels, Inns, B&B's, rental apartments are all in play. We can use public transportation or drive depending on what makes the most sense, We would also consider a guide for part of the trip if that is the best way to experience something. Thanks for any help.
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Nearly all Scandinavians speak good English, so no worries with that, unless you are getting into the very far north, as they are less confident speaking English there.

If you are wanting fjords, you need to think Norway. Be warned it is more expensive than other European countries.

Most of the settlement is on the coast and the best way to see it is from the sea.

I've always 'seen' Norway using Hutrigruten. This was originally the main method of communication between all the small towns and villages up the coast of Norway. It runs daily and the round trip takes 12 days from Begen to Kirkenes and back, with 34 different ports of call. Stops vary from a few minutes to a few hour. Those you visit during the day one way are night stops the other way. It really lets you see non touristy Norway - Berlevag at Midnight.
(I've been having a play on their website and they now offer so many different cruises. It took quite a time to find where to book the traditional 12 day coastal steamer one...)

The boats are large and luxurious and although most passengers are going for the cruise, they still provide a freight and passenger service. (You don't need to do the complete trip - you can do one way or join at intermediate points like Trondheim or Tromso for a shorter leg.) Most of the voyage is in sheltered water between the mainland and the chain of islands up the coast. There are just a few stretches of open water - mainly at the top (Barents Sea) that can get rough.

Bergen is a good place to begin and definitely spend a few days there. Also think about doing Norway in a Nutshell - one of the best day trips there is. The ride on the Flam railway is amazing... If you don't want to commit to Hurtigruten, it is possible to do shorter cruises from Bergen. You could also catch the train to Oslo or Trondheim for a few days to see a different place.

Another suggestion could be to spend time on the Lofoten Islands for a completely different experience. Have a look at these websites for ideas of what you could do.



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