Independent Trip to Scandinavia
I would like to disagree with the opinion of many travellers who believe that it is best to visit Scandinavia on an organised tour.
This article is not about the ups and downs of organised tours. Every person should decide for themselves what sort of trip is best suitable for them.
This article is intended for independent travellers who have already travelled to different countries on their own, but are worried about doing so in Scandinavia because of distances, because of the roads, because of prices, and especially because that is what their friends have done.
Distances in Scandinavia really are enormous, so it is best not to be overly ambitious and try to see all of it at once. Break it up into three parts: Denmark and the south of Sweden, Finland and south to mid-Norway, and the north, famous for Sapmi and the midnight sun.
taking at least three weeks for a trip that does not
include the north, which will allow you to see
Scandinavia at its finest without rushing. The fjord
area of Norway is without doubt the highlight of the
trip, so dedicate at least a week to just that part.
Don’t move to another hotel every day in order to see
more and more. Stay at each destination for at least two
days. There is so much to see and do. A trip to the
fjords does not have to be countless hours of driving or
riding buses, trains and ferries and occasionally
looking at the view outside your window. A real trip to
the fjords includes hiking along beautiful nature trails
surrounded by waterfalls, walking along the edge of a
fjord, climbing hills, boating in lakes, fishing, and
sitting on the front porch of your place of lodging and
enjoying the view. If you adopt this attitude, you will
not have to drive for many hours and distances will no
longer be a problem.
Roads in Scandinavia can be divided into the ones in the fjord area and all the roads elsewhere. In the fjord area, you will indeed encounter narrow roads, many of them winding and steep. On the way you will pass through plenty of tunnels, bridges, and the occasional ferry when the road suddenly ends. But because traffic is sparse (even at the height of tourist season in the summer), speed limits are low, roads are very well-maintained and drivers are particularly careful and considerate, you will encounter no difficulties driving along these roads. The ferry services are efficient and comfortable and allow for a break from driving. While riding the ferry you can stretch your limbs, have some coffee in the cafeteria, enjoy the view and even play the casino games available in every ferry.
Roads in the rest of Scandinavia are
good, well-maintained, perfectly road-signed, and most
importantly, without traffic jams (except for maybe in
the big cities during peak hours). Believe me, in the
summer months it’s much nicer to drive in Scandinavia
than in France or Italy, with their traffic jams.
Scandinavians speak excellent English and are generally very pleasant and accommodating. Every town has a visitor centre with plenty of information and brochures, all of it for free!
There is also a great wealth of information about Scandinavia on the internet, which will allow you to carefully prepare for your trip.
Opening hours for many tourist destinations are quite
limited, so do your research well to avoid
Living expenses in Scandinavia, Norway especially, are indeed relatively high. Hotel prices are high, as are food and drink prices (alcohol especially) and cigarette prices.
However, the main attraction – the beautiful scenery – is free! Entry fees for various tourist attractions (museums, cable cars, etc) are very reasonable as well.
You don’t have to stay at a luxury hotel. It’s much better to stay at a cabin on the shore of a fjord or at a farmhouse. In many cases, the lodging price also includes free usage of a boat and fishing equipment. As tourist season is very short (just June to August), I highly recommend booking your lodging ahead of time.
You also don’t have to eat out at restaurants daily. You can shop at supermarkets, have a picnic by a waterfall or eat a light dinner in front of a view of fjords and lakes. Enjoyment is guaranteed and your money won’t run out.
It’s worth mentioning that Scandinavia is an excellent destination for families as well. You may not find Disney’s amusement parks here, but you will find plentyof other nice amusement parks (in Denmark especially), gardens, open museums, glaciers, ski ramps and more.
Denmark can definitely compete with Holland in its variety of family attractions, and Norway can charm any child. Not to mention Stockholm, Venice of the north!
In summary: Surf the web, read up, book unique lodging, plan your trip well, take a break from work or school and – without going broke – go see the wonders of Scandinavia!