Deep in Scandinavia

For the past 2 weekends, I’ve been burying my head in everything Scandinavian as part of my research for our upcoming trip in end May. I’m even planning a trip to Ikea next weekend, though it’s hardly going to help me in finalizing my itineraries nor in deciding which hostel to stay at (it’s just an excuse to visit my favorite shop :-P)

By far, planning my trip to Scandinavia has been the most challenging of all itinerary plannings I’ve done before.

It’s even more difficult than planning my 2 months’ Eurotrip back in 2008. I thought after spending 2 months in Europe, I would have been familiar with the system, website resources and train travel that planning this trip would be a breeze.

Oh well, I’m definitely up to the challenge.

As I said before, planning a trip to me is more than half the fun. I truly enjoy reading countless of Frommer’s and Lonely Planet and Rick Steves’ as part of the process.

 

Here are some of the reasons why I find Scandinavia to be a challenging itinerary to plan:

1. Geography

With plenty of waters between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, rail travel is not as straight-forward as in Central Europe. The vastness of Norway & Sweden (especially the northern part) is no joke. Be prepared to spend long overnight train trips if you intend to visit these places.

However, don’t let this put you off visiting northern Norway or Sweden. Crossing the arctic circle and witnessing the midnight sun in the summer or the aurea borealis in the winter are worth spending 12 hours on an overnight train. If you have the budget, I would suggest flying instead. Visit SAS for regional flights between Scandinavian cities.

For Norway especially, the landscape seen in the northern part of the country is quite different from the greenery of the countryside and the fjords that you see in the southern part of the country.

2. Cost

People always say that Japan is one of the most expensive countries to visit in the world.

I think those who say this have never been to Scandinavia πŸ™‚

Finding an affordable yet not too shabby accommodation is going to give me (pleasant) headaches for the next few weekends.

I had no difficulty at all in finding a good & clean hostel room with a private ensuite bathroom for not more than SGD60/person/night in the cities that we visited during our Japan trip last year. And that included Tokyo and Kyoto, 2 of the biggest cities in Japan.

In Denmark, for SGD150/night, you only get a double room in a hostel with a shared bathroom & toilet. In fact, I rarely come across hostels in Scandinavia that offer rooms with ensuite bathroom.

And that’s only accommodation. Don’t get me started on transportation, admission to attractions, and so on and so forth.

3. Time

We only have 2 weeks and we already have to give Finland a miss this time.

Between Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, I really have a hard time deciding which places to visit and which ones to give a miss. On the other hand, I need to ensure the itineraries are not too packed and still allow us some time to wander around and get lost (this is the most fun part of traveling, in my opinion :-P)

I’m already secretly tempted to extend our 2 weeks’ trip by myself since my husband will need to go back to work while I won’t πŸ˜‰

Oh well, I guess there will be a next time surely πŸ™‚

 

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