Scandinavia…a travelogue

https://travelwisesr.com/

Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving..๐Ÿšฒ

These are not my words, but a quote based on Albert Einstein’s wonderful simile comparing riding a bicycle with living happily & successfully ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿ’ƒ And I, just love to follow his theory ๐Ÿ˜

Having traveled extensively within the country on work & pleasure over the years, me & my spouse’s focus in the last three years has been on UK & Europe. Why Europe??? Because we believe it’s the most picturesque & beautiful part of this world, outside our country India โ›ต๏ธ๐Ÿšข๐ŸšŠ๐ŸŒด๐Ÿ๐ŸŒทโ›ช๏ธ๐Ÿ—ผ๐ŸŸ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿบ

When planning an International holiday, we really have two options. Go through a travel company or do it ourselves. I follow the latter option as that helps me have total control, rather than being controlled..๐Ÿšฃ

For me holidays are for cool & complete relaxation & not having to worry about bookings, standing in queues & planning activities to be done..after reaching our destination..๐ŸŒค๏ธ

And what a holiday we had.. flowers, parks, fountains, snow capped mountains, canals, rivers, oceans, islands, beaches, archipelagos, fjords, beautiful landscapes, green cities & countryside, blue sky, the chill, lovely weather with all sunny days, daylight till almost midnight, the historical monuments & landmarks, museums, great architecture, unforgettable train, bus, boat, ship, sailship, steamship & cruiseship journeys, funicular ride, great food & some great music too..So relaxing & refreshing๐Ÿ‘ŒWe could not have asked for more & we did not ๐Ÿ˜Š

Ideally your planning should start in December for a May – June holiday with flight monitoring & booking around early February, when in my opinion fares are the cheapest, followed by Hotel bookings, Visa, Internal flight bookings, Activities bookings, Internal trains/buses bookings & Foreign Exchange purchase, in that order. If you ask me, almost all our bookings for Flights, Trains, Buses, Hotels, Internal travel in different cities & almost all activities are therefore completed before leaving station ๐Ÿ 

I land up doing extensive research to plan & mostly use, based on my experience of last three years, TripAdvisor for Reviews & Information, Skyscanner for Air bookings, Bookings.com for Hotels & also sometimes Hotels.com. While booking hotels, it is advisable to book the ones offering the “Breakfast included” option although you may have to pay a little bit more..but it’s definitely worth it. Also opt for “Pay later at hotel” option.

For activities bookings I use Viator, a TripAdvisor company, because they I believe, have the widest options on offer. Also Viator has offers from time to time which are quite good. But do not forget to search Stromma.com if you are in Scandinavia, for all your cruise & boat tours.They are the biggest company owned tour operators here. I also use Google a lot to cross check with company websites whether they are offering better rates, for direct bookings.

Another tip, look for coupon sites.When you go through them & book, you could land up getting up to 10% discount. Not all coupons work though & so don’t be disheartened if they don’t. Keep trying.. Coupons.com though, works. I have been lucky every time & got 10% off on all activities booked through Viator ๐Ÿ˜Š All the above is to help you get the best deals & save, for the next year ๐Ÿฆ

And now let me share another trick with you which would surely make your next year’s trip more exciting. Since most of your expenses would be through credit card, go in for a Citibank Premier miles credit card or any other card which offers you the option of redeeming miles with flights.You would land up saving a substantial amount from your next year Air travel expenses ๐Ÿ›ซ

Scandinavia has always been one of our dream destinations & hence decided to fulfill this dream this year, although flight & hotel costs are considerably higher than when travelling to other parts of Europe ๐ŸŒ

Some choices of cities like Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen, Copenhagen were automatic & further research of each country at this time in Summer helped me to zero in on Turku, the former capital of Finland & Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden. Tallinn, we always wanted to visit as it is a green country & was also keen to observe the Russian influence, as Estonia gained freedom from Russian rule only in 1991. And Malmo, in Sweden primarily for the marvel creation, Oresund bridge & to get a feel of this small but nice & beautiful city ๐ŸŒ‡

Local travel ๐Ÿš๐ŸšŽ๐ŸšŠ๐Ÿšƒ

You can go in for the 24/48/72 hours tickets which will cover all your travel on buses, trams, metros & regional trains for that period.It’s a must if you wish to roam aimlessly to see the beautiful countryside. It would also cover your Airport to city & back travel except in Helsinki & Stockholm where you got to buy separate Airport Express train tickets to reach the city central station. Individual tickets can also be used which are valid for 90 minutes, but are not very cost effective. But if your hotel is in the City Centre you may not need to buy these tickets as most cities are compact, walkable & in case you are not too particular about experiencing the countryside. In addition if you go in for the 24/48/72 hour Hop-on-hop-off Sightseeing buses, you would have found the best & most economical way of seeing all the prominent & historical locations in every city..

Food & Drinks๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿ”๐ŸŸ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿฅƒ

The options are restaurants with outdoor & indoor seating which serve complete meals.Most food is bread/salad/beef/ham/fish based here along with your choice of beer/wine/liquor. Chicken is little bit of a rarity.

You also have the Chinese/Thai/Kebab/Pizza oriented speciality restaurants.Mcdonalds & Burger King make their presence felt in all cities with multiple outlets & are invariably next door neighbours. They have wide variety of all meat/fish combos & is undoubtedly the cheapest food option.

Then you have the speciality food stores like 7 Eleven, Narvessan, Pressbyran etc. which have wide variety of drinks, beer, sandwiches, burgers, chicken chowmein, chocolates, croissants, Ice creams & delicious range of yummy desserts..Most of these are open 24ร—7..

But Scandinavia is the place for fish, prawn, crab, lobster & you just cannot miss out on this great opportunity. And Bergen, amongst all heads the list with it’s range of delicacies…The streets lined up with shops for you to choose from ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ

And if you are craving for some Indian food, you have Saravana Bhavan in Stockholm, Delhi Darbar/Indian Curry House/ Royal Curry House in Turku, Jaipur/Benares/Aahar in Oslo & Arti in Bergen..There are few in Gothenburg too, but we did not quite like their menu..

Those who have a fascination for hard drinks, it’s best bought in Airports during transit as it works out much cheaper.In addition hard liquor is controlled, especially in Norway. There are limited shops selling it & are closed on Sundays. You can of course find it in almost all restaurants,all the time..๐Ÿ•›

Ready to take the ride..Go ahead..You will find bicycles in plenty in Scandinavia ๐Ÿšฒ๐Ÿšฒ๐Ÿšฒ

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49 Comments

  1. dipudatta says:

    Resulting no doubt from lot of experience and research, a valuable read for first time travelers to the continent.

  2. Ben Butler says:

    I would love to visit Scandinavia one day. I’ve always been fascinated by the geography, the people, and the history/mythology of the area.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      You must Ben.All European countries I have been to are nice. But Scandinavia is God’s own creation ๐Ÿ˜Š

    2. travelwisesr says:

      You would love the change Ben.

  3. Scandinavia is on our list to visit one day. The history and culture is very appealing.

  4. Bill Sweeney says:

    The culture and history of Scandinavia has always appealed to me. I would love to take the family there someday and immerse in the sites and way of life.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      You & your family will love it Bill.

  5. SCANDINAVIA is 10000% on my list of places to travel to, in fact – it’s up in the top 5 !! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Porsha Carr says:

    Youโ€™re so lucky you get to travel to so many wonderful places

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thanks Porsha ๐Ÿ˜Š

  7. I’ve heard that Scandinavia is such a beautiful place to visit. I would love to go one day.

  8. terristeffes says:

    Scandinavia is on my list as a place I want to travel. I love your suggestions so I bookmarked for a future reference.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thanks Terri ๐Ÿ˜Š

    2. Scandinavia Is truly indeed a beautiful place to be I would love to be and have a wonderful experience of such a nice place as this the geographical view of the place is trul am I surly would love to be here.

  9. blair villanueva says:

    I only heard Scandinavia from selected books and heard from many friends how gorgeous this place is, and worth visiting. Maybe they are right, and I should take a shot.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      You’ll love it Blair.

  10. Your photos always takes on the trip along! ๐Ÿ˜ By the way, how were the prawns? Tried any good dish there? ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thanks Snehal.Yes they have a special fish meal in the eateries outside on the streets in the city centre.It was a real feast.The tiger prawns, crab & Salmon were all very very tasty.

  11. artch33 says:

    Wow, you’ve been to many places. Even in Scandinavia. You really do travel well. :0)

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thanks Artch. Traveling is my passion ๐Ÿ˜Š

  12. emman damian says:

    Scandinavia is always a great place for me. I particularly love Sweden. Itโ€™s such an amazing country!

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Yes Sweden is amazing.

  13. Such a beautiful place!! Would love to visit one day!

  14. Tiffany La Forge-Grau says:

    I will go there someday. I have always wanted to see Sweden.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      You’ll love it Wendy. Do plan out & go.

  15. Theresa says:

    I also prefer to book my own activities so I have total control over what I want to see and do once we arrive. You have some excellent tips here for those who wish to do the same.

  16. Erin Knight says:

    I have traveled to Europe a few times and so much like you, I prefer to book my own trips than resort to a tour company. I have never thought of using coupon sites. Thanks fo this great tip.

  17. Kiwi says:

    You guys are always on the go! Scandavia looks pretty interesting!

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Yes Kiwi.The countries to visit.

  18. sjd68 says:

    This is a very helpful read for someone who has never travelled to Europe or Scandinavia before. You’ve covered everything from the air fare, lodging and food! I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavia after hearing stories of it’s beauty and now after following your informative site.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Scott you must. Scandinavia is God’s own creation in spare time. It’s the beautiful. I must go back again because I just visited 2 cities Oslo & Bergen which are very different but very beautiful. But there is much more.

  19. Despite Pain says:

    What a wonderful guide you’ve given here. I’m always pleased to save money, so I really like the tips you’ve included. As always, your photos are lovely, and are really giving me the taste for travel.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thank you Elizabeth ๐Ÿ˜Š

  20. tcleland88 says:

    I plan my trips much the same way you plan yours. I enjoy Europe because of the architecture and history as well as the scenery. I havenโ€™t been to Scandinavia yet, but your posts make me want to plan a trip there in the next few years.

  21. Trish says:

    I’ll be saving your post to refer back to for all these great suggestions for booking an overseas trip.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thanks Trish ๐Ÿ˜Š

  22. I’ve learned so much from reading this post! Just like I do all of your writing. I had no clue that I needed to start planning a summer trip as early as December, or to look at coupon sites for discounts. Your blog has definitely given me an itch to travel again.

    1. travelwisesr says:

      Thank you Erica ๐Ÿ˜Š

  23. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    This is such an awesome resource for first time travelers to the Scandinavian region. I have always dreamed of visiting Sweden and Norway, as I have family members who live there. I will bookmark this post for reference on how to plan for a trip to these beautiful countries.

  24. Anagha Paul says:

    I like Albert’s quote that’s so true. Europe is fabulous place for travelers. I would like to experience going by self booking with this guide.

  25. The history and culture of that region is so appealing and I plan to visit one day. Thank you for an indepth explanation.

  26. I have always wanted to head to Scandinavia. It is so full of history and culture.

  27. I love that bicycle quote and biking through Scandinavia would be a dream come true! I also like to plan trips on my own for the freedom to do what I want when I want

  28. Lyosha Varezhkina says:

    As a passionate cyclist and big lover of travels I couldn’t agree more. Wonderful post, totally makes me aim for more travels.

  29. I agree with you about the beauty of the European countries! I’ve been to 8 so far and am totally mesmerized! I have never been to Scandanavia. You should submit your writings to travel digests! You are so thorough and your photos really draw the reader in!

  30. Alexandra Cook says:

    Such a well-documented post and the photos are amazing!
    I love that in little time you can go from city to somewhere that you can get in touch with nature, culture and a less advanced way of life.

  31. I have heard great things about Scandinavia and would love to visit it. It is certainly an amazing place to enjoy and visit

  32. Great travel info here. I always like using reputable companies when it comes to planning my trips.

  33. Elizabeth O says:

    I’ve been to parts of the Scandinavian region and the terrain is gorgeous and the people very welcoming. It is a great region to travel through.

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