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Thread: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

  1. #1

    Default Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi folks,
    I'm thinking of travelling throughout Scandinavia around april / may 2011 for 1 1/2 - 2 weeks. Must start & end in Copenhagen though. I've thought of either joining a land tour through the 4 countries or make up my own itinerary and travel either via rail/bus/ferry.

    Any of you been there? i hope april/may would be nice and cool with bright sunshine and lots of flowers .

    As for budget - backpacker style accomodation (cheap hostels) & cheap local food.

    I was thinking maybe Copenhagen - Malmo via the Oresund bride-stockholm-Helsinki-Oulu/lapland-nordkapp (norway)-Oslo-Copenhagen or something like that....

    Any kidn suggestions to itineraries? TQ!
    Hua Hee tu hou la...Happy can liao

  2. #2
    Senior Member SK1968's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackgoddess View Post
    Hi folks,
    I'm thinking of travelling throughout Scandinavia around april / may 2011 for 1 1/2 - 2 weeks. Must start & end in Copenhagen though. I've thought of either joining a land tour through the 4 countries or make up my own itinerary and travel either via rail/bus/ferry.

    Any of you been there? i hope april/may would be nice and cool with bright sunshine and lots of flowers .

    As for budget - backpacker style accomodation (cheap hostels) & cheap local food.

    I was thinking maybe Copenhagen - Malmo via the Oresund bride-stockholm-Helsinki-Oulu/lapland-nordkapp (norway)-Oslo-Copenhagen or something like that....

    Any kidn suggestions to itineraries? TQ!
    If you are young enough, you can buy the SJ train pass. The whole of Denmark, Sweden and Norway can be connected. Not sure about Finland but at least you can also take an overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki (at least that's what I did many years ago) but back then I was already too old to enjoy the discount

    U will see plenty of sunshine and flowers in Denmark and southern part of Sweden, not sure about the northern parts though as the temperature can still be pretty low in the far north.

    Have you considered including Bergen and the fjords in Norway ?

    Btw, back then I planned my trip taking night trains to minimise on the needs for hotels. Food wise, not cheap but if you can survive on hotdogs/bread/potatoes, then you can save quite a bit.
    Last edited by SK1968; 15th December 2010 at 05:35 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi Blackgoddess,

    If travel by rail in Scandinavia.
    Can visit following. rail pass..

    two major thing, Travel guide book, lonely planet or rough guide, good to look hostels and interested places to visit.
    Rail travel time-table Thomas cook rail schedule
    Once thing for rail travel.Their timing are damn Cun cun, arrive and depart.that why need thomas cook rail time-table.

    As SK1968 mention,save some accomadation cost by plan some over nite train stay.
    Unless you visit around interest places near the city or town it worth stay at hostel.

    Bergen and the fjords in Norway can be consider. fresh seafood at bergen on the open market.
    Backpacked 10 years ago on norway,denmark on rail over nite travel.
    On a week bumped same group of japanese youngster backpacker stay over nite at train few time.Wow,they are more cost conscious than me.even i'm in tight budget
    Last edited by KHC; 15th December 2010 at 10:35 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for your info! appreciate it. I went and bought the lonely planet scandinavia guidebook yesterday and started through it. Yeah, it highly recommends the fjords at Bergen and especially the trip from Oslo - Bergen.

    BTW, i saw that contiki sg has a 16D scandinavia trip that covers all 4 - it starts in Copenhagen and ends in Helsinki but kinda Expensive.

    will try to find out more. Thanks!
    Hua Hee tu hou la...Happy can liao

  5. #5

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi,

    I backpacked in Scandanvia way back in 2000 for three weeks in June.
    I used a one-month rail pass.
    Very expensive (more than SGD500) but worth every penny.
    Trains in Scand. are very comfortable.
    For overnight trips, I paid extra to get the sleeping berth. Comfy beds and a small basin inside the cabin.

    I started my journey in Stuttgart, Germany and my first stop in Scan. was Oslo, a 22-hour train journey, hopping trains at the Hamburg and Copenhagen.
    Awesome journey.
    From Hamburg, the train went all the way up to the Puttgarten, a German port at the Germany-Denmark border and the entire train went inside a ferry that carried it across to Rodby in Denmark.
    Inside the ferry, pax alighted the train and went up to the ferry deck to buy food or take in the sea scenery.
    At Rodby, the train rolled out of the ferry and continued its journey to Copenhagen.
    From Copenhagen, I changed to the overnight train (sleeping berth) to go to Oslo.

    I enjoyed the fjords in Norway the best. They are breathtaking.

    Roughly, my itineraries were:

    In Norway:
    Oslo
    Bergen => daytrip to Hardangerfjord
    Flamsbana, one of the most beautiful railway lines in the world. BEST of the BEST! Goes from Myrdal in Bergen to Aurlandsfjord.
    From Aurlandsjord, I took a ferry along Sognefjord.
    Sognefjord, which is now a UNESCO site. BEST of the BEST!
    I recalled studying about fjords in my secondary school geography. To see them in front of me in all their magnificence was simply amazing.
    Alesund-Andalsnes. Andalsnes is a quaint, picturesque little town with reflection lakes.
    Trondheim

    In Sweden:
    From Trondheim to Ostersund.
    Inlandsbanan, the scenic train from Ostersund all the way up to Gallivare.
    Gallivare, a quaint little town above the Tropic of Arctic.
    24 hours of daylight!
    The entire region is the famed Lappland.

    In Finland:
    From Gallivare to Tornio to Kemi to Rovaniemi, where the Santa Claus village is.
    Rovanemi, where you can also find the world's northern most macdonald.
    Savolinna
    Tampere, the second largest city in Finland
    Helsinki
    Turku, where I took the ferry to Stockholm

    Back to Sweden:
    Stockholm
    Karlstad
    Then back to Norway to go to Geirangerfjord.
    I returned to the fjord because I was quite tired of sightseeing cities and towns.
    I craved for natural sceneries after my first week in the fjord.
    I was glad I made this decision because Geiranger was an awesome fjord.
    I hiked up to one of the ridges to enjoy the breathtaking view of Geirangerfjord.

    Back to Norway:
    Geirangerfjord
    Then back to Malmo in Sweden to go to Copenhagen in Denmark.

    Denmark:
    Copenhagen
    Odense, which is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen
    Then back to Germany.

    I was travelling on a super-tight shoestring budget but I still ended up spending more than expected because things were so expensive there. The VAT tax was horrendous (I think more than 20%). Some of the hostels I stayed in even charged extra for the use of hot water. In those frigid temperature, it was crazy to shower in cold water.

    Evidently, my itinerary was rather haphazard.
    I did not have a fixed plan before I started.
    I just know roughly that I wanted to go the fjords, the capitals, Tropic of Artics, Rovaniemi etc.
    Trains run rather frequently so I could easily alter my plan.
    I guess that's the joy of backpacking. Just go where you like, when you like. =)

    I had such a great time backpacking (alone) in Scand. that after 10 years, I could still recall most of the places I have been to. Especially the fjords and Flamsbana.

    Have a blast of a journey! =)

  6. #6

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    I made this trip about 20 years ago. I was in my mid 20's then.

    I set up camp whenever and where I can; back then the law was that you can do it so long you are not a nuisance. Please check this to see if the law has changed. Certain official camping grounds do require a camping carnet, like a Youth hostel card, I seem to recall.

    Just like askaboutlife, I stopped and camped in Gallivare and enjoyed the midnight sun. Do bear in mind that you will NOT see the midnight sun until summer - you are travelling in March/April - and that even with the midnight sun, it can be cold at night.

    Enjoy your trip - if I were young, I would do it all over again.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    I forgot to add - the Thomas Cook Railway timetable is great, but do bear in mind you are travelling in March/April - I believe the train schedules change with the four seasons. So do make sure you buy the correct (Spring or Summer) railway time table.

    I seem to recall that it is published monthly. Sorry about being vague - it was 20 years ago when I was last there.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wormz777's Avatar
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    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi askaboutlife,

    May I ask the total expense for your 2000 trip excluding airfares? Thinking of a similar trip too in next summer. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by askaboutlife View Post
    Hi,

    I backpacked in Scandanvia way back in 2000 for three weeks in June.
    I used a one-month rail pass.
    Very expensive (more than SGD500) but worth every penny.
    Trains in Scand. are very comfortable.
    For overnight trips, I paid extra to get the sleeping berth. Comfy beds and a small basin inside the cabin.

    I started my journey in Stuttgart, Germany and my first stop in Scan. was Oslo, a 22-hour train journey, hopping trains at the Hamburg and Copenhagen.
    Awesome journey.
    From Hamburg, the train went all the way up to the Puttgarten, a German port at the Germany-Denmark border and the entire train went inside a ferry that carried it across to Rodby in Denmark.
    Inside the ferry, pax alighted the train and went up to the ferry deck to buy food or take in the sea scenery.
    At Rodby, the train rolled out of the ferry and continued its journey to Copenhagen.
    From Copenhagen, I changed to the overnight train (sleeping berth) to go to Oslo.

    I enjoyed the fjords in Norway the best. They are breathtaking.

    Roughly, my itineraries were:

    In Norway:
    Oslo
    Bergen => daytrip to Hardangerfjord
    Flamsbana, one of the most beautiful railway lines in the world. BEST of the BEST! Goes from Myrdal in Bergen to Aurlandsfjord.
    From Aurlandsjord, I took a ferry along Sognefjord.
    Sognefjord, which is now a UNESCO site. BEST of the BEST!
    I recalled studying about fjords in my secondary school geography. To see them in front of me in all their magnificence was simply amazing.
    Alesund-Andalsnes. Andalsnes is a quaint, picturesque little town with reflection lakes.
    Trondheim

    In Sweden:
    From Trondheim to Ostersund.
    Inlandsbanan, the scenic train from Ostersund all the way up to Gallivare.
    Gallivare, a quaint little town above the Tropic of Arctic.
    24 hours of daylight!
    The entire region is the famed Lappland.

    In Finland:
    From Gallivare to Tornio to Kemi to Rovaniemi, where the Santa Claus village is.
    Rovanemi, where you can also find the world's northern most macdonald.
    Savolinna
    Tampere, the second largest city in Finland
    Helsinki
    Turku, where I took the ferry to Stockholm

    Back to Sweden:
    Stockholm
    Karlstad
    Then back to Norway to go to Geirangerfjord.
    I returned to the fjord because I was quite tired of sightseeing cities and towns.
    I craved for natural sceneries after my first week in the fjord.
    I was glad I made this decision because Geiranger was an awesome fjord.
    I hiked up to one of the ridges to enjoy the breathtaking view of Geirangerfjord.

    Back to Norway:
    Geirangerfjord
    Then back to Malmo in Sweden to go to Copenhagen in Denmark.

    Denmark:
    Copenhagen
    Odense, which is the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen
    Then back to Germany.

    I was travelling on a super-tight shoestring budget but I still ended up spending more than expected because things were so expensive there. The VAT tax was horrendous (I think more than 20%). Some of the hostels I stayed in even charged extra for the use of hot water. In those frigid temperature, it was crazy to shower in cold water.

    Evidently, my itinerary was rather haphazard.
    I did not have a fixed plan before I started.
    I just know roughly that I wanted to go the fjords, the capitals, Tropic of Artics, Rovaniemi etc.
    Trains run rather frequently so I could easily alter my plan.
    I guess that's the joy of backpacking. Just go where you like, when you like. =)

    I had such a great time backpacking (alone) in Scand. that after 10 years, I could still recall most of the places I have been to. Especially the fjords and Flamsbana.

    Have a blast of a journey! =)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    I can't remember but think I spent about SGD100 per day.
    This amount includes hostel, food, admission tix and local transport.
    Excluded are the fares for air tix, railway pass and long distance buses.
    I din buy any expensive souvenirs.

    I scrimped and saved on food.
    I ate bread with peanut butter almost everyday, haha...
    I also ate MacVites digestive biscuits quite often. It helped to move bowel cos I hardly get to eat vegetables and fruits everyday.
    Main mains were expensive and I ate in a restaurant only once throughout the three weeks. That was in Sognefjord and I still vividly recalled I ate smoked salmon. =)

    Sometimes, I ate fast food. It's not that cheap. I think a value meal cost more than SGD10.
    Once, I bought a Big Mac in MacDonald; I ate one of the beef patties in the afternoon, and kept the other one for dinner. That's the extent I went to save $$$!

    Now, writing about my Scand. trip makes me yearn for another trip there!
    Last edited by askaboutlife; 17th December 2010 at 12:15 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by askaboutlife View Post
    I scrimped and saved on food.
    I ate bread with peanut butter almost everyday,
    I did about the same thing, but I ate mainly plain bread - no peanut butter - and drank tap water. I only ate at a restaurant once during the trip. It was the end of the trip and I had a bit of money left, so I splurged a bit.

    The only "luxury" I bought was a bottle of chilli sauce. After camping and sleeping on the ground for two weeks, I developed a "cold cough." I could not buy and did not know where to buy Chinese Herbal medicine, so I bought a bottle of chilli sauce and drank a tablespoon twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

    It worked only to a limited degree. I still coughed, but not as much. When I left Scandinavia and returned to base, I cooked a pot of chicken curry and ate it over three meals. I was cured after that.

    Bearing in mind I travelled in Summer, I hope this anecdote comes in useful since you will be travelling in Spring.
    Last edited by number2; 17th December 2010 at 02:38 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    I have annotated a map of Scandinavia, indicating the places on my itinerary.

    BTW, from Geiragerfjord, I also made a daytrip to Jostedalsbreen glacier.
    I joined a glacier-hiking tour there and walked on the glacier. =)

    For a higher resolution pic, click on this link:
    http://dwwk4a.bay.livefilestore.com/...ary.jpg?psid=1

    Last edited by askaboutlife; 17th December 2010 at 10:01 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    wow! i was finding people to travel with me and saw that your itinerary includes Oulu? that's when i am now.. what makes u wanna visit Oulu btw?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi number2. Where did you set up camp "whereever and whenever you can?" In towns and cities, where is it possible for you to do that? At the parks? Train stations? It just sounds kinda odd and I am awed at how easy it is to camp and just save on accommodation? I did a recent trip to Australia and it was hostel all the way.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by drumma View Post
    wow! i was finding people to travel with me and saw that your itinerary includes Oulu? that's when i am now.. what makes u wanna visit Oulu btw?
    Hi drumma, actually oulu as a destination was just as a starting reference point for my itinerary. Actually after going through the places and thinking that i don't have enough time, i have decided to cut short on the places that i'm gonna visit. I think by now i more or less have an idea of an itinerary :

    Copenhagen - Skagen - Frederikshavn (to catch ferry to Oslo)- Oslo - Bergen (via trains & flamsbana)- Tromso / Nordkapp (haven't confirm)- Rovaniemi - Helsinki - Stockholm - Copenhagen.

    I haven't found out the transportation details of how to get to each cities though....so far i know

    copenhagen - Skagen = i think got train
    Skagen-Frederikshavn = i think got train
    Frederikshavn - Oslo = ferry
    Oslo - bergen - Train+ferry+train
    Bergen - Tromso / Nordkapp = ferry? the journey takes like 6 - 7 days to tromso and longer to nordkapp. May change if it eats too much time of my trip or just fly to Nordkapp
    Nordkapp - Rovaniemi - Bus
    Rovaniemi - Helsinki - Train
    Helsinki - Stockholm - Ferry
    Stockholm - Copenhagen - Train

    at least i think the transportation mode are what i think they are...i maybe wrong though. well...to be further defined later....
    Hua Hee tu hou la...Happy can liao

  15. #15

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Quote Originally Posted by bunnyrei View Post
    Hi number2. Where did you set up camp "whereever and whenever you can?" In towns and cities, where is it possible for you to do that? At the parks? Train stations? It just sounds kinda odd and I am awed at how easy it is to camp and just save on accommodation?
    Sorry for the late reply, I have been what with Chinese New Year around the corner.

    I did not camp in towns and cities, but I did it in the woods or some vacant land on the outskirts of town. I do not believe it is allowed to camp in the city parks because it is not public land - the park is owned by the city.

    I quote from this site:-

    http://naturetravels.wordpress.com/2...public-access/

    Allmansrätten, or “Every Man’s Right”, is an important part of Swedish cultural heritage, a unique freedom of access to Sweden’s countryside and wild places, and one of the things which makes Sweden such an attractive destination for the outdoor enthusiast.

    It also states that:-

    The freedom to camp wild is one of the great joys of an outdoor holiday in Sweden. You should not pitch your tent on farmland or near a house, and stays in any one location are limited to a night or two.

    Groups of friends pitching two or three tents do not need to obtain permission from the landowner, but as always, you must respect the privacy of anyone living nearby and take care not to damage the natural environment.

    Generally, a good rule of thumb is to ensure that you pitch your tent out of site of people’s houses and do not stay more than two nights in the same spot. Don’t forget to take all your litter away with you (including food scraps –orange peel, for example, can take many years to degrade naturally!). If no other option exists, make sure you bury your toilet waste properly. Choose a spot at least 50m from houses, camping spots, water sources, etc. Dig a hole 15cm deep for your waste and then fill in soil on top. Do not bury non-degradable items such as children’s nappies or female sanitary products.

    This site, wikitravel, also talks about Allmansrätten in Scandinavia.

    http://wikitravel.org/en/Right_to_access


    I remember there was a Inter-rail center in Copenhagen Railway station where inter-railers and Euro-railers could take a hot shower free of charge. But this was some 20 years ago - I presume it still exists.

    There is also one in Trondheim.

    http://www.interrailnet.com/countrie...fits-in-norway.

    Hope this helps.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    Hi,

    Just a couple of suggestions, I was in Norway last September in the Lofoten area it's more on the north and kind of remote but if you like hiking I think it was one of the best places I have been.
    the down side is that there is nothing really cheap in this area, I would suggest to look for camping where you could put your tent, I am not sure if they tolerate camping out of an official camping lot.

    Have a good trip!

  17. #17

    Default Re: Travelling through Scandinavia on a budget

    I forgot to mention - if you are camping, do watch out of mosquitoes in Scandinavia. They are big, and they come in en mass.

    If I remember correctly, in Swedish, the word for mosquito is a plural noun.

    I don't know if they would be out yet when you travel, but I know they are active in Summer. When I was there, I caught a mosquito, stuck it to a postcard with cellophane tape and sent it home as a souvenir.

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