24 Days in Scandinavia from Berlin
In the middle of August 2010, we went on a family trip ,two parents with a toddler that was almost 3 years old, for a motorhome trip in Scandinavia.
We booked the motorhome well ahead from "Motorhome" and we chose a small version (Group C2), because we are a small family and because we learned that the smaller your vehicle is, the less you will pay in ferry rides throughout Scandinavia.
We chose to start the trip in Berlin ,Germany this is not the first option for this kind of trip, but we found cheap flights with and were happy with the opportunity to spend some time in the city at the end of the trip.
Because we had a toddler with us, we planned a circular route, that won't require long rides, which took her interests into consideration. As we look back at the trip, that was a smart choice and we think we covered Scandinavia in a way that was pleasurable both for us and for her.
The landing in Berlin went smoothly and we took a taxi from the airport to pick up our motorhome.
After we checked the vehicle through and through, and got the full explanation of how to operate it, we started the trip.
Since the price of food in Scandinavia is very expensive, our first stop was for grocery shopping in Berlin. Some of the dry food we also brought from home.
Everything went quickly and we headed for our first destination- the border checkpoint in Sassnitz which is in the northern border of Germany, from where we will take a ferry to Sweden.
We spent the night at a small and quite Caravan Park, just near the border, and started to learn what it means to live in a motorhome.
The morning came and we drove to the ferry. The cruise went smoothly - it was a big ferry, with restaurants, play areas for children, rest area and more.
Our first destination is Sweden was the town of Malmo, which lays very close to the ferry terminal, and also connected by bridge to Denmark - if you choose to continue travelling there (we chose to skip Denmark at this trip because of time limitation).
Malmo is a lovely student town, but we didn't find it very interesting. After spending the night there, we hit the road first thing in the morning.
We headed north, in direction to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, but stopped mid-way at Norrkoping. The ride there took us approximately 5 hours -one of the longest rides we had, and on the way we stopped at pastoral resting stops.
The main reason of stopping in Norrkoping, beside wanting to split up the long ride, was the town Zoo, which is the biggest in Scandinavia with more than 750 animals in it.
We spent the night at a caravan park in nearby Linkoping, and at the morning we went to the Zoo. The weather was poor, raining in the morning, but with the help of rain coats and umbrellas we had a lovely time and made the toddler very happy.
After two more hours on the road we arrived in Stockholm, camping there for the next 2 days.
Stockholm is a large city with near to one million citizens, it is very pleasant to walk around and full of attractions. We dedicated the next couple of days wandering around the city – and we found that the Stockholm Card is very good value for money.
You won't want to miss Gamla Stan (the old city) with its beautiful buildings, relaxed atmosphere and a royal palace, the impressive Vasa museum, Carl Milles sculpture park which contains statues in motion, and if you travel with small children - Junibaken museum is especially for them.
After a satisfying stay in Stockholm, we headed in the direction of Norway. The trip there is very long, so we split it to two days. The destination was Lillhammer, which is relatively close to the Swedish border.
There is not much to tell about the way to there – it's approximately 9 hours ride.
On the way we stopped at Uppsala - a pleasant and quite collage town, and at Mora - a town famous for making Sweden's traditional wooden horses.
We spent the night in the middle of the way at Borlange, and at the end of the 7th day of our trip, we've arrived to Lillhammer in Norway.
Lillhammer is a pleasant city, with two main attractions- the big ski jump and the open museum. Both are worth visiting. But we came to Norway for more than this, and we wanted to get to main attractions in the country - the fjords.
On the way there we stopped at Dombas, a tiny town that is dedicated mainly to winter sports, but made a good stop on the long ride north. Along the way, the views changed to green, mountains and lots of water. In any given time you pass through tunnels dag into the mountain sides, and the curvy roads required slow driving. We made a detour through Andalsnes, especially to drive through the famous Troll Way, which has a lot of twists and turns, in each one you can see a waterfall. From there the road continues to "Eagle Road", with spectacular views of the fjord down below. Just a few more miles, and we got to Geiranger.
Geiranger itself is not very interesting, and the main reason to visit there is the cruise into Geirangerfrorden. The fjord is a World Heritage site, and rightfully so.
The cruise is very impressive, and includes the Seven Sisters fall – which was not as impressive when we saw it since the flow was weak (it was the end of the summer).
The caravan park was at a wonderful location, and waking up in the morning to the mountains on one side and the fjord on the other is an experience that won't be forgotten easily.
The next morning we packed the motorhome, which by then has become a second home for us, and headed south towards the glacier at Briksdalsbreen. We settled at a caravan park right below a flowing waterfall and intended to go to a hike up the glacier. Unfortunately the weather was bad, and we had to cancel the hike. However, we got to see the glacier from below, a huge and impressive glacier and the surrounding was worth getting there.
Our general direction was south. We crossed by ferry Sognefjorden, which is the biggest fjord in Norway, but is less impressive due to its size and got to Flam - a small town at the southern end of the fjord. Flam is a charming and laid back town with must-see views. You can walk around town between wooden houses on the river bank. A great way to pass a few hours.
The road continues, and it takes us through the Aurland tunnel -the longest tunnel in the world, measuring at 27 km. Driving through the tunnel gives a slight claustrophobic feeling, luckily the toddler fell asleep on the way. We stop at the impressive Tvinda falls, whose water are drinkable, pass another ferry and settle in for the night at the town of Eidfjord. To make the little one happy we climb aboard a small tourist train which runs through the town and its sites. A lovely experience.
After 3 more hours of drive south, we finally make it to Bergen - the second largest city in Norway, and the most southern stop we will reach in western Norway.
We stop in Bergen for two nights, both since there's a lot to do there and since we needed a break from the road.
The city itself is wonderful - the colorful fish market (don't miss lunch in the market), the colored houses of the Hanse quarter, the Aquarium which is great for children and a cable car ride up to amazing views over the city.
So far we've travelled for two weeks, passing quite a few kilometers and seeing so much flowing water – and still we wanted more.
We say goodbye to lovely Bergen and start the journey towards Oslo - the country's capital. Oslo is located south-east of Bergen, and it took us two days to get there. The views along the way are breathtaking. The mid-trip night we spent in Gol, arriving to Oslo on the second day.
Oslo is a fairly large city with just over half a million residents. It's a pleasant city to visit, but was less impressive for s compared to Stockholm.
Olso is not short on activities, and it's recommended to use the Oslo Pass which provides free public transportation and entrance to museums and attractions around the city. We spent 3 nights there, visiting the many museum and parks. Don't pass on the Kon-tiki museum, the Fram and The Viking Ships museum – all three are impressive. Also the Vigeland park is a must-see with its multitude of status depicting the cycle of life.
Leaving Oslo, we say goodbye to Norway and its amazing views, and pass the border back to flat Sweden.
After 3.5 hours drive we arrive at Goteborg which lays at south-west Sweden. Goteborg reveals to be an impressive town. If you want to experience a few of its sites, it's advisable to purchase the Goteborg Pass. The highlight of the visit for us was the Universeum - a huge science museum complete with a built-in rain forest and many more attractions. A fascinating visit for children and adults alike.
Our last stop in Sweden is at Trelleborg, from which we take the ferry back to Germany.
The road back to Berlin flies by. After 3 weeks of living in our motor home, we're all used to life on the road, and have a hard time saying goodbye. We return the motorhome to the rental company and stay in a city hotel for two more days of end-of-trip shopping, and some mandatory site seeing such as the Holocaust memorial monument and the Berlin Zoo.
To sum up the trip - we've had a wonderful time. The trip was fascinating, breathtaking and inspiring. Travelling with a motorhome proved to be the right choice for us, and made the trip so much easier for us. Having the option to stop whenever and wherever we want, cook our own food and literally carrying your home with you has made the trip very laid back, especially when raveling with a small child.