WHAT TO SEE ON A 12-DAY TOUR OF SCANDINAVIA?
Scandinavia is a region of Northern Europe covering Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Visiting all three countries in one trip makes perfect sense as they are well-connected via modern motorways, railways and waterways.
A classic, much-loved route in this part of Europe is a city-hopping trip around the Scandinavian Triangle, the capitals of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. With 12 days in Scandinavia, you could really get to know Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo by spending 4 days in each city.
Additionally, a 12-day tour of Scandinavia gives you plenty of time to venture beyond the Scandinavian Triangle too. You might like to visit other Nordic and Northern European destinations such as Helsinki and Tallinn, the capitals of Finland and Estonia respectively.
Another option is to see more of Norway, travelling from Oslo to Bergen to see the famous fjords. Or you could drive through southern Sweden and the trendy city of Gothenburg.
Here’s one of our suggestions for a 12-day Scandinavia itinerary:
Day 1 - Arrive in Helsinki, Finland
Fly into Helsinki Airport and head to your hotel in the city centre. Try tasty Finnish cuisine at a local restaurant, and see some of the capital’s top sights such as Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral, and the Old Market Hall.
Day 2 - Baltic cruise to Sweden
Enjoy more downtime in Helsinki to visit attractions like Sibelius Park, Finlandia Hall, the Finnish National Opera House, and Parliament House. Then, head to the port and embark on your Baltic cruise to Stockholm, an overnight journey with restaurants, shops and cafés on board to keep you entertained.
Day 3 - Arrive in Stockholm, Sweden
In the morning, enjoy breakfast while watching the scenery all around you as the vessel navigates through the Stockholm Archipelago, made up of around 30,000 islands. After your cruise docks, spend some time walking through Gamla Stan (The Old Town), and enjoy a fika (a Swedish coffee break) with a nice pastry at one of the local cafés in this medieval neighbourhood.
Day 4 - The highlights of Stockholm
Spend a full day in the Swedish capital, discovering the city’s attractions and districts. You could join a walking tour to see the best of Stockholm in a day, taking you to must-see spots like City Hall, Royal Palace and the trendy Södermalm quarter.
Or, a ferry ride will whisk you off to the island of Djurgården, home to the Vasa Museum and Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum. Meanwhile a day trip to the Stockholm Archipelago is a great option in the summer.
Day 5 - Fly to Copenhagen, Denmark
Head to Stockholm Airport after breakfast and board the plane to Copenhagen. Once in Denmark’s capital, take a walk down the city’s popular Strøget street for a bite to eat, or go check out the fun and games at the old fashioned Tivoli Gardens amusement park.
Day 6 - Discover Copenhagen
Soak up the charms of Copenhagen today, either on your own or as part of a guided tour. You might want to visit Rosenborg Castle, the Botanical Garden and Torvehallerne food market. We also recommend hopping on a boat tour to see Christiansborg Palace, the Royal Danish Opera House and the colourful Christianshavn Canal from the water.
Day 7 - Overnight cruise to Oslo, Norway
Ahead of your journey to Oslo, spend the day enjoying more of Copenhagen. Why not make like the bicycle-happy Danes and rent a bike?
You could check out the exquisite Amalienborg Palace, as well as the colourful Nyhavn harbour and the Little Mermaid statue. Later, head to the port for your cruise to Oslo.
Day 8 - Explore Norway’s capital city
After your ship arrives early in the morning, the whole day is yours to roam Oslo. Take a walk to the bustling Aker Brygge waterfront area and visit the Akershus Fortress. Or, head to the Bygdøy peninsula to see the well-preserved vessels at the popular Viking Ship Museum.
If you love art, make sure to take a walk through the delightful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Don’t miss a visit to Oslo City Hall if you want to see where the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is held.
Day 9 - Scenic train journey to Flåm
This morning, go to Oslo Central Station to begin your Norway in a Nutshell® experience – one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Look out the window to see picturesque landscapes and quaint villages like Gol and Geilo.
Change at Myrdal to board the Flåm Railway for one of the top highlights of the entire trip: a 900-metre (half-mile) descent to the picturesque village of Flåm, where you’ll stay for the night.
Day 10 - Norwegian fjord cruise
Prepare to witness breathtaking Norwegian scenery today, as you hop on a cruise that takes you through beautiful fjords. You’ll be able to admire the glittering waters, cascading falls and forested mountains of Sognefjord, passing through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.
Afterwards, it’s an exciting coach and train ride to Bergen via Stalheimskleiva – the steepest road in Europe, with 13 hairpin bends.
Day 11 - Discover Bergen
Known as the gateway to the fjords, Bergen is Norway’s charming second city with plenty of its own attractions to uncover. You can visit the medieval houses of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bryggen, and take the funicular up Mount Fløyen for a panoramic view of the city and fjords.
There are also plenty of museums, shops and restaurants to check out on your last full day in Scandinavia.
Day 12 - Depart from Bergen, Norway
Fly back home from Bergen-Flesland Airport, having enjoyed 12 days discovering the many delights of Scandinavia.
What other ideas are there for a 12-day Scandinavia itinerary?
There are many other ways you could experience Scandinavia in 12 days. One alternative is to detour to Tallinn for 1 or 2 days after visiting Helsinki.
The Estonian capital is just 2 hours by ferry from Finland. Tallinn is awash with medieval architecture, such as the impressive Toompea Castle, the current seat of the Estonian Parliament.
Good to know: Most of our itineraries aren't set in stone, and there are many possibilities for customised routes! We can modify your tour if you'd prefer to arrive in a different city, spend more free time in one destination than another, or add other towns to your trip.
Just ask your Nordic Visitor travel consultant for advice.
How about an 12-day Scandinavia road trip?
On a self-drive tour in Scandinavia, you’ll have the freedom to pull the car over at any attractions that catch your interest.
The best part? You won’t have to worry about where you’re going or sleeping, because your Nordic Visitor travel consultant has already sorted those local arrangements for you. You’ll also have access to our 24/7 emergency helpline should you need to call us at any point.
Your 12-day Scandinavia road trip could encompass a convenient circular route, starting and ending in Stockholm, Sweden. After enjoying the first day of your trip in Stockholm, you would drive south to Copenhagen, Denmark. Break up the journey by stopping off at the charming Swedish towns of Kalmar and Ystad.
After exploring Copenhagen, you could drive up the Swedish west coast to Gothenburg. On the way, it’s well worth making a pitstop at Helsingborg to wander around the picturesque town and take in Kronborg Castle.
Gothenburg itself is a fantastic place to discover. Sweden’s “second city” is known for flower-laden streets, the Gothenburg Museum of Art, and plenty of places to enjoy a good fika.
From Gothenburg, drive north to Oslo, Norway, then spend 2 nights in this capital city.
The final part of your journey would then involve driving east from Oslo back to Stockholm, stopping at lovely Örebro for a night en route. This would allow you to soak up the beautiful Swedish countryside, rural villages, and grand castles and manor houses in this corner of Scandinavia.
Day 1 – Arrive at Stockholm Airport.
Day 2 – Pick up rental car and drive through southern Sweden. Overnight in Kalmar area of Sweden.
Day 3 – Overnight in Ystad area of Sweden.
Day 4 – Overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Day 5 – Overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Day 6 – Overnight in Gothenburg.
Day 7 – Overnight in Gothenburg.
Day 8 – Overnight in Oslo.
Day 9 – Overnight in Oslo.
Day 10 – Drive back towards Stockholm. Overnight in Örebro area of Sweden.
Day 11 – Drop off rental car and spend the night in Stockholm.
Day 12 – Depart from Stockholm Airport.
If you want your Scandinavia road trip to include Helsinki, extend your visit a little longer and spend 14 days driving and cruising around this region of Northern Europe.
All of Nordic Visitor’s Scandinavia self-drive tour packages can be tailored by our local experts with extra nights at select locations or modified driving routes. If you have any particular attractions in mind, just contact us to ask.
Interested in a guided tour of Scandinavia?
To see the region from a local’s point of view and make some new friends along the way, a guided small group tour of the Scandinavian capitals is an excellent option!
You’ll get an enriching experience of Scandinavia on a 12-day small group tour, or you could always extend your trip to see more of the area.
Our small group tours in Scandinavia allow you to get the most out of your trip thanks to the expertise of a local guide. What’s more, you’ll be travelling alongside 16 people at most, so the experience is still personal for you.
Prefer a self-guided tour of Scandinavia?
If you would like to discover Scandinavia on your own but prefer not to drive, then an independent tour is the perfect choice. Public transportation in Scandinavia is fast, reliable and punctual, so getting around by train and ferry is a great alternative to driving.
By opting for a 12-day train and cruise tour of Scandinavia, you’ll benefit from having your itinerary arrangements made for you but with the freedom to spend your days however you please. Nordic Visitor will book all your accommodation and travel tickets between destinations, and you can add on activities too.
Plus, by booking an independent tour of Scandinavia you’ll still be able to enjoy the usual Nordic Visitor benefits. These include access to our 24/7 helpline, a detailed personal itinerary, helpful travel guide and daily breakfast.
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