Our Scandinavia itinerary was born out of our desire to spend a whole month driving around some of the most remote places in Northern Europe. The previous year, we did a road trip in Norway and fell in love with the country. We got to see the gorgeous Northern Lights in Norway and became addicted. It was also during that year that we got to visit Helsinki in Finland and were blown away by its beauty. It was the time when we developed a serious addiction for saunas and everything hygge.
So during this year's summer, we sat down and created this crazy long road trip as a month-long Scandinavia itinerary. We would drive from our home in Dresden, Germany, to Denmark, through Sweden all the way up to Lapland, then cross alongside the Arctic circle to Norway and descent on the fjord side from there, back towards Germany.
It was a natural itinerary, which was not forced in any way, but one which flew organically around these countries. We allocated enough time in all the places which made sense to visit and immerse ourselves in the local lifestyle. The result was a fantastic month-long filled with a lifetime worth of memories. From the cosy towns of Denmark, through the endless forests of Finland, to the dramatic fjords of Norway, our Scandinavia itinerary is full of magic.
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Our Scandinavia Itinerary for a charming Northern trip - Contents
Day 1 - Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Duration: 7 hours 21 minutes
(From Dresden to Nykøbing Falster including time spent on the ferry)
Distance: 510 km
Hotel: Esters House - Click to book
We do recommend this accommodation. For the sake of transparency, we will link to all the real accommodation we actually booked for the trip. We will also tell you if we recommend it and if not, we will provide alternatives for your itinerary so your trip gets better. No trip is without its issues, but we are hoping that we can help keep yours to a minimum.
Esters house was a stand-alone house located in rural Denmark. It came with a large bedroom, sitting area, kitchen and living room. It also featured a beautiful garden. There is a free of charge onsite parking. Breakfast is included and Easter herself brings it out to your home. Please note that this property accepts cash only (in local currency DKK)
Accommodation cost: £87
Additional cost: Ferry cost £100 for one car and two adults
Notes: We left our accommodation in Dresden at around 8 am in the morning. The back of the car was pretty full. We didn't realise how many things we actually packed for a whole month in Scandinavia. A couple of large suitcases full of clothes, our electronic gear including laptops, plugs, cameras, drones... We also packed a lot of food and our pillows. We knew that some locations in Scandinavia won't have bedding so we decided to take that with us. Where possible, we paid extra for it but generally, we do enjoy having our own pillows with us.
If you fly to Europe before this trip, rest assured that you don't need your rental car to be full of stuff. We just wanted to be prepared and have everything we needed for a comfortable month around Scandinavia. Besides, it was the first time we did such a long journey with our own car. Normally we do 2 weeks or so as our Europe road trips.
Day 2 - Møns Klint, Denmark
Duration: 1 hour and 6 minutes
Distance: 64 km
Hotel: Ølholm Cottage - Click to book here
We do recommend this accommodation. It's nice and clean and located just 20 minutes drive from the Cliffs of Møn.
Accommodation cost: £102
Notes: We wanted to visit the Møns Klint for a very long time. As we checked guide books for Denmark, this stunning location kept coming up times and times again. This nature reserve is made of 6km stretch of chalk cliffs, including Aborrebjerg which, with a height of 143 m, is one of the highest points in Denmark. To read more about Møns Klint, click here.
Day 3-5 - Malmö, Sweden
Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Distance: 171 km
Hotel: Best Western Plus Hotel Noble House - Click to book
It's well-positioned and the staff at the reception is quite nice. The rooms, however, do need an update. The breakfast was nice and included in our price. It had plenty of vegan options. We booked the sauna for an hour which was nice and clean. We also booked the conference room for an hour to have a phone call with one of our clients about an upcoming river cruise in France.
Overall, we'd say go for it, but don't expect luxury.
Accommodation cost: £169 for two nights
Additional cost: £35 for parking
Notes: On the first day, we spent our time exploring the beautiful city of Malmö. We recommend seeing the castle and the botanic gardens around it. The streets are pretty hip and cool, with a nice modern design. Typical Scandinavian with a twist of cosy here and there. A beautiful location, perfect for a quick weekend.
However, Malmö can get pretty dull once all main attractions are ticked off the list. There are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants to keep you occupied if chilling is your main aim for the visit. However, we wanted to go on a soft adventure journey beyond the centre and discover some off the beaten path locations. It was a great call because located less than an hour away, was a gem of a town called Kullaberg.
Getting to Kullaberg: 1 hour and 23 minutes by car
Visit the Kullaberg Nature Reserve. Here you can enjoy breathtaking sea views while exploring a unique flora and fauna and you can look for archaeological finds in one of the many caves of the mountain. Go to the Kullaberg Fyr (lighthouse)! This beautiful old lighthouse is the highest lighthouse in Sweden and was built in 1561. More than 200 ships have capsized outside this hill, part of the Kullaberg nature reserve, and many of the wrecks still lie on the bottom of the sea.
Day 5-7 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 2 hours and 54 minutes
Distance: 273 km
Hotel: Hotel Eggers - Click to book here
We 100% recommend this hotel. It comes with a beautiful history and its location is perfect. For those coming by car, please note that you need to park at the nearby shopping mall and get a parking ticket validated by the hotel. Breakfast was included in our rate. There is a large variety of items available, including vegan items and alternative dairy-free oat and soy drinks
Accommodation cost: £320
Additional cost: £13 for parking per night
Notes: We spent two nights in Gothenburg and we absolutely loved the city. For a comprehensive list of things to do in Gothenburg, click here. From lovely museums, through epic coffee shops to adventure time in Universum, you'll enjoy your time in one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable cities in Europe.
Day 7 - 9 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 4 hours and 48 minutes
Distance: 468 km
Hotel: Elite Hotel Carolina Tower - Click to book here
It was clean and pleasant. The breakfast was included in the rate and it was very good with plenty of vegan options. Do note that this hotel is far from the centre so you can either walk for an hour (which is what we did) or take public transport which is fast and reliable in Stockholm. Overall is a good value for money considering how expensive the hotels in the Swedish capital are.
Accommodation cost: £148
Additional cost: £15 for parking per night
Notes: Stockholm is a really great city to visit. We enjoyed visiting some of the museums, checked out some coffee shops and cocktail bars and ate oysters in one of the local bars by the harbour. The old town was much busier than the rest of the city but rightfully so, as it looked truly stunning. Overall you can find plenty of independent shopping boutiques which sell really cool Scandinavian items. We spent a whole day going from shop to shop in search of Swedish brands from indie designers.
Do budget quite a lot for your meal out here in Stockholm. Prices are not cheap for sure. If you want a quick and easy vegan burger, we recommend heading to Max which is the healthier Swedish version of McDonald's...or so we were told so we gave it a try.
Day 9 - Docksta, Sweden
Duration: 5 hours and 8 minutes
Distance: 488 km
Hotel: Röda Stugan - Click to book
Accommodation cost: £115
Notes: A few notes to take into account. If you decide to come to Docksta, remember accommodation here is very scarce so make sure you book well in advance. We recommend spending half a day exploring the Skuleskogen National Park which is nearby. Well, no trip is perfect and we'd rather be honest with you about it and ensure your Scandinavia Itinerary is seamless and great, with no real hiccups.
Day 10 - 13 - Luleå, Sweden
Duration: 4 hours 45 minutes
Distance: 411 km
Hotel: Elite Stadshotellet Luleå - Click to book here
Accommodation cost: £130
Additional cost: £15 for parking per night
Notes: As we started going up, closer to the Arctic Circle, the days also became longer. In Luleå, we experienced no night. We couldn't wait to get to Rovaniemi to experience the midnight sun. A few notes here, it's important to take a sleeping mask with you if you are sensitive to light. Truth is, as there is no dark and the sun sets close to midnight, you will feel almost jet-lagged. It does feel strange to look out the window and see the beautiful orange hues of the sunset at around 11 pm. Your body is tired but your mind doesn't quite make sense of it.
It's a brilliant experience, totally opposite to the polar night which occurs during winter in the Arctic. Luleå is a great place to visit, especially if you wish to enjoy some quiet.
When visiting Luleå make sure to check the Unesco World Heritage-listed Gammelstad, Sweden's largest church town.
Day 13 - 16 - Rovaniemi, Finland
Duration: 3 hours and 1 minute
Distance: 253 km
Hotel: Arctic Light Hotel - Click to book here
We 100% recommend this hotel. It's clean, modern and comfortable. It features free of charge on-site parking at the back of the building. The rate came with breakfast inclusive, which was the absolute vegan breakfast we had in any hotel around the world. From delicious chia puddings, though energising fruit and veg smoothies to vegan cakes.
Accommodation cost: £750 (for three nights in the Christmas Cabin)
Notes: The official home of Santa Clause and a must-visit for anyone interested in incredible nature-oriented activities, Rovaniemi was the highlight of our trip. This is the place to see remote islands, float on a lake and admire the midnight sun in all its glory. Drive through amazing pine forest, interact with locals and create your own crafts and drink bubbly at the top of the hill. Warm-up at a cosy fire and learn about the local wildlife.
Rovaniemi during summer is just as incredible as during winter. Outdoorsy, cool and hip, it offers something for everyone who wishes to immerse in what nature's all about. To read everything about the Finnish Lapland click here.
Day 16-18 - Ranua, Finland
Duration: 49 minute
Distance: 73 km
Hotel 1: The Iconic Wikkelä Villa - Click to book here
Hotel 2: Arctic Fox Igloos - Click to book here
We recommend both accommodations with love! The first hotel is an actual villa located right next to a river surrounded by birch trees. It's stunning with modern architecture and Scandinavian design. The villa features several rooms and seating areas, an interior and exterior sauna and a jacuzzi. It's pretty blissful and epic.
The second accommodation is a glass igloo, perfect for admiring the midnight sun or the aurora borealis during winter. It's cosy, comfortable and also comes with included breakfast. Both accommodations are stunning.
Accommodation cost: The Iconic Wikkelä Villa - £1500 (up to 10 adults) & Arctic Fox Igloos - £360 per night
Notes: Ranua is located less than an hour away from Rovaniemi. It's the perfect place to go cloudberry picking and relax in one of the stunning accommodations located near the town. Many visit Ranua for the wildlife centre which is huge. Animals there can enjoy plenty of space, good food and good care on a daily basis. It's the ideal place to see arctic animals like the arctic fox and the gorgeous polar bear. Click here for an in-depth guide to Ranua.
Day 17 - Arjeplog, Sweden
Duration: 5 hours 48 minutes
Distance: 507 km
Hotel: Simloc Hotel Drottninggatan - Click to book
Quiet and very clean accommodation. Breakfast included in the price and located just minutes from a pub, restaurant and supermarket. There is free onsite parking available as well. We really enjoyed our stay here.
Accommodation cost: £78
Notes: Our stay in Arjeplog was very brief considering we drove almost all day (with stops) to get back from Ranua to Sweden. We went to the local supermarket to make our own dinner and went for a walk around the town. The town has less than 2000 inhabitants so as you can imagine, this is the perfect place to relax. We used Arjeplog as a night stop to rest before making our way to Norway for a cool Norway itinerary.
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Day 18 - Mo i Rana, Norway
Duration: 3 hours and 36 minutes
Distance: 273 km
Hotel: Clarion Collection Hotel Helma - Click to book here
We do recommend this accommodation. It was nice, clean and comfortable with breakfast and dinner included.
Accommodation cost: £137 (breakfast, dinner and free parking on site included in this price)
Notes: Located close to the Ranfjorden, Mo i Rana is surprisingly a popular winter destination, especially before of the nearby ski slopes. During summer we were convinced we'll be the only souls in the hotel, but by 5 pm the whole parking space was full. Turns out, Mo i Rana is at a crossroad for those going North or coming down South. It's a good place to stop and Clarion Collection Hotel Helma is one of the popular accommodations in the town. There are several supermarkets nearby, a bakery and a pizza place. But since dinner was included in our rate, we ate at the hotel. Again, it can get pretty busy, so make sure you are one of the first people to go downstairs for dinner.
Day 19 - Snåsa, Norway
Duration: 4 hours and 22 minutes
Hotel: Revhiet - Click to book here
Accommodation cost: £89
Notes: Without any exaggeration, this was our favourite accommodation in Norway. An independent cottage, with cosy furniture, great internet and facilities to cook dinner and breakfast. The cottage is located on farmland and the owners have their separate house. You can also see some of the farm animals roam free during the evening.
There is free, fast wifi and you get some bikes to explore the countryside around the area. It's very nice, serene and quiet. It was a fantastic location and one which we recommend with love.
On a fun, different note, we always wanted to visit Snåsa because of a joke in one of our favourite comedy tv shows called How I Met Your Mother. It's about Snasa being Secret NASA according to one of the characters (as a joke, of course). Anyway, a bit of a geeky thing to do.
Day 20 - Soknedal
Duration: 3 hours 14 minutes
Distance: 233 km
Hotel: Øveregga Fjellgård - We booked via Airbnb (-> you can claim £25 off your first booking)
Interesting accommodation, really large, but a little bit spooky. Would we recommend it? We think so. It was very big but perhaps not the cosiest. With a real story of hosting several orphan children, some coming from Chernobyl too, with old school black and white pictures, creaky wooden floors and creepy elements, this wins the unusual house of the year. The house itself has lots and lots and lots of bedrooms. I think the owner said it can accommodate up to 16 guests?
Accommodation cost: £52
Notes: Soknedal is in a remote part of Norway. It's not far from Trondheim if you prefer city life a little, but since we already visited Trondheim last year we wanted to try something different and quieter. Soknedal features a few hiking trails which we recommend for a quiet and relaxing afternoon. We booked the house which has a kitchen so we can make our own dinner. There was no restaurant nearby to be able to eat out. Either way, Norway is known to be quite an expensive country so having the option to purchase food from the supermarket can save quite a lot of money.
Day 21-23 - Oppdal
Duration: 50 min
Distance: 55 km
Hotel: Fritidshus i landlige omgivelser - We booked via Airbnb (-> you can claim £25 off your first booking)
We do recommend this accommodation. It's remote, quiet and it has really good internet. We didn't like that we had to pay for bedding but it was ok. As most apartments and cottages in Norway, cleanliness can be improved on.
Accommodation cost: £115
Additional cost: £10 per person for sheets and bedding
Notes: Oppdal is perfect for those interested in hiking. Just one hour from the accommodation we found ourselves on some amazing hiking trails leading to incredible waterfalls. The Oppdal tourism information has plenty of maps you can get and it also has a supermarket to grab some snacks for the road. You can get to the Dovrefjell–Sunndalsfjella National Park and spend a couple of days exploring the area.
Day 23 - Nedre Heidal
Duration: 2 hours and 9 minutes
Distance: 151 km
Accommodation cost: £85
Notes: Last time we visited Norway we fell in love with Dovre Nasjonalpark. So en route to our accommodation, we stopped in the national park for a long day hike. Towards the evening we made our way to the Nedre Heidal accommodation to just cook some dinner and sleep. If you decide to extend your stay, the Rondane Nasjonalpark is also not far away from the accommodation.
Day 24 - Sogndal
Duration: 4 hours and 58 minutes
Distance: 334 km
Hotel: Perhaugen Farmhouse - Book here (-> you can claim £25 off your first booking)
We do recommend this accommodation. It was nice, and clean and offered a fully equipped kitchen and absolutely brilliant vistas of the fjord. The bed was on the small side, but perfect for a couple who likes it cosy.
Accommodation cost: £85
Notes: For this day we really wanted to simply enjoy a long drive with multiple stops. We wanted to spend the whole day driving along fjords and mountains and stop from time to time to fly our drone and take some pictures. This part of Norway was our favourite, and we were really excited to take our time and explore it. In the evening, we stayed in a small and cosy apartment which offered beautiful vistas of the Sogndal Fjord right from the balcony.
Day 24 - 26 - Odda
Duration: 4 hours and 6 minutes
Distance: 226 km
Hotel: Cozy retro apartment just outside Odda town centre (-> you can claim £25 off your first booking)
While the accommodation was decent, we do recommend skipping Odda unless you decide to do the Trolltunga hike. See more details in the notes below.
Accommodation cost: £118
Additional cost: Ferry (approx £15)
Notes: Odda is usually the getaway place for the long hike to the Troll's Tongue (Trolltunga). Odda is well located for other hiking trails too, but we found ourselves needing to drive to get to them. Odda as a town is very small and it features a few sports shops, restaurants and supermarkets. What we found unusual about Odda was the very heavy chemical smell around the town. We later found it was because of The Boliden Odda Zinc smelting plant located just minutes away from the accommodation. As such, we wanted to be honest and add Odda as part of the itinerary if you plan on hiking Trolltunga. Otherwise, we suggest skipping Odda. You could visit Etne if you fancy a long drive or Flåm if you prefer a shorter one before Odda.
Day 26 - Brokke
Duration: 2 hours and 59 minutes
Distance: 195 km
Accommodation cost: £160
Additional cost: £10 in total for bedding
Notes: The area of Rysstad and Brokke are very beautiful. Perfect for walking in the evening, a hike and photographing the gorgeous vistas and fjords. As many places outside main cities in Norway, the area feels quiet and remote which is why we love the country so much. You can literally put a pin anywhere on the map and find yourself in a fantastic location which looks glorious.
Day 26 - Kristiansand
Duration: 4 hours 41 minutes
Distance: 333 km
Accommodation cost: £91
Notes: Kristiansand was our final stop in Norway, before heading back to explore more of what Denmark has to offer. Kristiansand is a port city and we specifically booked an apartment close to the ferry terminal so we don't have to rush in the morning.
Kristiansand has a fantastic fish market and if you are vegan, you can get oysters and mussels and eat them with fresh fruit and veg from the local supermarkets.
Day 27-29 - Aalborg
Duration: 4 hours and 42 minutes
Distance: 286 km
Hotel: Zleep Hotel Aalborg - Book here.
Accommodation cost: £180
Additional cost: ferry crossing from Norway to Denmark £120
Notes: During our time in Aalborg we wanted to visit various locations in Denmark. We visited Skagen and Grenen, which is a natural sandbar stretching out from the mainland, featuring birds of prey & a reef. We also spent time in the city of Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark. We checked Renders and the Randers Regnskov.
Day 29 - Hannover
Duration: 5 hours and 18 minutes
Hotel: Star Inn Hotel Premium Hannover, by Quality - Click to book
Accommodation cost: £52
Notes: We didn't have much chance to explore Hannover. We arrived at 5 pm as there were some delays on the motorway. Tired after the crazy roller-coaster road trip around Scandinavia, we dropped our luggage at the hotel and made our way to a nearby restaurant in the centre. We discovered a Vietnamese restaurant with a gorgeous interior garden and delicious food: An Nam Restaurant.
Day 30 - Dresden
Duration: 3 hours and 47 minutes
Distance: 374 km
Notes: Woaaah our Scandinavia itinerary completed! Back to Dresden where we live. Honestly, we'd do it again, but we now recognise that it can get tiresome to do so many countries in 30 days. Either way, this was a charming adventure which we strongly recommend to anyone interested in doing it.
So this is the end of our Scandinavia itinerary. What do you say? Did we miss something obvious? Would you like to see something else on the lists? Tell us in the comments section below.