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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, We are new to this forum and ordered our first Volvo (S80) in late February. Our travel dates are June 17-July 1, with vehicle pickup on June 19. We want to make the most of our trip (also a 25th wedding anniversary gift), but don't want to be running like crazy (11 cities in 11 days, etc.). We also want the trip to be economical, and are looking to spend about $200 per night (give or take) on lodging. We are nervous about driving our new Volvo too much, but we do want to drive it for at least a few days. The other wrinkle in this is that June 22 is the start of Summer Solstice, so we would have to turn in the car on Thursday, June 21, or keep it through the weekend and return it the following week. We have been driving ourselves batty looking at websites, checking hotel prices, etc. We know we'd like to see the following: Kingdom of Glass area, Stockholm, and possibly Oslo and Norwegian fjords. We are also interested in participating in the Swedish traditions surrounding the Summer Solstice and want to know where the best (if there is one) place to take it all in.
So we were thinking of:

Plan A: flying into Coppenhagen with connecting flight to Gothenburg on June 18 (leaving June 17 from USA); Car pickup in Gothenburg on June 19th, factory tour, museum, etc. and then setting out to a different hotel (Radisson is a bit pricey). Doing a few short trips from Gothenburg as our base (or any other suggestions) and returning the car on the 21st and heading by train to Stockholm by train for a few days. Then heading to Norway for the last part of the trip and flying out of Norway.

Plan B: flying into Coppenhagen with connecting flight to Gothenburg on June 18 (leaving June 17 from USA); Car pickup in Gothenburg on June 19th, factory tour, museum, etc. and then setting out to a different hotel (Radisson is a bit pricey). Spending the weekend with the car doing short trips from Gothenburg or doing a loop with stays at other hotels, etc. Then returning car on June 25th and heading to Stockholm and then Norway (or vice versa) and flying out of either

We are quite novice travelers, and have only been to Europe once (Germany and Austria) as chaparones on a very scheduled trip with some high school musicians.

We love the outdoors and are very active, but also appreciate the arts as well.

Open to any and all suggestions as we are driving ourselves crazy trying to plan this trip!!

Thanks,
Perry and Joanne Smith
 

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...We are also interested in participating in the Swedish traditions surrounding the Summer Solstice and want to know where the best (if there is one) place to take it all...
If you want to experience a traditional Swedish Midsummer celebration the best place to do that is probably some place around Lake Siljan in the Dalecarlia region (swedish: Dalarna).

http://www.siljan.se/en/

There is a very nice village called Tällberg on a hill overlooking Lake Siljan where there are a number of very nice hotells anf B&B's. Most of the hotells and B&B's are old farms that has been turned into wonderfull accommodations, often with excellent restaurants as well. Many of them offer Midsummer celebration packages. It's not cheap, but it doesn't become more traditional than this!

http://www.tallbergsby.com/
http://www.upplevtallberg.se/en/
http://www.klockargarden.com/Rates+and+Hotel+Packages__1033.html/lid/135480

If you happen to be in Stockholm during Midsummer the best place to celebrate is at Skansen.

http://www.skansen.se/grid/sveriges-mesta-midsommar
 

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We just returned (Thursday nite) from our 4th OSD. Here's a couple of thought for you to consider:
1. The Glass Kingdom is outstanding, particularly the cathedral at Vaxjo and the Kosta Boda glassworks/factory store. We love the Kosta Boda Art Hotel, but it's expensive. A more reasonable choice is the Best Western in Kalmar and then taking in the Kalmar Castle. It's also nice sitting on the hotel's terrace on the Baltic Sea.
2. Follow the Glass Kingdom with Copenhagen. Tivoli Gardens are worth the trip by themselves. Consider staying in Malmo and driving the bridge into Copenhagen.
3. You could also head to Stockholm after Kalmar. There is a great hotel that is a converted convent at Vadstena that is about half-way from the Glass Kingdom to Stockholm. For the drop-off fee, I'd drive you car back to the factory rather than a Stockholm drop-off.
 

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I would highly recommend staying at Ronnums Hergard in Vargon if they have availability. Things to do in the general area - Pilane Sculpture Garden on the Island of Tjorn, Lacko Slott on Lake Vanern, and Ecopark Halle-Hunneberg (Royal hunting grounds) near Vargon. If you wish to stay on the water Bjorholmens Marina on Tjorn was recommended to us but we did not stay here - we spent a few wonderful days at Ronnums Hergard.

http://www.profilrestauranger.se/ronnum/
http://www.bjorholmensmarina.se/en/home/
 

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My wife read this and suggested another route. We took this exact route 2 years ago with her 90 year old parents.
1. After picking up your car at the OSD, head to Oslo
2. do 1 or 2 nites in Oslo (expensive town). See the museum area-- Kon-Tiki, Viking Ship, Historical Village. Take the bus or water taxi over to it.
3. Take the Stena Line ferry from Oslo to Fredrickslaven, Denmark. It's at night and will save you a hotel room.
4. Drive thru Denmark. Stop at Odense to see the cathedral and the Hans Christian Anderson museum.
5. End up in Copenhagen. Go to Tivoli
6. Drive back to the OSD in Gburg for drop off.
 

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OK, just to add to your plans - we flew into Copenhagen and stayed for a few days. Great city, rich in history. We then took the train to Gothenburg, got the car, spent the night and then drove up to Oslo and then on to Voss and did Flam railway, fjord ride from the NiN tour. We followed their driving route to get to Voss.

We then went back to Oslo, spend the night, and went back to Gothenburg and turned in the car. Spent 2 days at the Comfort Inn [way cheaper than Radisson] and then took the train to Stockholm. We spent time in Stockholm and flew to Paris, spent 8 days there and then flew home from Paris, via Copenhagen.

Food for thought. We put almost 1000 miles on the car in 5 days. It was so much fun! Enjoy what ever you decide on.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, we have decided to drive the car for the majority of the trip, with the exception of the last 2 days where we'll experience Copenhagen before flying home. Timing wise we need to do that so we can return the car when the factory is open. We do see a lot of advantages to driving the car bases on all the advice on this forum��
 

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I second the suggestion to head north to Dalarna and Lake Siljan - especially at the height of midsommar. We did the Copenhagen, Stockholm trip in 2005 with a new XC90 T5 and it was great, but 3 days in Stockholm and I was exhausted. Headed north earlier than planned and was very glad. Much slower pace and more iconic Sweden feel. The drive from Mora to Oslo is amazing as well.

We're locking in our 2nd OSD trip, and will probably do this route in August with a new XC60:

Gothenburg - 2 days
Granna on Lake Vattern - 1 day
Stockholm - 2 days
Mora - 3 days
Oslo - 5 days
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Getting Closer!
Our itinerary so far is:
June 17 - fly out of Dulles and arrive Copenhagen on June 18 for connecting flight to Gothenburg
June 18 - Check into Radisson - Gothenburg
June 19 - Pick up car. The rest of this day is still in question. have not decided whether we are going to stay another night in Gothenburg or drive directly to Kingdom of Glass area. I'm leaning toward the latter, so this would put us in Stockholm and environs around June 21 or 22.
June 20-22 - ?
June 23 - I have reservations for 3 nights starting June 23 at the Stallmastaregarden Hotel in Stockholm. It was reasonalbe and had good reviews on Hotels.com and tripadvisor. I could adjust the dates on either end.
June 25 - Plan was to either drive directly to Oslo on June 25th or stop somewhere along the way for the night. Any suggestions?
June 26 - I reserved a one bedroom apartment reserved for 3 nights in Oslo at the Gruner Apartment check in June 26 and check out June 29.
Fjords - As far as the fjords go, I will probably give up at least one night (probably 2) at the Oslo lodging to stay over on the fjord tour. In reviewing some of the suggestions on the forum and some of the fjord tour sites, I had come up with the following driving tour. Suggestions/changes welcome:
Start at Oslo
Go to Jostedalsbreen Nasjonalpark, Stryn and walk on a glacier (still researching those opportunities)
Then go to Sognefjorden - not sure what is available there yet.
Then to Balestrand and take the Ferry or Drive to Flam
From Flam, take a train or Ferry or speed boat (still reading up on all the options) to Bergen and then return to Flam
Drive back to Oslo or directly to Gothenburg
June 29 - Return the car in Gothenburg and go to Copenhagen via public transport. I have 2 nights reserved in Copenhagen a the Hotel Du Nord on Friday and Saturday night. We fly out from Copenhagen on Sunday about 12 noon.

Just concerned about the driving in the fjords or if it would be better to take the train for the entire round trip. I think driving would be cheaper, but a bit more challenging (but also more enjoyable). I want to avoid the real "touristy" parts, but don't want to miss out on any of the highlights.


Looking forward to your suggestions. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, we are much closer than a few weeks ago. Most arrangements made - still need to settle on a place in or around Stockholm and a place for the night before we drop off Volvo in Gothenburg.

Picking up Volvo in Gothenburg
Drive to Mariestad area for the night
Next to Stockholm area for 3 nights, and enjoy Summer Solstice in country area around Stockholm
Drive to Karlstad and spent night
Drive to Oslo and spend 2 nights
On way to Balestrad, spend night in Ovre Aurdel
Drive to Glacier hike (on the Nigards glacier)
After hike, go to Balestrand and spend 3 nights doing day trips in the fjords
Go to Flam and spend night, take train to Myrdal and hike back part way (or some variation as recommended in Rick Steve's book)
Drive to either Oslo or Western Sweden for the next night (long drive from Flam to Oslo).
Arrive in Gothenburg next morning and return car
Spend night in Gothenburg and fly out next day.

We tried to keep the driving to 3-4 hours a day with days where there would be no driving. Some of the drives are longer, but we will take our time.
We ended up going from the original 15 days to 17 days.

So far all our bookings have free cancellations, so we have flexibility if we find something more interesting or want to change plans. Only thing that we can't change now (without a fee) is the flights in and out.

We are looking forward to a great time and maybe we'll meet some of you over there!
 

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That looks like a plan! I suggest getting a GPS with European maps installed. That'll make the trip less stressful.
 
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