Scandinavia at the end of August and early September is such a great time. The weather is still mostly gorgeous, the crowds and prices are less. This time last year, we were just coming home from Scandinavia with our almost two year old. (*sheds a tear*). While we won’t be jumping on a plane to Europe anytime soon, I wanted to document our trip. Today I’m sharing a few of our Scandinavia travel adventures. Some pictures, Scandinavia itinerary, and our Copenhagen, Stockholm and Norway trip cost for two adults and a toddler over 18 days.
Our Scandinavia Itinerary: 18 Days
- inflight – 1 night (flight left at 7p, arrived in Reykjavik 10am local time/ 3am PDX time)
- Day 1: Reykjavik, Iceland (1 night)
- Day 2-7: Copenhagen, Denmark (5 nights)
- Day 8-9: Bergen, Norway (2 nights)
- Day 10-11: Flam/Aurland – Fjords of Norway (2 nights)
- Day 12: Oslo, Norway (1 night)
- Day 13-18: Stockholm (5 nights)
Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Norway with Kids
We stayed one step ahead of the rainy weather, in Copenhagen. And had a lovely few days of 80 degrees and sunshine to explore the city and many parks. In Norway, we had some wild rains and storms and forecast for snow (that never showed up) while we were in the fjords. But it was still a memorable and gorgeous country. By the time we reached Sweden, we had a mix of rain and sunshine. And we got a great feel for end of summer Swedish style.
Coming from the Pacific Northwest, we felt very at home in Scandinavia. I love how they prioritize and value the outdoors. Of course their design sense is off the charts. And all three countries have so much life geared toward families.
Family Friendly Countries
Scandinavia is the most family friendly place we’ve ever traveled. And not “family friendly” as in oh here’s an ugly “kids” play area. Family friendly as in they just expect that families exist. It’s evident that they acknowledge that children and families are essential to the community and will be out and about in society. You don’t feel like an afterthought or a burden to everyone around you. It’s hard to explain.
On the train from the fjords to Oslo, there was a whole train car dedicated to families. With a little playground area! They also passed out activity kits with colored pencils etc. Taking the bus in Stockholm, if you have a stroller, you can board and ride the bus for free. Going to restaurants, people seemed to appreciate and it’s just normalized that you have a kid. Everyone is out biking with their babies and young children. Even in the cobblestoned sections of sidewalk, there were 2 tracks of flat smooth stones for strollers and wheelchairs etc. If I lived in Scandinavia, I probably would have felt like having children earlier in life was more accessible to me. And having more than one child also seems like less of a burden in Scandinavia. But today, let’s talk about our itinerary and travel cost.
Flights: $0 (would have been $1,493 total without points)
We purchased roundtrip tickets from Portland to Copenhagen for 18 days with a stopover in Iceland. Then figured out the rest of our itinerary from there. We had some mileage points saved up, but the fares were a great deal regardless. And it would have been less than $1500 if not. 2 adult fares at $684 each, and 22 month old (taxes and fees only) $125.
We planned this trip to get one last adventure in with a lap “infant”. We still had to pay the taxes and fees for his flight, but this saved us a bunch of money. And we ended up having a free seat as the flights weren’t fully booked. Thanks travel gods!
Airbnb & Hotels: $2,708 or $169/night
- Iceland Hotel – $0, used points
- Copenhagen Airbnb – $947 for 5 nights
- Bergen Airbnb – $353 for 2 nights
- Flam/Aurland Airbnb – $287 for 2 nights
- Oslo Hotel – $201 for 1 night
- Stockholm Airbnb – $921 for 5 nights
In-country travel: regional flights, trains, etc
We DIY-ed our own “Norway in a Nutshell” tour flying into Bergen. Instead of just zipping through from Bergen to Oslo in one day, we wanted to stay a few nights in the fjords area. The Rick Steves Scandinavia guide book was really helpful in figuring out more information for our route and outlining some of the basic info for the Norway in a nutshell route. It’s popular for a reason!
We also made the decision to travel without a carseat. Scandinavia has great public transit and we walked around the cities with our travel stroller. And in Copenhagen we rented bikes (with a baby seat on back of one) for our stay. Scandinavia was very safety conscious and the busses that go through the fjords are required to have a car seat on board. So it was all ready to go for us when we boarded.
The only issue we had with not bringing a carseat was feeling like we couldn’t just book a taxi or Uber on a whim. But we knew that setting off most days. Like “ok we will catch this bus later”, or “oh if we keep walking in this direction, it will be a 2 mile walk home”. We did use a taxi to get both to and from the airport in Stockholm. And they had carseat available. We had to wait for a car that had one to get to the city, and had to call and make sure to schedule a carseat for our pickup to go to the airport.
Regional Flights: $665
These flights really added up. Comparatively though it was still a good deal, as we would have spent more if we had changed our flight to fly open jaw (into Copenhagen and out of Stockholm), or rented a car for some it.
We didn’t set a specific budget for food. I generally like to have a calculation for travel to kind of estimate, assuming some groceries since we had Airbnb kitchens and some dining out. Our estimate for Scandinavia looked like this/per day/per person (not counting our kiddo):
This adds up to $40/day per person for food or $60/day including sights (to me food kind of counts as a sight). So $80/day total for food for two adults. We didn’t order our two year old his own meals at restaurants. Instead, we made sure that he would be interested in one of the meals that we ordered. And we had snacks along just in case. This strategy worked great for this age, where they will often take zero to 1 bite of a meal if it’s designated as their own. We ended up spending $86/day for food.
We spent a lot less on sights since there’s so much free to do. And with a toddler along we spent a lot of time in parks and enjoying the weather. I could write a whole post about all the amazing parks and playgrounds we visited. If we had been solo, we might have gone to a few more ticketed sights, museums, concerts, or fancier restaurants. See, who said traveling after kids was expensive?! Ha! So total, we spent $268 on sightseeing – like $15/day which is hilarious. Also you could count some of our transportation as sight seeing. As that’s where I put our “Norway in a nutshell” fjord tour.
We knew we would be cooking some and snacking a lot since we were traveling with a kid. And we chose to stay at Airbnbs that had kitchens. It’s not really our nature to spend a ton on dining out. Granted you do have to stay aware of what prices are when dining out. A lot of places were much spendier than at home. I found grocery prices to be on par or even cheaper in some areas. At least compared to shopping in Portland where we usually buying organic or local produce. And diapers were way cheaper than home. Norway diapers – it’s a thing. Like $4 for a big pack. It’s subsidized.
Total Denmark, Sweden & Norway Trip Cost: $5,710
Total: $5,710 for 18 days in Scandinavia for 2 adults and a two year old or $336 per day.
Now I realize that almost $6,000 is a huge chunk of money. But you could easily spend 3-4x this amount on a Scandinavia trip. And this trip for us was definitely comfortable and a splurge. Yes, when I was planning the trip, there were some Airbnbs that were like twice that price. And they would have been amazing. But we definitely weren’t roughing it!
Overall, we had a great trip and fell in love with Scandinavia! We can’t wait to go back someday and see a bit more of Sweden, and go over to Finland as well. It can be really hard to narrow down your itinerary. But with a kid along, having 5 days to explore a city feels really comfortable and not like you’re rushing from place to place. So having time in Copenhagen and Stockholm as bookends of the trip with some faster travel in Norway in the middle was really doable.
Let me know if you have any questions about traveling in Scandinavia!