Travelling In Scandinavia On A Budget

Last Updated on March 22, 2024

Quaint, charming villages, snow-capped mountains and natural phenomena, like Aurelia Borealis (Northern Lights) – Scandinavia offers wondrous experiences that anyone who loves to travel should have at least once. However, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are some of the costliest destinations in Europe. When visiting for the first time, the prices can catch you off guard, and maybe even ruin your trip. However, with the right approach to your Scandinavian getaway, you can enjoy most of what these countries have to offer without wrecking your finances.

Things To Know Bef0re Visiting Scandinavia

Embarking on a journey to Scandinavia promises a captivating adventure amidst breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and the allure of Nordic charm. Yet, before you set foot in this enchanting region, it’s crucial to equip yourself with essential knowledge to ensure a seamless and fulfilling travel experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide outlining the key aspects you should consider before venturing into Scandinavia:

  • Weather and Climate: Prepare for the unpredictable Nordic weather, ranging from biting cold winters with heavy snowfall to mild summers. Pack accordingly, with layers and weather-appropriate gear to navigate the changing conditions.
  • Currency: Familiarize yourself with the currencies of each Scandinavian country (Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Danish krone) to facilitate smooth transactions and financial planning during your journey.
  • Language: While English is widely spoken, learning a few basic phrases in the local language demonstrates respect for the culture and enhances interactions with locals.
  • Cultural Etiquette: Respect personal space, privacy, and punctuality, integral aspects of Scandinavian culture. Tipping is not customary in restaurants, as service charges are typically included in the bill.

The following ideas should help you explore Scandinavia on a reasonable budget:

Compare Prices For Various Services

Be ready to spend time researching prices if you want to avoid overspending. Flights, ferries, bus tickets, and accommodation are some of the expenses you can slash by finding the best deals. An online comparison tool comes in handy for this task. Look up prices from different service providers. An airline, for example, can have discounts or other deals for Oslo. If you can halve the cost of your ticket to Norway, then that money can serve you in another way. Early booking also decreases your costs. Reserving accommodation or buying event tickets months in advance guarantees excellent prices.

Use Public Transport

Car rentals and flights can bloat your budget dramatically. A great way to solve that is by leveraging the highly functional and effective public transit available in Scandinavia. Taking the train from Copenhagen to Stockholm can reduce your fare considerably. Tickets go for as low as £28 for the 5-hour journey. Travelling by train or bus also lets you marvel at the gorgeous scenery. Use travel passes and watch out for deals. For £37 for an adult, you can get the Oslo Pass, which earns you discounts at restaurants, free entry to museums and free public transport. Copenhagen has a similar card with impressive coverage, including the Viking Shop Museum in Roskilde. If you intend to stay in any of the major cities for a few days, then consider cycling.

Use Less Popular, Alternative Routes

You don’t have to limit your entry and exit points to major destinations. Primary airports are expensive and can eat into your budget. So, why not pass through lesser-known locations? The trick is easy. When searching for flights, look for airports within 150 miles. Flying into a smaller town and then taking a bus or train to the main destination could be cheaper than the direct route. Thanks to online maps, you shouldn’t have trouble locating alternative places to fly into or out of.

Find Free Or Cheap Activities

A quick search for free activities or cheap things to do in your desired destination should give you ideas about what to include in your itinerary. The Northern Lights, which are a must-see, are free in Scandinavia (without a tour). Tromsø, Norway, offers magnificent sights of the Aurora Borealis, best viewed in winter. In Oslo, treat yourself to the city’s vibrant selection of street art. Free walking tours are a great way to see the capital. In Copenhagen, kayak around for free, and see a bit of the city. The Christiansborg Palace also doesn’t charge to climb. Stockholm has various free events, like art exhibits and festivals, that offer a glimpse into the local culture.

Be Careful With Eating And Drinking

Food and drink will deplete most of your budget, as you will come to realise. Eating out is particularly expensive in Denmark and Norway. Therefore, you need alternatives. The dish of the day in Sweden, called dagens rätt, is one to save money at local eateries. Another option is to buy ready-made food, such as sandwiches, to carry during tours. Shop for groceries and prepare meals when possible because it’s cheaper than dining out. If you drink alcohol, then be aware that drinks are significantly pricier in Scandinavian nations than in most regions. Hence, watch how you spend at a bar.

Travel In Shoulder Season

Don’t visit Scandinavia in the peak season if you have a tight budget. Summer attracts tourists to the region because the winter can be harsh. For most of Scandinavia, this time is between June and August. School holidays are around mid-February to early March, which means families travelling to different popular destinations. So, you want to avoid this period. Even if you have to put up with the cold, winter is a good time to travel, especially if you wish to catch the glistening, dancing Northern Lights. The shoulder season usually comes with excellent deals on train and bus tickets, flights, and accommodation.

Discovering Scandinavia can be expensive, but it doesn’t always have to be. A few travel tricks can save you money, allowing you to see, do, and experience so much on a budget. Learn to compare ticket prices, pick the best time for your trip and find activities that don’t break the bank.


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