Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: Copenhagen -- National Museum is really well done, and through November there is a wonderful special exhibit on Vikings. Admission still free but good idea to reserve entrance time for this exhibit on museum's website. In Oslo: Fram Museum and Viking ship are by far the best of the Bygdoy museums.
Why: Fram Museum is newly expanded and the exhibits and ships are absorbing.
Worst: Thorvaldsen Museum in Copenhagen.
Why: Second rate sculptures in a lifeless museum. Even as an art fan, I didn't find this one worthwhile even with free admission on Copenhagen Card.
Philip in Arlington, VA USA 09/04/2013
Best: The fjords.
Why: You'll miss one of the most beautiful aspects of Norway. We stayed over in Aurland at the Vangsgaarden Gjestgiveri. It was wonderful with a fjord side view and lovely accomodations with breakfast! Sharing a meal is a wonderful place to meet other travelers!
Worst: Not having a 10 kroner for the restroom doors/stalls at museums and train station.
Why: You can usually find someone to make change for you, but don't count on it!
Robin WI USA 08/22/2013
Best: Vasa Museum, Stockholm
Why: The Vasa Museum was the highlight of a weeklong trip to Copenhagen and Stockholm and is now probably one of my top 5 all-time sights. It is a one-of-a-kind experience to see this 17th century ship and really unlike any other sight I've seen in Europe. The museum, guides, and films only add to the experience. I'd recommend going early or late to avoid crowds. I got there right when it opened and shared the ship with maybe half a dozen others.
Another highlight was seeing the mounted band play at the changing of the guard ceremony at the royal palace in Stockholm; they played while on horseback, which is incredibly impressive! I also really enjoyed visiting Roskilde outside Copenhagen (great for history buffs), Skansen, and Drottningholm Palace.
Abby in Seattle, WA USA 08/14/2013
Best: Copenhagen Pass & the free great National Museum
Why: We found this wonderful in combination with our decision to use the Copehagen Hilton airport hotel. We used it for 4 days and it gets progressively cheaper per 24hour period and covered every type of transport, and we used all except the bus and all our many admissions.
Linda in San Diego, CA USA 07/04/2013
Best: Oslo's Folk Museum
Why: I loved the interactive nature of this mini Williamsburg of old country houses with the picturesque sod roofs.
Worst: Bergen's open air museum also, Norway in a Nutshell
Why: The transportation there was such a difficulty, and the hours so short, I never actually made it but had a frustrating few hours of waiting for buses.
About Norway in a Nutshell--we read how important it was to do, but it was so ridiculously crowded (mid June) that it was hard to enjoy. On the fjord cruise, there were so many people that there was literally no room to sit and Japanese tourists were dangling bread for seagulls right in front of our faces so that we really feared a face full of feathers. It wasn't enjoyable, and I sort of regretted it, and this was the most expensive day of the trip, since I took the advice here and online to do it.
Tara in York, PA USA 07/03/2013
Worst: Hakon Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen
Why: Tours were unavailable (we were there in mid-late May) and the pamphlets did not provide very good information.
Anna in Charlotte, NC USA 06/04/2013
Best: p 347 Cabin at Strind Gard, Norway.
Why: In spite of a little light rain it gives one an idea of how the ordinary people live and is a relief from the major cities.
Worst: p 345 Driving from Lom to Flam, Norway, May 16.,
Why: The night we stayed at Strind Gard, May 16, Hy. 55 to Sogndal was closed due to 3 ft. of snow ocvernight. We had to detour about 50 miles out of our way on Hy. 51 to E-16, then west and south to Flam. Made our 3 PM FjordSafari prepaid cruise with 15 min to spare. At the peak pass on Hy. 51 temp dropped to 1 Cel. but road did not freeze. Lots of snow above tree line. How does this road compare with Hy. 55 for elev. and scenery?
Paul H. Schwan in Munster, IN USA 05/29/2013
Why: beautiful city, so much to do and see, friendly stylish happy people, good food, easy transport.
Worst: Oslo on a Fri or Sat nite.
Why: Sat eve Nude clubs, hookers, etc. Take a cab vs wheeling luggage thru sketchy sections.
Greg Kiger in St Louis, Mo USA 10/08/2012
Best: Carl Bloch paintings in Frederickborg Castel, Christus statue in Copenhagen
Why: More beautiful than I had even imagined!
Worst: Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen
Why: I had seen it before in Shanghai---I guess I wanted it to be in the middle of the harbor not just shoved up against a shore. It was actually more impressive in China....
Julie in Provo, Ut USA 09/06/2012
Best: Nutshell trip
Why: Awesome and on time. We had great weather too. Long day though.
Tad Santino in Olympia, WA USA 08/19/2012
Best: Solvorn, Norway
Why: Beautiful, peaceful setting in the fjords off the beaten path. The sturga church across the fjord was lovely. With the low hanging clouds it looked mystical.
Worst: The time and effort spent getting there
Why: Solvorn is not on the boat or bus routes, so it takes several "legs" & extra money to get there.
pam in Hawthorn Woods, il USA 07/20/2012
Why: Beautiful and very peaceful part of the fjord region of Norway. We enjoyed hiking and bike riding and also visiting the Stave church in Vik.
Worst: Food prices in Norway
Why: Believe what everyone else has posted about the cost of food in Norway. You have to pay a lot for what you get.
Rosalie in Albany, NY USA 07/19/2012
Best: Rosenborg Castle
Why: Beautiful park and building, fascinating rooms and history, great treasures in the basement
Worst: National Museu,
Why: Incomprehensible modernized exhibit of prehistoric artifacts mixed myth, fantasy, modern art, and science indiscriminately (a mermaid skeleton? Please!) to the obvious confusion of everyone there. Signage was also hard to follow, and hopelessly confused fact and fantasy. A waste of time!
Rick Williams in San Francisco, CA USA 07/08/2012
Why: we were able to walk to most destinations and used the new book as our guide--we loved city hall and enjoyed the hop on hop off bus and boat tour --walking in Gamla Stan, the energy, the nice people willing to help us find our way and we poured over the guide book-it is so clean! Bergen--the flam, the funicular we hiked down and it was fine for the 3and4 yr old and pretty hour in the country! Copenhagen-the hop on hop off bus and boat tour--eating lunch by the water and the Carlsberg art museum--a beautiful building
Why: we were there on midsummer eve--waited in line 45 minuted to buy tickets and everything was confusing--the toddlers loved the animals and we had retired teachers so they liked the school house but it seemed we walked around with no direction--never go on a holiday! I had Swedish grandparents and was disappointed. We rented 2 cars and went to Sunne the next day and visited the church my grandmother was christened in--probably the highlight of the entire trip for me! Tivoli--it reminded me of a state fair--I think 13 year olds would love it--our worse meals of the trip were there--the lights started to come on but because we were there near midsummer we left at 11 and we still didn't see the shimmer! The flowers were nice and the free playground for toddlers was a nice break for them
Sandy Bell in Sky Valley, Ca USA 07/08/2012
Best: Museum of Danish Resistance - Copenhagen
Why: It's a fascinating and moving story told through a variety of media, most of which is available in English.
Worst: Flam Railway
Why: It was a disappointment in that the train travels so quickly with little time to enjoy the views. Unfortunately, we were on a cruise tour which had us stop for an hour at a hotel just short of Myrdal. If we had a do-over it would be to book the train on our own, which was very doable.
Judy in Scottsdale, AZ USA 06/30/2012
Best: Richard Karpen Tour in Copenhagen
Why: As Hans Christian Andersen, Mr Karpen gives a great tour, including the most significant landmarks and side streets, ending up at the palace for the changing of the guard. Our tour even included a stop where e were given a free glass of schnaps.
William VanBuskirk in Millville, NJ USA 06/10/2012
Worst: Skansen open-air folk museum
Why: We were disappointed to find that on our visit on May 24th that almost every site there was either not staffed or closed. This certainly took away from our experience there. Perhaps the guidebook should note that much less is open during the "off-season" - even if it is May.
Randi Hoffman in Baldwin, WI USA 06/08/2012
Best: Jazz cruise in Copenhagen
Why: One of the best experiences in Copenhagen was taking the jazz cruise which departs from the Nyhavn canal. During our cruise, we heard the Copenhagen Washboard Five play as we boated around the harbor and the canals in the city. What a fantastic group of musicians this group was! They even played audience requests like mine "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey?" With the harbor sights and the great music, it was one of those travel memories that you never forget. They play their instruments and sang so well that we thought, for a moment, that we were in New Orleans listening to jazz there. Don't pass up this experience!
Gary Hoffman in Baldwin, WI USA 06/08/2012
Best: The Vasa Museum (Stockholm)
Why: Rick nails this one. It might be the best non-art museum I've ever been to. So much to see and learn there, and it's just amazing to see that ship so beautifully restored.
Worst: Skansen (in Stockholm)
Why: Don't bother going if it's off season. I was there on a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon in May 2012, and nearly every building was closed. There was so little to see or do or interact with. I also bought the guidebook at Rick's suggestion; it was a waste of money and I left it behind at the end of my visit which was a complete waste of an afternoon. Consider not going even during peak season unless you have kids. At the very least, be aware that this is not the kind of attraction that will appeal to everyone.
Lane Galloway in Seattle, WA USA 06/08/2012
Worst: National Gallery in Oslo
Why: The Munch paintings are worth seeing but the other art work is disappointing.
Norman Lee in Afton, MH USA 04/18/2012
Best: Balestrand (the whole town), the stave church in Vik
Why: I fell in love with Balestrand - so glad Rick recommends it so strongly! And I loved the very easy trip over to the stave church in Vik. (I'm sure all the stave churches are incredible for their age and their setting in gorgeous scenery, but this is the only one I visited.)
Rachel Wisdom in St. Louis, MO USA 11/18/2011
Best: Vasa museum, Stockholm
Why: I spent about an hour at the Viking Museum in Oslo and expected to the same at the Vasa Museum, but I ended up spending over three hours there. It's not just the ship, but also the exhibits on life in the 17th century, the film about the restoration of the ship, the reconstructions of the interiors and painted decorations, the exhibits on what they had learned from the restoration process and what they would do differently if they had to do it over, and even the facial reconstructions of the skeletons found in the wreckage.
Why: Although I liked the Bygd°y folk museum in Oslo better than the Skansen museum in Stockholm. The people at Bygd°y seemed friendlir.
Karen in Minneapolis, MN USA 11/04/2011
Best: Vasa - Stockholm, Frogner Park - Oslo
Why: The Vasa museum was just an amazing experience! Make sure to watch the film and take the tour as they heighten the enjoyment.
If you have a gorgeous day in Oslo, be sure to spend some of it in Frogner Park and enjoy the sculpture and roses.
Worst: National Museum of Fine Arts - Stockholm
Why: If you want a small museum, it's great, but I was looking forward to a much larger collection. Also, I thought I'd see a lot of Carl Larsson paintings, but not so much.
Erin in Cottage Grove, MN USA 10/08/2011
Best: Vasa Museum
Why: Much more interesting and involved than I expected.
Worst: Christiania in Copenhagen
Why: Boring !
Sam Pelligra, MD in Greensboro, NC USA 09/19/2011
Best: Norway in a Nutshell
Why: Fantastic scenery and a fun trip, but more details on how to break it up by booking separate legs would be helpful. We worked it out bit by bit to avoid a one day killer excursion from Oslo but it took some real detective work. Hardest part was linking railway segments. Folks at Stalheim Hotel were helpful there with bus information so we could book rail times.
Keith Wood in Lawrence, KS USA 09/16/2011
Why: Several museums and the Oslo Radhuset, were either closed or had no tours on the day we visited.
Roberta in McBride, WA USA 09/12/2011
Best: Snow Road from Aurland to Laerdal and Bryggen Walking Tour
Why: That was such a beautiful drive - thank you for recommending it. We stopped many times and took several short hikes, breath taking. The Bryggen walking tour was very informative, gave her regular speeches & answered many questions. The sun shone both days we were in Bergen - Wow!
Nelda Eitreim in Garretson, SD USA 08/22/2011
Worst: Sunday; Stavanger TI
Why: Our tripped spanned two Sundays and the country is unbelievably dead that day. In both Stavanger and Oslo, it was difficult to even find a store open. We could have played frisbee in the main street at noon. The Stavanger TI is beyond worthless -- it gave us the completely wrong times for the Pulpit Rock ferries.
JH in Alpharetta, GA USA 08/11/2011
Best: Tivoli Gardens, Sognefjord
Why: Both completely live up to the billing. We took a leisurely trip through the Sognefjord, spending a couple of nights in Balestrand before continuing by express boat to Bergen. It was worth it!
Steve Macfarlane in Carmichael, CA USA 08/07/2011
Best: Vasa museum
Why: Wow! Like my husband said, "Why has everyone heard of the Mona Lisa but not the Vasa?"
Why: We wanted to like it, but it seemed run down & neglected. We were there in late June & planning to stay for the live music & dancing, but it was so dead we decided to leave.
Beth in Northridge, CA USA 07/12/2011
Best: Tivoli Garden, National Museum (Copenhagen), Vasa Museum
Why: All of them are great, as advertised.
Worst: Hop on, hop off busses in Copenhagen
Why: Frequent delays, bus breakdowns
Steve Macfarlane in Carmichael, CA USA 07/11/2011
Best: Skansen, in Stockholm
Why: We really enjoyed This park. Actually, we have more than one "best" experience :-) The fjord and archipelago ferry rides were great to.
Worst: Arriving in Finland at Midsummers eve.
Why: Buses in Turku were not running, and most public buildings and many restaurants in Helsinki were closed. Other than this, we had no worst experience.
Greg Mansfield in Washington, NC USA 07/03/2011
Best: Bergen-Kirkenes Hurtigruten Cruise
Why: This is a once in a lifetime experience and something which cannot be seen via any other mode of transportation!
richard kruse in la jolla, ca USA 06/16/2011
Worst: Esben Juhl Apartment Rental
Why: We had a confirmed reservation for June 4, 2011. When we arrived, Esben Juhl's statement to us was, "The good news is you found me. The bad news is I don't have a room for you to stay. I thought you were arriving on June 5, not June 4." When we pulled our confirmed reservation he said his computer server had been cancelled(??) and he had no way of pulling up our reservation. We were standed with no where to stay that night and he at first offerred no help to us. Finally we asked him if there was a hotel close by we could get to by walking or public transportation. He showed us on the map the Dam Hostel, but did not offer to check for us if they had a vacancy. We asked him (he did not offer) to call a cab for us. He then shut the door and we were on our own. Incidently, the Dam Hostel had no vacancy, but they referred us to another hotel with one room left. Esben Juhl simply cannot be trusted even if you have a confirmed reservation.
Richard Fishel in Sedona, AZ USA 06/11/2011
Why: - you really need to highlight more the stockholm card...AND with that, there is a section that costs 100K but included in the stockholm card where you walk through the monkey exhibit...you actually walk through the monkey 'exhibit' and are surrounded by lemurs...you could (but wouldn't) touch them!!
Lynn Porterfield in Ridgewood, NJ USA 04/11/2011
Best: Copenhagen, Denmark
Why: We used the book exclusively while in Denmark and it was excellent for planning time.
Kevin in McIntyre, MD USA 03/17/2011