Scandinavia – high cost, low stress

Since the last blog, I’ve booked my flight home (from Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden) and vaguely planned the last week of my trip!

Here you go:

The last week!

[A – Lake Garda, B – Italian Riviera, C – Interlaken, D – Strasbourg, E – Baden-Baden]

I have the first 18 days or so planned in good detail.

Given that the first five days are spent in expensive Scandinavia, I wanted to book things up and plan well to avoid having to make costly last-minute decisions. What’s more, I have already payed for two long (expensive!!) train journeys, meaning that I won’t have to carry that money with me as I go.

I start in Stockholm, Sweden, a city that I’ve visited twice before, meaning that I start my travels somewhere safe and familiar. My half-Swedish pal Emma has a house on a beautiful island called Gällnö in the archipelago, just two hours out of the city by boat; I’ll be meeting her there and staying for a few days. Lots of swimming, barbecuing, chilling out and peeing al fresco – not very backpacker-esque, but it will be great to live like a local and relax outside of a big city, before spending many subsequent days discovering Europe’s metropoles. Saying that, there are still a few bits in central Stockholm that I want to check out.

Beautiful Gällnö

Beautiful Gällnö

I leave Stockholm by sleeper train, heading south to Sweden’s third city, Malmö. The train was expensive at 563 SEK (almost 65€) and takes over 9 hours, but by doing this, I am combining the costs of travel and a night in a hostel. What’s more, night train-ing means that I don’t waste any daylight hours travelling, and I can make the most of my time in Sweden. Having travelled twice by sleeper train before, in Malaysia and Thailand, I am interested to see how the SJ night train compares and whether it is worth that high price. I’ll let you know!

The appeal of Malmö is largely its location, right across the Øresund from Denmark and Copenhagen. Just a few days in the area and both cities can be explored. Arriving in Malmö by sleeper train and heading over to Copenhagen later that day (to stay here; pricey,  but with free breakfast and yoga!), where I’ll spend a night before heading back over the bridge. Being in Scandinavia, I’ll have to watch the money extra carefully, so I’ll be making the most of that buffet breakfast!

I travel out of Malmö again by sleeper train; this time the Berlin Night Express, another easy way to part with a whole load of cash (even more than the last!), but it cuts all the corners of Denmark and Northern Germany and means I can just turn up in Berlin shortly after sunrise and head straight for the nearest bakery!

As is clear, Scandinavia isn’t very backpacker-friendly given its cost of living, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stay with a friend in a country I’m familiar [and in love] with. A perfect first stop on my Europe tour!

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