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FAMILY TRAVEL: Sweden & Norway with Teens

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, February 10th, 2008 at 6:00 am in Family Travel.

The Piatts in Bergen, Norway
Contemplating a Scandinavian trek? Here’s the scoop on where to go and what to see, from this week’s travel experts, the Piatt family.

THE TREK IN A SEC: This Moraga quintet spent two weeks traveling through Sweden and Norway, aiming for the perfect combination of big cities, small towns and countryside adventures.

THE TRAVELERS: Radiologist Brad Piatt, his wife Trish – a former travel agent – and their three sons, UC Davis sophomore Spencer, high school junior Nick, and eighth grader Griffin. And they spent most of the first week touring Stockholm with hometown friends, the Maag family — Alan, Linda, Eric and Chris.

FAVORITE HOTELS:Scandic Hasselbacken, on the island of Djurgarden in Stockholm, had great rooms, a nice outdoor restaurant and was close to old town (Gamla Stan), Tivoli Gardens, and Skansen. The daily breakfasts had such a variety and quantity of foods that we would often not eat again until dinner.”

Also wonderful: The Vardshus Gripsholm, west of Stockholm, a rustic, elegant, country inn, adjacent to Gripsholm Castle. And in Bergen, Norway, the Hanseatic Hotel – “Housed in one of the oldest buildings in the city,” says Trish, the hotel “has been tastefully refurbished and had very charming rooms, though noise from a nearby street café lasted until 3 a.m.”

MEMORABLE MEALS: “After a great meal at the Scandic Hasselbacken outdoor restaurant,” says Trish, “we all ordered desserts and laughed when Chris’ dessert arrived. He’d ordered truffles, and what the waiter brought was a single nickel size truffle on a large plate. He looked like he’d been robbed!

“In Bergen, a lively university town on the west coast of Norway, we didn’t have to go far to find Mezzo, located up stairs in our hotel. The menu was unique—modern Mediterranean meets traditional Norwegian—and the food was excellent. Superb, fresh seafood is available throughout Sweden and Norway.”

COOLEST SIGHTSEEING: The Piatts opted for three interesting museums, each small enough to cover in an hour or two, each revolving around Scandinavian maritime history. Stockholm’s Vasa Museum houses a massive reconstructed royal warship, which sank on its maiden voyage. In Oslo, the KonTiki Museum holds Thor Heyerdahl’s rafts and the Viking Ship Museum boasts three refurbished Viking ships. Also recommended…

In Stockholm: Skansen, amazingly diverse outdoor collection of Swedish history can easily consume a day. And Gripsholm Castle, West of Stockholm (see photo below).
The Piatts at Gripsholm Castle, Sweden

In Oslo: Norway’s Holmenkollen ski jump was “very impressive,” says Trish, “with 400+ steps to the top, but it was so cloudy we could only see the ramp—takes guts to even get on the ramp.”

Through the Fjords: “The spectacular scenery of the Flam railway, famous for being the steepest, windiest train ride in the world, ends in the town of Flam, on the banks of the Sognefjord, the longest of the Norwegian fjords. ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ offers a train-tram-boat option from Oslo, which we extended by overnighting in Flam and Bergen.”

1. No need to rent a car in Stockholm or Oslo, as the public transit system is clean, fast and relatively inexpensive. The Stockholm CityPass (1,2 or 3 day) is a great deal, providing entry to most attractions and public transportation.

2. Don’t spend all of your time in the cities, say the Piatts: “We went horseback riding in the Swedish countryside near Karlstad. We visited only one of the incredibly picturesque islands in the archipelago, Vaxholm, just outside Stockholm; however, an entire trip could be dedicated to just exploring the islands off the southeast coast of Sweden. We stayed one night in the spectacular coastal town of Fjallbacka on the west coast of Sweden, which also deserves much more time than we had. Another trip…
Has your family been somewhere wonderful? Share your photos, favorite hotels and outings, and travel tips by e-mailing us. Or click “comments” and share your travel tips right here.
Looking for more family travel tips? Check out these blog posts too:
Kauai with a Toddler
An African safari with the Family
Rome with the Bambino
Colonial Williamsburg with the Kids
Cancun Family Adventures
London with Teens
New York City and DC with a Theater-Going Family
New York City with a Baseball-Loving Family
California Beach Towns
Paris avec le bebe
and Vancouver with the Kids

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No Responses to “FAMILY TRAVEL: Sweden & Norway with Teens”

  1. FAMILY TRAVEL: Sweden & Norway with Teens Says:

    […] Aaron Hotfelder wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptTHE TRAVELERS: Radiologist Brad Piatt, his wife Trish – a former travel agent – and their three sons, UC Davis sophomore Spencer, high school junior Nick, and eighth grader Griffin. And they spent most of the first week touring … […]

  2. Eco Interactive Says:

    It looks like an awesome trip. Great series.

    Consider Costa Rica as your next stop.

    We have a blog in case you are interested;


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