Getaway Fact sheets
You are here: ninemsn > Travel > Getaway > Fact sheets
Sweden by sunset

Scandinavia part one

Thursday, November 4, 2004

Ben began his latest journey in Copenhagen, Scandinavia's largest and liveliest city. Founded in 1167 and Denmark's capital from the 15th century, Copenhagen is block after block of historic, six-storey buildings, copper-roofed town houses, cobbled squares and sumptuous palaces. The skyline is punctuated by church spires and modern hotels. Once the seat of Viking raiders, later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern and prosperous nation.

Copenhagen grew from a fishing village into the glittering capital of the Danish empire. It is now one of the world's premier design capitals and Scandinavia's pre-eminent city.

The city is easy to navigate, as its central area is reserved for pedestrian traffic. It offers a treasure trove of museums, castles and old churches, with a thousand years of history written by ambitious kings, artists and designers. Nightlife is very active and rolls on into the wee small hours.

Tivoli Gardens opened in 1843 and except for Dyrehavsbakken in nearby Klampenborg, is the oldest amusement park which has survived intact. Its founder, Georg Carstensen, convinced King Christian VIII that Tivoli should be created as "when the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics".

From the start, Tivoli included a range of attractions — buildings in the exotic style of an imaginary orient, a theatre, bandstands, restaurants and cafes, flower gardens and mechanical amusement rides. On special occasions, specially designed fireworks reflect in Tivoli's lake.

Copenhagen Card allows unlimited travel on buses and trains around Copenhagen and North Zealand and free admission to virtually all the region's museums and attractions. The card is on sale at Central Station, the tourist office and some hotels.

In 1991, the Danish and Swedish governments agreed to build a bridge to connect the two countries across Oresund. The 7.8km bridge is the world's longest single bridge carrying both road and railway traffic. The whole project is 16km, the balance being made up by the artificial 4.5km Pepper Islet and a 3.5km tunnel on the Danish side. In August, 1999, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark met on the bridge to mark Denmark and Sweden being linked once more.

Sweden has everything. Danish castles in the south, French castles around Stockholm, thousands of lakes and saunas, fjords, reindeer and a midnight sun which shines all night long in summer.

Written records survive only from the late Middle Ages, but there are a vast number of fortifications, assembly places, votive sites and 25,000 protected Iron Age graveyards.

The Viking Age got underway in the ninth century. Vast repositories of Roman, Byzantine and Arab coins are proof of the wealth and power they accumulated over the next century.

Falsterbo Peninsula is Sweden's most southern province. It has white beaches and beautiful scenery, making it a popular spot. This is where Ben met the SVEG Viking re-enactment group. They meet each month to fight with clubs and swords and catapult large rocks into the sea. They also work with Viking ships and sailing, music, archery and Viking-age handicraft. Enthusiasts in authentic clothing come from far and wide to work on their Viking skills.

The Museum of Foteviken is devoted to maritime archæological research for the peninsula of Falsterbo and is supported by the SVEG Association.

In 1658, King Karl X Gustav paid a visit to the village of Bodekull and described its harbour as perfect for the transport of timber. Ten years later it was given town privileges and a shipyard and re-named Karlshamn in his honour.

Amongst other things, Karlshamn is home to Moustapha, world record holder for breaking coconuts with his bare hands. His talent has gained him international fame and on a good day, he can break 30 coconuts in one minute.

From here, Ben and the crew headed north to Stockholm, the beautiful capital of Sweden.

Stockholm has been ranked as Europe's cleanest city and is where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, making it ideal for maritime trade. It is vibrant and modern but with a great sense of history and royalty. The city is built on 14 islands and the 24,000 islands of its archipelago provide protection from the open seas.

The 14 islands are dotted with parks where locals swim and fish, go boating, cycle and enjoy outdoor concerts right in the centre of the city. With water covering a third of the city area, maritime life is important. There are many bridges, locks and marinas and the waters are incredibly clean and clear.

A popular way of seeing every aspect of the city is in a hot air balloon. Magnificent buildings stand proudly in a city which pulsates with cutting-edge culture and life, with historic squares and centuries-old alleys around every corner. Stockholm has cafés, restaurants, stores, a grand opera house, an open-air museum and a zoo.

Swedes invented the adjustable spanner, ball bearing, Celsius thermometer, Coca-Cola bottle, dynamite and Tetra Paks, but their most famous export must be the group ABBA. It is estimated there are 7000 tribute ABBA bands around the world. Ben met up with Arrival, a band given the stamp of approval by Benny and Bjorn, who were so impressed with them, they gave them one of ABBA's unreleased songs to record.

Ben will be back on the Scandinavian road next week.


Copenhagen to Stockholm


Bentours International has eight-day self-drive packages throughout Scandinavia, including twin-share accommodation, breakfast and car hire, starting at $1310 per person.
Saab Automobile Australia has Saab hire from Avis starting at around $148 a day.
Scandinavian Airlines fly frequently to Copenhagen, starting at $2066 ex-Perth, $2095 ex-Melbourne, $2098 ex-Brisbane, $2135 ex-Sydney, $2560 ex-Adelaide and $2552 ex-Darwin, per person.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Bentours International
Ph: 1800 221 712

Saab Automobile Australia
Ph: 1800 50 7222
Fax: (03) 9681 9407

Scandinavian Airlines
Ph: 1300 727 707

Viking Reserve of Museum of Foteviken
Halörsvägen Höllviken
Ph: 46 40 456 840

Finnesse Communications
42 Lavender Street, North Sydney 2059
Ph: (02) 9929 6044
Fax: (02) 9929 6344

Related links


Brochure Search

Free electronic brochures with information, resources and holiday ideas for unique getaways.

Select a destination:
Sign up nowTo Receive the free Getaway newsletter