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My parents-in-law live near Skye in North Scotland. They are planning to come and visit us in Stockholm in the summer, but for medical reasons they are unable to fly. Their preferred alternative is to combine driving and the ferry, taking their car with them.

I have looked at some alternative routes that go via Holland/Germany, but I usually get confused by how many options there are. Can someone please give a route from Scotland to Stockholm using only driving and ferries that minimises the driving time as much as possible.

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    You can see a suggested road route on Rome2Rio via Eurotunnel (28 hours). There are also ferry routes from Newcastle to Amsterdam, and from Hull to Rotterdam. AFAIK there are currently no ferries from UK across the North Sea to Sandinavia. Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 12:35
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    If you are serious about minimising driving time, then you can apparently get a ferry from Travemünde to Helsinki, and then there are several ferries to Stockholm I believe.
    – Tomas By
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 22:14
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    I have reopened this question and closed the older one as duplicate, as this question had already gotten more and better answers. See travel.stackexchange.com/questions/48074/…
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 4:11
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    There's some good news: the Newcastle-Bergen ferry is slated to reopen! It will make this journey a lot more feasible. The bad news is that it won't happen before 2026. thelocal.no/20220707/… Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 21:50
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    Are you sure someone unable to fly for medical reasons can sustain a 30+ hour car journey?
    – JonathanReez
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 19:58

5 Answers 5

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They should really consider not taking their car further than Newcastle. That's 7 hours of driving.

From there it is the ferry to IJmuiden/Amsterdam, then trains to Hamburg (change at Osnabrück), arrive in Hamburg in the evening and directly hop onto the quite new direct sleeper train to Stockholm. They'll be in Stockholm at 9 in the morning well rested.

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    You're probably right that they shouldn't drive, but this answer is an interesting reminder of US vs European attitudes towards driving. This trip is equivalent to driving from Chicago to Disneyland and that's something that Americans would accept for a big family vacation.
    – Eugene
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 7:49
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    @Eugene More like a difference in options--ocean + great train system vs. no ocean + not great train system. Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 13:56
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    The downside of this approach is they won't have the car when they get there. Depending on what they plan to do when they get there and the nature of their medical issues that may or may not be a problem. Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 15:42
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    They can still rent a car if necessary.
    – 8192K
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 17:23
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    "Hop onto.. direct sleeper train". That is very optimistic. The trains leaving from Hamburg to Stockholm require changes. Furthermore, there is a Stockholm-Hamburg night train, but what about seat reservations? I can say with certainty that it is not a matter of just "hopping on the next direct train" when travelling from Hamburg, through Denmark, to Sweden and up to Stockholm. Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 6:24
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That's not an easy trip.

FERRY

There are currently no ferries between the UK and Denmark, Norway or Sweden. That means you have to go through France, Belgium or the the Netherlands. If you want to maximize time on a boat, Newcastle->Amsterdam is probably your best choice. Boats are slow: that ferry takes about 16 hours and covers just a small fraction of the total distance. On the upside: it has restaurants, cabins, etc.

You will also have to get onto the Danish Main Island. With a car you will most likely have to take the ferry from Puttgarden to Rødby. Trains tend to go up north through Jutland and take the Great Belt Bridge. That's also an option for a car, but it's a big detour. Between Denmark and Sweden both cars and trains can take the Øresund bridge.

(more ferries from the comments and other answer).

Instead of Puttgarden/Rødby you can take Rostock to Trelleborg and bypass Denmark all together. Technically, you can also do Sassnitz to Ystad but that's too much of a detour.

DRIVING.

You can also use Google Maps for a direct driving direction. It's a LOT of driving and of course, non-UK Europe drives on the right side. The quickest route seem to go through the Channel Tunnel and than takes the Puttgarden/Rødby ferry (32 hours). You can avoid the car ferry by driving over the Great Belt Bridge (33 hours).

TRAINS

It's a rather convoluted trip. One option is to go from Skye to Inverness, Inverness to Paris and then Paris to Stockholm. Going through Paris is quite the detour, but it actually looks faster than getting off in Calais and taking the train from there.

COMBOS

You can certainly combine trains and ferries. You can take the train to Newcastle, ferry to Amsterdam and then train again to Stockholm.

CONCLUSION

This is a difficult trip that will require some planning. It will take multiple days and you probably want to put some overnight stop(s) in there to rest up. A lot of this depends on the nature of the medical condition and what your parents are comfortable doing (or not) in terms of driving (left and right), schlepping luggage, maneuvering train stations in different countries, long ferry rides on rough seas, etc.

Ferry Source: https://ferrygogo.com/ferry-to-denmark-from-uk/#:~:text=Unfortunately%2C%20there%20are%20currently%20no,to%20Denmark%20via%20The%20Netherlands.

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    Train to Brussels or Amsterdam might work better than Paris.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 14:04
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    @Willeke: I though so to, but most faster seem to go through Paris
    – Hilmar
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 14:21
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    There's a long running campaign for the Faroes to Denmark ferry to call at Shetland which it passes within sight of. Were that ever to happen it would afford another route from the north of Scotland - although would require at least two long ferry journeys. Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 17:14
  • depending on the timing, travelling via Brussels, and taking a night train from Hamburg may be faster than changing in Paris
    – njzk2
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:06
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    @mdewey No, since the pandemic Eurostar aren't serving intermediate stations (Calais, Ashford, Ebbsfleet) between London and Lille. No future dates have been announced - they have said 'not in 2023' Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 14:30
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The rail option

The journey can be done by rail in about 36 hours.

Various options from the UK to Sweden, the most plausible involves the Hamburg to Stockholm sleeper. Unfortunately with the current timetable the connections are somewhat tight, but you can perhaps spend a day in Belgium or Germany to spread things out a bit. Times below are for leaving on Monday 6th February 2023, from Deutsche Bahn

  1. Take the Caledonian Sleeper from either Fort William or Inverness, leaving early evening. If Inverness, a train from Kyle of Lochalsh adjacent to Skye takes about 2h30, eg Kyle 17.13 to Inverness 19.51. The Inverness sleeper departs 20.45. Arrive London Euston about 07.45.
  2. Take the 09.01 Eurostar 9116 to Bruxelles Midi, arriving 12.05 (beware that Eurostar currently have a 90 minute check in time, although you may get away with arriving slightly late)
  3. Take the 13.25 Thalys 9435 to Koeln Hbf, arriving 15.15
  4. Take the 16.04 ICE 1030 to Hamburg Altona, arriving 20.05
  5. Take the 21.19 Euronight 346 to Stockholm Central, arriving 09.55
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    The actual Eurostat check in time is 30 minutes, the 90 minutes is the safe suggestion.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 4:03
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    The main difficulty is that I think those are at least 3 separate tickets, meaning that if any is delayed, you'll need to re-book, and if the night train can't be caught, you're stuck in Hamburg
    – njzk2
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:09
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    The CIV COTIF should cover missed connections, but it would be helpful to book all the tickets in one transaction via an agent to avoid any ambiguity. That said, the obligation to put you on the next train won't help much if that's a day later (or full), so building some slack in the schedule would be advised. Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 21:28
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Newcastle to IJmuiden, (also called to Amsterdam at times.) Drive to Eemshaven and take the ferry to Kristiansand in Norway.

That will leave a longish drive in Scotland as well as one in Norway and Sweden.

Early booking is needed, especially for the ferry to Norway.

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  • Good idea. I didn't think of this.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Feb 4, 2023 at 14:16
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    isn't that going to be a very long drive, from Kristiansand to Stockholm?
    – njzk2
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:07
  • I guess it will be comparable to the drive in Scotland. But I have not done either so I am not sure.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 19:40
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    Fun route (bit of a detour), but that's around 760 km from Kristiansand to Stockholm, which might not be ideal in an RHD car in winter.
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 7:42
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    It meets the requested 'no flying' . I feel it is good to show more options. Additional options are not always better but may suit OP for unknown reasons.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 9:12
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Drive from Skye to Newcastle (~7h). Take overnight ferry from Newcastle to IJmuiden. Drive from Ijmuiden to Travemünde (~6h) and take an overnight ferry to Malmö or Trelleborg and drive to Stockholm (~7h).

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  • This actually answers the question! I would recommend to take the Rostock-Nynäshamn ferry instead. Less driving - more ferry! Nynäshamn is just south of Stockholm and it is a nice trip - I combined it with trains two times.
    – froderik
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 17:19
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    @froderik Not really, the Kristiansand route has less driving but one day with a longer drive. I read that Rostock-Nynäshamn might start again in 2024 so not an option for summer 2023.
    – Anders
    Commented Feb 12, 2023 at 20:02
  • Oh no they shut it down. Didn't know. Such a convenient way to get down to Europe from here....
    – froderik
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 2:59

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