Springtime in Sweden, driving in Denmark

My husband and I are taking a short return cruise (May 8-15) from Copenhagen to St Petersburg. As my ancestors came from Falkenberg, we are hoping to spend five days after the cruise visiting that region. Would we be better off to hire a car or take the train? Also, what sights are not to be missed in Copenhagen or Falkenberg and are we better to use hotels, B&Bs or youth hostels, from an economic point of view? We are to join a bus tour in Paris on May 20 and have yet to decide from where to leave (Sweden or Denmark) and whether there are alternatives to flying.

- J. Bennett, Umina Beach.

From Copenhagen you can get to Falkenberg, on the south-west coast of Sweden, by train via Oresundstag (www.reseplaneraren.oresundstag.se), which operates several train services in Sweden with connections to Denmark via the Oresund Bridge. You can also drive the same route and since you might want to explore the Falkenberg region too, a hire car would be my suggestion.

From Falkenberg you could return your hire car to Copenhagen Airport and fly to Paris, which is faster and cheaper than the train.

As for must-sees in Copenhagen, Stroget is the world's longest pedestrian shopping street; a Hans Christian Andersen-style collection of architecture and some really terrific shopping.

The words "Danish design" make the style-conscious urban heart beat a little faster and are a synonym for clean, spare functionalism. Press your nose against the windows in the swanky Vesterbro area of the city, although the tabernacle of Copenhagen style is the Danish Design Centre.

Close to the heart of the city, the Tivoli Gardens brings a touch of Disneyland but despite the rides, it's not strictly kids' stuff.

Christiania is the city's hippie enclave, a former army barracks taken over by squatters in the early 1970s. They proclaimed the eight-hectare site a "free town".

Wrapped around Christiania is the very different universe of Christianshavn, a fashionable knit of cobblestone streets lined with four-storey terraces of 17th-century townhouses that cast their pastel facades across the canals.

Falkenberg is a pretty seaside town on the shores of Kattegatt, an offshoot to the North Sea and a popular summer destination with fine beaches, although you might find the water cool in May - or at any time of the year.

Youth hostels are going to be the cheapest accommodation. Bed-and-breakfast accommodation is confined mostly to the summer months in Falkenberg; however, check bedandbreakfast.com for options in Copenhagen, or contact Mary Donaldson, late of Hobart, now Crown Princess of Denmark, and ask whether you can doss down at the palace.

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