Scandinavia is truly striking, from lively metropolises to charming towns to breathtaking scenery. Stockholm, situated on 14 islands, is Sweden’s sophisticated capital and site of the Nobel Prize Banquet. Tour its delightful 17th century Drottningholm Palace – a miniature Versailles located on an island. Continue to Copenhagen, with its busy shopping district that rivals London’s. Explore the well-known Tivoli Gardens, containing everything from fountains & lakes to flowers & brass bands to rides and amusement arcades.
Sail the Oslo Fjord past charming towns and small islands. Tour the Viking Ships Museum with its impressive collection of ornate sledges, tools and artifacts of the Viking era. Board the world-famous Flaam Railway, one of the most remarkable pieces of railway engineering in the world. Only 12.4 miles long, it ascends 2,845 feet in less than an hour offering astounding sights and sounds of thundering waterfalls as you travel. In Bergen, see the Haakonshallen, the medieval Viking Hall built in 1261 for the crowning of King Magnus, still used today for royal ceremonies and other special events.
The sequence of touring and days may be altered to adjust to religious holidays, special closings of sites, air schedule changes, etc. Hotels listed subject to availability. Meal inclusions may vary by departure.
DAY 1, DEPART USA
We depart the USA today for our overnight journey to Stockholm. (meals aloft)
DAY 2, ARRIVAL STOCKHOLM
Morning arrival at Arlanda Airport, where you will be met and assisted by a local guide. Transfer by motor coach from the airport to the center of Stockholm and proceed on panoramic tour ending at your hotel. The rest of the day is free in Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. The city has been called by some the most beautiful city in the world. Welcome dinner and overnight in Hotel Birger or similar. (meals aloft,D)
DAY 3, STOCKHOLM
After breakfast a city tour this morning will introduce you to the sights of Sweden’s capital, situated on fourteen islands. Included in your tour are an inside visit to the famous City Hall, with its elegant Golden Hall, site of the Nobel Prize Banquet; and a visit to the Old Town with its cobble-stone streets and medieval buildings and the 13th-century Cathedral. Then, take a short walk past the Royal Palace and the Stock Exchange before rejoining the coach to go to the Southern Island where you have a splendid view over the city and the harbor. Proceed to the Djurgarden recreation island and visit the fascinating Vasa Ship Museum. This elaborate warship was built in 1628 and sank in Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage. She was raised in 1961 with a wealth of stores, guns, fittings, sculptures, now restored and giving a remarkable complete view of naval life in the early 17th century. The tour will end at your hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy individual activities. Laced with canals and bridges, unique in its blend of tradition and innovation, Stockholm has a charm and sophistication all its own. Some of Scandinavia’s finest museums are found here. Dinner on your own tonight. Overnight in Hotel Birger or similar. (B)
DAY 4, STOCKHOLM/OSLO
After breakfast transfer to Arlanda Airport and depart for one-hour flight to Oslo. Arrive at Gardermoen Airport and transfer to Oslo for an orientation tour of the city ending at our hotel. The rest of the day is free in Oslo. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Thon Bristol or similar. (B,D)
DAY 5, OSLO
Leave your hotel after breakfast for a 4-hour city tour of Oslo including a visit to famous Vigeland Sculpture Park where 175 sculptures are arranged over 75 acres. Then ascend the Holmenkollen hills to the famous Holmenkollen Ski Jump. The view from there over Oslo and the Oslo Fjord is a delight. Then proceed to the peninsula of Bygdoy for a visit to the Viking Ship Museum with the 1000 year old Viking Ships that make history come alive. Proceed to Norsk Folkemuseum – the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History – where you can experience and learn about traditional Norwegian culture and history. The open-air Museum features 155 authentic buildings from different national regions, such as Gol Stave Church from the 13th century. Then drive past the medieval fortress of Akershus, the Royal Palace and the busy port with the Town Hall. The tour ends at your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore Oslo on your own. You might enjoy visiting City Hall. Oslo’s richly decorated “Rådhuset” that was finished in 1950 and Norway’s leading artists all contributed to the interior’s 2000 square yards of bold and colorful murals. Or hop on a trolley for a return visit to the Frogner Park, or go for a stroll along Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main street. Dinner on your own and overnight at your hotel. (B)
DAY 6, OSLO/ULVIK
Leave your hotel after breakfast and drive along the shores of scenic Tyrifjord and further through the farm-dotted Hallingdal Valley landscape with lakes, silvery rivers and ancient farms on sloping hillsides. Continue past the well-known resort center at Geilo and start your drive across the wild and barren Hardangervidda, a mountain plateau of 2900 sq. miles, lying at a height of between 3300 and 4600 ft. With its many lakes and a meager covering of pasture, it provides grazing for large herds of reindeer. Descend through tunnels and hairpin curves of the Maaboedalen Canyon Road before arriving at Brimnes. Here you will take the ferry across the Eids Fjord to Bruravik. Arrive in the charming village of Ulvik, one of the most famous of the fjord resorts in Hardanger Fjord area. The village is nestled at the head of its own little fjord – and with terraced farms climbing the steep hills, Ulvik is also known to be one of the largest fruit growing district in Norway. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Brakanes or similar. (B,D)
Depart the hotel after breakfast and drive past the impressive Skjervet Waterfall to the resort town of Voss – the commercial center of the Hardanger region and the birthplace of Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame coach. Leave Voss and continue past the scenic Tvindefoss Waterfall and along Lake Oppheim to Stalheim. Descend the hairpin curves of the famous Stalheim Canyon Road and through the Naeroydal Valley with rainbow-dancing waterfalls and sugar loaf mountains to Gudvangen; from there sail by fjord ferry for a nearly 3-hour cruise on the impressive Naeroy Fjord and into Sogne Fjord, the longest and deepest fjord in the world. This cruise is a photographer’s dream of cascading waterfalls, steep mountain sides rising vertically from fjord level, and isolated hamlets. This afternoon depart Flaam by train on the world-famous Flaam Railway which is one of the most remarkable pieces of railway engineering in the world. It is only 12.4 miles long, but it ascends 2,845 feet in less than one hour from Flaam to Myrdal station. Enjoy the breathtaking view over the Flaam Valley and the thundering sound of waterfalls you pass by. Arrive at the Myrdal Station and connect with the scenic Bergen Railway for our ride back to Voss. Meet your motor coach again for transfer to Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, with over 225,000 inhabitants. Established in about 1070, Bergen is described by travelers as “the city with green lungs.” In the spring and summer the parks attract young and old alike to rest, play and enjoy life – and colorful experiences await when autumn arrives with its long shadows and its flaming fall of leaves. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Thon Rosenkrantz or similar. (B,D)
DAY 8, BERGEN/COPENHAGEN
After breakfast enjoy a 3-hour city tour of Bergen. First drive past Bergen’s colorful Fish and Flower and continue along the world-famous monument to medieval life and trade: the old warehouses of the Hanseatic period in the 14th and 15th centuries, today called Bryggen or The Quay. The old wooden warehouses, long and narrow, jammed so closely against each other that air and daylight can enter only through tiny slits, are a working model of life in bygone times. They are still used for storage and offices as well as stores and art & craft centers. Then drive past the Haakonshallen, the medieval Viking Hall built in 1261 as a royal ceremony hall for the crowning of King Magnus. The Hall is still used today for many royal ceremonies and special occasions. Continue past the St. Mary’s Church, the oldest building in Bergen, which was originally built in the Romanesque style of the early 12th century. It was extended in the Gothic style in the 14th Century and is famous for its Baroque pulpit. Finally visit Troldhaugen, the home of the world known composer Edvard Grieg, which now has become a museum. The home is located at Hop, five miles from Bergen and situated in beautiful surroundings overlooking the Nordaas Lake. Grieg composed many of his best-known works here, and he and his wife are buried here. Grieg’s studio, his piano, his notes are all to be seen. Following our tour we transfer to the airport for our flight to Copenhagen, with the remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight at Hotel First Vesterbro or similar. (B)
DAY 9, COPENHAGEN
After breakfast depart for a tour of Copenhagen. Drive past the past the Amalienborg Palace, the Queens residence, the Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Parliament, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek with its incredible collection of works of art, and on past the National Museum. Continue past the beautiful old Stock Exchange and Kongens Nytorv with its Royal Theater, the home of the Royal Danish Ballet and further past the famous Little Mermaid. The tour ends at your hotel. The rest of the day is free. Perhaps visit Copenhagen’s busy shopping district “Stroeget” that rivals the shops and boutiques of London and Paris. This evening take a short walk from your hotel to the well-known Restaurant Divan II inside Tivoli. Enjoy a delicious Danish Farewell Dinner with wine. After dinner you will have time to explore the world famous Tivoli Gardens. You haven’t seen Copenhagen if you have not visited this world-famous amusement park! Started in 1843, this twenty-acre garden, set in the center of Copenhagen, was created for the young at heart. Tivoli has everything – fountains and lakes, the Tivoli Boy Guards, a concert hall, restaurants, brass bands, rides, and amusement arcades. Here you can stroll among the beautiful flowers, listen to the music, or have fun on the rides and attractions. Tivoli will be yours to enjoy this evening. Return on your own to your hotel. (B,D)
DAY 10, DEPART COPENHAGEN
Transfer to the airport for our return flight to the USA. (B,meals aloft)