Norway’s fjords feature some of the most stunning scenery on Earth. Cruise past waterfalls and snow-capped peaks through the narrow Naeroyfjord. Discover Stockholm’s maritime history at the Vasa Museum, which houses an original wooden war ship from 1628. This impressive vessel gives you a rare glimpse into the naval power Sweden was once famous for. Lakeside Mora’s mix of landscapes proves just how darn stunning Sweden can be. Be charmed by tiny countryside villages, red cottages, pine forests, rolling meadows and sparkling lakes. Wind up your adventure in Helsinki for a Scandinavian culture binge. Senate Square, the market hall, the sea fortress of Suomenlinna and the Design Museum are just some of the highlights of this amazing city
Tour Scandinavia and discover the many charms and delights on this two-week adventure through Norway, Sweden and Finland. Travel through some of Europe’s most stylish capitals and be wowed by some of the world’s biggest fjords. Visit Norway’s uber-cool Oslo, travel to Sweden’s vibrant Stockholm and explore Finland’s hip Helsinki. Along the way, uncover a Viking past, learn of a maritime heritage and get swept up in Olympic fever. Whether it’s walking along charming streets in Bergen or sailing through vast fjords, you’ll undoubtedly be left with a multitude of picturesque memories from this once in a lifetime Scandinavian adventure.
Welcome to Norway, where you’ll discover the irresistible charm and eccentricity of Oslo. With so much to see and do in Oslo we recommend that you plan to arrive a few days before the trip begins, so you can see as much of the city as possible. Why not head to the National Gallery of Art to glimpse Edvard Munch's famous painting, The Scream.Your adventure begins with a important welcome meeting at 6 pm, where you'll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. Afterwards, why not seek out some traditional Norwegian fare with the group.
Today is a free day to explore Oslo. Perhaps travel to the nearby area of Holmenkollen for a visit to the Ski Museum, housed inside the famous monumental Holmenkollbakken (ski jump), which looks more like a work of art than a sports venue. Highlights in the museum include the history of skiing over the past 4,000 years, of Norwegian polar expeditions, and lesser known glimpses from the Winter Olympics at Oslo and Lillehammer. At the top of the jump tower there are 360 degree views of the city, its fjords and forests. Alternatively embark on some island hopping on Oslofjord, put the hammer down at the Viking Museum, browse the harbour-front Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, taste local flavours at the food hall Vulkan, explore the immense Akershus Castle & Fortress, or check out the cool shops in the Grunerløkka district. There's so much to get stuck into.
Today you'll leave Oslo behind and take the train across the stunning countryside of the Fjell region to Bergen, which will take around seven hours. No other train ride between two cities in Europe is at a higher altitude than this one, and few can match the views passing by your window. Linking Norway's two main cities, this line takes in some spectacular scenery of lush valleys, idyllic villages, dramatic mountains and picturesque lakes as it crosses the Hardangervidda Plateau. As the trip is long and you'll arrive quite late into quirky city of Bergen, there won't be too much time to explore today, but you will have all day tomorrow. There are some great sea food restaurants in town, so possibly venture out with the group for a bite to eat.
After breakfast this morning, head out for a guided walk around the Bryggen area of the city. This is a World Heritage listed area of one of the world’s greatest harbour cities, and is where the settlement of Bergen grew from. Wander through the reconstructed medieval homes and warehouses, visit the beautifully preserved wooden Hanseatic Museum (a former trade building), and explore the old Hanseatic port area – the Hanseatic merchant confederation dominated Baltic maritime trade for 400 years from the 15th century. Then you’ll have free time in the afternoon to do as you wish. Perhaps visit the 13th century Bergenhus Fortress, one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. Also, make sure you journey on the Floy Mountain Funicular, taking you 1,050 feet abve the city in just seven minutes, and offering amazing views of the deep blues of the sea and the pastel coloured houses from the top of Floyen mountain. It you’d like to get active while you’re up there, the summit has a multitude of hiking paths catering to all abilities.
Leave Bergen after breakfast and travel by bus to the fjord region, which should take around 3-4 hours. The journey will take you through epic landscapes and remote regions, so have your camera at the ready. The typical Norwegian huts that you’ll stay in tonight are located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by steep cliff walls with a perfect view of the spectacular crystal clear Kjelsfossen waterfall falling from the top of the fjords. It's humbling to look up and consider these giant and ancient geological formations. Your accommodation is located near the village of Gudvangen.
Today take a boat trip and be captivated by the sight of crisp mountain peaks reflected in the glassy waters of Naeroyfjord, a World Heritage site. The name Naeroyfjord takes its origins from the Norse god of seafarers and the sea, Njord. The fjord itself, formed by glacial erosion of the surrounding bedrock, is 18 kilometres long, only 250 metres wide at its narrowest point, but its depth reaches up to 500 metres. Surrounding mountain peaks rise up to 1400 metres and waterfalls crash down sheer cliff faces – awe-inspiring melancholic beauty and dramatic vistas. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the scenery of the surrounding area. Perhaps hire bikes and cycle along the shore of the fjord, take to the waters in a kayak or take a bus to the nearby ittle fishing village of Flam in order to ride the famous railway up to Myrdal. This is one of the most picturesque (and steepest) railway journeys in the country. Alternatively explore on foot and discover nearby waterfalls and ancient moraines. Fishing enthusiasts will love the opportunity to throw a line in the crystal waters, sit back and soak up the serenity (a fishing licence is required and costs around NOK 150).
There will be another long bus journey of around six hours after breakfast today, as you journey to the town Alpine playground of Lillehammer. Cross vast high plains, remote valleys, and drive through the Lærdal Tunnel, the world's longest road tunnel at 24.5 km. The tunnel is divided into four sections, broken up by ‘mountain caves’. These caves are 6 kilometres apart and equipped with special lighting to help drivers concentrate by giving off the illusion of driving into daylight. Lillehammer, which held the Winter Olympics in 1994, is picturesquely situated on Lake Mjøsa. Upon arrival head out for a brief orientation walk to find your bearings in the laid-back 19th century town centre, along the main pedestrian street of storgata (Big Street), lined with wooden houses, boutiques and restaurants.
Join an orientation walk this morning and get to know Lillehammer. Your leader will take you on an included visit to the Maihaugen Open Air Museum, home of the Garmo Stave Church, which tells the story of people in the Gudbrandsdalen Valley over the last 300 years. This brilliant museum includes timber-built farms, a town and a big residential area that gives you an insight into various eras of Norway's history. Afterwards head to the Olympic Ski Jump Arena where in summer a special surface is laid out that allows professional ski jumpers to practice even though there is no snow. Head to the top of the ski jump via chairlift (or tackle the 954 steps) and enjoy excellent views across Lillehammer and Lake Mjøsa. The afternoon is free for you to further explore. Perhaps conquer misty mountains on a hike. As a town famous for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics, Lillehammer has a great Olympic Museum where you can hear tales of heroic feats, and is also an ideal spot for outdoor activities such as wheeled bobsleigh.
Travel for around five hours by private bus today and cross the border into Sweden. Head to the lakeside village Mora, a laidback town that encapsulates the most Swedish of Swedish landscapes, and which sits right in the middle of the Swedish lakes. Settled between the northern shore of Lake Siljan and the southern shore of Lake Orsasjon, Mora is a location steeped in history and culture that's ready to be discovered. Dalarna county is in the heart of the Sweden and is famous for the national symbol of the wooden Dala horse and Mora knives. Check in to the hotel on arrival and relax for the evening, before your day of exploration tomorrow.
Be charmed by tiny countryside villages with deep-red log cottages, towering pine forests and rolling meadows on an included bike ride this morning, a great way of getting to know the area and the beautiful Swedish country side. The rest of the day is free to explore the area of Mora and its lakes. Perhaps take a leisurely boat trip across the lake, sink a line to partake in a little fishing or hike around the gentle rolling surrounds. Admire the work of a meteorite that crashed into the Earth millions of years ago, forming what is today Lake Siljan. Mora is also the home of the world’s biggest cross-country ski race, the 90 kilometre Vasaloppet, and one of Sweden’s most famous artists, Anders Zorn. Here you can visit his former home and a museum gallery of his art.
Leaving the Swedish lakes behind, head to the country's cultural, political and economic capital of Stockholm by train (approximately 4 hours). Often referred to as the 'Venice of the North' and arguably Scandinavia 's most beautiful city, Stockholm is packed full of amazing architecture, pristine parks and clear waters. After an introductory orientation walk, use the rest of your day to settle into your accommodation and explore the area around you. You can perhaps head underground for the world’s longest art exhibition. Connecting the fourteen islands of the city and blasted through hard rocky ground, the subway (Tunnelbana) system's 100 stations are like the longest modern art exhibition in the world, featuring artwork from over 140 different artists. The bedrock of the cavernous stations on the Blue Line for example has been left exposed and artists given free reign to express themselves on the walls. Enjoy the narrow cobble stone streets and the colourful merchant houses. Why not soak up the culture and try a cinnamon roll in Stockholm’s oldest café Sundbergs Konditori located on Jarntorget square, and dating from 1785.
In your free time why not leave the city behind for a few hours and see the waterways of Stockholm on a cruise past tiny islets and along narrow waterways. Consider taking a self-guided Millennium Walking Tour of Stockholm or visit the Abba Museum. Alternatively you can take a trip to Drottningholm Palace, the residence of the Swedish royal family. There's plenty of sights and attractions to keep you busy here in this great Scandinavian city, so plan your activities wisely. Tonight perhaps head to Stockholm's Sodermalm district, the inner-city island with the best nightlife, full of hip shops, bars and cafes. Or maybe sit down at one of the city’s top-notch restaurants, such as the latest venues opened on the cobblestoned islet of Gamla Stan, or in the cool fusion restaurants of Kungsholmen.