1 Welcome to Oslo.
On arrival at Oslo airport, your transfer will leave for the hotel at 09:30, 12:00 or 14:30. Join your Travel Director and fellow guests at 17:30, to enjoy a Welcome Dinner with wine. (DW) Stay: Scandic St Olavs Plass Hotel, Oslo.
2 Cosmopolitan Oslo.
In the morning, sightseeing with a Local Expert will show you the spires and ramparts of medieval Akershus Castle guarding the harbour, as well as the Royal Palace and an included visit to the Viking Ship Museum. Wander through Frogner Park, housing the intriguing sculptures by Gustav Vigeland. The afternoon is at your leisure, maybe explore City Hall where the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony is held, or walk upon the famous architecture of Oslo Opera House? (B)
3 Oslo City to Coastal Bergen.
Journey across the Hardanger Plateau, Europe's greatest mountain plateau and the largest national park in the Nordic countries, before arriving at your hotel in the historic port of Bergen. In the evening, savour a delicious dinner at Zupperia Matbørsen, a local restaurant offering traditional Norwegian and European flavours with an Asian fusion. (B/DW) Stay: Thon Hotel Rosenkrantz, Bergen.
4 Ancient Hanseatic Port of Bergen.
A Local Expert introduces you to Bergen. The ancient Hanseatic port city still largely looks to the sea for its living, as evidenced by the picturesque and lively Fish Market, set in a charming location in the heart of the city. The market also has stalls selling a colourful variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, handicrafts and souvenirs. After seeing the 13th century Haakon's Hall, there will be time to explore all that this exciting town has to offer. Perhaps spend a leisurely afternoon on the traditional-style train of the Flåm Railway? (B)
5 A Coastline Like No Other.
Enjoy the morning at leisure to ascend Mount Fløyen by the only funicular in Scandinavia or alternatively visit the home of composer Edward Grieg, located alongside the beautiful lake Nordås. Afterwards, travel along this incredible coastline and sail across fjords passing an abundance of islands. Arrive in Stavanger, one of Norway's oldest cities founded almost 900 years ago. The city has continued to evolve with changing times and now the headquarters of the Norwegian oil industry, Stavanger is a fusion of old world charm and cosmopolitan flair. (B) Stay: Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel, Stavanger.
6 The Wonders of Lysefjord.
Cruise Lysefjord, one of Norway's most breathtaking fjords. See Preikestolen, the Pulpit Rock, known as one of the most iconic destinations in the world! You will also view Vagabond's Cave, old mountain farms, idyllic islands and majestic scenery. Enjoy the fjord landscape through panoramic windows or from the sundeck. The afternoon is at your leisure to relax or continue exploring Stavanger. (B)
7 Onwards to Kristiansand.
Relax and enjoy the scenic drive as you round the southern cape of Norway. Upon arrival in Kristiansand, your orientation walk of the city centre will show you the Dom Kirke and the Nupen Fountain. (B) Stay: Hotel Norge, Kristiansand.
8 Kristiansand to Aarhus.
Say farewell to Norway as you sail across the Skagerrak to Hirtshals, Denmark. Your journey continues to Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city and one of Europe's cultural treasures with world-class museums and modern art. Visit Den Gamle By with your Local Expert to learn about this city's Viking Heritage as you explore this open-air museum of urban history and culture in Denmark. (B) Stay: Comwell Hotel Aarhus.
9 Historic Aarhus.
A vibrant mix of youthful energy and a blast from the past makes Aarhus a city with an energetic beat of the pulse. Join your Local Expert for an exploration of the city centre. See the City Hall, the modern art museum ARoS Aarhus ART Museum topped with an immense, interactive artwork and Dokk1, the largest public library in Scandinavia. Walk through the area surrounding the cathedral and visit the new township for splendid views of Aarhus Bay. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your own pace. Join your fellow travellers for a Farm-to-Table Dinner of delicious Danish dishes made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. (B/D)
10 Odense and The Fairytales of Fyn.
Cross the Jutland Peninsula to the town of Odense, on the island of Fyn. In the restored old district, visit the Hans Christian Andersen House, a museum dedicated to his life and works. Learn all about the famous fairytale writer as you follow his career, travels and love life. Perhaps explore the Tivoli Gardens for an evening of lights, flowers and sensory delights. (B) Stay: Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Copenhagen.
11 Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen.
Your Local Expert will reveal the charm of Denmark's capital. Meet Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid gazing wistfully across the harbour and see Christiansborg Palace, the seat of the Danish Government. Continue on to see Rosenborg Castle, Amalienborg Palace, the Renaissance Stock Exchange and Copenhagen Cathedral, where the Crown Prince of Denmark married Princess Mary. View the unusual Round Tower a 17th century round tower and the oldest functioning observatory in Europe. The afternoon is at your leisure. In the evening, dine with your newfound friends and delight in a delicious Highlight Dinner. (B/DW)
12 On to Stockholm, City of Islands.
Travel from Denmark to Sweden by crossing the incredible Øresund Bridge. Spanning 16km over the Flinte channel it's the longest road and rail bridge in Europe. Pass through the artificial island of Peberholm which has become a haven for flora and fauna and continue through the Skåne region, which gave its name to Scandinavia. Enjoy views of the patchwork of fertile farmlands as you journey along the shores of Lake Vättern to the Swedish capital, Stockholm, which is set on 14 beautiful islands. In the evening, perhaps try the local cuisine served in traditional surroundings? (B) Stay: Scandic Grand Central, Stockholm.
13 Stockholm and Baltic Sea Cruise.
Join a Local Expert for your visit to the City Hall's marvellous Gyllene salen, the Golden Hall, and the Blå hallen, the Blue Hall, where the Nobel Prize banquets are held. Continue to Gamla Stan, the medieval heart of the city. View the cathedral and walk through the Old Town to see the Royal Palace. With the afternoon at leisure, don't miss the opportunity to visit the Vasa Galleon, a marvellous impression of life on board a 17th century naval vessel.
In the evening, board your Baltic cruise to Finland and voyage through the largest archipelago in the world. Enjoy dinner onboard and enjoy the seemingly endless sea view from the comfort of your A-class, sea-view cabin, while the northern sun hangs over the horizon, showing almost no sign of setting in mid-summer. (B/DW) Stay: Serenade/Symphony, Tallink Silja Line.
14 Fashionable Helsinki.
Helsinki is known as a global trendsetter in design, fashion, stunning architecture and luscious parks. Disembark your Baltic cruise to meet your Local Expert. Wander through the aromatic stalls of a traditional food market and sample local produce like liquorice or smoked reindeer. Afterwards, enjoy time to explore on your own. Why not stop for lunch at the colourful market located by the harbour and spend time browsing the vast array of stalls selling local souvenirs, handicrafts as well as fruits, vegetables and world-class pancakes? (B) Stay: GLO Hotel Art, Helsinki.
15 Lakes and Forests to Kuopio.
Finland is a land of beautiful lakes and enchanting forests. Sit back and relax as you take in the spectacular scenery. On arrival in Kuopio, ascend Puijo Tower for a splendid panorama that will reveal why Finland is called the land of a thousand lakes. Adjoining the hotel is the well-revered Grillsson Steakhouse & Bar, known for their homely atmosphere. Sit back and relax as you are treated to a delicious, freshly-prepared, three-course meal offering, quinoa and goat's cheese to start, warming flank steak with Borderlaise sauce for a main and a refreshing lime posset for dessert. (B/D) Stay: Scandic Atlas, Kuopio.
16 The Road to Rovaniemi.
As you journey towards the Arctic, travel through Lapland, native home to the nomadic Sami people. Visit Oulu, northern Finland's oldest city. It is also the largest general port in the Bothnian Bay, made up of 3 harbours. Enjoy time to explore the centre of the city that is spread across several islands, connected by pedestrian bridges and cycleways, considered one of the best in Europe. Your travels continue to Rovaniemi, the modern capital of the region. (B/D) Stay: Santa's Hotel Santa Claus, Rovaniemi.
17 Rovaniemi and Lapland.
With your Local Expert, see the Town Hall designed by Aalvar Aalto and visit Rovaniemi Church. Next, a delight for the young at heart! Visit the Santa Claus village which celebrates the Christmas spirit year-round. Meet Santa at his post office, where you can arrange to send a special letter from Santa to loved ones back home in time for the following Christmas. Don't forget to take a beautiful photo to capture the magic of Christmas. With the afternoon at leisure perhaps you may want to visit the open-air museum and Arktikum? (B)
18 Across The Arctic Circle to Ivalo.
In the morning enjoy a relaxed start or perhaps join an Optional Experience to visit Ranua Wildlife Park, for the chance to see polar bears, lynxes or even a wolverine. Later, cross the Arctic Circle and receive a certificate to prove you were there! Continue your journey north along the Four Winds' Road where you may see herds of reindeer roaming freely as you head for one of the oldest churches in Lapland. Travel through Europe's last great wilderness to see the Urho Kekkonen National Park near the gold centre of Tankavaara. (B/D) Stay: Hotel Ivalo Oy.
19 The North Cape.
Cross nature reserves into Norway and stop at Karasjok, the seat of the Sami Parliament and a centre of Sami culture. Visit a Sami National Museum before continuing along the beautiful Porsanger Fjord to reach the quaint settlement of Honningsvag. Enjoy the picturesque harbour at your leisure or perhaps set out on a sea bird and arctic cruise adventure? This Optional Experience includes a cruise around the Gjesværstappen, a necklace of islands that's a protected nesting area for millions of Puffins, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Guillemots, White Tailed Eagles and even a chance of a Grey Seal or Porpoise.
Tonight we journey in search of the midnight sun on your included experience of Nordkapp, the northernmost point of mainland Europe, where you will enjoy a glass of bubbles and caviar in one of the most special places on Earth. (B/D) Stay: Scandic Honningsvåg.
20 Through Finnmark to Alta.
Enjoy a relaxed start before continuing your escorted journey through Norway's most Northern County of ‘Finnmark', covered in unique topography of rolling tundra and isolated dwellings. This afternoon experience the town of Alta at your leisure, made famous for its fishing and mining history. Why not visit the Northern Lights Cathedral or consider taking a wilderness trip on the Alta River itself? (B) Stay: Scandic Alta.
21 A World of Adventure In Alta.
With a leisurely morning start, why not explore the town centre or check out the Rock Art of Alta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of prehistoric rock carvings. Later, visit a working husky farm to meet Trine Lyrek, a champion dog sledder. Learn about her Alaskan huskies and the challenges she faces competing in marathon Arctic dog sled races. Meet some of Trine's Husky puppies, that may grow to be the best racing dogs in the country. If you wish, spend time playing with these adorable pups. Afterwards,delight in a wonderful oven-baked Highlight Dinner of local seasonal specialities,such as salmon or the nutritious local game, reindeer, served with fresh salads and wine. (B/DW)
Pass Kåfjord where the German battleship Tirpitz was once stationed and hear tales of one of the first large-scale battles of World War II. As you travel south, see the marvellous Lyngen Alps in the distance. They're 90 kilometers of mountains and glaciers that really are stunning all year round. Continue to Narvik, surrounded by majestic mountains. With the evening free for you to explore on your own, perhaps join an Optional Experience and take in stunning views aboard neighbouring Sweden's iron-ore railway. Pass surrounding fjords as the Ofot Railway clings to the mountainside - constructed over 100 years ago, it's an incredible feat of engineering. (B) Stay: Scandic Narvik.
23 Across Tysfjord to Mosjøen.
Board a ferry to cross Tysfjord, then continue past Rago National Park, its fjords cut deep into the landscape. Bid farewell to the Arctic before reaching Mosjøen, a pleasant town on the Vefsnfjord that has a large concentration of historic, 19th century wooden buildings and Norway's oldest octagonal church. (B/D) Stay: Fru Haugans Hotel, Mosjøen.
24 Laksfoss Falls to Trondheim.
Drive through Namdalen then watch for salmon leaping upstream as they travel to their spawning-grounds at the mighty Laksfoss Falls. Continue past the village of Hell to Trondheim, once the seat of the ancient Viking kings and Norway's third largest city. Trondheim has always reflected the changing fortunes of Norway and is full of interest. See the Market Square dominated by its statue of Olav Tryggvason and the Nidaros Cathedral, Norway's national shrine. Tyholttårnet, or Tyholt Tower rises high above the city and the Old Town Bridge is locally known as Lykkens Portal, which means Portal of Happiness. (B) Stay: Clarion Hotel, Trondheim.
25 Geiranger, Jewel of The Fjords.
Begin one of the most scenic days you will ever experience. Norwegian Fjordland is a dream world of soaring mountains, icy glaciers and rivers which cascade hundreds of metres into the green valleys below. Cross the Dovre Mountains, as you journey through Dovrefjell National Park. Travel via lakes and snow-capped peaks to Lom, home to one of Norway's most beautiful stave churches. Arrive at the mirror-smooth waters of Geirangerfjord to embark on a spectacular cruise beneath towering cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Your hotel is in a superb setting overlooking the beautiful Norwegian Fjord landscape. (B/D) Stay: Hotel Union, Geiranger.
26 Geiranger At Leisure.
Enjoy a relaxed start and a whole day free for you to explore the fjords and mountains of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perhaps join an Optional Experience and take an incredible scenic drive along the amazing Trollstigen, or Troll's Road. The road itself was a masterpiece of engineering when it was built over 70 years ago and the spectacular views will leave you speechless. (B/D)
27 Oslo, The Capital.
Journey through the countryside immortalised by Ibsen in 'Peer Gynt' and inspiration for Edvard Grieg. Continue to Lillehammer, host of the 1994 Winter Olympics, for an orientation with your Travel Director. Then it's on to the modern Norwegian capital of Oslo. Round off your travels with a Celebration Dinner, and raise your glass to toast to your adventures. (B/DW) Stay: Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo.
28 Out of Oslo.
Your departure transfer arrives at Oslo Airport at 07:15 or 10:15. (B)