Follow in the footsteps of Viking explorers as you journey to the majestic shores of Iceland. Witness unparalleled beauty amid breathtaking volcanic landscapes and encounter centuries-old traditions of the Faroe Isles. Cross the Norwegian Sea and explore Norway’s thriving coastal towns. Discover the legendary Scottish Highlands, immerse yourself in the Celtic customs of Ireland and be captivated by the bustling maritime cities of Liverpool and Greenwich.
Transfer to your ship and settle into your stateroom. Reykjavík is the world's northernmost capital city yet captures the distinctive feel of a fishing village. The Kentucky-sized island is Europe's westernmost nation and one of the wildest places on earth. It is also lauded as one of the cleanest and most civilized countries, committed to finding the perfect balance between day-to-day living and harnessing its natural resources with eco-friendly practices. Vikings landed on this pristine land during the 9th century; their arrival is well chronicled in the medieval Sagas preserved at the Culture House.
Reykjavík is home to endless charms, watched over by the majestic Esja mountain range. The striking Hallgrímskirkja church stands in the city center as a towering vision in white, while the glass Harpa concert hall is a wonder of modern architecture. Höfði House is one of Reykjavík's highlights and is the site of the meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, which marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War. Farther afield, breathtaking natural sites are in abundance, from towering waterfalls and soaring mountains, to blue thermal springs.
ĺsafjördur was founded in the 9th century by the Viking Helgi Magri Hrólfsson. Foreign merchants arrived in the 16th century and set up trading posts here. Today, ĺsafjördur is home to one of the largest fisheries in Iceland and, despite its remote locale, boasts a cultural scene rich in music and drama. The oldest house in Iceland is here, built in 1734, as is the country's largest concentration of old timber-frame homes. Many visitors explore farther afield, delving into the surrounding wilderness of Hornstrandir or discover the fishing heritage of charming coastal towns.
Nicknamed the 'Capital of the North,' Akureyri is set at the end of the Eyjafjördur and enjoys a mild climate, unusual for a northern city just 62 miles from the Arctic Circle. Folk culture is robust in Akureyri; the Vefarinn dance was invented here to celebrate the harvest. Other points of pride include the Public Park and Botanic Garden, where some 2,000 plant species grow, and the hilltop Akureyrarkirkja, the local church that is home to a stained glass window from Coventry Cathedral in England.
Seydisfjördur enjoys a mountainous setting at the end of a fjord. It traces its origins to the early days of Viking settlements. Though the town is tiny, it boasts an impressive history. It hosted the world's first modern whaling station and pioneered international communications when it welcomed the first telegraph cable, linking Iceland to Europe. The town's Technical Museum of East Iceland chronicles these pivotal moments. Colorful wooden homes line the streets, overseen by starkly picturesque slopes and the soaring summits of Mounts Bjólfur and Strandartindur.
Journey to what was once believed to be the 'end of the world,' where sea monsters lurked and ships were lost on treacherous waters. As you sail, take advantage of the array of delicious cuisine offered on board. You may visit Mamsen's, our casual gourmet deli, any time from early morning to late at night for a taste of traditional Norwegian fare. Or, dine at Manfredi's and savor an authentic Italian meal, with options ranging from Milanese risotto to Tuscan-inspired classics.
Tórshavn is the capital of the Faroe Islands, an archipelago that rises above the North Atlantic waters halfway between Norway and Iceland. The Faroese people still speak their unique Old Norse language and Viking settlements here reach back to the 9th century. The Viking Parliament stood upon a rocky peninsula in Tórshavn, the capital. Still today, the Faroe Islands' government conducts its business on the very same promontory. The archipelago's remote locale and plentiful birdlife make it one of the most exciting and humbling places to visit.
Cross the North Sea, where Vikings sailed as they established colonies on Scottish islands, coastal France and beyond. Renew your body, mind and spirit in our Scandinavian-inspired spa, a Nordic sanctuary of holistic wellness, today while at sea. Whether you unwind in the Sauna, refresh in the Snow Grotto or take a dip in the heated pool, you will feel recharged and revitalized.
Geiranger is the gateway to some of coastal Norway's most magnificent natural treasures. Nearby, the Seven Sisters Waterfall tumbles 1,000 feet into the fjord's water, while directly across the fjord, the Suitor Waterfall also plunges down a steep face. The overlook known as Eagle's Bend towers 2,000 feet above the village, accessed via a winding mountain road with 11 hairpin turns. The Norwegian Fjord Center puts all this natural splendor into perspective with fascinating exhibits.
Ålesund is a fascinating blend of coastal splendor, alpine magnificence and unique architecture. Its art nouveau architecture appeared after a fire destroyed much of the city in 1904. More than 50 architects and builders designed the new city, which spreads across several islands, in the art nouveau style that still graces Ålesund today. For nature lovers, the city is a convenient base from which to explore a magnificent canvas of alpine splendor. Nearby mountains, fjords and waterfalls offer a haven for countless seabirds that jockey for position on rocky islets.
The charming village of Flåm sits eight hours inland through the breathtaking Aurlandsfjord. It is world-renowned as one of the world's most spectacularly scenic places and the gateway to sprawling green valleys dwarfed by towering peaks. These primeval mountains, glacial lakes and glorious waterfalls were sculpted during the Ice Age. The landscape around Flåm is dramatically steep and the town is the starting point of the world-renowned Flåm Railway, which chugs through the magnificent scenery of Norway, past roaring waterfalls and breathtaking vistas.
Bergen is home to the Hanseatic League's only kontor (trading enclave) still in existence. Bryggen wharf, a row of timbered Hanseatic warehouses along a quaint quay, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Narrow wooden walkways are flanked by parallel rows of small, vibrantly painted buildings overlooking the picturesque Vågen Harbor. This is perhaps the most charming district of Bergen and a delight to explore, from its tight-knit community of workshops where artisans sell their wares to its cafés where freshly prepared smørbrød, or open-faced sandwiches, are on the menu.
Bergen, an ancient city with deep Viking roots, is nestled between gargantuan snowcapped mountains, magnificent fjords and one of Europe's largest glaciers. Founded in 1070 on what was a Viking settlement, Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway. Not to be missed is a stroll through the Fisketorget, where the fresh catch of the sea awaits—from cod and prawns to local caviar and icy oysters.
Bergen's Bryggen has come to serve as an important window into both Norway's maritime legacy and architectural traditions. Totaling more than 60 buildings, with the earliest dating to the 18th century, these distinct structures are all that remain after the numerous fires that have ravaged Bergen. They were largely reconstructed within their original property lines, with their restoration and continual preservation staying true to medieval Norwegian building techniques, materials and tools. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a delight to explore.
The Shetland Islands may be remote, but history did not overlook them. At the excavation site of Jarlshof, tall, stone roundhouses date to the Iron Age and an ancient Norse longhouse tells of a Viking community. More recent history echoes through the streets of Lerwick, the islands' sleepy capital founded by Dutch fishermen. The main island, Mainland, gets much of its beauty from its diversity. Farmlands and dreamy meadows unfold toward seal-dotted beaches, rocky cliffs take a beating from the surf, and medieval castles overlook valleys and lakes.
Invergordon lies in the mountainous, heather-covered Scottish Highlands amid a patchwork of farmland. The small community celebrates itself with a series of stunning murals painted by local artists; a walking trail leads visitors to them all, passing colorful window flowerboxes along the way. Whisky is another mainstay here, produced in a local grain distillery. This charming port is the gateway to a breathtaking region that provides a fascinating glimpse into the days of warring clans, and into the legend of 'Nessie,' the fabled monster of Loch Ness.
Edinburgh has been Scotland's capital since the 15th century, despite the fact that the Union of the Crowns moved it to London in 1603. There is no capital quite like Edinburgh, with its gorgeous setting on green rocky hillocks and splendid views of the sea. Edinburgh Castle, home of the Scottish Crown Jewels and countless medieval treasures, overlooks the city from Castle Rock; and the Royal Mile unfurls Edinburgh's architectural gems in all their finery, from the Canongate to St. Giles's Cathedral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish residence of British royalty.
The history of the Scottish Orkney Islands dates back millennia. Neolithic remains, including the ancient site of Brodgar, predate Stonehenge and the Pyramids. The 13th-century Norse Orkneyinga Saga told of Vikings who ruled here. Later, the earls took over, and the French Renaissance palace that remains is a legacy to their grandeur. Another castle, Balfour, stands regally in a stark landscape. While the northern Europeans greatly influenced this hauntingly beautiful archipelago, consider the Italian Chapel, built by the hands of Italian prisoners during wartime.
Ullapool enjoys one of the most remote settings in the United Kingdom on the pristine shores of Loch Broom. This tiny town, dotted with distinctive New Zealand cabbage trees, is the largest community for miles surrounded by the stunningly scenic Western Isles, dramatic mountain peaks piercing the sky and unspoiled wilderness. Ullapool's beauty lies in its tranquility. A launchpad for ferries to the stunning Western Isles, this former herring port village is also a popular gateway for walkers, adventurers and nature lovers.
A major port heralded for its shipbuilding heritage, Belfast has undergone a cultural and architectural renaissance unrivaled in the rest of Europe. The influence of Britain is everywhere in this polished capital of Northern Ireland. Some of its most striking buildings exude Victorian flair and cosmopolitan elegance amid its famous Irish charm. Along the Golden Mile, high-end boutiques are reminiscent of those found in Paris, and the opulent Grand Opera House stands as a hub of Belfast culture.
Holyhead is a cozy coastal enclave on the isle of Anglesey off the northwestern tip of Wales. This region boasts the greatest concentration of ancient burial chambers and standing stones in Britain. Holyhead is contained within one of the few three-walled Roman forts in Europe, protected on the fourth side by the sea. The historic St. Cybi's Church lies at the fortress'center and the excellent Maritime Museum chronicles local seafaring history. Locals are as likely to speak Welsh as English; almost two-thirds of the youth speak this fascinating tongue.
Liverpool is celebrated as the 'World Capital of Pop;' 56 musicians born and bred here have had #1 singles. Most notably, the Beatles hailed from this port city. But it is more than music that has put Liverpool on England's cultural map. Its storied waterfront is part of the city's Maritime Mercantile UNESCO World Heritage Site and the setting for Pier Head, a spectacular trio of palatial buildings known as the 'Three Graces.' In all, more than 2,500 buildings are protected for their historic, architectural and cultural significance.
A UNESCO City of Literature, Dublin is the birthplace of many of Ireland's finest writers, from James Joyce and Oscar Wilde to Muriel Spark. The people of Dublin have long celebrated the written word, nowhere more deeply than at the library of Trinity College, the hallowed home of the inspiring 9th-century illuminated Book of Kells. And there is much more to explore, from the soaring St. Patrick's Cathedral, the nation's spiritual touchstone, to Dublin Castle, built after the Norman invasion that unseated the Vikings here.
About 350 miles long, the English Channel separates southern England from northern France. William the Conqueror crossed these waters to become king of England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The most triumphant crossing unfolded on D-Day, when Allied troops landed on Normandy's shores. The channel's narrowest point stretches about 20 miles between Dover and Calais. Dover's famed cliffs can be seen from a distance as a long white strip resting on the horizon.
Most famously known for its dramatic white-chalk towering cliffs, Dover is the nearest city to France across the English Channel. Its strategic location as a doorway into England has earned it the moniker 'Key to England.' As the port was under constant threat because of its location, the massive Dover Castle overlooking the channel grew over the centuries to become the nation's largest edifice and remains so today. Dover also served as a bastion and command center during World War II.
Greenwich, a borough of London, is home to the Royal Observatory. From here, the world's longitude is measured from the prime meridian, and Greenwich Mean Time sets the global time standard. At the port, the clipper ship Cutty Sark, one of Greenwich's renowned historic landmarks, is preserved as a fascinating museum. Upriver, London is home to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. In addition, this major economic and cultural hub boasts a long tradition of arts and architectural innovation—from Shakespeare's Globe Theater to West End musicals.
Greenwich is home to several iconic maritime institutions. Royal Naval College is a major symbol of Britain's seafaring heritage and the architectural centerpiece of Greenwich. It opened as a hospital for sailors in 1712 and served as the Royal Navy's educational institution from 1873 to 1998. Today, its hallowed halls whisper of the days when Britannia ruled the waves. The National Maritime Museum is the world's largest, chronicling England's seafaring endeavors in its compelling collection of art, maps and countless memorabilia, including the first marine chronometer. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.
Viking Northern Lights Cruise London to Bergen 0Karen & Michael , QLD, Australia, Feb 2023
Unfortunately, the cruise started 2 days late which resulted in missing the ports of Amsterdam & Navrik. The food and wine selections were good, and the Verandah cabin was comfortable with a glass enclosed shower, opening door and a window. Not a lot of activities during sea days. They concentrate more on lectures with three lecturers' being on board for the 10-day cruise. No kids no casinos were a bonus.
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