Incredibly Scenic Days & White Nights
The Fjords & the Capitals
(plus countryside, mountains, glaciers in Norway)
July 3-14, 2020
a trip led by
historian, author and raconteur
Robert S. McElvaine
Copenhagen, Oslo, Gielo, Hardangerfjord, Bergen, Voss, Flam,
Sognefjord, Skei, Briksdal Glacier, Geirangerfjord Cruise, Lillehammer,
Karlstad, Stockholm, Baltic Sea Cruise, Helsinki
(with optional one-day side trips to Tallinn, Estonia,
and/or St. Petersburg, Russia)
(Prices listed at the end)
Beginning less than two weeks after the Summer Solstice / longest day of the year, our trip will be in the Far North of the planet during the period of the “White Nights.” We will probably see sunset around 1 AM and sunrise around 3:00 AM. I have experienced this odd feeling in St. Petersburg and been in Greenland when the sun never fully set at all. It’s fascinating.
Day 1, Fri., July 3 | Flight to Copenhagen
Board our flights bound for Copenhagen. (under own arrangement)
Day 2, Sat., July 4 | Copenhagen, DENMARK – D,H
Upon arrival of Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark, we start a half day panoramic sightseeing tour. Our first stop is the symbol of the city—the Little Mermaid in Hans C. Andersen’s fairy tale. Our tour also features the City Hall, the Agricultural Goddess Fountain, and a photo-stop at Amalienborg Palace. Highlight of the city tour is a visit to Rosenborg Castle*, where we will see the three famous silver lions guarding the royal throne.
Day 3, Sun., July 5 | Copenhagen – DFDS Scandinavia Cruise – B,D
Today’s tour features two amazing castles: the Kronborg Castle* and the Frederiksborg Castle*. First, we drive north through magnificent Danish countryside to Kronborg Castle, the setting chosen by Shakespeare for Hamlet. After lunch, we head to Hillerod to visit the Renaissance-style Frederiksborg Castle, which was built by the King Christian IV, and now is the national historical museum. Finally, we board the luxurious ferry* at DFDS pier to Oslo. Enjoy a spectacular Scandinavian buffet dinner on board.
Day 4, Mon., July 6 | DFDS Scandinavia Cruise -> Oslo, NORWAY – Geilo – B,DH
After a typical Scandinavian buffet breakfast, we disembark at Oslo. The city tour takes us to the Viking Ship Museum* for an orientation to the awesome technical skills the Vikings displayed in constructing their seafaring ships, and later to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where granite and bronze sculptures portray joy and sorrow, life and death. Also, a scenic drive will give us a panoramic view of the city and the Oslofjord, including the Oslo City Hall, where the Nobel Peace Prize is given out every year. Some free time in the afternoon for leisure before traveling to Geilo, the ski resort of Scandinavia. Enjoy our dinner at hotel.
Day 5, Tue., July 7 | Geilo – Hardangerfjord – Bergen, NORWAY – B
We drive along the valley of Hardangervidda and travel to Bergen, the gateway to the fjords of Norway. Our bus passes snow-capped mountains, tumbling waterfalls, tranquil lakes and lovely villages. After crossing the Hardangerfjord, we arrive in Bergen, Norway’s second largest city and principal port on the west coast. Our first stop of the city tour is the harbor-side outdoor Fish Market where you may sample the freshly caught seafood. Next, we visit the UNESCO world heritage listed Bryggen, the historical Stave Church, and view the Norwegian traditional sod-roof houses.
Day 6, Wed., July 8 | Bergen – Voss – Flam – Scenic Train – Tunnel – Sognefjord – Sogndal – Skei, NORWAY – B,DH
Enjoy the picturesque Norwegian fjords from the train* and also from the ferry* today. Travel north, pass by the mountain resort of Voss, and then board the world’s steepest scenic train at Flam. The journey to Myrdal takes you through a steep and narrow valley, with views of mighty waterfalls and mountain peaks. Get off the train, continue heading north along the Sognefjord, passing through World’s longest tunnel and crossing fjord by ferry boat*. Dinner and overnight accommodation at Skei.
Day 7, Thur., July 9 | Skei – Briksdal (Briksdal Glacier) – Geirangerfjord Cruise, NORWAY – Geiranger – B,DH
After Scandinavian buffet breakfast at hotel, we proceed to Briksdal. After city orientation tour and lunch, a walking tour shows us the world famous Briksdal Glacier. Later in the afternoon, we cruise on the Geirangerfjord and enjoy the most beautiful views of a fjord in Norway. After disembarkation at Geiranger, you may join an optional excursion to the summit of Mount Dalsnibba.
Optional Tour: Norway Mount Dalsnibba Excursion.
Day 8, Fri., July 10 | Geiranger – Eidsdalfjord – Lillehammer, NORWAY – B
We head inland today through Eidsdal. Enjoy wonderful views of the Eidsdalfjord. Along the way there is more spectacular scenery as we drive through the valley to the 1994 Winter Olympic Town of Lillehammer. Upon arrival, enjoy free time at leisure, perhaps strolling along the streets to explore the city.
Day 9, Sat., July 11 | Lillehammer, NORWAY –>
Karlstad and Stockholm, SWEDEN – B
Another scenic day: the rolling green pasture lands, dense forests, charming valleys, shimmering lakes, and towering mountains. We travel in our comfortable coach toward Karlstad, a lovely lake-side town of Sweden. A chance to browse in its enticing shops is given. Later we arrive in the largest city of Scandinavia, Stockholm. Very soon tourists understand that the beauty of this Swedish capital is due to its unique setting on 14 islands and to the care with which city authorities control urban development and preserve historical treasures.
Day 10, Sun. July 12 | Stockholm – Overnight Cruise on Baltic Sea -> Helsinki, FINLAND – B,D
Our half-day tour of Stockholm gives us an in-depth introduction to this, perhaps the most beautiful of all Scandinavian capitals. A visit to Vasa Museum* takes us back in time to an era when Sweden was the dominant maritime power of Northern Europe; the Vasa Ship, raised from the bottom of the sea after more than 400 years, is a testament to that power. Next visit the stunning City Hall* and its fabulous golden mosaics. It is where the Nobel Prize Banquet is held after the ceremony. Board an overnight cruise ship to Helsinki, the beautiful city by the Baltic Sea. After a splendid Scandinavian buffet dinner, we’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the many facilities on board: duty free shopping, cinema, sauna, etc.
Day 11, Mon., July 13 | Helsinki, FINLAND – B,DH
Upon early morning arrival at Helsinki, our sightseeing tour starts immediately featuring the imaginative monument to the Finnish Composer Jean Sibelius, Russian Uspenski Cathedral, Olympic Stadium, Senate Square, Lutheran Church, Market Square, Parliament Building, and the world-famous Rock Church. After dinner, we check in to our hotel.
Optional Tour: Porvoo Old Town Excursion.
Day 12, Tue., July 14| Helsinki -> Depart for Home OR optional day trip to Tallinn, Estonia or St. Peterburg, Russia – B
Bid Scandinavia a fond farewell as we board our international flight back home OR stay a day or two more to see Tallinn, Estonia and/or St. Petersburg.
(OPTIONAL) Day 12, Tue., July 14| Tallinn
$345.00 per person (includes extra night in Helsinki)
Our private coach and driver with English-speaking assistant will pick us up at your hotel and take us to the port where we will catch our ferry to Tallinn, Estonia. This can take from 2 hours to 2.5 Hours. Upon arrival, we will be met by our Guide/Assistant for our sightseeing tour. Lunch is not included. We will view St. Nicholaus Church, Toompea Castle and Old Town Hall (no entrances included). We will visit the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and head back to the port for the ferry ride back to Helsinki where you will be met by an assistant to take us back to our Helsinki hotel.
(OPTIONAL) Day 12 or 13, Tue., July 14 or Wed., July 15| St. Petersburg
$555.00 per person (includes extra night in Helsinki)
Our private coach and driver with English-speaking Assistant will pick us up from our hotel and take us to the train station where we will catch the early train over to St. Petersburg. The journey is approximately 3.5 hours. Once in St. Petersburg, we will be met by your Guide/Assistant and taken on a half day excursion to Pushkin, where we will have entrance to EKATERINA PALACE IN PUSHKIN included. We will be givev time in Pushkin for lunch (under our own arrangement) and head back to St. Petersburg for a half day Panoramic Tour to view some of the major sites like: Palace Square, St. Isaac Cathedral, Nevsky Prospect, Bronze Horseman, Decemberist Square and Savior on Split Blood Church (no entrances) before heading back to the station for our trip back to Helsinki. At the station we will be met by our driver and assistant to take us back to our Helsinki hotel.
FIRST CLASS HOTELS
Meal Code: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner at Local Restaurant, DH=Dinner at Hotel