Scandinavia Trip

Scandinavia:

The Fjords & the Capitals

July 2019

a trip led by

historian, author and raconteur

Robert S. McElvaine

Copenhagen, Oslo, Flam, Bergen, Stockholm. Helsinki

(with optional side trip to Tallinn, Estonia,

and available extension to St. Petersburg, Russia)

Copenhagen waterfront-SM

12 Days (13 w Estonia)

(16 Days with St. Petersburg Extension /17 with Tallin & St. Petersburg)

July 7-18 (or 22 with St. Petersburg), 2019

St Petersburg church

 

NOTE: PRICES are listed after the full itinerary.

Prices listed are based on a minimum of 10 people

(not including Dr. McElvaine)

 

Experience:

  • The magnificence of Copenhagen
  • The majesty of Norwegian fjords
  • Viking history brought to life
  • The discovery and recovery of the Vasa warship
  • The medieval Old Towns of Stockholm and Tallinn (optional)
  • Helsinki’s blend of history and modernity
  • The opulence of czarist and modern St. Petersburg (optional)

Included:

  • Multilingual Tour Guides
  • Private deluxe motor coaches
  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

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July 6-7: Travel day

Overnight flight to Copenhagen.

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Copenhagen | 2 nights

 Copenhagen waterfront-2

Day 1, July 7: Copenhagen Arrival

Welcome to the historical “harbor of merchants” and the outstanding capital of Denmark – Copenhagen! Our private driver meets us at the airport and transfers us to our centrally located hotel for check-in.
The rest of the day is free for us to start exploring the magnificent city center on our own, dine in one of the local restaurants or take a good rest in our comfortable room.
Meals: Not included
Hotel: Admiral Hotel, Copenhagen

Christiansborg

 

Day 2, July 8: Exploring Cophenhagen Highlights


After breakfast we meet our guide and private driver and enjoy a panoramic sightseeing tour* of Copenhagen.
During the tour we’ll stop and visit the symbol of Copenhagen – the world-famous Little Mermaid statue, inspired by H. C. Andersen’s fairy tale. Then we drive around the Citadel before visiting both the Gefion Fountain and Amalienborg Square, where the winter residence of the Royal Family is located. If possible we’ll get to see the famous Changing of the Royal Guard ceremony.
We then pass the colorful harbor of Nyhavn and the Rosenborg Castle. Then continue onto Christiansborg for a walk around the government area with a stop in front of the architectural beauty of the Old Danish Stock Exchange. After that we return to the bus and drive by Tivoli Gardens, the National Museum, Carlsberg Glyptotek and the Town Hall Square before returning to the hotel.
*Please note that the order of sights seen might be changed due to traffic conditions.

 

Little Mermaid statue-Copenhagen

The statue of the Little Mermaid is an icon of Copenhagen

Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Admiral Hotel, Copenhagen
Optionals: Aamanns 1921 Restaurant, Copenhagen
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 Day 3, July 9: Ferry Trip to Oslo

After breakfast we check out from our hotel in Copenhagen and spend the rest of the morning at leisure or join a carefully planned optional tour.
In the afternoon our driver transfers us to the port for a ferry trip to Oslo. We spend this night on board the ferry.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Transport: Copenhagen – Oslo Ferry
Optionals: Grand Boat Tour Nyhavn & Tivoli, Copenhagen

Included meals: Welcome dinner

Welcome to Norway! Gather with our group for tonight’s welcome dinner.

 

Day 4, July 10: Oslo

OsloAfter breakfast we arrive in the fabulous capital of Norway – Oslo. Upon arrival our guide and private driver meet us at the port and take us on a 3-hour panoramic city tour around the most magnificent attractions of the Norwegian capital.
We start with a visit to one of the major Scandinavian treasures – the famous Frogner Park, informally known as the Vigeland Park named after its founder Gustav Vigeland. We’ll spend some great time strolling through this beautiful park and enjoying its extravagant sculptures and unique Scandinavian nature.
Then we proceed to other famous Oslo attractions, including the Royal Palace, the Akershus fortress (no entrances included) and the Viking Ship Museum (entrance tickets included).
After the tour we are transferred to our centrally located hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure. We can relax in the hotel or join our carefully designed optional tour.
Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo

Optional: Fjord Cruise with Prawn Buffet, Oslo

 

Day 5, July 11: Flamsbana Train Ride, Oslo –> Flåm

Following breakfast we check out from our hotel and are transferred to the train station, where we board a train that takes us to an unforgettable Oslo – Myrdal – Flåm rail ride. This trip is a perfect chance to admire the mind-boggling nature and picture-postcard scenery of Norway.

Flamsbana railway

Flåmsbana Train

Upon arrival in Flåm, we walk to our hotel for check-in and have the rest of the day free.

Flam-4

Flåm

Meals: Breakfast
Hotels: Flåmsbrygga Hotel, Flåm

Optional: Egir Brewery & Pub, Flåm

Flam-2  Flam-1

Fjord at Flåm

Day 6, July 12: Boat Ride to Bergen

After breakfast we check out from our hotel and spend the rest of the morning at our leisure or we can join a carefully planned morning optional tour.

In the afternoon we walk to the pier (easily accessible by foot) to enjoy a 5.5-hour express boat trip to Bergen – the second largest city in Norway. This is a wonderful experience.
Upon arrival, we walk to our centrally located hotel for overnight.

Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Bergen Bors Hotel, Bergen

Optional: Heritage Fjord Safari, Flåm

 

Day 7, July 13: Visiting Bryggen District & Fløibanen Funicular Ride

Bryggen

Bergen is known as the gate to the kingdom of fjords and is famous for its Hanseatic quay.

Following breakfast we meet our guide at the hotel lobby and enjoy a 3-hour walking city tour around the most interesting sights of Bergen.
During the tour we’ll take a walk at the famous Bryggen district (a UNESCO World Heritage site), visit the Fish Market and experience a fantastic Fløibanen Funicular ride that is one of Norway’s best-known attractions.

funicular-and-view

Fløibanen Funicular

After the tour, we return to our hotel and have the rest of the day free or we may join a carefully designed optional tour.

Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Bergen Bors Hotel, Bergen
Optional: Fjord cruise Bergen – Mostraumen, Bergen

Mostraumen

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Stockholm | 2 nights

Day 8, July 14: Flight to Stockholm

StockholmToday we check out from our hotel and our driver transfers us to the airport for our flight to the magnificent capital of Sweden – Stockholm.
Upon arrival, our driver meets us at the airport and transfers us to our centrally located hotel. The rest of the day is free to start exploring Stockholm attractions on our own, dine in a local restaurant, or take a good rest in our comfortable room.

Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm

Day 9, July 15: Stockholm Old Town Sightseeing Tour


Stockholm-3

After breakfast we’ll meet our guide and private driver and enjoy a 3-hour panoramic city tour around the most interesting attractions of Stockholm.
During the tour we’ll explore the brilliant Old Town that is one of the biggest and most well-preserved medieval Old Towns in Europe and see the famous Royal Palace, the Stockholm Cathedral and the City Hall (no entrances included).
After the tour, we return to our hotel and have the rest of the day free, or we can join our carefully planned optional tour.

Stockholm-4
Meals: Breakfast
Hotels: Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm

Optional: Archipelago Cruise, Stockholm

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Helsinki | 2 nights

 

Day 10, July 16: Ferry Trip to Helsinki

Helsinki

After breakfast, we’ll check out from our hotel and spend the rest of the morning at our leisure in Stockholm.
In the afternoon our driver will transfer us to the port for a ferry trip to Helsinki. We’ll spend this night on board the ferry.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Transport: Stockholm – Helsinki Ferry

 

Day 11, July 17: Exploring Helsinki Old Town & Visiting the Rock Church

Helsinki-2

 

After breakfast, we’ll arrive in the port of Helsinki where we’ll meet our guide and driver who will take us on a wonderful panoramic city tour around the most fantastic attractions of Helsinki.

 


Helsinki-5During the tour we’ll walk through the vivid Central Harbor and Market Square, explore the charming Old Town and visit the famous Rock Church and the Helsinki Cathedral.
After the tour we are transferred to our centrally located hotel for check-in and have the rest of the day free, or we can join our carefully designed optional tour.


Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Klaus K Hotel, Helsinki
Optional: The Beautiful Canal Route, Helsinki

 

Day 12, July 18: Departure from Helsinki or Optional Extensions

This is the last day of our Scandinavian adventure–but we can continue it with an extension to Tallinn, Estonia and/or St. Petersburg, Russia. If we decide as a group that we want to include Estonia, we will not check out of the hotel, but be taken to the port for a trip across the Baltic Sea to Tallinn.

After breakfast, we’ll check out of the hotel and those who choose to the end the trip at this point will be transferred by our driver to the airport for the flight back home.
Meals: Breakfast

*Day 12, July 18: Tallinn, Estonia

{♦ NOTE: When we have the group set, we can decide whether to add an extra night in Helsinki with a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia.}

(12 hours, departs in the morning)

Tallinn-2Cruise to Tallinn, a bustling port city dominated by Toompea Hill. The aura of the 14th and 15th centuries is strong in the central city’s jumble of medieval walls, spires and winding cobblestone streets. You’ll enjoy a guided tour followed by free time to discover the city on your own.

Tallinn-3

Tallinn-8

Tallinn-4

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Post-tour St. Petersburg Extension | 3 nights

Day 12 or 13, July 18 or 19: Departure from Helsinki to St. Petersburg

This morning those of us going on to St. Petersburg can enjoy free time to explore Helsinki attractions on our own.

In the afternoon, we are transferred to the port where we board a ferry that takes us to St. Petersburg – the legendary cultural capital of Russia, known as “Venice of the North” for its numerous rivers and canals. We’ll spend this night on board the ferry.

St Petersburg White Nights

St. Petersburg “White Nights”

Note: Russian visas are not required as there is a 72-hour visa free regime for ferry passengers.

Day 13 or 14, July 19 or 20: St. Petersburg City Tour

In the morning we’ll arrive in the port of St. Petersburg. Our private guide and driver will meet us at the port after customs and take us on an amazing panoramic city tour around the most outstanding attractions of St. Petersburg.

St Petersburg at night

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

During the tour, we’ll visit the gorgeous St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood which stands on the site where Russia’s Emperor Alexander II was mortally wounded in 1881 (a significant event for American history, as I’ll explain when we’re there), and the Peter and Paul Fortress – the burial place of almost all the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II and his family.

St Petersburg - St Peter & Paul Fortress

St. Peter and Paul Fortress

After the tour, we’ll be transferred to our centrally located hotel for check-in and have the rest of the day free.
Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Golden Triangle Boutique Hotel, St. Petersburg

Day 14 or 15, July 20 or 21: Visit to the Hermitage Museum & Trip to Peterhof

Following breakfast you meet your guide at the hotel lobby and go to the legendary Hermitage Museum.

Winter Palace

The Winter Palace (Hermitage)

They say that if you were to spend three minutes by each of the exhibits in the Hermitage Museum, it would take you three years to see the entire exhibition. But don’t worry, we’ll have an experienced guide, who will show us the best rooms and halls of the exhibit within several hours.
The tour of the Hermitage includes the Main Museum Complex. The General Staff Building (that houses the Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings as well as contemporary art) is not included.

In the second part of the day we travel to the outskirts of St. Petersburg to explore (from the outside) Peterhof, the Summer Palace that Peter the Great constructed with the intention of outdoing Versailles.

Peterhof

The Summer Palace (Peterhof)

Grand Cascade in Peterhof Palace, Saint Peresburg, Russia

Peterhof-3-aerial view

During the tour, we’ll visit the famous Bath Cottage, which offers a fascinating insight into everyday life of Russian court, and take a walk in the beautiful Lower Park, lavishly adorned with 176 fountains of various forms and styles and numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes.

After the tour we’ll be transferred back to our hotel.

Meals: Breakfast
Hotel: Golden Triangle Boutique Hotel, St. Petersburg

 

Day 15 or 16, July 21 or 22: Trip to Pushkin & Ferry Ride to Helsinki

After breakfast, we check out from our hotel and meet our guide and driver who will take us to the outskirts of St. Petersburg to Pushkin (Tsarskoe Selo) to explore the brilliant Catherine’s Palace that is a striking example of baroque architecture gifted by Peter the Great to his wife Catherine I.

Pushkin

Pushkin

During the tour, we’ll take a walk through the lavish parks and gardens of this outstanding palace and enjoy its gorgeous interiors, including the replica of the world-renowned Amber Room.
After the tour, our driver will transfer us to the port where we’ll board a ferry that takes us back to Helsinki. We’ll spend this night on board the ferry.
Meals: Breakfast
Transport: Helsinki – St. Petersburg Ferry

 

Day 16 or 17, July 22 or 23: Departure from Helsinki

Upon our arrival in Helsinki our driver meets us at the port and takes us to the airport for our flight back home.
Meals: Breakfast

 

 

 

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Cost:

12-Day Trip ending in Helsinki: $5,599 / person, double occupancy

                  (Supplement for single room, 12 days: + $1,475)

{♦ NOTE: When we have the group set, we can decide whether to add an extra night in Helsinki with a day trip to Tallinn, Estonia. If at least ten people want to do it, we can; otherwise the choice will be just between ending in Helsinki after 12 days or going on to St. Petersburg.}

13-Day Trip ending in Helsinki, including Estonia: $5,995 / person, double occupancy

                   (Supplement for single room, 13 days, including Estonia: + $1,735)

16-Day Trip with St. Petersburg extension: $6,695 / person, double occupancy

17-Day Trip with Estonia & St. Petersburg: $7,095 / Person, double occupancy

                   (Supplement for single room with St. Petersburg, TBD)

 Trans-Atlantic Airfare NOT included.

 

What’s included:
Accommodation at remarkable hotels in Copenhagen, Oslo, Flam, Bergen, Stockholm and Helsinki (and St. Petersburg with extenstion);
Breakfasts at the hotels;
Dinners according to the itinerary;
Airport transfers and all transportation according to the itinerary;
Breathtaking sightseeing tours according to the itinerary with professional English-speaking guides;
Floibanen Funicular round trip;
Regular class ferry tickets Copenhagen – Oslo and Stockholm – Helsinki;
Regular class train tickets Oslo – Flam (via Myrdal);
Regular class boat tickets Flam – Bergen; Economy class flight tickets Bergen – Stockholm;
Entrance tickets to the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo and the Rock Church in Helsinki;
Large suitcase porterage from Oslo hotel directly to Bergen hotel;
Emergency line support during the trip.
Not Included:

international flights

other meals not mentioned in the program

optional tours and services

all personal expenses.
What clothes to bring:
Scandinavian climate is unpredictable and weather can be quite harsh even during summers. Bringing a water resistant jacket, umbrella, and some warm clothes is a must. Be prepared for both warm and cold sunny weather with occasional winds coming from the Arctic. Most of the tours you’re going to have are walking, so make sure to bring convenient walking shoes.
Tipping etiquette:
Tips to guides and drivers in Scandinavia are not required or expected. However, if you really enjoyed the service, a symbolic tip of no more than $10 will be appreciated. Tips in restaurants are also voluntary. Typically you could just round up the bill or include a standard 5-10% tip from the total amount. It would be considered more than generous.
Language:
Is it possible to have a conversation with a local in Scandinavia without knowing a word in Danish, Norwegian or Finnish? Yes! Most Scandinavians speak perfect English and you won’t have any language barriers while traveling there. However, learning some language basics will get you happy smiles of the locals

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To reserve your place on this trip or for additional information, contact:

Bob McElvaine at: mcelvrs@millsaps.edu

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