A comprehensive, delightful Escorted Tour in Scandinavia and Russia. Travel from Denmark's wonderful capital, to the fjords of Norway, fascinating Stockholm, vibrant Helsinki and historic Russia.
Transfer* from the airport to Hotel Scandic Copenhagen (or similar). Time at leisure.
Copenhagen is Scandinavia's largest, most lively city and one of Europe's most romantic capitals. With its old castles and churches, charming squares and harbours, the morning sightseeing tour will acquaint us with all of the city's treasures. These include the Little Mermaid guarding the port, Royal Castle, Nyhavn's restaurants and small boats, plus City Hall Square. Tour ends at your hotel. Afternoon transfer to the wharf, for embarkation on the Oslo bound overnight ferry including buffet dinner. Outside cabin with private facilities. The ferry also has bars and shops to enjoy.
Breakfast is followed by arrival in Oslo. Disembark and head directly to Hønefoss and Nesbyen, an area of beautiful landscapes, which alternate between pine forests and lakes. Arrive in lovely Hallingdal Valley. and visit Gol village then continue to Geilo, a small resort town surrounded by mountains. Onwards to Hardangervidda to visit Voringfossen Waterfall, before our arrival in Eidfjord. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Quality Voringfoss (or similar).
This morning takes us further into Norway's breathtaking countryside, across splendid Hardanger Fjord over Hardanger Bridge, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world. On the other side we pass Nordheimsund, then travel through birch forests to Bergen - Capital of the Fjords. Situated on a peninsula surrounded by seven mountains, with a picturesque historic waterfront, the city's history is closely connected with seafaring and trade.
Afternoon sightseeing introduces us to a remarkable Hanseatic city, with the Bryggen area of old wooden houses, traditional Fish Market and city centre. St. Mary's Church and Haakon's Hall are the highlights. Accommodation at Hotel Scandic Ørnen (or similar).
Between early evening and tomorrow afternoon, time at leisure. You can take an optional ride on Bergen Fløibanen. The funicular travels to Mount Fløyen peak at 320m above sea level, offering fantastic views over the city and fjord.
Morning at leisure for you to relax or explore more of this fjord capital. Afternoon departure for historic Voss, with its scenic background of snow clad mountains. After a short break, continue towards Næroy Valley and Stalheim, with fantastic views down Stalheim Gorge. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Stalheim (or similar).
Today we continue through fjords and their formidable water-drowned glacial valleys, flanked by almost impossibly rugged terrain, to Gudvangen. Cross Naeroyfjord to arrive at Flåm, where you will have time at leisure. You can either explore the village, or choose between an optional trip on the Flåm railway or an optional coach trip to Stegastein Viewpoint - see below.
Optional Flåm Railway excursion. Also known as Flåmsbana, this is one of the steepest train lines in the world, on normal tracks. The 2hr return trip journeys through 20 tunnels and offers a multitude of views, as it passes Rallar Road, breathtaking waterfalls, deep valleys and steep mountains. Travel from the sea level of Sognefjord, 863m up to the mountaintop station at Myrdal, on Hardangervidda.
Optional Stegastein Viewpoint excursion. This is part of the Norwegian Scenic Route, running from Aurland to Lærdal. The 2hr return trip takes us to a structure, jutting 30m out of the mountainside at 650m above the fjord. Enjoy an unparalleled panorama with amazing views of the fjord, mountains and surrounding landscape.
This afternoon, continue along Aurlandsfjord, with a photo stop at magnificent Borgund Stave Church before heading to Fagernes. Dinner and overnight at Hotel Scandic Valdres (or similar).
After breakfast we leave the majestic Norwegian fjords behind us, for an early afternoon return to Oslo. Founded in 1048, Scandinavia's oldest capital is today, a very pleasant city with an interesting mix of historic and modern architecture. A late afternoon panoramic city tour starts with a visit to Frogner Park, decorated with the unique sculptures of Gustav Vigeland. Past City Hall, the main street Karl Johans gate, leads to the Royal Palace. Dinner and accommodation at Hotel Thon Opera (or similar).
Today we head for Stockholm, through Norwegian forests and across the border to the Swedish county of Varmland. The journey^ travels through typical, local landscapes with fertile farmland, blue lakes and thick forests, evoking an atmosphere of intriguing fairytales. Afternoon arrival in Stockholm, for accommodation at Hotel Scandic Grand Central (or similar).
Stockholm, also known as Beauty on the Water, is undoubtedly one of the world's loveliest capitals. Built on 14 islands and joined by 57 bridges, it is protected from the sea by Skärgården archipelago. Morning sightseeing takes us to the Old Town with Royal Palace and Cathedral, then to the city centre and its famous City Hall.
The afternoon is at your leisure, to spend as you wish. You may like to take an optional, privately guided excursion to the Vasa Museum, built around the intact remains of the 17thC warship, Vasa. One of the world's largest viking vessels and the pride of the mighty Swedish Navy, she sank in Stockholm's inner harbour on her maiden voyage in 1628. The discovery in 1956 and subsequent salvage in 1961 are two of the most important events in marine archaeology. This 2hr visit sees the Vasa which was painstakingly restored to its original magnificence as is now an authentic piece of living history.
The morning is also free for you to explore Stockholm on your own. Mid-afternoon transfer to the wharf, before boarding the ovvernight ferry for Helsinki. Cruise slowly through the archipelago, passing numerous islands and islets. Accommodation in outside cabins, with private facilities.
Breakfast signals our arrival into Helsinki. Located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern culture, it is reflected everywhere in the green and lively, Finnish capital. Sightseeing today takes us around the harbours, to Senate Square and up central Mannerheim Street, past the Parliament Building, Finlandia Hall, Sibelius Monument, to the famous Church in the Rock. The afternoon offers free time. Accommodation at Hotel Scandic Simonkenta (or similar).
Morning at leisure before afternoon departure^ from Helsinki to St. Petersburg. Founded in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great, this is another of Europe's most beautiful cities. Also known to the world as Venice of the North, the city was virtually unharmed by the 1930-50's Stalinist reconstruction and its downtown dazzles the eyes, with splendid palaces, stylish monuments, straight avenues, beautiful bridges and many other attractions. Overnight in Corinthia Hotel St. Petersburg (or similar).
This morning we meet our local guide for a panoramic sightseeing tour, which covers some of the city's highlights. Drive along the heart of the city (Nevsky Prospect), with photo stops at the Spit of Vasilievsky Island, Senate Square, Peter and Paul Fortress, St. Isaac's Cathedral, Art's Square, the Russian Museum and two magnificent churches, the Nikolsky Cathedral and Church on the Spilled Blood.
This afternoon offers free time or an optional visit to Peterhof Palace. The fountains at the heart of this location are a symbolic expression of the sea's dominion and the mist rising from the waves as they surge against the shore. The world famous palace, fountain and park ensemble is an outstanding landmark of 18th-19thC, Russian artistic culture. There are 176 fountains and four cascades of various forms and styles, with numerous gilded statues of ancient gods and heroes. Beautiful, majestic palaces with remarkable collections of sculpture, painting and works of the minor arts, all add up to make Peterhof one of the world's most unique gems.
Accompanied by our local guide, we continue our adventure in this charming city with a visit to the State Hermitage Museum, right in the city's heart. Occupying six magnificent buildings along the River Neva embankment, the leading role in this unique architectural ensemble is played by the Winter Palace. Formerly the residence of Russian Tsars, it was built to the design of Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli in 1754-62. This evening is at your leisure.
Morning transfer with local guide from your hotel to the Railway station, where we board the Sapsan train to Moscow, through endless Russian landscapes and along the Volga River. Afternoon arrival and transfer to your hotel. You have the evening at your leisure. Accommodation at the Intercontinental Moscow Tverskaya (or similar).
This morning's privately guided, panoramic sightseeing tour of Moscow sees ancient cathedrals and churches, some of them dating back to the 15thC, many of which have been restored or even rebuilt. Pass beautiful theatres and palaces, situated beside modern offices and hotels, and late Soviet architectural treasures such as Moscow State University and the Central Stadium in Luzhniki, which hosted the 1980 Olympic Games.
Also tour of one of Moscow’s beautiful Metro stations - a highlight in itself and a real must do. This is followed by free time for lunch, before we continue our time in the city.
The late afternoon and evening are at leisure. You can choose and optional excursion to a performance of the Russian National Dance show, Kostroma. This event reveals the history of Russia and the life of its peoples, through dance, as lyrical sketches, snippits of folklore and ancient traditions are played out in all of their glory.
Meet our local guide for your morning excursion, which includes a privately guided, walking tour of the Kremlin Territory. We wander through the Kremlin grounds and pay a visit to the Armoury Chamber with its famous collection of Fabergé Eggs, jewels and royal thrones. The word Kremlin (Kreml) means a fortress or walled town; Moscow’s is the biggest and most famous. The earliest ramparts were made from earth and wood, but successive rulers raised and strengthened the defences after every attack.
Afternoon optional River Cruise on the Moscow river. The Radisson Royal Flotilla comprises 10 beautiful, state of the art yachts, built for entertainment as you glide on this majestic waterway. The two promenade decks offer audio information about attractions along the route, with panoramic views of this very picturesque city.
Following breakfast and check-out, transfer* to Moscow Airport. End of arrangements.
Maximum group size: 38 persons
All optional excursions must be pre-booked. Minimum numbers may be required.
*Airport transfers are shared with fellow arriving/departing passengers. Minor waiting times may occur.
^ Days 8, 12. Oslo-Stockholm and Helsinki-St. Petersburg journeys will be by coach or train.
Luggage allowance is 1 suitcase plus 1 piece of hand luggage per person.