Start in stylish Helsinki, then take the overnight train to Santa's home town of Rovaniemi. Continue to Saariselka in the heart of Finnish Lapland, where you will stay for two nights in a charming log cabin in the taiga forest. Then visit Inari, the capital of indigenous Sami culture, before travelling into Norway to Kirkenes, where you'll enjoy an authentic Scandinavian Christmas at the amazing Snowhotel. Next, take a delightful voyage on the classic Hurtigruten ferry along Norway's beautiful coast to Bergen. Then its all aboard on the famous Norway in a Nutshell journey by train, bus and ferry from Bergen to Flåm, where you will celebrate the New Year in style, before travelling on to Oslo where your journey ends. A truly great way to explore!
Welcome to the Finnish capital, Helsinki. On arrival, make your own way to your hotel. Helsinki is truly located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern culture and this is reflected everywhere in this green and lively small city. Perhaps explore the sights including the historical centre, City Hall, Senate Square, Uspenski Cathedral, the Parliament Building and Finlandia Hall, Temppeliaukio Church (the Rock Church) or the Sibelius Monument. Overnight in Helsinki at the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna or similar.
Day at leisure. Later in the evening, make your own way to the central railway station and depart on the overnight train to Rovaniemi. Overnight on board the train in a private compartment with private facilities (bunk beds).
Morning arrival into Rovaniemi, the official home of Santa Claus. Make your own way to your hotel then time to explore the town, browse the shops or perhaps visit the fabulous Arktikum Museum. You might also take one of the great optional winter excursions, which include dog sledding, snowshoeing, a visit to Ranua Wildlife Park, snowmobiling, ice fishing, a visit to Santa's village, Aurora hunting by car, and more. Two nights at the Original Sokos Hotel Vaakuna Rovaniemi or similar.
Today continue exploring or enjoy one of the optional excursions available. 2nd overnight in Rovaniemi.
Today board the local coach which will take you from Rovaniemi to the Muotka Wilderness Hotel, a paradise tucked away in the taiga forest in a magical and tranquil landscape. Simply enjoy your breath-taking surroundings, or add some of the great optional winter activities offered, which include snowshoeing, ice fishing, dog sledding and more. This is also a great place to search for the fabled Northern Lights at night, and you can do this with a visit to the resort's Aurora Camp. For two nights you will stay in a Panorama Log Cabin, a rustic yet spacious cabin with a large panorama window and sauna.
Another day to enjoy the peace and quiet in this remarkable place. 2nd overnight in cabin.
Today you will travel even further north, taking the local coach from Muotka to Inari. This is a very special place and the centre of Sami tradition. Make time to visit Siida, the interesting Sami museum and nature centre, and explore the village. Overnight in an Aurora Cabin at the Inari Wilderness Hotel.
Continue by local coach from Finland into Norway, enjoying the change of scenery as you head north to Kirkenes, which shares a border with Russia. Transfer from Kirkenes to the fabulous Snowhotel, where you will stay in a wonderful Gamme Cabin, a private wooden cabin with air conditioning, underfloor heating, a snug bathroom with a separate aurora glass wall and a large panoramic window and lounge chairs covered in sheepskins, so you can gaze out in warmth and comfort, as you look for the Northern Lights. Two nights at Snowhotel.
Today we highly recommend you join an optional king crab safari. Or perhaps take an optional guided excursion such as snowshoeing, ice fishing, or dog sledding. Tonight get ready for a special festive dinner at the hotel - Merry Christmas! 2nd overnight at Snowhotel.
Today transfer back to Kirkenes, to board the Hurtigruten ferry for a journey onboard the MS Finnmarken along the Norwegian coast. The ferries play a vital role in delivering supplies and post to the many small villages along the rugged Norwegian coastline. You will pass many of these small villages as you cruise past spectacular scenery from Kirkenes to Bergen. And at night, all you have to do to search for the Northern Lights is to go on deck and look up! Five nights accommodation on board in an outside cabin including full board.
Disembark from the ferry today in Bergen, a picturesque city with an abundance of charm. Enjoy the rest of your day exploring - this old Hanseatic trading city is full of history and tradition, an international city that has retained its small-town charm and atmosphere, and offers an exciting blend of nature and culture. Visit the Fish and Flower markets, take the funicular up Mount Floyen for amazing views, and explore the shops, cafes and centuries old wooden houses of the old wharf area. Overnight in Bergen at Hotel Zander K or similar.
Pack an overnight bag for Flåm, as your luggage will be transported directly from Bergen hotel to Oslo hotel. Make your own way to the train station, to start your "Norway in a Nutshell" tour. The first leg is by train from Bergen to Voss; from here travel by bus to Gudvangen, where you will board a ferry for a spectacular cruise on the Sognefjord, Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord to Flåm. Upon arrival in Flåm, walk the short distance to the Flåmsbrygga Hotel. Enjoy an aperitif then a Viking feast 3-course dinner before (at 22:00hrs) an unforgettable evening with a fjord cruise with live entertainment, a New Year's toast and of course fireworks. Two nights at Flamsbrygga Hotel.
Today, relax and enjoy the peace of this little village. Or you might like to add an optional 1-2hr guided tour to the extraordinary and spectacular Stegastein Viewpoint. This structure, which juts out 30m from the mountainside, and is 650m above the fjord, offers an unparalleled panorama. A more amazing view of the fjord, mountains and surrounding landscape is hard to imagine. 2nd overnight in Flåm.
Continue by train - on the famous Flåmsbanen Railway - from Flåm to Myrdal, a spectacular journey of 20km through wild and beautiful scenery, via tunnels that spiral in and out of the mountain, showcasing the most daring and skilful engineering in Norwegian railway history. At Myrdal board the scenic Bergensbanen train to Oslo, travelling through the countryside of mountains, valleys, rivers and farms. On arrival in Oslo, make your own way to your hotel for overnight at Thon Hotel Opera or similar.
Your tour arrangements end after breakfast and check out.
A variation of this tour is available daily from December to March, see Seeking the Northern Lights.