For the uninitiated, Scandinavia is the land of Vikings and Norse Gods, of the beautiful aurora borealis and midnight sun. Many travelers tend to skip Scandinavia because it is relatively expensive than other European countries. However, one has visit to these lands to truly experience and appreciate it’s raw, untamed natural beauty. The best part, perhaps, is that Scandinavia is a destination for anytime of the year since every season has its own attractions to offer. While the spectacular northern lights light up the long, dark and icy winter nights, the sun refuses to set in the endless Artic summer.
In this article, Tripdukaan brings you an itinerary that will help you experience the Scandinavian summer.
DAY 1: ARRIVE IN HELSINKI + CITY TOUR
Set on the seaside, the capital city of Finland is an archipelago of almost 330 islands, offering an eclectic mix of experiences.
• Rediscover art and history with the plethora of museums – Helsinki City Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum of Finland to name a few.
• Helsinki exudes an old town charm with its charming architecture, explore it at the Senate Square. With the statue of Alexander II at its center, the Senate Square consists of four buildings – Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland.
• Later, you can either grab a lunch around the Esplanade Park or go souvenir shopping at the Market Square, both of which, are close to the Senate Square. Alternately, there are some huge parks across the city such as the Punavuori Park, Kaivopuisto Park, Sibelius Monument/Park where you can just sit down with a coffee and unwind.
• For a bird’s eye view of the city you can either visit the Uspenski Cathedral or the SkyWheel Helsinki which is 40-meter high observation wheel.
• Before noon, don’t forget to catch the amazing play of sunlight in the interiors of the Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church).
DAY 2: SUOMENLINNA SEA FORTRESS + OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO STOCKHOLM
In the morning, take a boat to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland). Situated on a group of islands, this huge sea fortress is just a 20-minute ferry ride away. Take a walking tour and explore this picturesque site along with its museums and beaches.
In the evening, board an overnight ferry that will take you across the Baltic Sea to Stockholm.
DAY 3: STOCKHOLM SIGHTSEEING
Spread out across 14 islands, Stockholm is an urban magazine and a fairytale storybook, both combined in one, waiting to be read.
• Take a stroll around Gamla Stan (Old Town) and travel back in time with the Royal Palace tour, cobblestone streets and museums.
• Tour the Stockholm City Hall which is the venue for Noble Prize banquet and the perfect place to get a panoramic view of the Gamla Stan.
• Visit the Vasa Museum that houses the 17th century warship – Vasa. This huge ship sank within minutes of her maiden voyage but was resurrected again in 1961.
• Explore the former royal summer residence – Drottningham Palace, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
DAY 4: STOCKHOLM SIGHTSEEING + TRAIN TO OSLO
In the morning, take a boat to Djurgården – an island in central Stockholm. Check out Skansen – the first open air museum in the world and home to the Nordic Zoo.
Later, in the afternoon, hop onto a train for a 6-hour journey to Oslo.
DAY 5: OSLO SIGHTSEEING
Situated at the head of Oslo Fjord, this beautiful, cosmopolitan, Norwegian capital city is a place that will mesmerize you with it’s beautiful views.
• Start your day with a visit to Holmenkollen Ski Jump & Museum that offers a 360-degree view of Oslo.
• Visit Vigeland Park and admire the work of Norway’s best-loved sculptor – Gustav Vigeland. Filled with over 200 statues, this park in central Oslo is a must-visit.
• Next, take the ferry to Bygdøy and explore the Norwegian Viking and sea-voyaging history with a visit to the Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum and the Viking Ship Museum.
• Return back to Oslo to catch the sunset at the Aker Brygge Wharf. Explore the Akerhus fortress and the iconic Opera House.
• Visit the Royal Palace, National Gallery and other museums in the vicinity.
DAY 6: OSLO-BERGEN
Take the iconic “Norway in a Nutshell” tour to Bergen that includes travel on the scenic Bergen Railway from Oslo and prepare to be blown away by the amazing sights that Norway has to offer.
At Myrdal, board the Flåmsbana (Flåm Railway) which offers magnificent views of the Flåm valley. The main highlight of the tour starts from Flåm, where a fjord cruise takes you through the dramatic Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord. At Gudvangen, a bus ride down the steep bends of Stalheimskleiva takes you to Voss. A short train journey from Voss brings you to Bergen.
DAY 7: BERGEN CITY TOUR + CRUISE TO ÅLESUND
Bergen – the city of seven mountains, the gateway to the fjords is a city that constantly plays hide and seek with the sun and rains. Vibrant and beautiful, this city is a big surprise in a small packet.
• Explore the Sentrum (city center)
• Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of “Bryggen” and stroll through the narrow alleyways that form a part of Gamle (old) Bergen
• Take the Fløibanen Funicular Railway to Mount Fløyen which offers you a stunning view of Bergen from the top
• Visit the Arboretum and Botanical Garden at Milde and Bergen Aquarium
In the late afternoon, take the Hurtigruten ship and sail away towards the fairytale town of Ålesund via Geirangerfjord.
DAY 8: GEIRANGERFJORD CRUISE
Majestic snow-tipped mountains, cascading waterfalls, lush green vegetation and the deep blue Fjord – yes, prepare yourself to be amazed today as your ship cruises towards the glorious Geirangerfjord.
DAY 9: ÅLESUND CITY TOUR
Photo by Jarand Løkeland on Unsplash
Located at the entrance of Geirangerfjord, Ålesund is the most beautiful town in Norway. It offers some local attractions such as museums and aquarium. Alternately, you can opt for fishing/kayaking trips or even hiking!
DAY 10: ALESUND OSLO TRAIN
The last leg of the journey is a scenic rail journey across the Norwegian countryside of the beautiful fjord village of Andalsnes, through the Rauma valley and river, the “Troll Peaks” and the “Troll Wall”, finally taking you back to Oslo.
Images taken from http://www.pixabay.com