Itinerary

8/24/17
Day 1—Depart the U.S. for Copenhagen, Denmark

8/25/17
Day 2—Arrive Copenhagen 

We arrive in Copenhagen today, a modern European capital with a provincial heart and a wealth of history. This evening, we meet our fellow travelers and Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director at a welcome briefing, followed by dinner, at Copenhagen’s festive Tivoli Gardens. One of the world’s oldest and most visited amusement parks, Tivoli Gardens was built in the 1840s in the city center and remains one of the city’s liveliest spots.

Accommodations: Scandic Palace Hotel
Meals: Dinner

8/26/17
Day 3—Copenhagen 

A half-day tour introduces us to this most livable of Danish cities. The city’s architecture is a delight: street after street of period buildings with nary a skyscraper in sight. On our tour we visit Rosenborg Palace where we admire the lavish Crown Jewels (among other treasures); see the popular Little Mermaid statue, symbol of the city; pass the beautifully restored houses of Nyhavn along the waterfront; and stroll along the narrow, historic streets of downtown to City Hall Square. The afternoon is free to explore the city at leisure; with a lively arts scene and an abundance of museums, parks, shops, and restaurants, Copenhagen offers diversions aplenty. All the spots we saw this morning are worthy of further investigation, and for those with the energy, the top of 17th-century Rundetaarn (the Round Tower), offers a marvelous view of Old Copenhagen below. Further options: a walk along Strøget, the world’s longest pedestrian street; a guided harbor and canal cruise; or a stroll through the lively atmosphere of Nyhavn. Copenhagen is also a gastronomer’s delight, with a host of fine restaurants and cafés from which to choose for lunch and dinner on our own today.

Accommodations: Scandic Palace Hote
Meals: Breakfast

8/27/17
Day 4—Copenhagen 

We embark this morning on a full-day excursion, first to Elsinore (Helsinger in Danish), site of Kronborg Castle – the infamous setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – where we enjoy a guided tour. Dramatically set on a spit of land between Denmark and Sweden, Kronborg (c. 1585), a UNESCO site, was widely renowned during the Renaissance. We then pass by Fredensborg Palace, the grand spring and autumn residence of the Danish royal family. This afternoon we visit the Karen Blixen House and Museum in coastal Rungsted. Known by her pen name Isak Dinesen (under which she wrote Out of Africa), Blixen spent most of her life here, where she was born in 1885. The house boasts its original furniture and décor; the site itself comprises the house, a museum, bird sanctuary, and park. We return to our hotel late this afternoon. Dinner is on our own tonight.

Accommodations: Scandic Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5—Copenhagen/Oslo, Norway 

After a morning at leisure, we set off on a mid-day tour that includes a stop at Christianborg Palace, seat of the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Supreme Court – the only such building in the world housing the three branches of government. We also visit the cozy fishing village of Dragor, with its historic buildings and cobblestone streets. Later this afternoon we board the overnight DFDS ferry to Oslo, settling in our private outside cabins and enjoying dinner on board. The ferry offers evening entertainment and activities, as well as several bars and lounges. Note: Please prepare an overnight bag for the ferry, as our luggage will be stored in a container and will be inaccessible during the cruise.

Accommodations: DFDS Ferry
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6—Oslo/Lillehammer/Gaala 

Upon disembarkation from the ferry this morning in Oslo, we board our coach for the journey north to ski country – an unspoiled mountain region that is one of Norway’s oldest and best-known sports districts. We stop along the way in the town of Lillehammer, the renowned ski resort that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics. Here we visit the open-air folk museum at Maihaugen, among Norway’s most visited cultural attractions, with some 200 original historic buildings reconstructed on the site, farm implements, and everyday objects. Through the structures and artifacts, Maihaugen recounts everyday life here from the Middle Ages to modern times. After enjoying lunch together at a local restaurant, mid-afternoon we depart for the village of Gaala and our ski lodge hotel. There’s time before dinner here tonight to stroll the grounds and admire the peaceful mountain scenery.

Accommodations: Wadahl Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7—Gaala/Geiranger 

Today we experience more of Norway’s finest scenery as we travel from Gaala to Geiranger along the “roof” of Norway, a land of jagged snow-capped peaks, blue ice, and emerald mountain lakes. En route we ascend spectacular Geiranger Mountain Road along 20 hairpin turns and across several bridges to the summit of mile-high Mount Dalsnibba (alt. 4,900 feet) for a bird’s-eye view (weather permitting) of Geirangerfjord and the mountains, lakes, and waterfalls beyond. We reach the popular village of Geiranger mid-afternoon and get our first up-close look at Norway’s most dramatic fjord. A UNESCO site, Geiranger measures 10 miles long and 960 feet deep, and is lined with sheer rock walls towering more than 6,000 feet above sea level. Formed more than one million years ago during the Ice Age when the ice cap burrowed deep into mountain riverbeds, Norway’s fjords are among the deepest and most striking in the world. We dine at our hotel in Geiranger tonight.

Accommodations: Hotel Union
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 8—Geiranger 

This morning’s excursion on Eagle’s Road to Herdalssetra promises abundant thrills as we traverse 11 hairpin turns through mountain passes, stopping for a grand panoramic view of Geirangerfjord and its surroundings along the way. We stop for lunch along the way, at a historic mountain farm used as an upland pasture for herds of goats, cows, sheep, and horses from the village below. Upon our return to Geiranger, the afternoon is free to spend as we wish. Before dinner at our hotel tonight, we enjoy a reception there and view the owner’s extensive collection of vintage automobiles.

Accommodations: Hotel Union
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9—Geiranger/Bergen 

We can expect scenic overload on our full-day journey to Bergen from Geiranger. As a series of ferry rides takes us across Geirangerfjord, past tiny villages, tumbling waterfalls, and amid steep mountains plunging into the placid fjord waters, we see why this is Norway’s most-visited site. We stop en route for lunch on our own today. Upon arrival in Bergen this evening, we enjoy dinner together.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Royal
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 10—Bergen 

We see the highlights of this beautiful city (Norway’s second largest) on a morning tour that takes us through the old warehouse district of Bryggen. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts colorful houses packed tightly together, where Hanseatic merchants toiled in the 14th and 15th centuries. We also pass the city’s colorful Fish and Flower markets. Some of Bergen’s architecture dates to the 12th century, and we see some of the town’s most venerable buildings, including 13th-century Hakonshallen fortress; the Maria Church – the city’s oldest building – dating to 1100; 16th-century Bergenhus fortress; and Old City Hall. We also visit Trolhaugen, the country home of composer Edvard Grieg, which overlooks lovely Nordaas Lake.

This afternoon is at leisure to explore on our own. Options include taking the funicular to Floyfjell for spectacular views of this seafaring town; or visiting Bergen Aquarium, one of Europe’s finest. Speaking of fish, it is the local specialty and can be found in abundance in Bryggen, the local harbor area. With lunch and dinner on our own today, there’s ample opportunity to sample Bergen’s excellent seafood.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Royal
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 11—Bergen/Lofthus 

This morning we depart Bergen and head to the village of Lofthus, in Norway’s Western Fjord District of snow-capped mountains, pristine fjords, and abundant orchards. En route, we stop at Steindal Waterfall and watch the water cascade more than 150 feet. We continue on to our next stop, arriving late morning at the floating Hardanger Akvasenter salmon farm; the deep, clean waters of Hardanger count as one of four major fish farm regions worldwide. Then we travel to Steinstoe Fruktfarm, one of the largest fruit farms in the area. Producing a fresh array of strawberries, cherries, and apples, Steinstoe is known as “Norway’s fruit orchard.” We enjoy a tour of the farm led by the family of the owner then get to know them better over cake, coffee, and juice. Leaving Steinstoe, we continue by coach to our hotel in Lofthus. Dramatic scenery is in store as we cross over a suspension bridge with views of the fjord. We arrive at our hotel mid-afternoon and have time at leisure to stroll through the peaceful village of Lofthus, or enjoy the amenities of our hotel, where we dine together tonight.

Accommodations: Hotel Ullensvang
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 12—Lofthus 

It’s a day of extreme beauty (“Norway in a nutshell”) and diverse transportation. We drive from Lofthus to Gudvangen, crossing over the Hardanger suspension bridge once again. Arriving in Gudvangen mid-morning, we pick up a boxed lunch and board our ferry headed to Flåm. On board, we experience the grandeur of Naeroyfjord, an arm of the stunning Sognefjord, a 125-mile long waterway (and UNESCO World Heritage site) that reaches halfway across Norway. We also view the Aurland fjords in the Flåm Valley. We arrive in Flåm mid-day and have some time at leisure to explore the city. Early afternoon we board our train to Myrdal and enjoy an incredibly scenic ride aboard the Flåm Railway, an excursion that ascends nearly 2,900 feet through the steep and narrow Flåm Valley. A masterpiece of engineering along precipitous mountainsides, the railway took nearly 20 years to construct – and as we will see, it was worth the effort. During the 50-minute ride, we speed through 20 tunnels (18 of which were excavated by hand), curve around 21 hairpin bends, marvel at the mighty Kjosfossen Waterfall as it plunges from ledge to ledge, and enjoy truly breathtaking views. Though the ride is less than an hour, it will provide memories to last a lifetime. Once we arrive in Myrdal, we switch trains and travel to Voss where we meet our coach that brings us back to our hotel, which we reach in time for dinner there tonight.

Accommodations: Hotel Ullensvang
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13—Lofthus/Oslo 

This morning we visit the fjord village of Eidfjord and tour the much-admired Hardanger Nature Center, which celebrates and informs guests about the way humans and nature interact in Norway. After time for lunch on our own we continue on, descending through tunnels and traversing hairpin curves along the way. We stop in Fossli for a magnificent view (weather permitting) of the mighty and popular Voeringfoss Waterfall, Norway’s most famous, with a vertical drop of nearly 600 feet. Then we begin our route across the wild and barren Hardangervidda, Europe’s largest mountain plateau, which provides grazing lands for reindeer herds. We pass the resort town of Geilo, travel through the farm-dotted landscape of Hallingdal Valley, and proceed along Lake Kroederen, arriving in Oslo early evening in time for dinner on our own.

Accommodations: Scandic Solli
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 14—Oslo 

Founded in 1050, Oslo is the oldest of the Scandinavian capitals, though it was completely rebuilt in 1684 after a devastating fire destroyed much of the city. The “new” city, however, is a particularly lovely one, with many museums, parks, and monuments. Our morning tour introduces the highlights, including the Royal Palace, built in the early 19th century; imposing Askershus Fortress and Castle, around which Oslo was planned; and Akerbrygge, the redeveloped harbor area.

We visit Gustav Vigeland’s renowned bronze sculptures of human figures at Frogner Park; and the esteemed National Gallery, whose works – including Edvard Munch’s classic, “The Scream” – encompass the nation’s largest collection of Norwegian art. The gallery also houses a fine assortment of European art, including pieces by Picasso, Gauguin, Cézanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, and Matisse.

This afternoon is free to explore more of Oslo on our own. Art aficionados may want to tour the Munch Museum, celebrating the art of native son Edvard Munch, or visit the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design. Those looking to broaden their horizons may choose to sail to charming Bygdoy, with its collection of nautical-inspired museums, just a short ferry ride across the harbor. We have this evening free for dinner on our own in this city that serves up fine cuisine from the sea’s bounty.

Accommodations: Scandic Solli
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 15—Oslo 

This morning we visit the fascinating Viking Ship Museum, housing the well-preserved remains of wooden ships that crossed the ocean in search of new lands more than a thousand years ago. Also on display are some of the treasures retrieved from the sunken ships, including ornate jewelry. We also tour the nearby Kon-Tiki Museum where Thor Heyerdahl’s famed Kon-Tiki raft and the reed boat RAII are on exhibit. The vessels are awe-inspiring, considering the fact that Heyerdahl used these primitive crafts in the mid-20th century to cross both the Atlantic (RAII) and the Pacific (Kon-Tiki). Then this afternoon is free to explore Oslo further on our own; tonight we gather for a farewell dinner at our hotel.

Accommodations: Scandic Solli
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16—Depart Oslo for U.S. 

We transfer to the airport this morning for our return flight to the United States.

Meals: Breakfast

PLEASE NOTE 

We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary. Occasionally though, unexpected obstacles – and opportunities – may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written. We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. In addition, please note that airline schedules are subject to change. We will provide you with updated flight information closer to your departure.

Odysseys Unlimited provides state-of-the-art audio headsets for all guests to use on this tour. These devices enable you to hear the commentary offered by your tour director or guide during visits to museums, historic sites, and other stops on your tour where crowds may make it difficult to hear. They also allow you to stay a few steps behind as your group moves forward. Please note that a limited number of hearing aid-compatible induction loops will be available as well.

Since this tour is fairly comprehensive in its inclusion of sites and venues in multiple Scandinavian countries, there are some days that include lengthy motorcoach transfers. While road conditions in Norway and Sweden are generally very good and the scenery beautiful, you should be prepared for fairly long days on tour days 9, 12, 13, 14.

For Land Only Guests 

When you purchase Odysseys Unlimited’s Norwegian Splendor as “land only,” you will be making your own international flight arrangements and joining the tour at the first hotel.

While airport transfers and luggage handling at the arrival and departure airports are not included when you purchase a tour as land only, should you be at the arrival airport concurrent with the group of arriving Odysseys Unlimited travelers and see the signs for our motorcoach transfer, you are welcome to transfer with the group at no charge, providing additional seating is available. However, please note that the motorcoach cannot wait for you; you must be aboard when the coach is leaving.

Similarly, when departing from the last hotel for your flight home, you are also welcome to take advantage of the group transfer, provided there is room and you are on board when the coach is leaving.

It is important to note, however, that a motorcoach may not be used for transfers in all cases. Depending on the number of guests arriving or departing, we may utilize taxis or smaller vans. At such times, we regret that space restrictions will preclude your joining the group transfer and you will be responsible for your own transportation to or from the airport.

Should you require information about the arrival and departure times of our air-inclusive flights, please contact our Customer Service department no sooner than 75 days prior to departure: by email at customerservice@odysseys-unlimited.com or toll-free at (888) 370-6765, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

For Guests Taking Odysseys Unlimited’s “STOCKHOLM – ON YOUR OWN” OPTIONAL POST-TOUR EXTENSION 

DAY 16—Oslo/Stockholm 

We fly this morning to Stockholm, where, upon arrival, we transfer to our well-located hotel within easy walking distance of many sights. We can leave our luggage here securely until check-in time this afternoon. In the interim, we are free to begin exploring this historic city as we wish. Stockholm is a wonderful walking city, with canals and bridges reminiscent of both Venice and Amsterdam, and pedestrian-oriented Gamla Stan, the medieval old town whose cobblestone streets are lined with well-preserved historic buildings including the magnificent Baroque Royal Palace. Be sure to make time to fika, as the Stockholmers call their beloved coffee breaks, in one of the city’s omnipresent cafés. Possibilities abound …

Accommodations: Scandic Grand Central Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 17 & 18Stockholm 

You are on your own in Stockholm, the Swedish capital built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, with the next two days free to explore the many sights of this beautiful, lively city as you wish. One of the best ways to experience Stockholm is by boat, and you’ll find many boat excursions at the nearby harbor. Take a day trip by boat to the royal family’s splendid residence, 17th-century Drottningholm Palace, with its elaborate gardens, Chinese Pavilion, and theater. Another fine choice is Djurgården, the world’s first national city park and an island oasis of greenery with attractions such as Skansen, the world’s first open-air museum with exhibits from across Sweden. Still more possibilities include the Strindberg Museum, dedicated to Sweden’s most important playwright; the delightful Toy Museum, with toys and dolls from around the world; and the Museum of Modern Art, with its superb collection and outstanding architecture; and the Vasa Museum displaying the warship Wasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was raised virtually intact in 1961.

Accommodations: Scandic Grand Central Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 19—Depart Stockholm for U.S. 

You depart Stockholm this morning for your flight to the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast