We were all spoilt from day one and all made to feel that Captain's Choice were continually focused on our well being and on our enjoyment.
Col Bradford - Ancient & Holy Lands, 2016
Our Emirates flight leaves Australia, bound for Scandinavia and its snowy climes.
Stockholm welcomes us just before noon, where we are whisked to our home for the next two nights, the Radisson Blu Strand, built in 1912 on an enviable spot overlooking the city’s harbour. Spend the day at your leisure before meeting back at the hotel for the first dinner of our adventure.
We begin the day acquainting ourselves with Stockholm’s breathtaking beauty. Perched on 14 islands and linked by 57 bridges, so many parts of it enjoy views of the water. At the Vasa Museum, see the mighty warship that sunk in 1628 and lay on the bottom of Stockholm’s harbour until 1961. We also visit the Stockholm City Hall, where the annual Nobel Prize banquet takes place. Lunch is at Fem Små Hus. This evening, enjoy a gastronomic welcome like no other when we dine at the Michelin-starred Operakällaren.
The Icebar Stockholm is the world’s first permanent bar made of ice. We start our day here, where it’s a constant -7ºC all year long. Don’t worry, coats and gloves are provided. After that, we warm up by walking the grounds of Drottningholm Palace, home of the Swedish royal family. Lunch is on board a boat while we cruise around the Stockholm archipelago. Over 30,000 islands are scattered across the water, with rocky cliffs, sandy beaches and groves of trees painting a most tranquil picture. This evening, we board a ship on the Tallink Silja Line for an overnight cruise to Helsinki in deluxe cabins.
We awake in the Gulf of Finland, enjoying breakfast as the ship approaches Helsinki. When we arrive, we go on a tour of the city, before adjourning for lunch at a quintessentially Finnish restaurant. Reside for two nights in the epitome of elegance that is historical Hotel Kämp.
Finland’s history has so much to offer. Learn more about it through these Your World experiences. Simply choose the one that interests you most.
This evening, we dine at Restaurant Savoy and discover why gourmets have eaten here since the 1930s.
Today, we take a flight to Kemi where we visit Kemin Jalokivigalleria (The Kemin Gemstone Gallery), before we transfer to the Gulf of Bothnia to board the Icebreaker Sampo ship. The thundering sound of the steel ship crushing thick sea ice is a truly unique experience. This afternoon, our coach takes us to Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland. We check in to the Arctic Light Hotel, our home for two nights.
The morning starts at the Arktikum - the museum and Arctic science centre - where we marvel at the Chronicles exhibition, with an interactive narrative that takes you back to rural living in Lapland’s past. Today, we also visit Santa Claus Village and have lunch in its cute and quaint cabins. This is surely an experience that you’ll want to share with your grandchildren at home.
Inari, in Finland’s far north, is the spiritual heart of Sami culture and one of the best places to catch The Northern Lights. After a leisurely road trip, lunch at a local restaurant, followed by a quintessentially Finnish smoke sauna treatment. At dinner, we sample the delights of a traditional Lappish meal. The spa and authentic culinary creations are part of the unique experience that is Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, our residence for two nights. There we have the privilege of staying in special glass igloos that allow us to view The Northern Lights while cosily lying in bed.
In this rugged country, there is much to do during the day. Today, we have a choice of two Your World experiences.
We meet for dinner back at our resort, sharing stories of our exciting day before we set off for the most incredible spectacle. Here we will look to the skies in awe, searching for The Northern Lights. This greatest must-see of all has come to be called Aurora Hunting.
After the ice igloos, we travel to Kirkenes, where we board the MS Nordnorge for five nights on the classic Hurtigruten route to Bergen, said to be the most beautiful sea voyage in the world. On board this newly refurbished small ship, and in our comfortable Expedition Mini Suites, we hug the coast of Norway, encountering pristine fjords inaccessible to bigger vessels and docking at numerous villages, each with a distinct character. Medieval towns and castles feature, as do colourful fishing villages and trading posts. And, if we are lucky, we might spot migrating whales.
Skim just beyond the shore of a mostly untouched coastline. Take a deep breath, hold and then exhale, air this fresh is positively therapeutic. Travelling in what would best be described as a stunning, seafaring boutique hotel, you are presented with a veritable art gallery of landscapes. The vast wilderness is interspersed with bursts of vigour, as local fishing boats unload their catch. Hints of lights ahead beckon, as you make your way to Hammerfest, the most northerly town in the world.
Tromsdalen Church, otherwise known as The Arctic Cathedral, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Then it’s back to the Bronze Age in Harstad, before the painted city of Sortland presents you with every hue of blue. At a very busy day’s end, it’s off to bed and the best night’s sleep you’ve had for ages.
Dramatic mountains, pristine fjords and saltspray on your lips give you a real taste for the Arctic. With the bright lights that are Aurora Borealis, as well as the birds that lead you from Helgeland to Lofoten and then onto Svolvær, this is sensational in every respect of the word. Dinner is served in the shadow of the Seven Sisters mountain range.
Surrounded by the islands of Rørvik, all 6,000 of them, you’re bound for the university city of Trondheim which celebrates youth. Given the invigorating atmosphere here, you’re probably feeling years younger yourself. But don’t go rushing about. Instead, take your time to explore the history and heritage, including the renowned Nidaros Cathedral.
You won’t want to miss taking photos of yourself in front of Norway’s most famous Geirangerfjord. Bid goodbye to your floating home when the MS Nordnorge docks in Bergen. After checking into your sumptuous, business-class room at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, yours for the next two nights, relax this afternoon before dinner in town.
For the best views of Bergen, we hop onboard the Fløibanen funicular. It whisks us directly from the city centre to the top of Mount Fløyen. After taking in the sweeping views, choose from these two Your World experiences.
It has been called Europe’s most scenic train ride. In terms of engineering, it is also one of the continent’s most amazing. The Bergensbanen train ride, from Bergen to Oslo, took 34 years to complete. On the journey, you will cross the Hardangervidda plateau, at 1,237 metres above sea level. We even travel on the Flåm branch line that takes us through the scenic Flåmsdalen Valley. In Oslo, check in to the landmark Hotel Continental for two nights, and dine at Tjuvholmen Sjømagasin, where the freshest seafood is on the menu.
Oslo is equally gifted with natural attractions as it is with architecture. See the city on guided tours of the Storting building where Oslo’s Parliament presides, and the Royal Palace, the official residence of Norway’s monarch. This evening, our tremendous journey culminates in a grand farewell banquet accompanied by a classical ensemble in a private location within our hotel.
Our flight leaves Oslo at lunch time. Relax in your seat and contemplate the various places that you’ve encountered. We arrive in Australia tomorrow, the 23rd of March, knowing that we have been privy to some of our world’s most phenomenal secrets.
Sometimes travelling can be a chore, distracting you from the fascinating places you are in. That’s why everything mundane has been moved behind the scenes. You will never have to carry a map, luggage, small change for tips or bargain for a taxi fare.
There are no hidden costs. Everything is included – flights and other travel arrangements, luxurious accommodation, travel insurance, all dining and drinks, and even sightseeing trips - including those by helicopter or husky sled. Even the Your World experiences within your itinerary and internet access when available.
Welcome to your homes away from home. Each one has a certain something that sets it apart from every other residence at its location. Whether for its history, cultural significance or natural setting, we’ve selected only the very best.
Here our very best chance of seeing The Northern Lights occurs between 10 and 11pm. Comfortably tucked into a cosy bed in your own private glass igloo, you will have a completely uninterrupted view of this most awesome of sights.
Since 1887, this hotel's grand rooms and dining spaces have played host to Finland's elite, intellectuals, artists and foreign dignitaries. We enjoy great views from our premium deluxe rooms on the top floor.
Fares are based on an Expedition Mini Suite aboard the MS Nordnorge. With Flights, per person, twin share.
Fares include Emirates flights from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Prices from other cities available on request.
Cruise and Land only guests join the tour in Stockholm for dinner on Day 2 and depart Oslo after breakfast on Day 21.
This journey is exclusively reserved for a group of just 22 travellers.
Solo suites at above prices are limited. Contact our Tour Sales Consultants for details on other suite upgrades.