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Ultimate Scandinavia and The Polar Express

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3.9 stars(9 reviews)
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Journey through the northerly reaches of Europe and the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ by rail.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
22 days From £5,295 per person

2023 Tour code: AOJ23

About the tour

Explore Denmark, Sweden and Norway on this truly spectacular overland rail adventure, with time in three magnificent and lively Scandinavian capital cities, Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. You'll also get back to nature with a visits to Norway's awe-inspiring fjordlands and the wild landscapes north of the Arctic Circle - 'Land of the Midnight Sun.'

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London and Bremen

After meeting at London St Pancras, we take the Eurostar to Brussels, continuing to Bremen for the night.

Includes
  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2 - Copenhagen

We complete the final leg of our journey to Denmark today, boarding a train bound firstly for Hamburg before continuing to Copenhagen for two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Uncovering Copenhagen

Our morning sightseeing tour features the magnificent Amalienborg Palace, a large octagonal mansion surrounded by four identical Rococo palaces. One of these is still home to the reigning monarch of Denmark, Queen Margrethe II. We also visit the famous Little Mermaid statue before taking a cruise through the colourful canal area of Nyhavn, once a maritime hub where sailors from around the world frequented the many bars on offer here. Your afternoon is free to continue exploring.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Stockholm

We take the train to Sweden's capital today, transferring to our hotel for two nights on arrival.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Exploring Stockholm

One of Europe's most beautiful capital cities, built across 14 islands connected by no fewer than 57 bridges, Stockholm has over 750 years of history and cultural which we set out to explore on a guided sightseeing tour. Our first stop is City Hall, where there's time to admire panoramic views, the Royal Palace, Östermalm, Långholm, the Royal Djurgården and the Old Town. Also known as Gamla Stan, this area is home to one of the best preserved medieval centres in the world. Afterwards, we enjoy a well-deserved, traditional Swedish 'fika', or coffee break, relaxing over a hot drink and slice of homemade cake. The rest of your afternoon is free.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 - Östersund

We board an InterCity train to Östersund for the night, a city set on the shores of Storsjön Lake, Sweden's fifth largest lake. As the only town of any size in the vicinity, it is a major cultural and transportation centre while also nurturing an enduring legend about the lake's rarely-sighted monster. Storsjöodjuret ('the great lake monster') reportedly emerged from the chilly waters into the town in 1635, and has been spotted infrequently ever since. Generally described as serpentine with multiple humps, it's yet to be caught on camera, but for a time had a law ensuring its protection!

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 - Sami Experience

Today, we join the Inlandsbanan to Sorsele, visiting the Inlandsbanan Museum here on arrival to learn about the impact of rail travel in this remote location. Next, we call at a traditional village, home to some of Scandinavia's indigenous people, the Sami, before continuing to Arjeplog for the night. Dinner this evening is enjoyed around an open fire.

Please Note: On our first June departure, we will travel by coach to the Sami village, not on the Inlandsbanan.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Jokkmokk

We travel around the lakes and forests of Swedish Lapland by coach today, making our way to Jokkmokk. Along the way, we cross the Arctic Circle into the 'Land of the Midnight Sun', marking the occasion with a small celebration en route.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 - Ofoten Railway

Boarding the Ofoten Railway to Narvik, the views that accompany our journey are spectacular; deep, dark fjords, wild and rugged mountain terrain and barren plateaus line the route, showing just how remote these far northern reaches really are. On arrival, we check into our hotel for a two-night stay.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10 - Narvik and the Polar Express

An ice-free seaport located 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Narvik was a key battleground in WWII. We find out more about the vital role it played with a visit to the local Red Cross War Memorial Museum, which documents the city's wartime occupation of by German forces. With free time afterwards, also worth a visit is the Ofoten Museum, which features exhibits relating to local history and the construction of the Ofoten Railway.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - The Polar Express

We meet at the station to for a journey along the Nordland Railway, also known as the 'Polar Express'. This spellbinding trip is rightly one of the world's most famous, with seemingly inaccessible landscapes stretching for as far as the eye can see. From our comfortable and cosy carriage, we watch as sparkling fjords and even the spectacular Svartisen Glacier roll by our window. In high summer, the sun may illuminate our entire journey, giving us the spectacular experience of nearly 24-hour daytime. From Verdal, we transfer to Stiklestad for the night.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - Stiklestad

We enjoy a tour of Stiklestad this morning, the site of King Olav's death in 1030 during one of Norway's most famous and hard-fought battles. Afterwards, our coach takes us to the popular Viking city of Trondheim, our base for two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 13 - Trondheim

Discovering the history of Trondheim on today's guided tour, we see the Old Quarter and the colourful waterfront houses of Bakklandet as well the Gothic architecture of Nidaros Cathedral with its magnificent rose window. We also make a stop at the sumptuous Royal Residence, the largest wooden building in Northern Europe with up to 140 different rooms. The rest of your day is free to continue sightseeing at your own pace. Amongst the city's broad avenues, old warehouses and pretty timber dwellings, there are a number of attractions waiting to be explored, such as the Ringve Music Museum and the Archbishop's Palace Museum - a treasure trove of local archaeological finds.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 14 – The Rauma Railway

Joining the 71-mile-long Rauma Railway to Åndalsnes, we enjoy a spectacular journey through magnificent and contrasting landscapes. Following the same course as the emerald waters of the River Rauma most of the way, the train winds its way elegantly around the surrounding hillsides as we make our approach past the insurmountable 'Troll Wall' to the banks of the peaceful Romsdal Fjord. Stepping off the train into the fresh, crisp air, we continue by coach to Geiranger for two nights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 - Geirangerfjord

Our day includes a relaxing fjord cruise across Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its unique setting. A nine-mile-long branch of the Storfjord (meaning 'Great Fjord'), the magnificent Geirangerfjord boasts towering walls that overlook some of Europe's finest scenery. As we sail, a number of high waterfalls - including the Seven Sisters and the Suitor - plunge straight from the forested cliff edge above to the smooth waters below.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 16 – Flåm

Leaving Geiranger by coach, we continue our scenic travels through Norway's incredible fjord country, stopping off at the jaw-dropping Dalsnibba viewing point as well as Kaupanger's unique stave church along the way. The largest of its kind in Vestland county, the church's wooden architecture is also unique. Created entirely from pine trees grown within Kaupanger forest, it has fewer engravings which only goes to enhance the feeling of vastness once you step inside.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17 - Flåm Railway

We take a superb excursion aboard the iconic Flåm Railway. Our route cuts a path through Norway's rocky terrain via 11 ¼ miles of tunnels which delve through mountainsides, as well as trailing past the edges of Tyrifjorden lakeside. The train twists and turns as it takes us ever higher along one of the steepest lines in the world, stopping beside the powerful Kjosfossen Falls before reaching the high-altitude station at Myrdal and making the return journey back to Flåm. Driving to Gudvangen, we set sail aboard a luxury eco ship for a cruise across Sognefjord afterwards, continuing to Bergen by coach.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 18 - Bergen

We set off on a guided walking tour of Bergen this morning, a harbour city surrounded by seven striking mountains and known for the wonderfully-preserved medieval buildings of its Bergenhus district. Part of the old Hanseatic Wharf, this area is now UNESCO listed and protected. On the other side of the harbour is the Klosteret area, which has beautiful 18th-century wooden houses and charming alleys, where you can take a stroll out to the Nordnes peninsula. The city centre extends from the main square (Torget) to the Nygård area, where most of the shops and restaurants can be found.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 19 - Oslo

We board the train to Oslo, travelling along Northern Europe's highest railway line, the Bergen Railway. Sights to look out for as we travel include the pretty Hallingdal Valley, through which the Hallingdalselva River flows to Lake Krøderen, the mountain of Norefjell and the Hardangerjøkule Glacier. On arrival, we check into our hotel for the night.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 20 - Exploring Oslo

We set out to explore the city with a local guide, visiting some of its most beloved sights. These include the incredible opera house, with its unusual yet accessible roof, and the stately Royal Palace, where we see the changing of the guards. Make the most some free time afterwards to discover the city's array of world-class museums, galleries and attractions, many of which can be found in Bygdøy, a peninsula not far from the Frogner district. The Munch Museum hosts a unique collection of more than 1,100 of Munch's paintings, including his most famous work, the Scream, while the Viking Ship Museum presents great Viking ship discoveries from Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune, as well as other finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. Later in the day, we transfer to the port to catch the overnight ferry to Kiel.

*Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you, as opposed to via our luggage service.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 21 - Hamburg

On arrival in Kiel this morning, we board the train to Hamburg for an overnight stay.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 22 - London

After checking out of our hotel, we take the train to Brussels, travelling via Cologne, where we join the Eurostar to London St Pancras. Here, our epic Scandinavian adventure comes to an end.

Includes
  • Breakfast
  • Eurostar Meal

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hornavan Hotell Arjeplog, Arjeplog

Hornavan Hotell Arjeplog, Arjeplog

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Scandic Bergen City, Bergen

Scandic Bergen City, Bergen

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Maritim Hotel, Bremen

Maritim Hotel, Bremen

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Fretheim Hotel, Flåm

Fretheim Hotel, Flåm

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Havila Hotel, Geiranger

Havila Hotel, Geiranger

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Novotel Hamburg City Alster, Hamburg

Novotel Hamburg City Alster, Hamburg

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Hotel Jokkmokk, Jokkmokk

Hotel Jokkmokk, Jokkmokk

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Alexandra Hotel, Loen

Alexandra Hotel, Loen

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Thon Hotel, Narvik

Thon Hotel, Narvik

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Scandic Byporten, Oslo

Scandic Byporten, Oslo

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Clarion Hotel Grand Ostersund

Clarion Hotel Grand Ostersund, Ostersund

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Scandic Stiklestad

Scandic Stiklestad, Stiklestad

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Scandic Continental Hotel

Scandic Continental Hotel, Stockholm

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Clarion Hotel, Trondheim

Clarion Hotel, Trondheim

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Scandic Spectrum, Copenhagen

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Trains

Bergen Railway
Eurostar
Flåm Railway
Fløibanen Funicular
Inlandsbanan
InterCity
Nordland Railway
Ofoten Railway
The Raumabanen Railway
X2000

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Inclusive Luggage Upgrade
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

3.9 stars3.9 / 5 · 9 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (3)
  2. 4 stars
    (3)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Ian Best

3 stars

Submitted 21/Aug

Some great scenery but some of the journeys were just too long.

Collected by Trustpilot

D Ratcliffe

2 stars

Submitted 21/Aug

Very long days with very early starts to achieve the necessary mileage.At least half the hotels were of poor quality. Sights of the fjords were magnificent.

Collected by Trustpilot

C Seal

4 stars

Submitted 25/Jul

Beautiful scenery

Collected by Trustpilot

John Phillips

3 stars

Submitted 24/Jul

Great tour manager and trip in general just felt most of hotels were poor standard and great rail always had the basic rooms. No choice on most meals provided little first class travel no time in Oslo or tour provided not the luxury you would expect from the price of the tour

Collected by Trustpilot

J Stohlner

4 stars

Submitted 16/Jul

Fabulous journey: cities, vast expanses, dramatic fjordland.

Collected by Trustpilot

C Charman

5 stars

Submitted 15/Jul

Excellent trip… Our tour guide Maggie was brilliant and made sure everything ran to plan. The scenery was as breathtaking as we had hoped And Maggie even sorted the weather for us. Fabulous - thank you.

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Ultimate Scandinavia and The Polar Express

Journey through the northerly reaches of Europe and the ‘Land of the Midnight Sun’ by rail.

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