May 11 - 27, 2022
17 days
$12,295per person, twin share (land content only). $3,250 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.

Tour Leader

Robert Gay
May 11 - 27, 2022

Tour Leader

Robert Gay$12,295per person, twin share (land content only). $3,250 supplement for sole use of a hotel room.
  • Tour Info
  • Itinerary
  • Tour Leader
  • Hotels
  • Inclusions


Academy Travel’s exciting 17-day tour explores the capitals of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. These Nordic lands have a strong and distinctive musical tradition, both through their composers – such as Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius and Carl Nielsen – and in the many fine conductors, singers and instrumentalists who hail from these parts. Scandinavian music often reflects nature, literature and folk traditions. Travelling through the landscapes that inspired these sounds will enhance your appreciation of this evocative and haunting music. The itinerary takes in some memorable sightseeing, including fine architecture in Helsinki, Stockholm’s magnificent harbour, examples of Viking culture in Norway, and pockets of the charming traditional architecture of Copenhagen.


Best available tickets to:

Helsinki, Finland

  • Two performances, including an opera at the Finnish National Opera

Stockholm, Sweden

  • Two performances at the Royal Swedish Opera

Oslo, Norway

  • Two performances Oslo Opera House

Copenhagen, Norway

  • Opera at the Royal Danish Opera House
  • Chamber music concert or recital

Itinerary Overview

Days 1–4: In Helsinki, explore sites associated with Sibelius as well as fine architecture and design.  Overnight ferry to Stockholm.

Days 5–8: Explore Stockholm’s maritime history and visit the palace of Drottninghholm and its baroque theatre.

Days 9–12: Travel to Oslo to see the Viking Ship Museum, the art of Munch and Oslo’s spectacular opera house on the fjord.

Days 13–17: Fly to Copenhagen to enjoy the city’s architecture, including the magnificent opera house and the great Øresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden.

Detailed Itinerary

Start & Finish

The tour begins at our hotel in Helsinki and ends at our hotel in Copenhagen. Finnair offers suitable connections into Helsinki and out of Copenhagen for most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.

Detailed Itinerary

Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

Wednesday May 11: Arrive Helsinki

The tour begins this evening at the Hotel Radisson Blu Plaza Helsinki when you meet your tour leader Robert Gay for drinks and canapes. (C)

Thursday May 12: Exploring the City Centre
– Performance I

After a talk on this evening’s performance, we take a guided orientation walk through central Helsinki. We see Helsinki railway station, the 1919 masterpiece of Eliel Saarinen, and stroll through magnificent Senate Square and along Esplanadi, the city’s beautiful boulevard-park, which is lined with National Romantic buildings and design shops. This is followed by a welcome lunch in a local restaurant before returning to our hotel where the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. This evening we enjoy a performance at the new Helsinki Music Centre. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Helsinki Music Centre
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Friday May 13: More architectural splendours

Today we take a guided coach tour visiting some more of Helsinki’s architectural splendours beginning with Temppeliaukio Church, known as the ‘Rock Church’. Quarried out of natural bedrock, the unique architecture of this fascinating attraction, with its copper dome, exposed rocks and concrete beams, never fails to impress. We visit the Oodi, Helsinki’s Central Library. A striking building with glass and steel structures and wooden façade, this energy-efficient building is an architectural highlight. We continue our tour visiting the Art Nouveau Kallio Church and Russian Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral. The afternoon is at leisure. (B)

Saturday May 14: Harbour cruise
– Performance II

This morning we take a guided cruise around Helsinki Harbour. Starting at Market Square, we pass Klippan Island and Kaivopuisto Park, where many embassies are located, before reaching the island of Suomenlinna, an important fortress used by the Swedes and Russians to protect their Finnish assets. After exploring the island, we continue past the King’s Gate and a fleet of ice-breakers moored in the harbour before returning to port. The afternoon is at leisure before our performance this evening. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Finnish National Opera
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Sunday May 15: Overnight ferry to Stockholm

This morning we check out of our hotel and depart by coach for Lake Jarvenpãã. In the early 20th century, the shores of this lake hosted an important community of artists and musicians whose houses reflected the nature-loving traditions of the Finnish. First we visit Ainola, Sibelius’s beautiful country home, before making an extended lunch stop at Villa Kokkonen, which was designed by Alvar Aalto for his composer friend Joonas Kokkonen. The current curators of the villa will host us to lunch and perform for us in the beautiful piano-shaped music room. We return to Helsinki this afternoon before boarding the overnight ferry to Stockholm. Our accommodation is booked in A-class sea-view cabins, and dinner is served onboard. (B, L, D)

Monday May 16: Arrival in Stockholm

After breakfast onboard, we have a guided coach tour of Stockholm, beginning with the City Hall where the Nobel Prize banquet is held every year. We walk through Gustav Adolf’s Square, named after the hero-king of Sweden, to the Royal Opera House, and then tour the public areas of the Royal Palace to see the lavish decor of the Hall of State and the Royal Chapel. Mid-afternoon, we check in to our hotel and this evening we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant. (B, D)

Tuesday May 17: Vasa Museum
– Performance III

Stockholm is a city spread across an archipelago of islands, making the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ boat a perfect way to explore the city. Today we visit the Vasa Museum which displays an almost fully intact 17th-century warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The salvaged ship is immaculately preserved, in spite of its having rested on the sea floor for over three hundred years. Following our visit, you may like to use your boat ticket to explore some of Stockholm’s myriad islands and attractions. This evening we attend a performance at the Royal Swedish Opera. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Royal Swedish Opera
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Wednesday May 18: Drottninghholm

Today we travel to Drottningholm Palace by boat. After touring the royal apartments, we visit the beautifully preserved baroque theatre, one of the few 18th-century theatres in Europe where the original hand-driven stage machinery is still being used for performances. We return to Stockholm where the later afternoon and evening are at leisure. (B)

Thursday May 19: Stockholm
– Performance IV

Today is at leisure to enjoy the many sites that this beautiful city has to offer. This evening we attend a performance at the Royal Swedish Opera. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Royal Swedish Opera
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Friday May 20: To Oslo

Today we travel by coach to Oslo. On arrival, we check in at our hotel. Dinner this evening is in a local restaurant. (B, D)

Saturday May 21: New National Gallery
– Performance V

After a talk on this evening’s performance, we have a guided visit of the brand-new National Gallery, which houses Norway’s largest public collection of paintings. Our performance this evening is at the Oslo Opera House which is dramatically situated on the edge of Oslo fjord. It opened in 2008. (B)
Performance details
Venue: Oslo Opera House
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Sunday May 22: Viking Ship Museum
– Performance VI

This morning we take a short ferry ride across Olso Harbour to visit the impressive Viking Ship Museum which contains the 1200-year-old remains of several Viking boats and other decorative Viking artefacts. The afternoon is at leisure before this evening’s ballet. (B)

Performance details
Venue: Oslo Opera House
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Monday May 23: To Copenhagen

This morning we depart for the airport and our early afternoon flight to Copenhagen. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel and check in. Dinner this evening is in a local restaurant. (B, D)

Tuesday May 24: Exploring Copenhagen
– Performance VII

This morning we take a guided walking tour of Copenhagen, visiting Amalienborg – home of the Danish royal family – and Nyhavn, which was once a busy commercial port. Here the typical old gabled houses have been beautifully restored, and it’s especially here that people enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the old canals. This afternoon we enjoy a canal cruise before making our way back to the hotel. This evening, we attend a chamber music performance or recital. (B)

Performance details
Venue: To be announced
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Wednesday May 25: Malmö

Today, we drive across the spectacular Ørosund Bridge, which connects Denmark and Sweden, to the city of Malmö. The third largest city in Sweden, Malmö revels in the contrast of the old and the new – gabled Dutch Renaissance buildings in the Old Town and modern Swedish architecture on the redeveloped waterfront. We return to the hotel in the later afternoon, and the evening is at leisure in Copenhagen. (B)

Thursday May 26: Opera in Copenhagen
– Performance VIII

This morning we have a guided tour of the superb Copenhagen Opera House. Designed by Danish architect Henning Larsen, it is one of the best-equipped opera houses in the world and has one of the largest orchestra pits, comfortably accommodating 110 musicians. The complex stage machinery and backstage facilities are also outstanding. After the visit, we enjoy a farewell lunch in a restaurant by the harbour. The later afternoon is at leisure and this evening we attend a performance by the Royal Danish Opera. (B, L)

Performance details
Venue: Royal Danish Opera House
Program: To be announced
Performers: To be announced

Friday May 27: Departure

The tour concludes after breakfast. Please consult your individual travel documents for your outbound journey. (B)

Robert Gay

One of Australia’s leading music tour leaders and music educators, he has designed and led more than 90 tours.

Since 1987, Robert Gay has managed to combine his passion for music and his love of teaching with his enthusiasm for travel. He has visited the great opera houses and concert halls of Europe and America and heard most of the great singers and instrumentalists of the last half-century. Robert was President of the Sydney Schubert Society for eighteen years, and for several years was a guest lecturer for ADFAS.

After gaining a BA, Dip. Ed. from the University of Sydney, Robert trained as a lyric baritone in London and Munich before turning to the field of music education with a position at 2MBS-FM. He has taught music history courses at Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education since 1985. Robert’s musical expertise ranges wide, from baroque to modern. He particular enjoys placing works in their larger contexts – musical, biographical, social and historical.

In the early days, Robert always designed his tours to include a visit behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ – whether it was Berlin, Dresden, Prague or Budapest – thereby providing fascinating insights into a world which has now largely disappeared. His tours, which total nearly 90, have regularly featured the great musical cities of Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Russia, as well as Scandinavia and the United States of America.

“It has been an enormous privilege to have travelled the world for the last 30 years taking groups of music lovers to the great musical and cultural cities of Europe and America,” Robert says. “There is something magical about music – an art form which only truly lives as it is performed – which seems to bind people together so effortlessly and harmoniously.”

“I have always been a great believer in ‘the spirit of place’,” says Robert. “You can read and research and google all you like, but it cannot for a moment match the thrill of standing in the beautiful villa on the shores of Lake Lucerne where Wagner and his beloved Cosima first lived together; or of hearing a service in Bach’s unassuming St Thomas’s church in Leipzig; or seeing a performance in the old Paris Opéra, the auditorium ‘crowned’ by its superb Chagall ceiling celebrating both opera and ballet. Such experiences are treasurable and unforgettable!”

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Throughout the tour, we stay in centrally located four-star hotels.

Tour Inclusions

What is included in the tour price? 

Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:

  • Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
  • Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
  • All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
  • Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
  • Services of tour leader throughout tour
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Local guides at some sites
  • Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
  • Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included

Airport Transfers

Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.

What is not included in the tour price?

Our tours do not include the following:

  • Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
  • Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
  • Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
  • Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity

Tour Details

Fitness Requirement

Grade Two

A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days.
More Details


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Speak to a consultant

For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
Hannah Kleboe (02) 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699
(outside Sydney)

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