This new 15-day tour takes you from Copenhagen, to Oslo, Bergen and Iceland, and explores the region’s distinctive cultural traditions, from the Vikings of the Middle Ages to the emergence of a unique modern culture expressed through the art of Edvard Munch and cutting-edge architecture and design. Equally impressive is the natural beauty of the region, from the golden fields of southern Sweden, to the fjords of Norway and the pristine coastlines and wild, volcanic landscapes of Iceland.
Get to know
The fjords of Norway
Denmark’s royal traditions, from Hamlet’s castle at Helsingor (Elsinore) to Frederick and Mary
Iceland’s unique blend of Celtic, Viking and Nordic culture, shaped by its remarkable volcanic landscape
Modern art and design, including the art of Edvard Munch, the architecture of Jørn Utzon and the opera houses of Henning Larsen
The history of Scandinavia, from the voyages of the Vikings to the Kingdom of Denmark, and the emergence of modern Nordic culture
Modern art and architecture in Copenhagen, Oslo and Bergen
Jørn Utzon in Copenhagen
Helsingør castle, the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet
The fjords of Norway and the art of Edvard Munch
Southern Sweden, from the World Heritage-listed cathedral of Lund to the mysterious standing stones of Ales
The unique atmosphere of Reykjavik, the world’s most northerly capital city
The landscapes of Iceland, including the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, where Jules Verne set his Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Days 1–5: Explore Copenhagen and its surrounds, including Elsinore Castle, Utzon’s Bagsvaerd Church and the Louisiana Art Museum. Enjoy a day trip to southern Sweden, visiting Lund and the standing stones of Ales.
Days 6–9: Discover Oslo with its modern architecture, fine art collections and Viking history. Experience the natural beauty of the Norwegian Fjords and relax in Bergen.
Days 10–15: Fly to Reykjavik and discover its unique history and culture. Explore the geysers, volcanos and the rugged isolated coastlines of Iceland. Experience the untouched beauty of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula by coach and snowcat.
There are currently no places available on this tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details above.
British Airways offers flights to Copenhagen and from Reykjavik via Heathrow. Contact us for competitive quotes.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Monday 11 June: Arrive and Copenhagen by Water
The tour commences in the hotel this afternoon, where Dr Nick Gordon will meet you for a walking tour of old Copenhagen. We then tour the city by boat, seeing the transformation of the city from the Renaissance capital of the Danish monarchy to the flourishing modern city known for its excellent contemporary architecture. There is a light dinner this evening in a superior local restaurant on the waterfront. Overnight Copenhagen (D)
Tuesday 12 June: The Nordic World
Today we explore the history and culture of the Nordic world. After a talk in the hotel, we visit the National Museum, which has one of the finest collections of art and antiquities from prehistoric Scandinavia to the rise and fall of the Vikings. Highlights of the museum include the Trundholm Chariot of the Sun, extraordinary finds from Viking tombs and the first Danish kings, and prehistoric bog bodies. The early afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to explore the nearby Ny Carlsberg Gyptotek, the private collection of the Carlsberg dynasty, which has a renowned collection of Gauguins and antiquities from Egypt and Rome. In the late afternoon, we have a guided tour of Henning Larsen’s Opera House, with its state of the art facilities (many of which are below sea level) and superb interior decoration. Dinner is at Nimb, a fine restaurant overlooking the historic Tivoli Gardens. Overnight Copenhagen. (B, D)
Wednesday 13 June: Helsinor and Louisiana
This morning we travel north along the Zealand coastline to Kronborg Castle in Helsingor, better known to English speakers as ‘Elsinor’, the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After a tour we head to the nearby Louisiana Museum of Art. A private collection in a magnificent waterside garden setting, Louisiana features a permanent collection of 20th-century masterpieces by the likes of Giacometti, Henry Moore, Isamu Naguchi, Francis Bacon, and hosts outstanding temporary exhibitions. Overnight Copenhagen (B)
Thursday 14 June: Southern Sweden
The landscapes of Southern Sweden are quite different from the rest of Scandinavia: its gently rolling and verdant hills may be familiar to you from Wallander. This region has also been vital to the history of the region because of its proximity to continental Europe and its potential to dominate Baltic trade routes. Our tour today takes us over the Oresund Bridge, which connects Denmark to Sweden, and onto Lund. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral of Lund was the centre of Christianity in Scandinavia from the 11th to 16th centuries and it is the best and one of the most beautiful example of medieval Scandinavian architecture. After touring the town and cathedral, we break for lunch and then continue across Southern Sweden to Ales to visit a remarkable megalithic iron age monument –standing stones arranged in the form of a boat. The site has been used for various purposes over the millennia, including burials and astronomical calculations, and remains somewhat mysterious. In the later afternoon, we return to Copenhagen via Istad. Overnight Copenhagen (B)
Friday 15 June: Danish Design
Denmark’s reputation as a centre of modern design is well earned. We explore the origins and development of Danish design today, starting start with a visit to the highly original Grundtvig’s Church, whose combination of gothic architecture with early modernism captures the emergence of a distinct modern culture with its own social and aesthetic priorities. We then continue to the Bagsvaerd Church, designed by Jorn Utzon in the 1970s, immediately after his departure from Australia. The design combines elements of Japanese and Chinese aesthetics with a soaring, light-filled interior. We then return by coach to Copenhagen, where, after a break for lunch, we visit the Design Museum with its excellent collection of modern and contemporary Danish design. In the late afternoon, we board the modern cruise ferry to Oslo. The overnight journey takes us along the Oresund, the channel separating Denmark and Sweden, in the evening and along the Oslo Fjord in the morning. We have booked the comfortable Commodore class rooms on board and enjoy dinner in the superior restaurant. Overnight Ferry. (B, D)
Saturday 16 June: Edvard Munch
Fine art in Scandinavia has been dominated by Edvard Munch, whose unique style seems to capture the culture and anxieties of the early twentieth century. After arriving in Oslo in the mid-morning, we visit the museum devoted to Munch, whose collection contains more than half of Munch’s entire oeuvre. After a break for lunch, we continue to the National Gallery. In addition to Munch’s The Scream, the collection has very good collections of Scandinavian and European art, from Greco-Roman sculpture, to masterpieces by Lucas Cranach and Artemisia Gentileschi. The later afternoon and evening are at leisure. Overnight Oslo. (B)
Sunday 17 June: Oslo – From Vikings to Norwegians
Oslo has exceptional museums and galleries, which preserve the history and celebrate the achievements of the Norwegians. After a talk this morning, we travel by ferry to Bygdoy, which has several museums devoted to the maritime history of Norway. We visit the Viking Ship museum, which has some of the best-preserved Viking ships in the world along with an excellent collection of Viking materials from major archaeological sites in Norway, and the Fram Museum. This museum is dedicated to the strongest wooden boat ever constructed, a vessel custom built for polar expedition and used on several expeditions to the arctic and on Roald Amundsen’s Antarctic expedition. After time for lunch and individual exploration of the Bigdoy musuems (which also house Heyerdal’s Kon Tiki), we return to Oslo by ferry. Perhaps there is no greater symbol of Norway’s newfound oil wealth than the extensive urban renewal along Oslo’s waterfront, and the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, designed by Renzo Piano, is its centrepiece. After visiting the excellent, if sometimes eclectic, private collection of modern and contemporary art from around the world, the later afternoon and evening are at leisure and you may wish to enjoy the bars, cafes and restaurants that line this new waterfront district. Overnight Oslo.
Monday 18 June: The Sognefjord
Today we take a classic full-day journey by train, bus and boat through Norway’s mountains and fjords. Highlights include cruising through the spectacular Sognefjord to Bergen and the Flam railway, which rises 900 metres from the fjord in 20 kilometres. Please note that this is a public excursion, although train carriages will be reserved for our group and any luggage you don’t wish to carry will be transferred to Bergen by private van. There is a light dinner this evening following our arrival. Overnight Bergen (B, D)
Tuesday 19 June: Bergen
Our program in Bergen moves at a relaxed pace. After a leisurely start, a talk in the hotel is followed by a visit to the Bergen Art Museum, whose collection reflects Bergen’s status as one of Scandinavia’s cultural capitals. The afternoon is at leaiure, and you may wish to explore the old port of Bergen, which was part of the medieval Hanseatic League and traded throughout Europe, or take the funicular ride to Floi Mountain, offering superb views of Bergen Fjord. Overnight Bergen (B)
Wednesday 20 June: To Iceland
In the mid-morning we transfer to Bergen airport for the four-hour flight to Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, stopping at Stavanger en route. We arrive in the mid-afternoon, in time to check in and take an orientation walking tour of the old town. Overnight Reykjavik (B)
Thursday 21 June: Geysers and waterfalls
This morning we visit Iceland’s most historic site, Pingvellir. Here the world’s oldest known parliament convened in 930AD and our visit is a window on Iceland’s unique history and culture. Pingvellir is located in a beautiful national park, and the drive to the site takes us through a singular landscape of lava flows, volcanoes and thermal springs. After lunch at a local restaurant we continue to Geysir. The impressive thermal springs here have lent their name to the phenomenon all over the world. Nearby are the Gullfoss waterfalls, following the line of the meeting point of two of the Earth’s tectonic plates. We return to Reykjavik, stopping to visit the state of the art Hellisheidi geothermal powerplant, which provides power, citywide heating and water to Reykjavik. Overnight Reykjavik (B, L)
Friday 22 June: Inspirational Scenery
This morning we depart Reykjavik and travel along Iceland’s scenic western coast to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, stopping at villages and scenic points along the way, including the basalt cliffs and bird colonies at Arnastapi. After lunch, we continue on to the northern side of the peninsula stopping to visit its unique geological features. Overnight Stikkisholmur. (B, L, D)
Saturday 23 June: Journey to the Centre of the Earth
The Snaefells Peninsula is dominated by a conical volcano, Snaefellsjökull. Here, amid a setting of sea and wild terrain, is where Professor Lidenbrock begins his descent in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. This morning we ascend the volcano on a snow cat to peer into the snow-covered cone and enjoy a seemingly limitless 360-degree panorama of Iceland’s coastline. In the afternoon, we return to Reykjavik. Overnight Reykjavik (B, L)
Sunday 24 June: Modern Reykjavik
This morning we tour Reykjavik, visiting Iceland’s National Museum, which traces the history of the city from its earliest settlement, and explore Icelanders’ novel use of technology to flourish in an inhospitable environment by, for example, using geothermal water tanks to heat the city and supply it with water. Our program ends with a visit to the museum devoted to the sculpture of Asmunder Sveinnson, one of modern Iceland’s most famous artists. The afternoon is at leaisure, before we meet in the early evening for a tour of Harpa Hall, a thrilling contemporary performing arts centre, with elaborate steel and glass architecture and vast interior spaces, inspired by Iceland’s glaciers and volcanoes. Our tour this evening ends with a farewell meal at the venue’s excellent restaurant. Overnight Reykjavik (B, D)
Monday 25 June: Departure
There is a transfer early this morning to Keflavik airport for those on morning flights. Please check your individual travel plans for details of your onward journey.
Dr Nick Gordon
Has a University Medal and a PhD in History and lectures on European art. Nick is also a practicing painter and brings this passion to the visual arts.
Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist, with over 10 years of experience leading tours to Europe. He has strong interests in art, history, philosophy and architecture, from the ancient world to the present.
Nick holds a University Medal and PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He taught medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Sydney, the history of political thought at the University of Western Sydney, and architectural and Australian history elsewhere. He continues to teach at the Centre of Continuing Education, and gives occasional lectures on topics ranging from Classical Rome through to Australian and contemporary art. Nick has lead tours for Academy Travel since 2007, and designs study tours, residential tours and art-focussed tours, such as the Venice Biennale, Art Along the Rhine, Art Basel, and Amsterdam to Paris: Van Eyck to Van Gogh.
Nick is also an artist and his firsthand experience of art complements his academic expertise, through his knowledge of materials and the processes behind how an artwork is made, and his well-practiced eye for reading art.
We asked Nick, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?
“One of the things I enjoy most about touring is helping people understand more about what they’re seeing. This happens through a combination of background lectures exploring different contexts, cultural commentary on the road, and especially by being able to explain what is going on in an artwork with the artwork in front of us.”
“The aim of all of this is to help people see more for themselves, independently, both on tour and beyond. Some of the best moments for me on tour are when this happens, and you get to be part of something bigger as people start adding their own knowledge and experience to what we’re looking at. It makes each experience unique.”
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 public transport is 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
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? Open-age 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
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
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
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.
There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details.
There are currently no places available on this tour. A place on the waitlist is not a confirmed place on tour. If you would like to be notified if a place becomes available on tour, please register your details below.
Please keep me informed about the next departure of this tour.
Hold a Place
Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for seven days while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.
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