Scandinavia has long celebrated its marvellous natural environment – snowcapped mountains, vast forests, sublime fjords and waterways. The relationship of Scandinavians to their environment has shaped their history, from Viking explorers to maritime empires, and its unique modern design aesthetic that enjoys enduring popularity around the world. This tour combines Viking archaeology, maritime history and some of the best of Scandinavia’s scenery with an exploration of the modern art and architecture it has inspired. A highlight is a 5-night cruise on the renowned Hurtigruten Line, aboard the MS Richard With, from inside the Arctic Circle to Bergen.
Ms Richard With
The MS Richard With is a Hurtigruten cruise ship that proudly carries the name of the company’s founder. Onboard, we have booked Arctic Superior cabins on the upper deck of the ship, which underwent a complete refurbishment in late 2018. Passengers requiring twin beds will be accommodated in Polar Outside cabin types. The ship features a panorama lounge and sun deck where the dedicated onboard expedition team offer insightful lectures and presentations.
Five nights on the Hurtigruten Line, exploring Norway’s stunning fjords and rugged arctic coastline on a cruise from the Arctic Circle to Bergen
The tour begins at our hotel in Stockholm and ends at our hotel in Copenhagen. Emirates, Qatar and Finnair offer flights into Stockholm and out of Copenhagen from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Thursday 3 September: Arrive
Flights from Australia arrive at various times during the day. In the afternoon there will be a brief orientation tour of the area near our hotel. This evening we gather in the hotel for a light dinner. Overnight Stockholm (Drinks and snacks)
Friday 4 September: Viking Heritage and the City
After a morning talk we stroll through the elegant Östermalm neighbourhood and admire the many examples of early 20th-century architecture and visit the food hall. At the Swedish History Museum, a museum guide shows us the jaw-dropping gold collection, with pieces dating back to 2,000 BCE and including many Viking-era pieces. There is then time to visit the fine medieval galleries before our welcome lunch. This afternoon we take a short boat cruise through some of the islands that comprise the Stockholm Archipelago. Overnight Stockholm (B, L)
Saturday 5 September: Uppsala
The university town of Uppsala, an hour north of Stockholm, is Sweden’s spiritual and intellectual heartland. Today’s excursion takes us to Old Uppsala, with its Iron-Age burial mounds, and then to the fine medieval cathedral, burial place of Swedish kings. We then call in at the Gustavianum, a museum on the campus of Uppsala University founded in 1477. After a lunch break there is time to visit the 18th-century botanical garden established by renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. Overnight Stockholm (B)
Sunday 6 September: Modern Art and an Ancient Ship
We visit Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, one of the world’s finest collections of 20th-century paintings. There is also an engaging architecture and design museum next door. We then take the tram to the island of Djurgården. After a simple lunch in the Waldermarsudde Estate, we visit the Vasa Museum. The centrepiece is the 64-gun warship Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 and was amazingly recovered almost intact in 1961. Built at the height of Sweden’s naval power, it has become a symbol of Sweden’s Golden Age. Overnight Stockholm (B)
Monday 7 September: To Oslo
We depart by coach this morning for Örebro where a strategic fortification has kept watch over important Scandinavian trade routes since the 14th century. The original structure has been expanded many times from its use as a prison stronghold to its transformation into a royal castle. It was here that Gustav Vasa adopted the law of hereditary monarchy in Sweden. Our guided tour uncovers the castle’s 700 years of royal history as well as its dark past. After a break for lunch we continue on to Oslo, arriving in the late afternoon. Overnight Oslo (B, D)
Tuesday 8 September: Touring Oslo
After a talk in the hotel we make our acquaintance with Oslo on a guided walking tour of the historic centre. We start at the Oslo Cathedral which was first consecrated in 1697 and is used by the Norwegian royal family for weddings and funerals. The church features an exceptional altarpiece depicting the Last Supper and Crucifixion, elaborate stained glass windows and a painted ceiling by Emanuel Vigeland. We pass by the Royal Palace and Palace Park and continue on to the Nobel Peace Museum and Town Hall, concluding at the National Museum. After a break for lunch, we explore the museum’s expansive and broad-ranging collection. Overnight Oslo (B)
Wednesday 9 September: Oslo – From Vikings to Norwegians
Oslo has exceptional museums and galleries which preserve the history and celebrate the achievements of the Norwegians. We begin with a visit to the Munch Museum, whose collection contains more than half of Munch’s entire oeuvre. We then travel by ferry to Bygdøy, 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 exploration and used on several expeditions to the Arctic and on Roald Amundsen’s Antarctic expedition. After time for lunch and individual exploration of the Bygdøy museums (which also house Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki), we return to Oslo by ferry. Overnight Oslo (B)
Thursday 10 September: Kirkenese – Embarkation
We depart for Oslo Airport and board a flight to Kirkenes, the capital of the Barents region, to commence our cruise aboard the MS Richard With. After settling into our cabins, lunch is offered on board as we begin the southbound coastal voyage through the spectacular Arctic wilderness. The ship docks at Vardø, Norway’s easternmost port, and continues along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord, arriving in Berlevåg in the evening. Overnight MS Richard With (B, L, D)
Friday 11 September: Mehamn to Tromsø
The journey continues south to North Cape and Hammerfest, founded in 1789 and serving as a base for hunting expeditions in the High Arctic. Enjoy the scenery unfold from the deck or in the comfort of the panorama lounge as we pass Øksfjord and cross the open water to the old trading post of Skjervøy and dock in Tromsø. Disembarking at Tromsø we attend a midnight concert of Norwegian hymns and folk songs taking in the architecture, stained glass mosaic and acoustics of the Arctic Cathedral. Overnight MS Richard With (B, L, D)
Saturday 12 September: Tromsø to Stamsund
Today offers some of the most stunning scenery encountered on the voyage. After travelling through the shallow seven-metre Risøy channel constructed in the 1920’s specifically for Hurtigruten ships, we sail through the Lofoten Islands, renowned for the steep mountains that appear to rise directly from the sea, to the spectacular Trollfjord. We board a smaller vessel to seek out the sea eagles that dwell and hunt in the surrounding channels and mountains. We leave the ship briefly at Svolvær for a private guided excursion to visit the Lofoten Museum and Vågan Church before meeting the ship again after our road trip at Stamsund. Overnight MS Richard With (B, L, D)
Sunday 13 September: Bodø to Rørvik
We hit a milestone today, passing through the Arctic Circle, a ‘rite of passage’ that is celebrated on deck with a spoonful of cod liver oil. Sailing along the Helgeland coast we pass islets of fertile farmland and steep granite walls and mountains, including Torghatten, and learn the Norse saga that explains the distinctive hole created during the Ice Age that passes through the granite. The cruise continues past the Seven Sisters mountain range, celebrated in ancient mythology as the seven daughters of the troll king, who after sneaking out at night were petrified at sunrise. Overnight MS Richard With (B, L, D)
Monday 14 September: Trondheim to Ålesund
After an early arrival in Trondheim, we disembark and meet our guide for a private excursion through Norway’s third largest town, home to some 30,000 students. Despite Trondheim’s size and population, it maintains a small-town charm we observe on our tour through the town’s wharves and boroughs. We stop at Nidaros Cathedral, built over the burial site of Saint Olaf, the Viking king who brought Christianity to Norway. The enormous Gothic structure was commenced in 1070 and largely completed by 1300 and is considered the most beautiful religious building in Norway. Back aboard the ship, we head into the Trondheimsfjord before continuing down the coast towards Bergen. Overnight MS Richard With (B, L, D)
Tuesday 15 September: Bergen
As we head closer to Bergen, the landscape changes, providing a striking contrast as the fjord regions give way to rugged coastal areas. The coastal seaport of Florø is our final port of call before we spend our final hours on board enjoying the passing scenery. We disembark in Bergen in the early afternoon and transfer by coach to the hotel. After checking in, there is an orientation walk through Bergen. Overnight Bergen (B, L)
Wednesday 16 September: Bryggen and Kode Museum
This morning a local guide takes us through Bryggen, the old port of Bergen, which is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and was part of the extensive medieval Hanseatic League which traded throughout northern Europe and Scandinavia. We walk past the rows of gabled wooden buildings to St Mary’s Church and Håkons Hall, a 13th-century royal residence and banqueting hall still in use today. This afternoon we visit the Bergen Art Museum, spanning four buildings. The collection reflects Bergen’s status as one of the most important cities in Scandinavia for the visual and performing arts. This evening we enjoy dinner in a local restaurant walking distance from the hotel. Overnight Bergen (B, D)
Thursday 17 September: To Copenhagen
We transfer to Bergen airport for a morning flight to Copenhagen. On arrival we take a coach tour of Copenhagen through the colourful area of Christiania to Christiansborg Island, where we walk through the palace grounds and the Royal Danish Library known as the Black Diamond due to its distinctive design. We continue past Tivoli Gardens, Glyptotek Art Museum and Rosenborg Castle before arriving at our hotel in the afternoon. Overnight Copenhagen (B)
Friday 18 September: Touring Copenhagen
Today we explore Copenhagen on a walking tour of Frederiksstaden, the district created during the reign of Frederik V. We visit the Amalienborg Palace complex, a fine ensemble of four rococo palaces that today serves as the city home of the Queen, Crown Prince Frederik and his Australian wife, Crown Princess Mary. We continue to the copper-domed Frederik’s Church and the Gefion Fountain on the harbour front. We take a guided tour of the Design Museum before free time for lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area. Later in the 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. We meet again this evening for our farewell dinner in one of Copenhagen’s fine restaurants. Overnight Copenhagen (B, D)
Saturday 19 September: Depart
The tour concludes after breakfast in the hotel. (B)
Dr Mindy MacLeod
A specialist in Swedish and Old Norse language and literature with two masters degrees and a PhD on runic epigraphy.
Dr Mindy MacLeod has studied and worked in England, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland and speaks Swedish, German and French and a smattering of other European languages. She holds two master’s degrees majoring in Germanic Studies & TESOL, and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Uppsala in Sweden with a prize-winning dissertation on runic epigraphy. She worked as a specialist translator on the Scandinavian runic database for Uppsala university and lectured in runology, language history, linguistics and translation studies at Linnaeus University in southern Sweden, where she returns to teach an annual summer course.
Mindy has attended and arranged conferences throughout Australia and Europe, travelled extensively throughout Scandinavia and former Scandinavian settlements, and has written books and articles on runic inscriptions and mediaeval magic. Her academic specialisation is runic literacy as evidenced in texts which range from the enigmatic early inscriptions through the highly ritualised memorial formulations typical of the Viking period to the joyfully obscene and everyday messages of the later Middle Ages. She is also interested in Germanic language history, Icelandic saga literature and pagan and Christian syncretism in Scandinavian texts and iconography.
Mindy works as a translator and editor for Swedish and Norwegian journals and as a casual academic in the Education Department of The University of Melbourne. She also teaches Swedish evening courses and enjoys Nordic Noir. Mindy is also interested in animal welfare: she is a wildlife carer and works as a volunteer tour guide at Healesville Sanctuary outside Melbourne.
Hotels have been selected principally for their central location and four-star rating with the exception of the Grand Hotel Oslo which is rated as a five-star property.
Stockholm, Elite Eden Park Hotel (4 nights)
Stylish modern hotel located next to the tranquil greenery of Humlegården Park. www.elite.se/en
Oslo, Grand Hotel (3 nights)
Oslo’s grand old dame opened its doors in 1874 and was a favourite haunt of Ibsen and Munch. www.grand.no/en
Hurtigruten Cruise, MS Richard With (5 nights)
We have booked Arctic Superior cabins on the upper deck of the ship which underwent a complete refurbishment in late 2018. Passengers requiring twin beds will be accommodated in Polar Outside cabin types. The ship features a panorama lounge and sun deck where the dedicated onboard expedition team offer insightful lectures and presentations. The ship does not have an onboard dress code for day or evening. Clothing should be practical and suited to the time of year. www.hurtigruten.com.au/ships/ms-richard-with/
Bergen, Hotel Oleana (2 nights)
Situated in a classic building and refurbished in a modern style the hotel is within walking distance of Bergen’s major sights and restaurants. www.hoteloleana.com
Copenhagen, Hotel Admiral (2 nights)
A four-star waterfront hotel in a heritage-listed building, specifically chosen for its convenient location next to the Amalienborg Royal Palace and opposite Copenhagen Opera House. admiralhotel.dk/en
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
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
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. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.