||Fly to Bergen where you join the Coastal Voyage to Kirkenes.
||After a brief docking at the island harbour of Florø during the night, we sail through open seas as we cross Stadt and round the West Cape. There are early morning calls at Måløy and Torvik before we continue to Ålesund.
The highlight of the day is the sailing into the magnificent Geirangerfjord, surrounded by steep mountains and with numerous waterfalls with evocative names such as the “Seven Sisters” and the “Bridal Veil”. After a short stop at Molde, the “City of Roses”, we begin our crossing of Hustadvika. During the night we will stop at Kristiansund.
The ships visit the Geirangerfjord on all departures from Bergen between 16 April and 11 September 2004. Outside those dates the voyage includes a three hour stay in the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund.
||We arrive in Trondheim and spend about 4 hours here. The former capital of Norway is home to the famous Nidaros Cathedral, the biggest medieval building in Scandinavia. Ahead of us lies the longest stretch of the voyage, as our route passes by some 6,000 small islands and skerries before arriving for a brief stop at Rørvik in the evening.
||We cross the Arctic Circle early in the morning and our first port of call in the Land of the Midnight Sun is Ørnes. After a couple of hours at Bodø we head across to the Lofoten Wall, rising up like a huge troll from the sea. We will stop at Stamsund and Svolvær in the early evening.
||Early in the morning we put into Harstad on the Island of Hinnøy and early in the afternoon we arrive in Tromsø, the capital of Arctic Norway where we dock for 3 hours. Tromsø is famous as the starting point of many Polar expeditions and lies at the entry of the Arctic Sea. A visit to the Arctic Cathedral should be on your agenda.
||Hammerfest, the world’s most northerly town is our port of call early in the morning, later that day, when we cross the border into Finnmark, the scenery changes dramatically. Narrow straits and mountains make way for a windswept landscape that has been shaped by wind, weather and the all-powerful sea.
We’ll reach Honningsvåg before lunchtime. This is the starting point of an excursion to the North Cape. During the evening and night we make stops at old fishing stations heading for Kirkenes, the turning point of the voyage.
||On arrival at Kirkenes you will be met for the start of your journey through Norwegian and Finnish Lapland. We drive through vast highland marshes dotted with lakes and stop at a salmon river before crossing the border to Finland. Arrival at Inari will be early evening. (Driving time approx. 5 to 6 hours).
In the evening you’ll pay a visit to a Sami family of reindeer herders, where you can feed the reindeer and hear all about the history and life of the Sami.
||Today you are free to explore the area and you can visit the Sami church and handicraft shops. Many optional activities and excursions are available, such as lake cruising, biking, fishing, hiking, canoeing and gold panning (depending on season). A visit to the Sami and Nature Museum is included. Your guide will make the arrangements locally.
||We leave early in the morning for the drive back to Kirkenes (3 to 4 hours). En route you’ll stop at a bird observation tower from where there are fantastic views of the landscape. We then drive along the shores of Lake Inari before reaching the small community of Sevettijärvi with a museum and a wooden Greek-Orthodox church. There’s a brief stop at the Russian border before arrival back in Kirkenes. Fly to Oslo for a two night stay.
|Days 9 to 11
||Spend two days in Norway’s capital located on the beautiful Oslofjord, overlooked by the medival Akershus fortress. The “Viking Capital” has grown into a modern cosmopolitan city, and despite being one of Europe’s larger cities in terms of surface area, the centre can easily be covered by foot. If you are interested in culture and heritage, you have many options – there are several excellent museums, among them the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon Tiki Museum and the National Gallery.
At the Munch Museum, you’ll find Edvard Munch’s most famous work, “The Scream” among the vast collection exhibited here. You can also admire more than 200 sculptures by Gustav Vigeland during a stroll through the park of the same name.
When eating out in Oslo you’ll find a wide choice, from small cosy cafés to top class restaurants and if you enjoy shopping you are likely to find just what you are looking for on Karl Johans Gate, Oslo’s main shopping street.
||Travel by comfortable train from Oslo to Stockholm (duration approx. 5 hours) where you stay two nights. Built on 14 islands, Stockholm can rightly claim to be Scandinavia’s most beautiful city, where it’s almost as easy and much more fun to get around by boat as it is by bus or train.
|Days 11 to 13
||Two days to explore Stockholm. There are scores of museums and galleries to visit, famous ones like the Vasa Museum and Skansen as well as more unusual ones like the International Puppet Theatre Museum and the Aquaria Water museum.
A good variety of restaurants, cafés and nightspots invite you to enjoy the lively atmosphere of this smart, friendly city. Visit “Gamla Stan”, the old town with its intriguing maze of medieval streets lined with restaurants and antique shops or the famous Vasa Museum.
||Catch a train for the five hour journey to Copenhagen and transfer to your hotel for a two night stay. Surrounded by its medieval ramparts, bustling Copenhagen is a totally modern and cosmopolitan waterfront city. A friendly and relaxed atmosphere prevails in the pedestrianised centre of the old town, with its red-tiled roofs and green copper-clad spires.
|Days 13 to 15
||Visit Tivoli Gardens, the Little Mermaid or take a stroll down Strøget, the longest shopping street in Europe. Copenhagen has a thriving arts scene with theatres, concert halls, museums and galleries so there is plenty of things to do. The shopping and eating out here are excellent too.
||Fly back to the UK.
Although no strenuous activities are included in the Lapland tour, we nevertheless recommend that you only book this if your are reasonably fit.