Few destinations blend old and new as seamlessly as Scandinavia. Visitors to Northern Europe quickly discover why Norway, Sweden, and Denmark lead the world in innovation, sustainability, and happiness. Celebrating their rich past, even as they focus on the future, Scandinavia’s capital cities, Oslo, Stockholm, and Copenhagen are ideal spots for a cultural holiday, either linked together, or on their own.
Travellers to Norway may be pining for the fjords, but it’s impossible to ignore the art and history of Oslo. The Viking Ship Museum sets visitors’ imaginations ablaze with its collection of swords, helmets, and 9th century ships, while Vigeland Sculpture Park celebrates Gustav Vigeland’s off-beat creativity with over 200 pieces on display.
One of Norway’s favourite sons, Edvard Munch, gets his own museum, while his most famous creation, The Scream, is housed in the National Gallery. A perfect day in Oslo ends with a fine seafood dinner and a sip of aquavit, a potato-based liquor. That’s if you’re not taking in an evening fjord cruise, of course.
Getting out of the city, the famous Flåm Railroad is by far the most scenic route to the scenic coastal city of Bergen. Other nearby sights include Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg’s lakeside villa, and the spectacular Lysefjord, best seen from The Pulpit Rock, which juts out 1,900 feet above. All these are included on the Norway in a Nutshell tour.
In neighbouring Sweden, the city of Stockholm is built across fourteen islands in the beautiful Stockholm archipelago. The source of many of Scandinavia’s best-known brands and icons, Stockholm celebrates them all within its medieval streets, cutting edge galleries, and museums embracing both the past and the future. Visitors can take in the Vasa Museum, where the world’s only preserved 17th century ship is on display. If you’re interested in a more recent retro trip, groove your way into ABBA: The Museum, where you can share the stage with holograms of Sweden’s most famous musical export.
Stockholm is just as spectacular from the water. In fact, a visit here isn’t really complete without a boat tour to the island of Lovön, home to UNESCO World Heritage listed Drottningholm Palace.
An abundance of clichés seem to shroud Copenhagen, Denmark. You can certainly crowd around for a shot of the Little Mermaid, but be sure to allow plenty of time to discover just how this wonderful city blends its 1,000-year history with a fierce appetite for innovation and good living.
Release your inner “big kid” at Tivoli Gardens. The world’s second-oldest operating amusement park is a 19th century delight for all ages, and an easily reached “must-do” while in Copenhagen. Shopaholics can get their fix on the pedestrian street of Strøget, where avant-garde and traditional boutiques meet, interspersed with an abundance of cafés.
The Design Museum Danmark will indulge your senses with the perfect blend of art and functionality, while Louisiana, a short train ride north of the city, has become one of the world’s great modern art museums.
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9-Day Essence of Scandinavia Coach Tour: Stockholm to Oslo
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