Tour Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany

Discover the many charms of Europe on this enriching adventure. Tour from Oslo to Berlin, visiting Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Germany. Travel through some of Europe's most stylish capitals and be wowed by some of the world's biggest fjords. Along the way, uncover a Viking past, learn of a maritime heritage and be immersed in vibrant art and classic architecture. Whether it's walking along charming streets in Bergen, sailing through vast fjords or indulging in the delights of modern cities, you'll undoubtedly be left with a multitude of picturesque memories from this once-in-a-lifetime European adventure packed with cultural gems, historic sights and outdoor pursuits.

Start
Oslo, Norway
Finish
Berlin, Germany
Countries
Estonia,
Finland,
Germany,
Latvia,
Lithuania,
Norway,
Poland,
Sweden
Themes
Explorer
Code
BMSCC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
413kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Norway's fjords feature some of the most stunning scenery on Earth. Cruise past waterfalls and snow-capped peaks through the narrow Naeroyfjord
  • Discover Stockholm's maritime history at the Vasa Museum, which houses an original wooden war ship from 1628. This impressive vessel gives you a rare glimpse into the naval power Sweden was once famous for
  • With its perfectly preserved medieval wall and watchtowers, Tallinn's quaint Old Town is a great place to explore on foot
  • Aukstaitija National Park offers unique opportunities for both activity and relaxation. Canoe across pristine lakes, indulge in home-cooked meals and cleanse yourself in a traditional sauna
  • Warsaw's Uprising Museum offers thought-provoking insight into the 1944 Polish resistance against Nazi Germany

Itinerary

Welcome to Oslo, Norway. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. With so much to see and do in Oslo we recommend you plan to arrive a few days before the trip begins, so you can see as much of the city as possible. Why not head to the National Gallery of Art to glimpse Edvard Munch's famous painting, The Scream.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend the welcome meeting. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
After breakfast, travel to the nearby area of Holmenkollen for a short hike on the plateau. Head out on an included visit to the Ski Museum, housed inside the famous monumental Holmenkollbakken (ski jump). Highlights include the history of skiing over the past 4,000 years, Norwegian polar expeditions and lesser known glimpses from the Winter Olympics at Oslo and Lillehammer. Perhaps use your free time in the afternoon island hopping on Oslofjord, putting the hammer down at the Viking Museum or explore the immense Akershus Castle & Fortress. There's so much to get stuck in to.
Today you'll leave Oslo behind and take the train to Bergen, which will take around seven hours. No other train ride between two cities in Europe is at a higher altitude than this one and few can match the views passing by your window. Linking Norway's two main cities, this line takes in some spectacular scenery of lush valleys, idyllic villages, dramatic mountains and picturesque lakes as it crosses the Hardangervidda Plateau. As the trip is long and you'll arrive quite late into Bergen, there won't be too much time to explore today, but you will have all day tomorrow. There are some great restaurants in town, so possibly venture out with the group for a bite to eat.

Note: Although a global ban on commercial whaling came into effect in 1986, approximately 1,000 whales are still being killed every year, as Iceland, Norway and Japan ignore the ban. We strive not to visit places that serve whale on any of our trips, however often this is unavoidable and there is a likelihood that you will come across whale meat on a menu or at a market stand.
After breakfast this morning, head out for a guided walk around the Bryggen area of the city. As a World Heritage listed site, you'll explore Bryggen, the museum and the old Hanseatic port area, before having plenty of free time in the afternoon to do as you wish. Perhaps visit the 13th century Bergenhus Fortress, one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. Also, make sure you journey on the Floy Mountain Funicular for amazing views of the city. The summit has a multitude of hiking paths catering to all abilities.

Note: It might be a good idea to purchase a 24 hour Bergen Card. It gives you free and discounted access to a range of attractions and museums, as well as included travel on light rail and buses. You can book this online before you arrive.
Leave Bergen after breakfast and travel by bus to the fjord region, which should take around 3-4 hours. The journey will take you through epic landscapes and remote regions, so have your camera at the ready. The typical Norwegian huts that we stay in are located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by steep cliff walls with crystal clear waterfalls falling from the top of the fjords. Your accommodation is located near the village of Gudvangen and has electricity, running water and a kitchen. Some rooms have private and some have shared (mixed) toilets/shower facilities. Please note, rooming may be mixed gender multishare here. Linen and towels provided.
Today you'll take a boat trip through Naeroyfjord, a Unesco World Heritage site. The name Naeroyfjord takes its origins from the Norse god of seafarers and the sea, Njord. The fjord itself, formed by glacial erosion of the surrounding bedrock, is 18 km long, only 250 m wide at its narrowest point, but its depth reaches up to 500 m. With the surrounding mountain peaks rising up to 1400 m and waterfalls crashing down sheer cliff faces this makes for some dramatic vistas. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy the scenery of the surrounding area. Perhaps hire bikes and cycle along the shore of the fjord, take to the waters in a kayak or take a bus to nearby Flam in order to ride the famous railway up to Myrdal. Alternatively explore on foot and discover nearby waterfalls and ancient moraines. For those wanting to fish on the fjords, a fishing licence is required and costs around NOK 150.
There will be another long bus journey of around six hours after breakfast today, as you journey to the town of Lillehammer, across vast high plains, remote valleys, and through the Lærdal Tunnel, the world's longest road tunnel. Lillehammer, of Olympic fame, is picturesquely situated on Lake Mjøsa. Upon arrival perhaps head out for a brief walk to find your bearings in the 19th century town centre, and enjoy dinner with the group.
Join an orientation walk this morning and get to know Lillehammer. Your leader will take you on an included visit to the Maihaugen Open Air Museum, which tells the story of people in the Gudbrandsdalen Valley over the last 300 years. This brilliant museum includes timber-built farms, a town and a big residential area that gives you an insight into various eras of Norway's history. As a town famous for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics, Lillehammer has a great Olympic Museum and is an ideal spot for outdoor activities such as wheeled bobsleigh. Alternatively head to the Olympic Ski Jump Arena where in summer a special surface is laid out that allows professional ski jumpers to practice even though there is no snow. You can head to the top of the ski jump via chairlift. You'll have a good amount of free time today, so keep your options open.
Travel for around five hours by private bus today and cross the the border into Sweden, to the town of Mora, which is right in the middle of the Swedish lakes. Sat between the northern shore of Lake Siljan and the southern shore of Lake Orsasjon, Mora is a location steeped in history and culture that's ready to be discovered. Check in to the hotel on arrival and relax for the evening, before your day of exploration tomorrow.
Be charmed by tiny countryside villages with red log cottages, pine forests and rolling meadows on an included bike ride this morning, a great way of getting to know the area and the beautiful Swedish country side. The rest of the day is free to explore the area of Mora and its lakes. Perhaps take a leisurely boat trip across the lake, sink a line to partake in a little fishing or hike around the gentle rolling surrounds. Admire the work of a meteorite that crashed into the Earth millions of years ago, forming what is today Lake Siljan. Mora is also the home of artist Anders Zorn and the world’s biggest cross-country ski race, the Vasaloppet.
Leaving the Swedish lakes behind, head to the country's cultural, political and economic capital of Stockholm by train (approximately four hours). Often referred to as the 'Venice of the North' and arguably Scandinavia 's most beautiful city, Stockholm is packed full of amazing architecture, pristine parks and clear waters. Use the rest of your day settling into your accommodation and exploring the area around you.
After breakfast, go on an included visit to the Vasa Museum on the inner-city island of Djurgarden. The 17th-century warship, Vasa, sank in 1628 on her maiden voyage in the harbour of Stockholm and was salvaged only in 1961. As one of the most visited sights in Sweden, the Vasa Museum collection consists of the Vasa itself and all of the objects that were found within the ship. During your free time consider a day trip by boat and train to pretty Uppsala, take a self-guided Millennium Walking Tour of Stockholm or visit the Abba Museum. A great way to see the skerries of Stockholm is on a cruise past tiny islands and along narrow waterways. Alternatively you can take a day trip to Drottningholm Palace, the residence of the Swedish royal family. There's plenty of sights and attractions to keep you busy here in this great Scandinavian city, so plan your activities wisely.

Note: We recommend you book your tickets to the Abba Museum in advance at: http://www.abbathemuseum.com/en/
Travel by bus to Kapellskar and then transfer onto a ferry for the scenic journey past the skerries to the Aland Islands, which should take around four hours in total. The Aland Islands are an archipelago in the Baltic Sea, which consists of 6,500 skerries and islands and has a very flat terrain. It speaks Swedish, and is famous for having its own parliament which makes it an autonomous region of Finland. You'll have a few hours to explore Aland and its capital Mariehamn, so why not visit the Swedish-built 14th century Kastelholm Palace, the Maritime Museum, or go for a bike ride along the waterfront and through the surrounding woods. In the evening you'll be boarding an overnight ferry for Helsinki, Finland. Your cabin for the night is quad-share, which are usually bunk beds, and each cabin has a private bathroom.

Note: Depending on the make up of the group, quad-share may be on a mixed gender basis.
After our morning arrival into Helsinki's port you will transfer to your hotel. Today is completely free and you'll be able to explore Helsinki in your own time. A few options to consider during your time here are the Open-Air Museum Seurasaari, a visit to the city's cathedral or the interesting Design Museum. Don't miss the harbour side market for local oddities, and make sure you take a short ferry ride to the magnificent Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, also sometimes referred to as the Gibraltar of the North. Surrounded by the sea, Helsinki is a modern European city that offers an endless array of options. Throughout its 450-year history, the city has often been the buffer between the east and west. This is shown in their cuisine, with a mix of root vegetables, berries and fresh fish. Perhaps head out in the evening to sample some traditional dishes.

Note: Upon our morning arrival check-in at our hotel may not yet be possible. In this case you will be storing your luggage at the hotel and head out for an orientation walk.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting at 6pm to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers. Use the rest of your free time getting under the skin of diverse Helsinki, which combines elements of Scandinavia, the Baltics and neighbouring Russia in its character. Make sure you spend some time on senate square to see the sights surrounding it.
Leave Helsinki after breakfast and catch a ferry across the Gulf of Finland to the Estonian capital of Tallinn (approximately 3 hours). Arrive mid-afternoon, check into your hotel and start your time here with a short orientation walk through the city. The rest of your day is then free to enjoy this exceptionally preserved medieval city and all it has to offer. Perhaps head out and enjoy some of the region's culinary specialties, or stop for a drink on the main square for a spot of people watching. With its steep red roofs, spires, pastel-coloured buildings and new restaurants and bars, Estonia's capital is a real treat to explore. Seeing the vibrant streets of Tallinn now, it's difficult to fathom that Soviet occupation only ended 19 years ago.
Today is free to do as you wish and an exploration of the Old Town is a must. You'll see the last remaining gothic town hall in northern Europe, Old Thomas; the Raapteek, which has housed a pharmacy since the 15th century; and St Olaf Church, a major landmark of Tallinn.

You can head towards Upper Tallinn, home to the noble families, to see amazing views of Lower Tallinn and the medieval spires of the town walls. The 13th-century Toompea Castle, where the Estonian Parliament sits, and the 19th-century orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral are some of the main attractions of Upper Tallinn.

Alternatively, you could head to Pirita to chill out at Tallinn's most popular beach or visit Kadriorg Palace, a palace built by czar Peter the Great for his second wife Catherine I. Make sure you spend some time in the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace.
Cross the border by local bus into Latvia today and travel to Riga, which should take around five and a half hours.

On arrival, go on an orientation tour around Riga, renowned for its welcoming locals and a fascinating art nouveau heritage. Some of the sights we see include the Doma Cathedral, St Peter's Basilica, House of Blackheads, the Swedish Gate, Mentzendorff's House, Riga Castle, The Great Guild & Small Guild and the Cat House.

In your free time, perhaps pay a free visit to The Museum of Occupation of Latvia. This offers a fascinating insight into the hardships suffered by Latvians during its occupation by, first, the Germans and, later, the Soviets.

The Central Market Halls are a must-see and a a great place to haggle for supplies for a picnic lunch if it takes your fancy. It is housed in 4 disused German zeppelin hangars and is said to be Europe's largest market after Rungis in Paris, comprising over 3000 trade stalls.
Set off by bus after breakfast and cross the border into Lithuania, continuing onto the former Prussian city of Klaipeda (approximately six hours in total). Klaipeda used to be a member of the Hanseatic League and is the gateway to the Curonian Spit - a long and narrow sand dune peninsula separating the Curonian lagoon from the Baltic Sea.

Upon arrival head out to the waterfront with it's old brick buildings, and explore the old town centre. Perhaps head out for dinner with the group in the evening, at one of the many harbour-side cafes.
Today, take an included trip to explore the unique World Heritage-listed Curonian Spit National Park - the second oldest national park of the former Soviet Union. This is a spectacular landscape full of beaches, sand dunes and forested areas. The peninsula is only 400 m wide in parts but 98 km long, 52 of which belong to Lithuania, while the rest is part of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. It formed only 5000 years ago by strong winds and currents which constantly change the shape of the landscape to this day. Only recently a whole village was swallowed by the inexorable sand. According to legend, the spit was formed by the girl giant Neringa, who poured sand into the Baltic Sea to protect the bay from storms and create an embankment for fishermen to live.

On our full-day trip with a local guide you will see the famous sundial, a fairy tale forest full of pagan woodcarvings, and the tiny village of Nida. If you are brave you can even take a dip in the Baltic Sea. Look in the distance to see the Russian border. For lunch, perhaps try the smoked pike for which the spit is famous.
You'll continue your journey today by bus or train to the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius (approximately four hours). Having once been occupied by Sweden, Poland, France and Russia, each occupier has left its mark in some way on this picturesque city. Vilnius offers a different picture of the Baltics than Riga and Tallinn, but it's every bit as interesting.

On arrival, take an orientation walk with your leader that covers Cathedral Square and its free standing belfry, the famous chapel of Saint Kazimieras and Gediminas Tower. The 16th century Gate of Dawn houses an icon of the Virgin Mary which is said to have miraculous powers, and thus luckily escaped destruction by the Soviets.

For a break from Vilnius' historic monuments, take a walk through some of the charming gardens and parks that are dotted around the city or visit the 'republic' of Uzupis, an inner-city quarter that has declared independence from Lithuania in 1997. The inhabitants have even adopted a tongue-in-cheek constitution, and have erected a statue of Frank Zappa, the only one on the world.
Today is a free day to explore Vilnius.

Perhaps take the 40-minute bus trip to Trakai, which is situated on a lake and guarded by an impressive 14th century castle on an island. Rent paddle-boats, swim in the lake, or just wander around the old castle. This is a quaint town that's extremely popular due to its beauty and location.

For those who want to uncover the hidden gems of Vilnius, why not go on an Urban Adventure. Explore both the old and new sides of this amazing city, while visiting cafes, bars and attractions that only the locals really know about.

One museum that shouldn't be missed is the Museum of Genocide (also known as the KGB Museum). It is located in Vilnius' formed KGB headquarters and is dedicated to the 50-year history of Soviet occupation which has left a visible mark on the city and the country.

Note: For more information about the Urban Adventures available in Vilnius, visit http://www.urbanadventures.com/destination/Vilnius-tours
After breakfast, travel by local train to the town of Ignalina (approx two hours) and then on to Aukstaitija ('Owk-sty-chee-ah') National Park and the charming village of Ginuciai where our home stay is located.

As one of the most delightful national parks in the Baltic states, Aukstaitija has 126 lakes, an abundance of waterways, hills and woods. This afternoon you will take a guided kayak ride through the lakes and rivers, past villages and through forests, to an ancient pagan site on top of a hill with a wishing tree. The top affords great views across the surrounding forests and lakes.

Transfer back to your accommodation later in the afternoon and enjoy the hospitality and home-cooking of our hosts for the next two days.

Note: The included kayaking activity is weather dependent and may be cancelled in adverse weather conditions.
Today is free to visit some of the local attractions, such as the nearby villages that date from the 14th century and consist of traditional wooden houses and farmsteads. The 19th-century Ginuciai Watermill is another point of interest.

You can hike to some glorious lookouts, do some fishing, take a swim in the lake or river rapids, or just relax. Perhaps ask our host family to fire up the sauna for the ultimate relaxation and cleansing experience.

Note: There is a flat fee to start up the sauna, which can be divided by the number of guests who partake.
Exit Lithuania today and cross the border into Poland, making the epic nine hour journey to Warsaw. Unfortunately, there's no faster way so get comfortable with a good book and take in the sights en route (make sure to bring snacks for the long journey).

Warsaw is Poland's large, bustling capital, with a love of culture and art, as well as entertainment. There are numerous theatrical and musical venues, including the prestigious National Opera, the Chamber Opera and the National Theatre.

As you won't have much time to explore when you arrive, perhaps head out for dinner with the group in the evening.
Not long after breakfast today, head out on an included visit to the evocative Warsaw Uprising Museum. Opened on the 60th anniversary of the Uprising, this museum recounts the events which saw the people of Warsaw fighting against the Nazi occupation. The museum is a moving tribute to those who fought and died for independence.

The rest of your day is free to do as you wish. There are plenty of other museums to browse, including the Ethnographic Museum, Marie Curie Museum and Natural History Museum. The Palace of Science and Culture Observation Deck is a great way of seeing the city of Warsaw in all of its glory.

Alternatively continue to explore Warsaw's old town, rebuilt true to the original after WWII had left 85% of Warsaw in rubble. The effort was recognized by UNESCO in 1980 when it was added to the world heritage list. Make sure you also head down the Royal Mile past the university, beautiful baroque buildings and the occasional royal park.
Leave Poland behind and cross the border into Germany today, as you head to Berlin by train (approximately six hours).

On arrival into Berlin there won't be too much daylight left, but the city has a unique nightlife that presents delicious food, bars, pubs and clubs (if that's your thing). The Brandenburg Gate, Germany's symbol which is minted on the Euro coins, is a great place to visit at night, as the whole area is completely lit up.

Other areas great for night life are the inner-city neighbourhoods of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg, perfect for all-nighters. 24-hour public transport makes venturing around the city a breeze.
If you're a bit daunted by the size of the city, there are countless bus tours that operate throughout Berlin and they're an ideal way to find your feet. Alternatively buses 100 and 200 are perfect to reach many of the main tourist sites for just the regular bus fare.

There are many unique memorials and sites holding significance in Berlin's more recent history, which are all designed to provoke thought as well as commemorate. These include the Jewish Memorial, the empty book shelves of Bebelplatz and the confronting Topography of Terror. The 19th century Reichstag, whose cupola was designed by British architect Norman Foster, holds a special and symbolic meaning outside of its role as the home of parliament. The great glass dome that crowns the building also offers sweeping views over Berlin. Make sure you book your visit early in the morning, as queues can snake around the building for hours on end.

Find the crumbling remnants of the Berlin Wall that are scattered all over the city. Checkpoint Charlie is also a significant site in German history, as its museum overlooks the former border checkpoint dividing East and West.
Your 'Baltic Experience' adventure comes to an end after breakfast today. There are no more activities planned and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time.

There are multiple sights and attractions to visit during your stay in Berlin, so it may be worth booking an extra couple of days accommodation so you can fit it all in. Our reservations team will be happy to help (subject to availability).
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
21 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
Transport
Train, Bus, Private vehicle, Overnight ferry, Kayak, Metro, Tram
Accommodation
Cabin (2 nights), Guesthouse (6 nights), Hotel (19 nights), Overnight boat (1 night)
Included activities
  • Oslo - Holmenkollen Museum
  • Bergen - Museum and Bryggen Walk
  • Naeroyfjord - Boat Trip
  • Lillehammer - Maihaugen Open Air Museum
  • Swedish Lakes - Bicycle Tour
  • Stockholm - Vasa Museum
  • Tallinn - Orientation Walk
  • Riga - Orientation Walk
  • Full Day Trip to the Curonian Spit National Park
  • Vilnius - Orientation Walk
  • Aukstaitija National Park - Guided Kayak Trip
  • Warsaw - Uprising Museum

Dates

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for details.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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Reviews

Our Oslo to Berlin trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 3 reviews in the last year.

Oslo to Berlin , July 2015

Oslo to Berlin , June 2015

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