Stockholm & Copenhagen

Stockholm & Copenhagen

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Apart from the obvious Viking connection, as a nation our schools don't really promote the history of these countries, thus our knowledge tends to be rather limited. But despite their modern image, you may find it surprising that Denmark and Sweden were two of medieval Europe's most powerful nations. Today both are littered with countless legacies: rich palaces rivaling Europe's finest burst with art and antiques; sleepy thatched villages with exquisite churches abound plus atmospheric gabled towns with delightful cobbled streets and typically Baltic historical centres everywhere. There are significant Viking remains and a host of museums to visit, indeed Stockholm itself has over 100 including a fascinating one dedicated to the Nobel Prizes. Food is superb with not surprisingly fish dominating and the standard, just like here has recently undergone a transformation. Sample the unusual tastes of Husmanskost, traditional Swedish fare, and the delights of the Smorgasbord - equally popular in both countries though subtly different. Denmark and Sweden are all this and more in an eclectic mix; full of surprises and largely devoid of foreign visitors they are such rewarding destinations.   Both cities have played host to royalty since the Viking age and their palaces and wonderful parks, set against a stunning background of picturesque lakes, canals and natural harbours, create a majestic framework for today's vibrant modern capitals where queues are rare, graffiti is even rarer and litter is almost unknown. Explore ornate and grandiose royal palaces famed in Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales plus Shakespeare's Hamlet and esoteric museums hardly heard of outside their home city. Colourful waterfronts hark back to the great Viking traditions of yesteryear with a host of cultural delights from the Dark Ages to the ultra modern of today. It's not everywhere that owes the survival of much of its finest heritage collections to the local brewery - but that's certainly the case in Denmark, and that's not the only thing that will surprise you on your visit to these surprisingly warm and friendly cities and their surroundings - we look forward to sharing them with you.

Highlights

  • Sightseeing tour of Stockholm and its colourful, medieval old town of ‘Gamla Stan’
  • Guided tour of Sweden’s Royal Palace and its lavish rooms filled with sumptuous furnishings and state regalia - entrance included
  • Stockholm Travelcard allowing you to make the most of your free time in the city
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the Vasa Museum, Scandinavia’s most visited museum, and marvel at the world’s only preserved 17th-century ship
  • Visit to Roskilde including the Cathedral
  • Entrance to the Viking museum on the remains of an ancient harbour, with its collection of 11th century Viking ships
  • Trip to Fredericksborg Slot palace and gardens, a baroque masterpiece known as the Nordic Versailles – entrance included
  • Sightseeing tour of Copenhagen, centred on the charming Nyhavn Harbour, one of Europe’s most picturesque waterfronts
  • Travel on a high-speed train from Stockholm to Copenhagen
  • Return travel from a selection of regional airports, plus all hotel transfers
  • Services of our experienced tour manager
  • Six nights in centrally located four-star accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, with breakfast

Itinerary

Day 1

You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Stockholm. Upon arrival, a coach will take you to the centrally located four-star Scandic Grand Central for three nights with breakfast. Scandic Grand Central is housed in a classic 1890s building in the heart of Stockholm city centre, surrounded by restaurants, shops, cafes and bars. Formerly a theatre, reminders of its heritage feature heavily in the hotel's design, with spotlights over the reception and the stage still remaining. All rooms are chicly decorated with wood floors, TV, safety deposit box – a real urban Scandinavian design.

Day 2

Stockholm is a fascinating city tumbling across an idyllic archipelago on the shores of the Baltic Sea. This morning we have a city tour when history comes to life and you can really appreciate not only its cultural and architectural highlights but the sheer atmosphere, harmony and evident love of life emanating from virtually everywhere. ‘Gamla Stan’ - the medieval Old Town set around some small islands is the city's heart. Many of the city's oldest buildings dating from the 13th century are here: Storkyrkan and Riddarholmskyrkan churches; coronation and the burial places of Swedish monarchs with their tall spires dominate the city. We visit the Royal Palace, the king's official residence and the unmistakable jewel in Stockholm's crown. This combination of current royal residence, workplace, museums and historic monument is open to the public, making it unique amongst European regal palaces. You will also see the Royal Apartments, great corridors, historic rooms and three separate museums including the treasury's crown jewels.   After our visit to the palace, there’s time for lunch before we enjoy a guided tour of the Vasa Museum on the island of Djurgården. The most visited museum in Scandinavia, it is dedicated to the remarkable Vasa, the world’s only preserved 17th-century ship and an art treasure that’s one of a kind. Take a close look at the hundreds of sculptures carved into the vessel – most of the vessel is original!

Day 3

The day is at leisure for you to explore this wonderful city. Your Stockholm Travelcard gives you unlimited travel on the city’s public transport for a designated period. You could discover Stadshuset (City Hall) where Nobel Prize winners enjoy their banquet. Perhaps return to Djurgården island, a calm oasis with fine park areas for a relaxing stroll. The island is also home to an amusement park and 22 world-class museums including the Nordic Museum, Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history, and even one dedicated to ABBA! Why not enjoy a boat trip through the canal and waterside views of Stockholm’s most well-known sights?

Day 4

Today we take the high-speed train (approximately 5 hours) to Copenhagen. You are whisked in comfort though almost deserted rolling landscapes which characterise rural Sweden. After the sea bridge and tunnel, we arrive in Copenhagen, staying for three nights with breakfast at either the four-star Hotel Kong Arthur or four-star Scandic Copenhagen depending on the date travelled. The centrally located Kong Arthur, a lovely family-run boutique four-star hotel, centrally located just off one of the city's lakes and converted from three 19th century townhouses surrounding a cobbled courtyard adorned with colourful flowers. There are three restaurants, a bar, spa and the individually decorated bedrooms are very well appointed. The top floor features a gallery displaying contemporary Danish art. The modern central Scandic Copenhagen is an excellent hotel with stunning view over the city. Furnished in a modern Nordic style it reflects the best in Danish design and is very near the renowned Tivoli gardens. The rooms are modern and typically Scandinavian with an urban city or a calming nature design and the excellent restaurant typically uses quality and organic ingredients.

Day 5

After breakfast we have a guided tour of Copenhagen, a real revelation, ironically perhaps best known for two iconic landmarks, the Carlsberg Brewery and the Little Mermaid, the statue inspired by the famous Dane - Hans Christian Andersen. You'll see the Royal Danish Theatre which played a key role in his life.  Other sights include the Houses of Parliament, the Christiansborg, the magnificent Amalienborg Palace, winter residence of the Monarchy and the world-famous Tivoli pleasure gardens famous for its street entertainers and music concerts.   The afternoon and evening are free so that you can explore the many wonders of this scrupulously clean, smart yet relaxed city as you wish. The remarkable Royal Library, is worth a visit as are the National Museum and the Ny Carlsberg art collection - another cultural highlight founded by the famous brewer!   On a glorious summer evening there is nowhere more pleasant than one of Copenhagen's harbour side restaurants to enjoy a leisurely dinner.

Day 6

Today we explore a little more of Denmark commencing with historic Roskilde, the country's medieval capital. Firstly we visit the outstanding Cathedral, one of the world's few brick built gothic structures. Next we visit the extraordinary Viking museum, on the remains of an ancient harbour. It features five 11th-century Viking ships in staggering condition after being preserved in mud for centuries. There's also a vibrant community of craftsmen here perpetuating boatbuilding skills by constructing replica boats including a 30-metre long Sea Stallion of Glendalough, which in 2007 repeated its original voyage to Dublin.   Next we head north to Frederiksborg Slot a majestic Renaissance palace, a real Nordic Versailles. Surrounded by a stately lake and set in glorious manicured baroque and romantic English styled gardens. Fredericksborg is now a national museum and is a fitting end to the day as we return to Copenhagen late afternoon.

Day 7

Transfer to Copenhagen airport for your return flight.

  Cost per person: €1,159pp
  Number of nights: 6

Tour supplied in Partnership with:

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  Call:  01 905 6300