An epic journey of the arctic circle that includes every great Scandinavian rail experience combines majestic mountains and heavenly fjords in Norway with the tranquil landscapes of Sweden.
To start, a guided tour of both modern Stockholm and its historic Old Town is recommended. Next, take the train inland to Östersund, check out the scenery at every turn, and cross the Arctic Circle into the 'Land of the Midnight Sun.'
Then travel through Sweden's breathtaking mountains and to Norway and arrive in Narvik for a day of leisure. Follow the coastline south to Trondheim and check out the music scene if you have time.
The hike along the Rauma River is a great way to see the sights of Geiranger. There you will take part in a Geirangerfjord Boat Cruise alongside the steep sides of the fjord.
Experience a thrilling train ride through the fjords to Flåm, and watch the mountains and valleys unfold outside your window. Take the Flåm Railway, one of the steepest in the world, and then go to the Sognefjord, Norway's longest and deepest.
Explore Bergen on a free day, and then travel through the most remote areas of western Norway as you head to Oslo.
Day 1 - Stockholm
Fly into Stockholm and check into your hotel. Meet your group and tour manager at 6:30 pm in the hotel lobby.
Day 2 - Stockholm Sightseeing
On this tour, you'll see the significant sights of Stockholm. Enjoy a look at the contrasting modern architecture and the narrow streets of Gamla Stan (the Old Town). We take a Swedish coffee break, relaxing over a hot drink and slice of cake. The rest of the day is yours to explore Stockholm at your own pace. Check out the Vasa Museum to learn about Scandinavian maritime history, or visit Skansen, the world's first open-air museum.
Day 3 - Inland to Östersund
We head inland by InterCity train from Stockholm to Östersund, which sits on the shore of beautiful Lake Storsjön, Sweden's fifth-largest lake. We're staying at the Clarion Grand Hotel, right near the train station. You can take the rest of the day to enjoy this city, which has museums, beautiful architecture, and serene waterfront views.
Day 4 - The Inlandsbanan and Lapland
We leave Östersund and travel towards the wilderness of Swedish Lapland. The train stops at a few scenic spots along the way, showing off Sweden's beauty. Our train ride through the Inland is a breathtaking experience. We cross the Arctic Circle and go through forests and lakes. Next stop is at a museum and visit a Sami village. We transfer to Arjeplog after mingling with reindeer and learning about the local traditions. Dinner this evening is in our hotel and served in Scandinavian style, around an open fire in a Tiipii.
Day 5 - Crossing the Arctic Circle
We travel by coach to Jokkmokk, continuing our adventure through the north. Crossing the Arctic Circle is celebrated with a ceremony as a true milestone of this journey. When we arrive at the Hotel Jokkmokk, we can relax in the evening.
Day 6 - The Ofoten Railroad to Narvik
The Ofoten Railroad* is the world's most northerly railroad line. It traverses steep slopes and marvels at the sheer drops to the fjords below. Next, we visit Narvik, a beautiful Norwegian city with a colorful harbor and an imposing mountain backdrop. We spend our night at the Thon Hotel Narvik.
Day 7 - Explore Narvik
We visit Narvik's war museum today to learn about the town's pivotal role in the Second World War. The remainder of the day is free to spend how you would like.
Day 8 - The Polar Express
We travel today by coach to Fauske, and after arrival, we board our train to Verdal. This train ride takes us along the impressive Nordland Railroad on the "Polar Express." The fjords are outstanding, and so are the forests. This afternoon, as we arrive in Verdal, check into the Scandic Stiklestad and enjoy the serenity of this quaint region.
Day 9 - Stiklestad
This morning, we're going to Stiklestad, where King Olav died in 1030. A guided tour shows the enormous history of this destination. After the tour, we go to lunch and then enjoy the coast on the way to Trondheim. We're staying at the Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel tonight, where we'll conclude our southbound journey this evening.
Day 10 - Explore Trondheim
Today we'll visit the Old Quarter, Bakklandet, Nidaros Cathedral, and the Royal Residence during our guided tour. The afternoon is free to explore one of the oldest cities in Norway.
Day 11 - The Rauma Railway
Today, we'll take a spectacular train ride through the magnificent, contrasting landscapes of Norway. We follow the emerald-colored River Rauma for most of the journey. The tracks follow the river as it winds around the hillsides and below jagged mountain peaks. As we climb over the rounded mountain plateaus, impressive vistas stretch into the distance across unspoiled national parklands. On disembarking the train, we are taken to Geiranger by motorcoach and spend two nights at the Havila Hotel Geiranger. This hotel is right on the fjord, one of Norway's most stunning views.
Day 12 - Geirangerfjord boat cruise
We are cruising through the serene, deep water of the spectacular Geirangerfjord, surrounded by beautiful scenery. As you look up, the steep sides of the fjord tower over the boat. In the sun, this UNESCO world heritage site is alive in color and contrast - the lush greens of the trees clinging to the rock, contrast to the deep blue water, and the brilliant white of the snow-capped peaks in the distance. When it rains, waterfalls appear out of nowhere and crash down into the water. After our cruise, drive from Hellesylt to Geiranger, passing Hornindalsvatnet Lake and Stryn.
Day 13 - Through the Fjords to Flåm
We leave Geiranger by coach this morning and continue our scenic journey through Norway's incredible fjord country on our way to Flåm. Next we drive through valleys hemmed in by lofty mountains and steep-sided fjords, every turn in the road offering a new and exciting view. We stop at Kaupanger to visit the stave church in the town. The wooden church was built in the 12th century and has 22 staves - the most in every stave church. It's a Norwegian cultural heritage site. At the head of the Aurlandsfjord, enjoy the views and rural serenity of the Fretheim Hotel.
Day 14 - The Flåm Railway to Bergen
Our Flåm Railway trip takes us into the mountains along one of the steepest lines in the world. The train twists and turns as we travel through the mountain range. We end the route in Myrdal and take the express boat back up to Flåm, where we board the afternoon boat for a cruise down Norway's longest and deepest fjord, the Sognefjord. We end the day in Bergen after navigating coastal islets and skerries. Relax after checking into the Scandic Neptun.
Day 15 - Bergen
Today we are treated to a guided tour of Bergen and enjoy a look at many of the town's most important sites. One of the tour highlights is Bryggen, the Old City, which boasts UNESCO World Heritage designation. Here we observe the harbor and the surrounding historical buildings. Bergen itself is nestled beneath seven hills and surrounded by fjords. The views as we make our way through the city are spectacular. After our tour, we enjoy a seafood lunch at Bergen Fish Market. The remainder of the day is yours to continue your discoveries of this eclectic city.
Day 16 - The Bergen Railroad to Oslo
We're taking the train to Bergen, and we're going to go on the highest railway line in Northern Europe. This train goes through some of the most remote areas of western Norway, and then through pastures until it reaches Oslo, the elegant city. After checking into the hotel, spend some time checking out the city's sights before joining the group for your Farewell Dinner.
Day 17 - Tour Conclusion
After breakfast this morning, your Arctic adventure ends. You will be provided a group transfer to Oslo Airport for flights after 2 pm.
Does this Scandinavian rail experience in the arctic circle sound exciting to you? It's time to start planning! If you want to plan this one or another one in the region, let me know!