Baltic and Norwegian fjords

Jul 29, 2015

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Experience a smorgasbord of Scandinavian scenery and a bevy of Baltic delights, thanks to Phil Hoffmann Travel.

On a cruise through the Norwegian Fjords and Baltic countries, this picturesque region of northern Europe offers breathtaking countryside, fascinating cities with an intriguing history and rich culture, postcard-perfect vistas and charming architecture. With cobbled streets, copper spires, scenic fjords, cosmopolitan metropolises and boulevards lined with bohemian shops and galleries, this unforgettable region is where medieval blends modern in perfect union.

St Petersburg, Russia The second largest city in Russia and the country’s imperial capital, St Petersburg is a city of museums and palaces, broad avenues and winding canals, endowed with lavish architecture and artistic treasures. It’s a city with a turbulent past and great conflict but also of great culture. Its rich cultural traditions have inspired some of the world’s greatest literature and the city is home to many art collections, the most notable of which is the world-famous Hermitage. So large is it, only 10% of the collection is displayed at any one time. Known as the Venice of the North, it’s not just the elegant canals or the city’s 342 bridges that bear resemblance, but also the striking grandeur of the baroque and neoclassical architecture of the palaces, mansions and plazas.

Stockholm, Sweden The capital of Sweden, Stockholm is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Built on 14 islands, where lake meets sea, it’s based in an archipelago of 30,000 islands and skerries giving it its unique character. The orderly city has eight fascinating centuries of history and culture waiting to be explored. The 80-year old Vasterbron Bridge offers one of the best vantage points for panoramic views of the city. See the old town of Gamla Stan with its compact little maze of cobbled streets towered over by saffron and terracotta coloured stucco buildings. See the world’s first open-air museum of Skansen where you’ll gain insight in to the lives of the Swedes of yesteryear. For fans of Eurovision’s most famous band, visit the ABBA Museum or stroll through the beautiful Millesgarden, home to the whimsical sculptures and delicate water sprites created by sculptor Carl Milles.

Helsinki, Finland A compact city, Helsinki is easily explored on foot. Surrounded by sea on three sides, it has nearly 100 km of shoreline and over 300 islands. Discover Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress, built off the coast of the city in 1748; visit the open-air museum of Seurasaari Island, the recreational playground for locals; relax on sightseeing cruise through Helsinki’s archipelago; sweat it out with some locals in one of the many public saunas; visit one of the many unique island restaurants which are particularly good for seafood or make the most of the frosty winter weather ice-skating at the Ice Park.

Tallinn, Estonia A beautiful city with an 800-year old past, Tallinn is a patchwork of historic areas where the medieval Old Town is, without a doubt, its pride and joy. With twisting cobblestoned streets, Gothic spires, medieval markets and cast iron street lamps neatly packaged within a mostly intact city wall, the Old Town blends historic ambience and fairytale charm with cutting edge culture fabulously. Visit the colourful Kadriorg Palace, built by Peter the Great, and home to the foreign art collection of the Art Museum of Estonia. See old farmhouses, rustic churches and themed fairs at the Estonian Open Air Museum or climb the 69 metre Baroque bell tower in Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin, for spectacular views of the city. The best vantage point to view the fairytale city’s wall, towers, harbour area and St Olav’s Church is from the Patkuli Viewing Platform.

Oslo, Norway Wander around the sophisticated city of Oslo, with its pretty parks and beaches, beautiful 19th-century architecture and picturesque vistas. Wedged in between the mountains and the sea, it’s fringed with forests, hills and lakes. Natural beauty aside, Oslo is home to world-class museums, art galleries and a thriving nightlife and cultural scene. Visit the home of Norway’s most famous artist – Edvard Munch, in the seaside village of Asgardstrand or see his paintings, including his well-known The Scream, at the Munch Museum. Enjoy the unique Viking Ship Museum where you’ll discover ancient finds from Viking tombs all over Norway, witness an example of a Viking long ship and gain insight into their ingenuity and culture. Discover Oslo’s history at the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle built in 1299 next to the Oslo Fjord to protect Oslo. Visit the fascinating and unique Vigeland Sculpture Park, home to 192 sculptures by a talented artist obsessed with human form.

Stavanger, Norway With its rich cultural life, picturesque Stavanger is positioned in a pretty harbour where the quiet streets of the old town creep up from the water’s edge. Where beaches stretch on forever and fjords wind between towering mountains. Perfectly preserved, Old Stavanger comprises of 173 small, white wooden buildings from the turn of the 18th century. The Stavanger Region has many beautiful fjords with the most famous being the Lysefjord where rocky walls fall almost vertically, over 1000 metres into the water. Its most popular attractions are Kjeragbolten; a huge boulder plugged between two rocks, 984 metres above sea level and Preiksestolen or the Pulpit Rock, offering spectacular views of the fjord below.

Flam, Norway Beautiful Flam is situated in the innermost part of the Aurlandsfjord, a tributary of the deep Sognefjord. Undoubtedly, its most popular feature is its scenic railway line. The spectacular train journey from Flam Station is considered one of the steepest and most magnificent train lines in the world, passing through some of the wildest and most incredible nature in the Norwegian fjord landscape. Passing through steep mountains, stunning waterfalls and countless tunnels; in the space of an hour you travel from sea level to 863 metres above the ocean at a gradient of 5.5%. Admire the awe-inspiring mountain scenery, snow-capped peaks and lush green pastures reflecting in the cool, clear waters of the fjords.

Alesund, Norway Impossibly beautiful, the pretty town of Alesund is surrounded by stunning coastal scenery; featuring fjords, islands and the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Sunnmore Alps. A seaport, it’s best known for its architecture in the Art Nouveau style. Walk the 418 steps up Mount Akslan for spectacular panoramic views of town and fjords below, or catch the Blue Train where you can relax while enjoying the magnificent scenery. Jump on an express boat from the harbour to the Northern Islands to experience the natural beauty all ar

Copenhagen, Denmark Although smaller than most capital cities, Copenhagen is every bit as busy, modern and cosmopolitan as its counterparts. Wandering through the picturesque city of Copenhagen is like stepping onto the set of an enchanting fairytale. Explore maze-like streets and cobble-stoned alleyways of the city centre on foot or bike or see the city from a different perspective on a relaxing canal boat tour. Retreat to Rosenborg Garden, where its spectacular flowerbeds bloom to life in summer. Don’t miss the magical Tivoli Gardens; a spectacle for children and adult’s alike. Visit Amalienborg Palace, official residence of Denmark’s popular monarchy. No visit is complete without sighting the Little Mermaid, a well-known homage to the tales of the city’s own Hans Christian Andersen.

Interested? Speak to your Phil Hoffmann Travel Consultant about some great Baltic & Norwegian Fjords fly/cruise packages with Holland America Line. 21 nights including return flights from Adelaide from $6,490* per person twin share.

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