FRANCO TOUR 24D
The land of the Vikings, deep fjords and the Northern Lights – Norway, Denmark and Sweden – are explored on this fascinating journey of discovery. Visit Copenhagen’s Nyhaven, drive around the Hardangerfjord and spend the night on the shores of Lake Vänern.
Why this Trip
The land of the Vikings, deep fjords and the Northern Lights – Norway, Denmark and Sweden – are explored on this fascinating journey of discovery. Visit Copenhagen’s Nyhaven, drive around the Hardangerfjord and spend the night on the shores of Lake Va?nern.
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Welcome to the start of your tour! A Kaia Safaris representative will meet you at Schiphol Airport Amsterdam and transfer you to your hotel. After everyone’s checked in, we’ll take a canal cruise of the city – one of the best ways to see this amazing city and its sights! Sail along Amsterdam’s stunning canals at twilight and enjoy a delicious meal as you cruise. What a perfect introduction to Amsterdam. Afterwards, your time is yours to spend as you like. Stroll around the canals (don’t forget to keep an eye out for the bicycles!) as you explore this fascinating and picturesque city!
We depart Amsterdam after breakfast and make our way to the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Welcome to Scandinavia! As we cross the border onto Danish soil, the drive towards Copenhagen offers fantastic views, and we will cross Europe’s longest bridge. On arrival in the Danish capital, you’ll enjoy a tour of the city, where your tour leader will introduce you to highlights of the city, including the parliament house, Tivoli, town hall, Rosenborg, and the little mermaid statue. The city’s prosperity and confidence are hard to miss, and it’ll soon be evident why this charming city has been voted one of the world’s most liveable so many years in a row. It’s clean, safe, and very easy to get around – and blessed with cosy cafés and world-famous restaurants! Why not indulge in an open sandwich “Smørrebrød” – a typical piece of rye bread with various cold meats and cheese toppings.
This morning, your Local Specialist takes you on a sightseeing tour of this wonderful city, including the major sights such as the Little Mermaid, Nyhavn, the Royal Amalienborg Palace and the Carlsberg Glyptotek. You’ll have free time to visit one of the galleries or do some shopping.
This morning cross the Great Belt Bridge to Funen. Stop in Odense, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace. Later continue north through Jutland and spend the night in Frederikshavn.
Leave Denmark this morning as you board your ferry across the Kattegat Strait to Gothenburg in Sweden. A scenic coastal drive leads you to Norway where you will spend the night in the capital city of Oslo.
This morning your Local Specialist will show you the highlights of Oslo including views of the medieval fortress Akershus, the Town Hall and the Royal Palace. Visit Vigeland Sculpture Park where you will find the world’s largest sculpture exhibition made by a single artist. This afternoon start exploring the impressive Norwegian countryside as you travel towards the Telemark region, famed for being the home of the original and oldest skiing technique. Tonight enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Start your day with a spectacular drive that takes you through the mountains and around the Hardangerfjord. Arrive in Bergen, Norway’s second-biggest city famed for its shipping, aquaculture and subsea technology industry.
Today experience the history of this picturesque city on your orientation tour. See the 13th century Haakon’s Hall and the bustling fish market. You’ll have free time to explore the harbour area and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bryggen which is the old wharf of the city.
This morning after breakfast travel inland to Fagernes. Admire the spectacular Sognefjord, the largest and most well-known fjord in the country. Dinner this evening will be at your hotel.
Travel to Lillehammer, host of the Winter Olympics in 1994. The scenery will change as you drive through lush forests along gorgeous lakes towards Sweden. Spend the night on the shores of the biggest lake of them all, Lake Vänern in Karlstad.
This morning visit Örebro, a lively university town. View the castle dominating the town centre before continuing to Stockholm.
Spend time this morning exploring the city of Stockholm! Gamla Stan is the old town, comprised of red, orange and terracotta-coloured buildings overlooking narrow cobblestone streets. The numerous islands that make up the town offer fascinating walks, especially through the Djurgården, where you can visit Skansen, the open-air Swedish history museum. Otherwise, spot beautiful old ships in the harbour and visit some of the many world- class museums and art galleries. This afternoon we take an overnight ferry to Helsinki in Finland, another of the world’s most liveable cities! Free time to explore Stockholm at your own pace during the morning Stockholm is becoming famous for it’s street food. Check out the Östermalms saluhall (food hall) – it’s popular with local workers so you know you will get great husmanskost (traditional home-cooked Swedish food) at great prices.
Arriving in the late morning, you’ll have the whole afternoon to explore the Finnish capital at your own pace. An effortlessly cool city, Helsinki prides itself on being slightly off-the-wall, playing with decor and design traditions to humorous effect. Elegant cafés, magnificent museums and impressive Art Nouveau architecture all combine to create a city that is certain to leave an impression!
Enjoy a driving tour of the Finnish capital, focusing on the Rock Church and the Sibelius Monument Join your tour leader for an orientation of the city centre, finishing in front of Helsinki Cathedral
This morning, we’ll depart Helsinki and make our way to the Russian border; get your passport ready for a new stamp that will be a real talking point! We then continue on to the Russian city of St Petersburg! On arrival, we’ll enjoy a comprehensive city tour with our local guide, spotting some of the more notable buildings and sights. Built by Italian architects and sporting neoclassical and baroque architecture that overlooks its many canals, this city stands in stark contrast to the red brick and onion domes of Moscow.
Alternatively, if you do not have the necessary visa to travel to Russia, you can elect to stay on for two extra nights in Helsinki before ferry transportation to Estonia for an extra night in Tallinn, where you will meet up with the group when they arrive from St Petersburg. There is a small charge for this amendment Enjoy a driving tour of St Petersburg with an expert local guide, giving you a comprehensive view of the city. Keep note of all the sights that you can then visit during your two full free days. Your Russian tour guide will arrange for a complimentary vodka tasting You have to experience “Borsch” – the famous Russian soup, made with meat, bouillon of beetroots, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables, and served hot or cold.
Today is all yours to explore St Petersburg! Why not visit some of the great sights you saw on last nights tour? Alternatively, join our day trip excursion to the Russian capital, Moscow – an expert local guide will take you on a tour of the Kremlin grounds and the orthodox churches of the Tsar (entrance is included in the excursion price). After some free time for lunch, your guide will take you on a Moscow city tour, followed by some free time to explore Red Square. We then take the high-speed train back to St. Petersburg. This is a full day trip, with approximately 6-7 hours to enjoy Moscow accompanied by an English-speaking guide.
Bidding farewell to St Petersburg, we travel once again to the Russian border, and then on to the capital of Estonia. Tallinn is one of Europe’s most enchanting cities, with a strong medieval influence contrasting with its more modern buildings. A local guide will take us on a walking tour, as we explore the winding cobbled lanes overlooked by medieval church spires. Listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, Tallinn offers intriguing history while also managing to be a shopper’s paradise. Ancient practices such as glass-blowing and pottery share the attention with Estonia’s hippest young fashion designers. After the included dinner this evening, be sure to check out the alternative nightlife that Tallinn has to offer – from medieval taverns to hip
bars and clubs. For those who stayed on in Helsinki and skipped out Russia, you will have an extra night in
Tallinn before the rest of the group arrives from St Petersburg.
Scandinavian, German and Russian food influences Estonian cuisine. The most typical foods include rye bread,
pork, potatoes and dairy. National dishes include blood sausage, herring, mulgi porridge, sauerkraut and kama
Leaving Estonia, we enter Latvia and make for Riga, possibly the most vibrant of the Baltic cities and blessed with a culture that you’ll find irresistible. In contrast to its smaller neighbours, Riga goes all out with a buzzing atmosphere and impressive Art-Nouveau architecture. On arrival, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour of this impressive city and you can explore some of its famous landmarks and sights, including the famous central markets and many beautiful churches. Don’t forget to visit the skyline bar this evening for incredible panoramic views of Riga.
Latvian food is typically simple, heavy and influenced by Russia, with lots of meat, fish and bread.
Making our way into Lithuania, we stop first at the Hill of Crosses, a famous site of pilgrimage in northern Lithuania. Loaded with around 100,000 crosses, they were first placed here back in 1831 by the relatives of those who fell during the local rebellion. Once we arrive in Vilnius, we enjoy an orientation tour of the city before enjoying some free time. A seductive city, Lithuania’s capital exudes Old Town charm – so much so that it’s been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. This is also where you’ll find the world’s only statue of musician and composer Frank Zappa, and a self-proclaimed – though unofficial – independent republic of Uzupis, inhabited almost solely by artists and bohemians. In contrast to the medieval history, there are also reminders of Vilnius’ more recent and darker past, including remnants of the ghettos where the Jewish community lived during Nazi occupation, and the influence of the Soviet Union.
Cepelinai is the national dish of Lithuania – potato dumplings stuffed with meat, cheese curd or mushrooms.
Our final destination in Lithuania is a comfort stop at Europe’s only historic national park, the town of Trakai. The main attraction is undoubtedly a view of the iconic brick-built castle at its centre, which lies on an island surrounded by crystal clear water. Arriving before the crowds of tourists, your pictures will be unspoiled! Back on the road, we head towards the Polish border. The cultural hub of Poland, Warsaw is a city of energy and action, racing to replace what was lost after being utterly destroyed in World War II. With classical music festivals, exciting and forward-thinking art exhibitions and relics of its Communist past, there’s certainly no shortage of culture here. On arrival, a local guide will take you on a city tour, focusing on the faithfully reconstructed Old Town, before going for a traditional Polish dinner.
Rich in starch and protein – red meat, eggs, cheese, and sausages, and bread, potatoes, and various noodles, pies and dumplings.
Today is yours to spend as you wish! Visit some of the highly regarded museums, such as the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Chopin Museum, or the extensive collections of the National Museum. Being Sunday, you can enjoy free entry to the Royal Palace, and the occasional free music concert in Łazienki Park. Alternatively, you can further explore the Old Town, or join us on an exhilarating optional Communist tour of Warsaw. You will be driven around in Communist-era Nysa vans, with eccentric drivers and an expert local guide!
Heading west through Poland, today’s morning stop is in Poznan, famous for it’s historic old town and as a coronation city of the early Polish kings. Enjoy free time to sample some delicious Polish cuisine and explore the Old Market Square in Poznan. Faithfully reconstructed following the Second World War, this beautiful square is home to many of the cities most famous landmarks and monuments, including the Town Hall, colorful townhouses and the Pranger, a 16th century punishment device.
We then cross into Germany and continue to the city of Berlin! The German capital prospered under the rule of the Nazis leading up to the Second World War, but then endured division during the Cold War, symbolized in the infamous Berlin Wall. Reminders of the past are everywhere, but Berlin has a vibrant culture to enjoy. On arrival, we’ll take a driving tour – your tour leader will explain the amazing history of this vibrant city and show you all the must-see sights, including Alexanderplatz, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall and Reichstag. Take a note of those you want to explore further on your free day tomorrow!
Why not try an old time Berlin favorite – “Currywurst” – a German sausage covered in a mixture of ketchup, Worcester sauce, and curry powder.
Today is a free day in Berlin, so take time to investigate some of the sights you would have seen yesterday on the driving tour, or strike out on your own to discover more of the city for yourself – the choice is yours! For an incredible bird’s eye view of the city, head up the Berlin TV tower – located close to Alexanderplatz, it has become an icon of the capital. Fancy some museum action? Then head over to the museum island, a collection of five world-famous museums on an island in the heart of Berlin’s city centre. After a day of exploring you may wish to relax or party; Berlin has you covered, with an incredibly vibrant nightlife offering plenty of bars, clubs and shows – from theatre to cabaret.
After breakfast, we say goodbye to Berlin and head to Hannover for lunch. The centre of town was reconstructed in a medieval style after WWII; it’s compact size makes for the perfect destination to explore during your lunch stop! We then leave Germany and cross into the Netherlands, arriving back at our Amsterdam hotel tonight – say farewell to your tour leader, driver and fellow passengers and celebrate your last night on tour together.
Today, our tour concludes after breakfast. Be sure to share your contact details with your fellow travellers. We hope you’ve enjoyed your Franko Explorer Tour as much as we have! Ideally located close to the airport, there is a free shuttle service from the hotel for those who are flying home today. Alternatively, you can extend your stay in Amsterdam and explore more of this incredible city.
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- Airport Transfers
- Hotel Bed and Breakfast
- Excursion as per Itinerary
- Extra Excursions (not included in Itinerary)
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