Northern Explorer Tour - XEN
Number of Days: 18
Explore Northern Europe and experience everything it has to offer in 18 inspiring days! Covering 10 countries across Scandinavia, Eastern and Central Europe, you will absorb the culture, beautiful landscapes and hip cities from Amsterdam through to Russia and back.
Visit incredible must-see destinations like Copenhagen, Helsinki, Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw and Berlin. From enjoying a cruise down the canals of Amsterdam, to viewing the splendour of Stockholm's islands and the glittering skyline of St. Petersburg, a northern European vacation has never been more comprehensive. This 18 day tour will enable the visitor to absorb all of the flavours of such cities with plenty of time to explore at your own pace.
- St Petersburg
DAY 1: Welcome to Amsterdam.
Welcome to the start of your tour! Your tour leader will be waiting for you at our accommodation during the afternoon. 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! We'll also enjoy dinner onboard as the city drifts passed. Tonight we'll experience the unique ambiance of the Red Light District with a walking tour! Learn about the history of this picturesque city. Afterwards , your time is yours. Stroll around the city (keep an eye out for all the bicycles) and explore this fascinating city!
DAY 2: Visit Hamburg region.
We depart Amsterdam this morning and make our way to Germany, stopping along the way at a local Dutch farm to see how clogs (traditional Dutch footwear) and local cheeses are produced in the traditional way. After sampling some delicious cheeses (this is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir of your time in the Netherlands) we'll make our way onward to a photo stop at a nearby windmill - a common sight in the Dutch countryside! Then we're of to Germany to the region of Hamburg where we'll spend the night.
DAY 3: Visit Copenhagen
This morning after breakfast we'll make our way to the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Welcome to Scandinavia! On arrival, you will enjoy a driving tour of the city, including the town hall 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 cafes and world-famous restaurants!
- Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 4: Visit Stockholm
This morning we'll leave Copenhagen and take a short drive north to the port town of Helsingor. The town is home to Kronborg Castle, known to many as 'Elsinore' and the setting for Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. We'll see the castle from the water as we take a short ferry ride to Sweden. It's then a long drive from the port of Lesingbord through the stunning rural Swedish scenery as we head toward the capital, Stockholm. Look out for lakes, forests and rolling fields as we drive! On arrival in Stockholm we'll enjoy a walking tour of the city, seeing famous sights such as the Royal Palace, the narrowest alley and St George & the dragon! The tour also includes a visit to the island of Riddarholmen, with a stunning view of Lake Malaren and the lakeside of the city.
DAY 5: Free time in Stockholm - overnight ferry to Helsinki.
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 a fascinating walk around town. Visit art galleries, spot beautiful old ships in the harbour, and (if the season is right) see locals fly-fishing right in the centre of town! This evening our ferry will depart for Helsinki, another of the world's most liveable cities!
DAY 6: Visit Helsinki
Arriving in the late morning, you'll have the 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, spacious cafes, magnificent museums and impressive Art Nouveau buildings all combine to create a city that is certain to leave an impression!
- Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 7: Visit St Petersburg
This morning we'll depart Helsinki for the Russian city of St Petersburg! On arrival we'll enjoy a driving tour of the city with our local guide, spotting some of the more notable buildings and sights. Built by Italian architects and sporting neoclassical and baroque architecture which 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 visas to travel to Russia, you can elect to stay on for an extra night in Helsinki. You will then be transferred to Tallinn by ferry and you will meet up with the group when they return from St Petersburg.
- Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 8: Free day in St Petersburg
Today is all yours to explore St Petersburg. Why not visit the flamboyant Rococo-styled Catherine Palace (25km outside the city), where the Russian Royal Family spent their summers? Alternatively, there's the Hermitage Museum, founded by Catherine the Great and now one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Some three million items make up its collections, and it also boasts the largest collection of paintings in the world!
DAY 9: Free day in St Petersburg
Another free day in St Petersburg! Use your time to explore this fascinating city. Perhaps visit the Church of the Saviour on Blood, one of St Petersburg's most famous attractions. The church was built on the very spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and is dedicated to his memory. Construction began in 1883 and was finally completed in 1907.
DAY 10: Visit Tallinn
Bidding farewell to St Petersburg, we travel on to the capital of Estonia where we reunite with the rest of the group. Tallinn is one of Europe's most enchanting cities, with a strong medieval influence to go along with its more modern buildings. Explore the winding cobbled lanes overlooked by medieval church spires, investigate restaurants, cafes, bars and boutiques lying hidden in the carved stone walls. Listed as one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, Tallinn is historically intriguing 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.
DAY 11: Visit Riga
Leaving Estonia, we enter Latvia and make for Riga, possibly the most vibrant of the Baltic cities and blessed with a vibrance which you'll find irresistible. Instead of its quaint neighbours (Talinn and Vilnius we're looking at you!) Riga goes all out with a big-city atmosphere and impressive Art-Nouveau architecture. On arrival, we'll enjoy a walking tour of this impressive city and explore some of its more famous landmarks.
DAY 12: Visit Vilnius
Making our way into Lithuania, 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 where you'll find the world's only statue of musician and composer Frank Zappa, and a self-proclaimed - though unofficial - independent republic inhabited almost solely by artists and bohemians. But it's not all charm - there are reminders here of pain and suffering, most notably in the KGB torture cells, and in the ghettos where the Jewish community lived before being taken to concentration camps by the Nazis. New business and infrastructure has swept through the city on a wave of foreign investment and local vision, but it'll take a lot more than that to change the curious charm of Vilnius.
- Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 13: Visit Warsaw
After breakfast we'll head to Poland and the capital, Warsaw. 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. Street food, markets, classical music festivals, exciting and forward-thinking art exhibitions - there's certainly no shortage of culture here.
- Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 14: Free day in Warsaw.
Today is yours to spend as you wish! Whatever your first impressions of Warsaw, it's sure to win you over if you give it time. 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. Explore the Old Town, or head into New Town for a taste of Polish cuisine!
DAY 15: Visit Berlin
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. On our way we will stop for an optional tour of the Lech Brewery, Poland's largest brewery and part of the SABMiller family. We then cross into Germany and continue to the city of Berlin! Having prospered under the rule of the Nazis leading up to the Second World War and then enduring division of the cold war, symbolized in the infamous Berlin Wall. This is a fascinating city with a firm understanding of what it takes to rebuild and regenerate - over and over again; the very essence of creativity. Reminders of the past are everywhere, but Berlin has a vibrant culture to enjoy, too. On arrival, we'll take a driving tour through the city and see some of the city's more famous landmarks, before heading to our hotel.
- Breakfast & Dinner
DAY 16: Free day in Berlin
Today is a free day in Berlin, so take time to investigate some of the sights you would have seen yesterday, or strike out on your own to discover the city for yourself. The choice is yours!
DAY 17: Visit Amsterdam
After breakfast, we say goodbye to Berlin - and to Germany - and make our way back to Amsterdam.
DAY 18: Tour ends in Amsterdam.
Today our tour concludes after breakfast. Be sure to share your contact details with your fellow travellers . We hope you've enjoyed your Northern Explorer tour as much as we have!
This is a Comfort Guided holiday and includes:
- 17 nights' accommodation in twin rooms.
- 17 breakfasts, 7 dinners
- 19 Experiences (including guided walking tours, orientation walks, driving tours of cities plus other exciting experiences)
- Free Wi-fi in all hotels
- Modern air conditioned coach with reclining seats and toilet.
- Services of your tour leader, who will be on hand with advice and tips.
- All taxes and fees
- Any public transport used as part of the tour (excludes free days)
- From $5060. Single supplement +$1437