Best of Our West Europe

 

  • Tour Description Discover the capital cities and unique treasures of Scandinavia and the Baltic states while visiting Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga & Vilnius.
  • Included Features
    Meals- In addition to any meals you may be served during your flights to and from Europe, the tour price includes 13 breakfasts and 9 dinners during the 16-day land portion of the tour.
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Itinerary

Best of Our West Tour
 
 

Walking Expectations: An average of three miles per day, occasionally encountering uneven surfaces and steps.

Highest Elevation: 600 feet near Vilnius.

Tour Itinerary
 

DAY 1 - Overnight flight to Europe.  Refer to “Preparing for your Departure” in your Trip Documents for easy check-in procedures.  Take time to relax on your transatlantic flight with the assurance that Image Tours has taken care of all the details.  

DAY 2 - DENMARK . . Arrival at Copenhagen Airport. Upon arrival, clear passport control and collect your luggage.  Refer to your “Arrival Instructions” page in your Trip Documents for directions on where and when to meet your tour manager.  Transfer to your nearby Copenhagen Airport area hotel.  After check-in, freshen up and relax before the “Welcome to Scandinavia/Get-acquainted” dinner at the hotel. (Dinner)

DAY 3 - DENMARK . . Copenhagen. 
This morning, a local guide will introduce you to the treasures of Copenhagen. Your tour will include views of Amalienborg Palace, residence of the queen and royal family, Frederiks Kirke, also known as the Marble Church, as well as a stop at Copenhagen’s trademark statue of the Little Mermaid.  Following your city tour, Copenhagen’s Nyhavn district is the perfect setting for an independent lunch amidst the colorful townhouses and historic wooden ships that line the canal. The afternoon is free to continue your exploration of Copenhagen or join your tour manager for an optional Kronborg Castle excursion. This evening, entrance is included to Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s famous amusement park and pleasure garden, where you can take in the vibrant nightlife over an independent dinner at one of the park's many restaurants. (Breakfast)

DAY 4 - DENMARK . . Copenhagen - Odense –  Aarhus. Denmark is made up of the Jutland Peninsula as well as more than 400 islands of which the largest are Zealand and Funen. Upon departing the Danish capital, located on Zealand, travel west to Funen via the 18 kilometer (11.25 mile) Storebælt (Great Belt) Fixed Link, consisting of two bridges and a tunnel.  On Funen, arrive in Odense by late morning for an included visit to the Hans Christian Andersen House. Born in 1805, to a shoemaker and washerwoman, Andersen went on to enormous fame for his beloved fairy tales including “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Following an independent lunch, continue to the Jutland Peninsula city of Aarhus.  Built as a Viking settlement in the 8th century, Aarhus is now the second largest city in Denmark and is known for its vibrant music scene. During your independent dinner, explore the historic Latin Quarter of Aarhus with cafés, restaurants and unique shops. (Breakfast)

DAY 5 - DENMARK . .  Fredrikshavn & SWEDEN . . Gothenburg. Travel to the northern tip of the Jutland Peninsula to the port town of Fredrikshavn where you will board a ferry for the three-hour sailing to Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden.  Upon arrival, your tour manager will provide insight on the history of the city which was originally founded as a Dutch trading colony. You may notice the strong Dutch influence in the canals and tree-lined boulevards.  Following free-time in Gothenburg, continue to your hotel for check-in and dinner.  (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 6 - SWEDEN . . Lysekil –   Svinesund & NORWAY . . Oslo.  Depart Gothenburg to travel through the scenic Bohuslän region, Sweden’s most western province and destination for seashore tourism.  By late morning, arrive in the picturesque coastline village of Lysekil. Sit down for an independent lunch in the pretty town center, or grab a quick bite and head to the Stangehuvud Nature Reserve to walk along the rocky pink granite shoreline and take in the beautiful sea views.  After lunch, continue to the Norwegian border.  Stop at the scenic Svinesund Bridge which joins Sweden and Norway over the Iddefjord.  From Svinesund, head due north to Oslo, your destination for the next two nights. Dinner will be served at the hotel this evening.  (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 7 - NORWAY . . Oslo.  A local city guide will accompany you and provide insight into Oslo’s scenic waterfront, fjord-influenced landscape, and Norwegian culture. A visit to the Vigeland Sculpture Park will be included in your orientation tour of Oslo. You’ll also see landmarks such as the Parliament building, Royal Palace, and Oslo City Hall – venue for the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy all that Oslo has to offer. Aker Brygge, the revitalized waterfront district is a perfect place to explore and enjoy an independent lunch. For the afternoon, spend your leisure time by visiting the Akershus Fortress, or stroll through the Munch Museum. Another choice this afternoon is the optional Bygdoy Peninsula excursion including the Kon-Tiki and Viking Ship Museum. Dinner is independent this evening, providing the opportunity to experience Oslo’s rich culinary culture. (Breakfast)   

DAY 8 - SWEDEN . . Stockholm.  Today is a full day of travel from Oslo to Stockholm. Take in the beautiful scenery as you pass by rich farmlands, pine forests, small towns and pristine lakes. Make a stop in one of the small towns for an independent lunch. If you would like to experience the Scandinavian high-speed train from Oslo to Stockholm and visit the Vasa Museum in the afternoon, book the optional Rail and Vasa Museum excursion (Note: This excursion must be reserved prior to and paid with your final tour payment). Dinner will be served after check-in at your Stockholm area hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 9 - SWEDEN . . Stockholm.  A local guide will join you this morning to provide a panoramic overview of the city before continuing on foot into Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town. Situated on Stadsholmen Island and two islets, Gamla Stan dates back to the 13th century and consists of medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and well-preserved Gothic buildings including the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, and the Riddarholmen Church, one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm. For your independent lunch in Gamla Stan, try a Swedish smörgåsbord at one of the many restaurants. The afternoon is free for independent sightseeing or join your tour manager for an optional Drottningholm Palace excursion. Tonight’s dinner is independent, or join the optional Viking Dinner excursion. (Breakfast

DAY 10 - SWEDEN . . Stockholm - Skansen & Overnight Cruise to FINLAND.    
This morning transfer to Skansen, the world’s first open-air museum. Founded in 1891, Skansen features 150 Swedish farms and dwellings illustrating the different social conditions in which people lived between the 16th and the first half of the 20th century.  Staff members are dressed in period clothing and provide insight into daily Swedish life over the past 500 years. The museum is also home to the Stockholm Zoo, featuring native Nordic animals. Enjoy an independent lunch in Skansen before transferring to the harbor to check-in for the overnight cruise to Helsinki, Finland. Take time to explore the ship before dining on a lavish buffet dinner.  Spend the rest of your evening experiencing all that the ship has to offer including tax free shopping, musical entertainment, shows and dancing. (Breakfast, Dinner)
                                
DAY 11 - FINLAND . . Helsinki.  While you have breakfast on deck, the island dotted shores of Finland come into view. The cruise ship will dock in Helsinki by mid-morning. Board the motor coach and proceed to the city center. Helsinki’s open-air markets sell traditional foods and local treats, as well as handicrafts and souvenirs. The markets are also home to countless open-air cafés where you can participate in people-watching while having an independent lunch. This afternoon, a local guide will show you the city sights including the Sibelius Monument, Olympic Stadium (where you can also visit the Olympic Tower for a beautiful view of the city), Rock Church, Uspenski Cathedral, Senate Square and Helsinki Cathedral. Following the city tour, check-in to your hotel and join your fellow tour members for an included dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 12 - ESTONIA . . Tallinn.  
Following a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the Helsinki ferry terminal for a two-hour crossing over the Gulf of Finland to Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.  A local guide will take you on a walking tour through the Old Town, a maze of winding cobbled streets divided into two distinct parts; Toompea Hill, which was home to the gentry that lorded over the countryside; and the Lower Town where goods from around the world were traded on the Town Hall Square.  Find a quiet restaurant in the Old Town for an independent dinner or participate in the optional Olde Hansa Dinner excursion. (Breakfast

DAY 13 - ESTONIA . . Tallinn – Parnu & LATVIA . . Riga.  
Depart Tallinn this morning and travel to Parnu, a medieval city which also happens to be Estonia’s ultimate summer holiday destination due to its romantic laid-back atmosphere, sandy beaches, spas and restaurants. Stop at a local market to purchase snack items for a picinic along the beach promenade, or lunch at one of the sidewalk cafés. Continue your journey this afternoon into Latvia, where you will spend the next two nights, with dinner included, at a hotel in the capital city of Riga. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 14 - LATVIA . . Riga.  Riga is the largest of the three Baltic capitals and boasts a skyline of Gothic spires mingled with one of the world’s richest collections of Art Nouveau architecture. A local guide will point out some of the highlights of Riga including the Riga Castle, St Peter’s Church and Dome Cathedral. Following the city tour, wind your way through the enormous Central Market offering savory sausage, cheese and black bread, smoked fish and other local favorites. Picnic in one of Riga’s lovely parks, or enjoy a hearty meal at a friendly bistro.  You may wish to try the mysterious Riga Black Balsam, a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur made with many different natural ingredients mixed in pure vodka. Continue exploring Riga this afternoon or join the optional Ethnographic Open Air Museum excursion. Return to your hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 15 - LITHUANIA . . Vilnius.  Your mid-day destination today is Lithuania’s capital city of Vilnius. The Old Town of Vilnius bustles with fairy tale charm and offers quaint cafés, restaurants, boutiques, and flower vendors. You will have time to wander through the well preserved center amidst Gothic, Rrenaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. After an independent lunch, a local guide will add valuable insight into the city’s history and culture. The tour will end with an exciting visit to the top of the Vilnius TV tower, providing spectacular views of the Lithuanian capital and the surrounding countryside. Transfer to your hotel this evening for a "Farewell Dinner" with your fellow tour companions. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 16 - Daytime flight back to U.S.A.
Early morning transfer to the Vilnius Airport for the return flight home, with independent breakfast at the airport.

 

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Best of Our West Europe Tour Picture Collage