Best of Our West Europe
  • Tour Description Discover the capital cities and unique treasures of Scandinavia and the Baltic states while visiting Copenhagen,  Bergen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. This tour also includes visits to Norway’s famous Sognefjord, Nærøfjord and the scenic Flåm Railway.                                                                          
  • Included Features
    Meals- In addition to any meals you may be served during your flights to and from Europe, the tour price includes 14 breakfasts and 9 dinners during the 17-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: 2833 feet at Myrdal Station on the scenic Flåm Railway. 

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 acclimate 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, including Amalienborg Palace, residence of the queen and royal family; Frederiks Kirke, also known as the Marble Church; and 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 Danish 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 – Aalborg –Hirtshals.  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 Museum.  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.”  Continue to the Jutland Peninsula city of Aalborg for an afternoon visit before traveling to the port city of Hirtshals to board your overnight cruise to Bergen, Norway. Dinner will be served on-board. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 5 - NORWAY . . Bergen –  Voss – Stalheim. Enjoy a leisurely morning on-board your cruise ship before arriving in Bergen’s harbor by mid-day.  Bergen is one of Europe’s oldest port cities, established as a center of trade by the 12th century.  Bergen’s old wharf, known as Bryggen, is a reminder of the town’s importance as part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire. Take some time to wander amongst the rows of historic houses where you’ll find potters, jewelers, textile and leather crafters’ shops as well as restaurants and cafés for an independent lunch. By late afternoon, depart Bergen and take in the beautiful Norwegian scenery. Stop in Voss for an independent dinner before checking in at your hotel. (Breakfast)

DAY 6 - NORWAY . . Flåm Railway – Fjord Cruise – Stalheim.  Spectacular scenery abounds today! Experience a one hour journey on the scenic Flåm Railway, taking you past mountains, waterfalls and fertile landscapes. The railway itself is an engineering marvel, descending 2844 feet as you approach Flåm. Pause in Flåm to have a relaxing independent lunch and explore the village shops or the railway museum. This afternoon, board a fjord steamer for a two-hour cruise through the Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO protected Nærøyfjord, one of the most dramatic fjord trips in Europe. Disembark at Gudvangen where your coach will be waiting to return you to your hotel where dinner will be served this evening. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 7 - NORWAY . . Lærdalsøyri  –  Borgund – Oslo. Your first morning stop is in the village of Lærdalsøyri to admire the 160 wooden houses from the 18th and 19th century that are now a protected national monument.  A short distance further is the Borgund Stave Church, built around 1180, the church is exceptionally well preserved and is one of the most distinctive stave churches in Norway. From Borgund, begin your journey towards Oslo. This route is dotted with lush wooded areas, hills, lakes and resort villages, perfect for an afternoon stop. Tonight, arrive at your Oslo hotel for check-in and an included dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)  

DAY 8 - 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. This afternoon, you might wish to spend your leisure time visiting the Akershus Fortress or strolling through the Munch Museum. Another choice 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 9 - 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.  Dinner will be served after check-in at your Stockholm area hotel. (Breakfast, Dinner)

DAY 10 - 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 11 - SWEDEN . . Stockholm - Skansen & Overnight Cruise to FINLAND.  Have a relaxing morning at the hotel or join your tour manager for the optional Vasa Museum excursion.   By lunchtime, 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 12 - 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 during your 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 13 - ESTONIA . . Tallinn. 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 14 - 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 picnic 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 15 - 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, the remainder of the day is at your leisure. For lunch, wind your way through the enormous Central Market offering savory sausage, cheese and black bread, smoked fish and other local favorites, 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. Riga's Old Town is in easy walking distance and is a perfect place to soak up the local sites and flavors. (Breakfast)

DAY 16 - 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 and restaurants, perfect for an independent lunch. Begin your afternoon with a guided walking tour with a local guide who will provide valuable insight into the city’s history and culture amidst Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture.  Following the city tour, take some additional time to enjoy the boutiques and flower vendors before transferring to this evening's hotel for a “Farewell Dinner” with your fellow tour participants. (Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 17 - 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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