Hans Christian Andersen would have been right at home in 21st-century Copenhagen. The Danish capital hasn't lost any of its fairy-tale flair over the centuries, as you'll come to discover when you spend your first day exploring this colourful city. On arrival, transfer to your Stays With Stories accommodation, the historic Phoenix Hotel in the heart of Copenhagen's most elegant district. Discover the hotel's rich history from the late 17th century, through the World Wars and today, restored to its former glory. Then, spend your free time soaking up the sunshine with the fun-loving locals before joining your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Welcome Reception.
Connect with the heartfelt hygge of your Danish hosts when you join a Local Specialist this morning for a sightseeing tour that will reveal all the highlights of Copenhagen's Old Town. See the distinctive dragon-tail spire of the 17th-century Børsen (Stock Exchange), Christiansborg Palace and the Little Mermaid, demurely seated on a rock overlooking Langelinie Promenade. See the home of Denmark's beloved royal family, Amalienborg Palace, then spend the rest of the day exploring Copenhagen your way. Enjoy a cold øl overlooking the colourful façades of Nyhavn or perhaps join an Optional Experience to the Danish Riviera, past ancient fishing villages to the 17th-century Frederiksborg Castle.
For now, it's a fond farvel to Copenhagen and a bright and cheery hej to Sweden, as you cross the Øresund by ferry and wind your way north, through the Swedish countryside past Gothenburg to Norway. You'll want to keep your camera at the ready to capture the scenic landscapes that line your route to Oslo, Norway's down-to-earth capital, where the Norwegian philosophy of friluftsliv can be felt along the flower-lined boulevards and bustling waterfront promenades.
Tread in the footsteps of the Vikings this morning as you join your Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour that will reveal Oslo's long-standing seafaring heritage. See the medieval fortress of Akershus, the elegant Royal Palace and Oslo Opera House, which seems to rise up from the water in all its marble, granite and glass glory. Visit a wonderland of Norwegian sculptures left behind by Gustav Vigeland in his sculpture park, then enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city on your terms. You could choose instead to embark on an Optional Experience to see the three original Viking long-ships at the Viking Ship Museum and delve into Roald Amundsen's spontaneous race to the South Pole at the Fram Museum.
Enjoy a scenic drive south through Norway's lush forest landscapes to Sweden, bound for its enchanting capital. You'll journey through Karlstad situated on Lake Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden, and pass Örebro, with its 13th-century castle, before continuing to Stockholm. Indulge in a free evening to explore 'Beauty on Water', as the locals refer to their capital. Consider joining an Optional Experience to the cobbled Gamla Stan to admire its medieval history on a walking tour, followed by a traditional Swedish meal in a local restaurant.
Style and substance are things Stockholm has in abundance, as you'll discover when you join your Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour this morning. See Stockholm's historic mother church, Storkyrkan, and the Royal Palace, then Dive Into Culture and visit the City Hall. You'll have some free time this afternoon to join the locals for their afternoon fika (coffee break) and embrace the Swedish philosophy of lagom before joining your fellow travellers at an exclusive eco-friendly Be My Guest experience and Connect With Locals over dinner amidst the former hunting and fishing grounds of Swedish kings.
A leisurely start to your day could see you embark on some last-minute souvenir shopping or savouring steaming sweet Swedish cinnamon rolls in Stortoget. Consider an Optional Experience to the Vasa Museum. The cool capital of Finland beckons as you board your overnight cruise to Helsinki, passing through Stockholm's archipelago as you watch the sun set over the Baltic Sea.
Continue your cruise across the Baltic, arriving in Helsinki in time to join your Local Specialist for a sightseeing tour of all the city's highlights, its Swedish and Russian heritage and some hidden gems. See the modern marble façades of Finlandia Hall, the Senate and the colourful stalls in Market Square before joining your fellow travellers for a Farewell Dinner. Raise a glass of aquavit and toast to your epic adventure across the capitals of Scandinavia. Kippis!
After a memorable journey exploring the history and culture of four Scandinavian nations, all that's left is to say a fond farewell to your new friends and prepare for your return journey home. Find out more about your free airport transfer at trafalgar.com/freetransfers.