Wednesday, June 27
Our journey begins with a late afternoon flight out of Washington’s Dulles Airport nonstop to Copenhagen.
Thursday, June 28
Upon our early morning arrival in Copenhagen, we go immediately north to visit Kronborg Castle, made famous in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This castle, originally built in the 1420s, was located on this spot to control the ship traffic in the sound below and collect ‘sound dues’ from ships wanting to enter the Baltic Sea. After our visit to this very historic castle, our ‘castle day’ continues with a visit to Frederiksborg Castle, a Renaissance structure with excellent formal gardens and dramatic views. We then proceed into Copenhagen to our hotel on the harbor. This evening, we have a get-acquainted dinner together on a canal boat.
Lodging: Copenhagen (D)
Friday, June 29
Welcome to Copenhagen! The premier capital of Northern Europe is Scandinavia's most fantastic city and our home for three nights. For our first full day in the city, we go on a walking tour of 3 urban gardens located not too far from our hotel: The King’s Garden, the Botanical Garden, and Tivoli Gardens. The King’s Garden is the country's oldest royal garden and was established in the Renaissance style by Christian IV in the early 1600's. Next door is the Botanical Garden, which is almost 25 acres featuring lot of space under glass in conservatories and greenhouses. Finally, we stop in at Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park and pleasure garden. The park opened in 1843 and is the second oldest operating amusement park in the world. We have lots of free time in Tivoli Gardens before returning to our hotel.
Lodging: Copenhagen (B)
Saturday, June 30
Denmark is made up of over 1,000 islands and today we visit the 3rd largest--Fuenen. There are wonderful gardens here and we see two of the best, beginning with Humlemagasinet, a unique museum with gardens, a hops museum and a doll museum. Next is Egeskov Castle, famous for being the best preserved moated castle in Europe. It also has great gardens surrounding the moat. Later we drive into the city of Odense to see the Hans Christian Andersen House before returning to Copenhagen.
Lodging: Copenhagen (B)
Sunday, July 1
We have the day free in Copenhagen to explore this beautiful city on your own. In late afternoon, we depart Copenhagen and cross over the Øresund Bridge into Sweden.
Lodging: Malmo (B)
Monday, July 2
Our morning begins with a visit to the private garden of Ulf and Lisbeth Jönsson Garden. This garden is on top of a hill with many collected “wild species.” The plants are compact, due the wind and weather. Next we travel to Sofiero Castle in Helsingborg. Sofiero is a garden established by the late king Gustav VI Adolf at the beginning of the 20th century. It was the summer residence for Swedish royalty and features thousands of rhododendrons, floral beds, borders and kitchen gardens. In 2010, Sofiero was voted “Europe’s Most Beautiful Park.” Lodging: Malmo (B)
Tuesday, July 3
Today we make our way up the southeast coast of Sweden on our way to Kalmar. En route, we stop at three unique gardens. First we stop for tea and to see the small garden center at Åberg's Garden Cafe. Next we have lunch at a garden center called Apotekarns Tradgard (the pharmacist’s garden). It has a Mediterranean feel with food to fit the bill. Our final garden of the day is in Solvesborg where we find a Piet Oudolf garden called the Four Seasons Garden.
Lodging: Kalmar (B)(L)
Wednesday, July 4
The day begins with what may be Sweden's most striking, historically significant building: the bay-and-moat-ringed Kalmar Castle. As we tour the castle's interior and beautiful grounds, we learn about Sweden's 16th-century struggle for independence from the Danes. Once we arrive in Stockholm, we settle into our hotel before an evening canal dinner-cruise. Lodging: Stockholm (B)(D)
Thursday, July 5
Allotment gardens are found throughout Europe. They are small plots of land leased to individuals and families where they can cultivate gardens and even build garden cottages along with other garden structures. Tanto Allotment Gardens is a large allotment garden near our hotel and is our first visit of the day. Here we see how Swedes enjoy the fruits of their gardens. After our visit to Tanto, we see two other sites: Rosendals Trädgård (driver of the farm to fork concept in Sweden) and Millesgården (the home of sculptor, Carl Milles), a well-renowned museum, an antique collection, and a vast sculpture garden. Lodging: Stockholm (B)
Friday, July 6
We tour Drottningholm Palace and Garden, a UNESCO's World Heritage site and one of the best preserved royal castles built in the 1600s. This copy of Versailles is one of the best examples of Baroque gardens and architecture outside of France. Afterward, we have a guided tour of the Vasa Museum, featuring the only nearly fully intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged. It sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.
Lodging: Stockholm (B)
Saturday, July 7
This morning we take a short flight from Stockholm to Oslo, arriving in time for a walking tour of Oslo’s historic city center.
Lodging: Oslo (B)
Sunday, July 8
Our day in Oslo begins with a visit to the Viking Ship Museum to see the world's best-preserved Viking ships and various finds from Viking tombs found in the Oslo Fjord. Following that we visit the University Botanical Garden along with some Norwegian allotment gardens on the edge of town.
Lodging: Oslo (B)
Monday, July 9
Norway in a Nutshell: starting in Oslo, we set out on a westbound train journey through scenic mountain terrain on the Bergen Railway. We disembark in Myrdal and change trains to the legendary Flåm Railway. The Flåm Railway offers spectacular panoramic views to some of the wildest and most magnificent nature in the Norwegian fjord landscape. From Flåm, we cruise on the magnificent Aurlandsfjord and through the narrow Nærøyfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site. When we arrive in the small village of Gudvangen, we board a bus through Nærøydalen, with its charming villages and scenic natural landscape. When we arrive in the town of Voss, we continue the tour by train on the Bergen Railway to Bergen, where we stay for our last two nights.
Lodging: Bergen (B)(L)
Tuesday, July 10
Our hotel is located right in the harbor area of Bergen and we start the day with a walking tour before breaking for lunch. You have the afternoon free to shop or explore Bergen on your own. Tonight we have a farewell dinner together. Lodging:
Wednesday, July 11
Sadly, it’s time to head back home. We arrive back at Dulles Airport around 3:00 pm. (B)