Northern European countries are winter wonderlands, unique for their architecture, majestic city skylines, expansive countryside, and jocular citizenry. Denmark has its design, and the Hans Christian Anderson's remarkable storytelling of Copenhagen delights. Sweden has its civic pride, peaceful nature, and glorious capital city of Stockholm. Finland, its Northern islands and commercial Helsinki. Norway it's Viking past, industrial and farming strength, and honest personalities. Its capital city Oslo, formerly Christiana, was the height of Northern European arts at the turn of the 20th century. For proof, see Edvard Munch's eerie paintings of daily Norwegian urban life.
In response to Scandinavia's popularity among travelers, Gate1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) recently added Scandinavia to its long list of European destinations. One of the leaders in global travel from the United States, Gate1 recognized a need to increase their Scandinavian offerings.
"We assigned a team to research the product," said Ilene Braun, vice president of sales & marketing for Gate1, "To choose the properties and sites our clients would enjoy and built a product that includes independent city visits and escorted programs."
What did they come up with? A host of air-inclusive or land-only independent tours to individual cities or escorted packages that tour all of the offerings in one long swoop. For inexpensive air and hotel packages to individual cities, Gate1's Scandinavian tours start at $879 for a six-day jaunt to Copenhagen. Good for Wednesday departures from April to October 2006. The same trip departing from now through March 2006 starts at $959. The trip includes round-trip airfare to Copenhagen from New York City, four nights lodging at a choice of hotels increasing in price based on the level of luxury and location, daily breakfast, and air fuel surcharges. (Prices are available for other U.S. gateways on the Gate1 site.) At the above price point, available hotels include the Opera, located near Denmark's Royal Palace and major shopping thoroughfares. Departing on April 12, 2006 will save you $380 (almost 30 percent) on the same trip if you leave in the high-season days of August. Similar five-day/three-night trips are available to Helsinki (starting at $999), Stockholm ($1,049) and Oslo ($1,049). Optional day-tours and sightseeing excursions are available with all of the above trips starting at around $33 per city.
The "mother" of all Gate1's new Scandinavian tours is an all-inclusive fully-escorted sightseeing extravaganza 15-day "Classic Scandinavia" trip. Starting at $2,999 per person for double occupancy travel, the trip departs through September 20, 2006 visiting Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland and including 14 meals including 10 full breakfasts and four gourmet dinners. The trip also includes all airport transfers, in country travel, sightseeing to all the major sights along the way, an overnight ferry from Denmark to Norway, an accompanying guide and local guides in the various major cities. A Norwegian cruise is also included. Optional extras include a performance of Hamlet in Copenhagen for $48. While this trip departs from New York, sample add-on fares include $92 from Washington D.C., $59 from Pittsburgh, and $212 from Los Angeles.
For land-only tours ranging from affordable independent city tours to inexpensive guided sightseeing tours hitting three Scandinavian capitals, Picasso Tours (tel. 800/995-7997; www.picassotours.com) has various offerings. An eight-day/seven-night trip visiting Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo starts at $1,399 for departures from May through September 2006. The trip includes six-night's accommodations at European deluxe hotels, an overnight cruise from Copenhagen to Oslo, first-class railroad transportation from Stockholm to Copenhagen, city tours in each location, and daily breakfast. A single supplement costs $400 additional dollars. You'll receive complimentary airport transfers if you book your flight via Nordique Tours, Picasso Tour's Scandinavian arm reachable through the same Web site and phone number cited above.
Picasso also offers an "Essential Norway" tour that includes seven night's hotel accommodations, daily breakfast, a train ride from Oslo to Flam, a ride on a Fjord boat through the countryside, and planned sightseeing excursions. Cost of the trip starts at $1,499. Independent single city four-day three-night trips to Oslo and Bergen in Norway, Stockholm or Copenhagen can be had starting at $189 for the three-accommodations. Trips to Finland's outer edges are also available through Picasso.
Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) has an air and hotel "Hans Christian Anderson Getaway" to Denmark that includes round-trip airfare from New York, three nights in a Copenhagen hotel, daily breakfast, starts at $699 for travel good through March 23, 2006. Other departure dates are available for increasing prices hitting a ceiling of $1,079 for travel from May 27 to July 29, 2006. The booking deadline for these trips is March 16, 2006. Travel to Oslo for a similar three-night trip starts at $709. Air taxes and security fees are additional. Single-city add-ons are available meaning you can join a Copenhagen trip with a Stockholm arm.
Ever been to Scandinavia or thinking about going? Check out our Scandinavia Message Boards to join in discussions with fellow Frommer's travelers.