Good morning globe-roamers and welcome to 12-days of memory-making magic. After a bit of a mingle with the new squad we'll getting into the spirit of our imminent adventures in Copenhagen. We've got all day tomorrow to suss out the city, so today can stay reserved for Contiki hangs if you're feeling social.
Constantly named amongst the most livable cities in the world, Copenhagen is an artwork of locals on bicycles, Danish pastries in cute café windows, & Renaissance architecture. Being a bustling university town and home to the hippie hood of Freetown Christiania, nightlife and unique culture can be found at every turn. Explore the sites with your Trip Manager & sign up to an optional tour of Carlsberg Brewery - straight to business!
Copenhagen to Oslo
Before you go bursting out of your travel clothes thanks to your new-found pastry dependency, we're bailing on Denmark. Next stop: Norway!To the call of castles, fresh seafood, & pretty parks, we respond! Today we're taking on Norway. We'll be surrounded by 200 bronze statues eating Krumkaker pastries before we can say "jeg elsker Norge!" (that's "I love Norway," folks).
Oslo, both the capital and biggest city of Norway, is a riverside metropolis back-dropped by mountains of greenery and filled with easy-going culture. Pottering around museums and pretty buildings will keep us busy by day, while taking a stroll through the city should keep you busy by night.
Oslo to Voss via Hardangervidda
Though you'll feel like you know Norway inside out by now, you can't really grasp the country until you've witnessed its great open plains & small country towns...Before we arrive in our overnight hub, we'll coast through the rugged river and rock landscapes of Telemark and Hardangervidda regions, with nature worthy of an Instagram or two...Tonight's stop, Voss is the adventure capital of Norway. We'll take the chilled out approach here, with a night of relaxing and getting to know the crew in our lakefront lodge, it's like waking up in a movie.
Voss to Geiranger Fjord via Sognefjord
The outdoor vibes don't end today, we'll be getting back to nature from sun up 'til sun down. Wild animals and spectacular scenery are on the cards so keep that camera of yours charged to full.Norwegian countryside and pretty waterfalls will highlight our journey to the 200km long Sognefjord, a sight set to take your breath away.After lunch at Boyabreen glacier - which will see you pondering more rural life goals - we'll continue our journey to Geiranger Fjord where we'll spend the night surrounded by some of mother nature's finest.
Geiranger Fjord to Gjovik via Lom and Lillehammer
There's no way we can drag you away from this place first thing this morning, even though we have a whole lot of adventure to fill the day. A morning cruise around Geiranger Fjord amongst cascading waterfalls should ease you into things.This little town is steeped in history, with the jewel in the crown being Lom Stave Church, one of the few left in the world and dating back to the 12th Century. Yes, you read that right. These wooden churches are about as medieval as they come and religious or not, this cute little spot (and town) will delight!The alpine ski resort of Lillehammer will appear in front of us shortly after our drive past old farms and unspoilt Norwegian countryside. Home of the 1994 Winter Olympics, you'll have the chance to live out your "Cool Runnings" dreams with an Olympic Bobsled Ride - squeal!!A night of traditional Norwegian life set on Norway's largest lake, yes please and thank you! Soak up the vibes before we set off for Sweden.
Gjovik to Stockholm
Today we drive outta Gjovik through lands known to host bears, moose & wolves. Yes, yes, you read correctly - bears, moose & wolves.The forests will eventually part and we will descend upon the 24,000 islands of Sweden's capital, Stockholm. Spend the night getting out amongst this eclectic buzzing city, maybe even signing up for the quintessential ice bar experience.
Wander the quaint medieval streets of Gamla Stan & try to catch the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. All that ground covered will earn you some Swedish salmon & an Absolut on the rocks.
Stockholm to Overnight Baltic Ferry
Soak up your last dose of Swedish cool this morning before we take our next journey...by sea! A luxurious cruise will be carrying us away from Sweden on the hunt for Helsinki.
Overnight Baltic Ferry to Helsinki
You only have to look to Finland's quirky array of annual festivals - Wife Carrying World Championships? - to understand that this place has character. Some sources claim Finland is also home to the most heavy metal bands per capita in the world, and the heaviest coffee consumption in the world - we love these people! Between hanging with locals, be sure to rummage the South Harbour Markets, see the city's many sites, & find time for some sauna hangs.
Helsinki to St. Petersburg
Now that you have 20 new Finnish friends and a whole new outlook on this totally underrated European capital, it's Russia time.Our first stop on the Russian map is the imperial city of St. Petersburg. Built by the Italians, this city is a unique blend of Europe and Russia, unfathomably grand & made pretty by canals - which you can opt to explore tonight for the best view of the city's palaces by night. You'll be pleased to hear we have 2 full days to uncover its enigmatic ways.
Visit Peterhof Gardens, known as the Versailles of Russia will give you an outdoor lovers fix, including a beautiful gold fountain cascade. Use the rest of the day to take on the city, and tonight, you could choose to go local with folklore show for some sights and sounds of Russia.
Today is a full dose of history, learn about the Romanov's and its founding by Tsar Peter the Great as well as all the goss on the Tsar's of Russia. See one of the world’s top art collections at the Hermitage gallery; kick it in St. Petersburg’s main street of Nevsky Prospekt; find ways to tap into glitzy new Russia; and enjoy history lessons at the city's incredible list of monuments. And all that exploring could call for a beef stroganoff where it was invented, as well as a vodka or 2 - in the name of culture, of course.
St. Petersburg to Novgorod
So long St. Petersburg! Thanks for your hospitable welcome into the world of Russia. You've left us wanting a whole lot more.Now that we've got a taste of Russian city life, it's time to change the pace and step into the quieter town of Novgorod. Suffering two unfortunate eras at the hands of evil dictators, the town is now enjoying its time of slow life and peace. Soak up its new found happiness and explore its epic history - complete with a very large bell.
Novgorod to Moscow via Klin
After being submerged in small town feels, we'll be quite ready for the grandeur capital of Moscow. Time to hit the road!En route to Moscow we'll stop off in Klin, home of Russian composer Tchaikovsky. We can't resist the chance to see the place that inspired a man to make Swan Lake and The Nutcracker.Before you go screaming your way to the Aladdin's palace like monument of Saint Basil's Cathedral, let us settle in to our Moscow digs and hear of the many incredible things this city has on offer - and there are many. Hence we have two full days here - joy!!
Oh good morning Moscow. Diving right in is the way to do it, so we'll start off with a guided city tour of all the sights, including one of the countries most colourful and quirky buildings St Basil's Cathedral.Chance to visit Lenin’s tomb followed by free time to explore more of what Red Square and this city have to offer.
After the underground, probably the most famous metro in the world is Moscow's. Get up close with our local guide, uncovering the fascinating communist artworks that make it what it is today. The city keeps on giving today, with some free time to roam, before a guided visit to the famous Kremlin Museums, then the option to view the Romanov’s collection of Faberge Eggs, carriages, clothes and jewels at the Armoury.
Moscow to Minsk
Moscow to Minsk, how's that for a cute sounding journey? Though it will be hard to leave Russia, the lure of Belarus will help ease the pain.Rebuilt by Stalin after World War II, Minsk has become a model of communism & a statement of resilience. Manicured gardens and pretty water features spot the wide open spaces of the city; a great place to sit back and chill.
Minsk to Warsaw via Brest
Laters Minsk, we have one more country to cover before this epic road trip comes to an end. Poland, we're coming for you!Before we head on to energetic Warsaw, we'll visit one of the most important Soviet World War II war monuments; the castle like monument of Brest fortress.Perogies are Polish dumplings and a glass of compote somewhere within Warsaw's lively cafe scene should be your introduction to this emerging European capital. We have all day tomorrow to explore, so there's no need to start whipping through the to-do list.
You didn't think we were winding down now, did you? Gosh no. Not when we have an old Jewish Ghetto to explore and a Chopin piano recital up for grabs. A renowned musical city, keep your ears open day long and see what sound pleasures you stumble upon.
That's it for our extravaganza through Scandinavia and Russia. By now you will be pulsating with new knowledge & forever memories. Pass the tissues to the left hand side; 14-days together is enough to get a group gripped together like glue. Contiki has over 300 other trips around the world to get involved with - reconvene in South America?