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Arctic Rail Odyssey

from £4120 excluding flights

  • 21 nights
  • Mar-Oct
Home Destinations Nordic Europe Arctic Rail Odyssey


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Ride the scenic Dovre and Rauma railways in Norway

sweden stockholm aerial view istk

Explore the history and culture of Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm

norway hurtigruten voyage winter

Take the Hurtigruten ferry for a stay in the dramatic Lofoten Islands

norway trondheim nidaros cathedral istk

Discover Trondheim and the world’s most northerly medieval cathedral

sweden icehotel365 deluxe suite pick your mustache

Spend a night in one of Icehotel 365’s unique Art Suites

swedish lapland moose in forest istk

Experience optional activities, from boat trips to forest spas and moose safaris

Why this trip...

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On track and flight free

Slow travel from London to the classic towns and cities of Europe with your rail tickets and accommodation taken care of

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Carefully planned

This itinerary has been thoughtfully designed to provide the experiences and places you'll enjoy at a comfortable pace

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Nordic Heritage

With 40 years of experience in creating trips to Nordics we know this region inside out


One of our longest, widest-ranging rail holidays, this incredible three-week odyssey takes you beyond the Arctic Circle – and because it’s available from March to October, you can choose summer for the midnight sun or early spring or autumn for the northern lights. There are so many highlights packed into this itinerary, it’s difficult to describe – in just a few sentences – what lies in store for you…

All three Scandinavian capitals with their rich history and exciting design and cuisine. The original Icehotel, plus an opportunity to stay in Swedish Lapland’s equally extraordinary Treehotel and Arctic Bath. World-renowned scenic rail journeys on the Dovre and Rauma Lines, as well as the epic Nordland and Arctic Circle trains. The dragon-back peaks of the Lofoten Islands at Svolvaer. The dizzy heights of the Norwegian Fjords at Andalsnes. Viking heritage at Trondheim. Swedish style at Malmo. It’s all effortlessly woven into this comprehensive rail holiday, seamlessly connecting St Pancras Station with the bewitching Far North of Europe.

Three Scandinavian capitals

Travelling by train through Belgium and Germany, spend a night in Cologne before reaching Copenhagen, where you have two days to sample everything from designer fashion to Danish hygge; fine Nordic cuisine to fascinating Norse history. Continuing north (via Gothenburg), you arrive in Oslo, sitting pretty between mountains and the sea. Explore the Norwegian capital’s medieval fortress and cutting-edge opera house; discover the striking sculptures of Gustav Vigeland and the plucky little polar ship of Nansen and Amundsen. Sweden’s capital must wait until later in your trip (there’s the small matter of the Lofoten Islands and Icehotel to enjoy first), but on the southward leg of your rail journey, Stockholm shines out as one of Europe’s most charming and beautifully preserved cities – particularly its medieval centre, Gamla Stan.

Scenic railways to the fjords

Even before you reach Oslo, the views from your train carriage will have been memorable enough (crossing the Oresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, then weaving through the countryside and coast up to Gothenburg etc), but leaving the Norwegian capital, you’re on track for a truly captivating rail adventure. First, the Dovre Railway takes you through Gudbrandsdalen – Norway’s ‘King of the Valleys’ – to Dombas where you change trains for the famous Rauma Railway to Andalsnes. Following the tumbling, turquoise Rauma River, this breathtaking branch line weaves through head-spinning scenery, including Trollveggen, Europe’s highest perpendicular mountain wall. After a night in Andalsnes, you return on the Rauma Railway to Dombas before continuing to the old Viking capital of Trondheim.

On track to the Arctic Circle

From Trondheim, the Nordland Railway sweeps you over 700km north – a stunning 10-hour journey through the Trondelag forests and Saltfjellet mountains, crossing the Arctic Circle before reaching the coastal town of Bodo. The Lofoten Islands are just a ferry ride away. After exploring this majestic archipelago of saw-tooth peaks, glacial valleys and colourful fishing harbours, a bus transfer takes you to Narvik on the mainland. From there, the Arctic Circle Train skirts the pristine lakes and fells of Abisko National Park, arriving in Kiruna, close to Jukkasjarvi and the legendary Icehotel where you have two days to fall under the spell of its dazzling suites and spend a night sleeping on ice (available year-round, thanks to the creative ingenuity of Icehotel 365). Your Arctic Rail Odyssey continues east through the wild forests of Swedish Lapland, stopping at Boden for a night or two at the Treehotel, the Arctic Bath, or both. From quirky, luxurious tree houses to floating spa, these ground-breaking grand designs will leave you lost for words. From Boden to Stockholm, it’s a long, relaxing rail journey south through a Swedish picture-book landscape of forests, lakes, fells and villages.


Depart London on Eurostar to Brussels and continue to Cologne, arriving late afternoon. Explore the historic centre, dominated by the impressive Kolner Dom cathedral. Famed for its twin spires, this Gothic masterpiece contains a gilded sarcophagus said to hold the remains of the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem. Overnight in Cologne.

germany cologne old town istk

Travel by train to Hamburg and onwards to Copenhagen, arriving in time for dinner at the first of the Scandinavian capitals on this trip. Following two nights in Copenhagen.

New Nordic pulses through the streets of Copenhagen, whether you’re browsing designer fashion and furniture, or perusing the menu of one of the city’s dozen or so Michelin-starred restaurants. The Danish capital also has a rich history. Viking treasures – from longboats to runic stones – can be discovered in its excellent museums, while the city’s royal palaces and castles include Amalienborg, Christiansborg and Kronborg. Spend time in Tivoli Gardens, where you’ll find a wooden rollercoaster dating from 1914, and stroll along the waterfront of the 17th-century harbour, Nyhavn, lined with colourful townhouses, bars and restaurants. Don’t miss the statue of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid, gazing wistfully across the water. To appreciate a spot of Danish hygge, head to the soulful neighbourhood of Christianshavn. Spend two nights in Copenhagen.

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Leaving Copenhagen, travel by train across the 8km-long Oresund Bridge to Sweden and continue north to reach the coastal city of Gothenburg. Explore the district of Haga, a perfect place for fika – a traditional Swedish coffee break usually with cake or a cinnamon bun – before browsing the traditional wooden houses and boutiques selling chocolates, fashion, antiques and Swedish delicacies. Walk up to the 17th-century fort of Skansen Kronan for panoramic city views and perhaps visit the city’s superb art museum. Dining options range from tasty street markets to mouth-watering Michelin-starred restaurants. Overnight Gothenburg.

Today’s rail journey takes you north, weaving through the beautiful countryside of West Sweden, with glimpses of the coastline, and on to the Norwegian capital of Oslo where you enjoy the next two nights. Surrounded by mountains and sea, Oslo was named European Green Capital for 2019 in recognition of its low carbon footprint, green spaces and sustainable food production. Although the great outdoors is right on your doorstep, the city has a wealth of cultural and historical attractions, ranging from the medieval Akershus Fortress to the modern, harbourside Opera House with its rakish roof. Overnight Oslo.

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Take a morning stroll in Frogner Park, viewing the 212 bronze and granite works by Norway’s best-loved sculptor Gustav Vigeland, including The Monolith and Wheel of Life. Don’t miss Oslo’s Aker Brygge district where four museums showcase Viking funerary ships, Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki raft and the 39m-long schooner Fram, used by Norway’s legendary polar explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen. Nearby, you will find Oslo’s best shopping and dining opportunities, including some outstanding seafood restaurants. For a break from sightseeing, relax at The Well with its pools, saunas and steam rooms. Overnight Oslo.

Board the Dovre Railway for the first part of today’s train journey to Åndalsnes. Traditional timber farms dot the mountain slopes as you travel northwest through the stunning Gudbrandsdalen valley, passing the Olympic city of Lillehammer. At Dombås, change trains and continue to Åndalsnes on the Rauma Railway – regarded by many as one of the world’s most spectacular train trips. Weaving between high mountain peaks and waterfalls as it follows the turquoise Rauma River, the journey takes you through beautiful Romsdalen to natural wonders like the 1,700m-high vertical cliff face of Trollveggen and the dramatic stone arch of Kylling Bridge. As you gaze at the passing scenery, you might be reminded of the movie Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince, part of which was filmed here.

Arriving in Åndalsnes, learn about the town’s mountaineering history at the Norsk Tindesenter. If you’re feeling energetic, trek up to the Rampestreken viewpoint (a medium hike along a well-signed route). The lookout is 537m above sea level and offers stupendous views over the surrounding mountains and fjords… and it gets even better if you walk on up to the 715m summit of Nesaksla. Don’t forget, we can easily extend your stay here if you would like to enjoy some of the other fantastic hiking opportunities in the area. Another heady attraction, Åndalsnes is also famous for its vineyard (the most northerly in the world) where guided tours include wine tasting and a chance to view 11 cellars. The charming café of Sodahlshuset, meanwhile, is the perfect spot for a coffee and a chance to browse local ceramics and handcrafts. Overnight Åndalsnes.

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Today you have another opportunity to travel on the Rauma Railway – this time enjoying the dramatic views from a different direction. At Dombås, change to the northbound Dovre Railway, travelling across the mighty Dovrefjell mountain range before arriving in Trondheim for the following two nights.

Founded by Viking King Olav Tryggvason in AD997, Trondheim was Norway’s first capital and remains an important destination for pilgrims visiting the tomb of Norway’s patron saint, St Olav, in Nidaros – the world’s northernmost Gothic cathedral. Adorned with some 5,000 sculptures of religious figures, angels, gargoyles and dragons, it also boasts some beautiful stained-glass windows, especially the rose window on the western façade. The cathedral still hosts coronations – the King’s Crown and other royal regalia are on display in the nearby Archbishop’s Palace. Offering fine views over the city and surrounding fjords, the 17th-century Kristiansten Fortress was built to protect the city from Swedish conquest and contains a fascinating museum and dungeons. Displaying over 80 historical buildings, the open-air Trøndelag Folk Museum is also worth a visit. Fire swept the city in 1681, but many narrow alleys and streets survive from the Middle Ages. Trondheim also retains many of its historic wooden buildings, particularly in the fascinating 17th-century district of Bakklandet where old fishermen’s houses have been restored as colourful shops and cafés.

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Embark on the 729km Nordland Line – a 10-hour rail journey that tracks north along the spine of Norway, crossing 293 bridges and burrowing through 154 tunnels on its epic route to the Arctic Circle and beyond. Leaving Trondheim, the train passes through spectacular fjord and mountain scenery, crossing the Arctic Circle just north of Mo I Rana and skirting several national parks, including Saltfjellet-Svartisen where you’ll traverse a wild mountain plateau before descending to the coast and journey’s end at the town of Bodø for an overnight.

With the morning free to explore Bodo and its stunning natural surroundings, you may want to enjoy an invigorating hike in the mountains that form a majestic backdrop to the town and on a clear day admire the views all the way to the Lofoten Islands. For lunch, try the local Arctic cuisine in one of the many restaurants. In the afternoon, at 15:00, depart Bodø on the Hurtigruten or Havila sailing to the Lofoten Islands, keeping a watch for eagles and whales, before arriving in Svolvær at 21:00 for a two-night stay. Enjoy dinner on board the ship (payable locally).

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The largest town in the Lofoten Islands, with a population of just under 5,000, Svolvær is tucked into a bay surrounded by jagged mountains that look like they’re straight out of the pages of The Lord of the Rings. One of the highlights of the town is its waterfront, lined with traditional, bright red fishermen’s cabins, known as rorbu. But we strongly recommend exploring the amazing scenery further afield. To the west, Henningsvær clings to the coast, its wooden houses strung with garlands of dried arctic cod, while further afield at Borg, the Lofotr Viking Museum has reconstructed an 83m-long chieftain’s longhouse. A boat trip to Trollfjorden, meanwhile, takes you into a narrow cleft hemmed in by sheer cliffs over 400m high. Legend has it that the fjord was hewn by an axe thrown by quarrelling trolls.

Enjoy a scenic bus journey (payable locally), lasting around four hours, to Narvik. Following the E10 through the Lofoten Islands, it’s a wonderful road trip, weaving between snaggle-tooth mountains, skirting precipitous fjords, sweeping over whale-back bridges and delving into tunnels. Crossing to the Norwegian mainland, the E10 follows the north shore of Ofotfjord before reaching Narvik, where you spend the night.

Rail travel resumes with an unforgettable journey through Lapland onboard the Arctic Circle Train. Travelling from the Norwegian coast, the route takes you over the mountains into Sweden, meandering through beautiful birch forests that drape the fells of Abisko National Park. Arriving in Kiruna, you’ll be transferred 20 minutes by road to Jukkasjärvi, a small, riverside village that’s home to the world-famous Icehotel. If you’re travelling in summer, the Torne River will be a sparkling ribbon of water, but in winter it freezes solid. The pure ice cut from this pristine, wild river was the inspiration – and the building blocks – for the original Icehotel, which is created each winter in Jukkasjärvi. But the addition of the permanent Icehotel 365 means that even summer visitors can experience the frozen magic. Innovative solar technology keeps the interior of Icehotel 365 chilled enough to maintain its uniquely crafted Art Suites – and you have the opportunity to spend a night in one of these beautiful and luxurious rooms during your two-night stay.

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Icehotel Accommodation

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icehotel33 entrance exterior day ak

Find out about room types and dining options at the inspiring and totally 'cool' Icehotel in Swedish Lapland.

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A full day to explore the village of Jukkasjärvi, explore the Icebar and Art Suites in Icehotel 365 and join some of the many activities available – ranging from summer hiking, fishing and river rafting to winter husky sledding, snowmobiling and northern lights watching. Some activities are available year-round, such as sauna experiences, wilderness safaris and ice sculpting. Overnight at the Icehotel, in either warm or cold accommodation.

Icehotel Accommodation

365 icehotel deluxe suite raindrop prelude ak
icehotel33 entrance exterior day ak

Find out about room types and dining options at the inspiring and totally 'cool' Icehotel in Swedish Lapland.

Read more

Continue by train across Swedish Lapland to Boden, home of the Treehotel and Arctic Bath. Spend the following two nights here, perhaps with a night in each of these amazing architectural creations. Like the Icehotel, the Treehotel and Arctic Bath are some of the truly amazing places to stay in the world. At the Treehotel walk into the woods and you will find a collection of individually designed treehouses, some are almost invisible, like the Mirror Cube and Bird’s Nest, while others are bold and outlandish like the UFO and Dragonfly. Seeing really is believing, and it’s only when you spend a night here, that you appreciate the innovation, attention to detail and sense of fun that has gone into creating this arboreal masterpiece. A short distance away, down by the Lule River, the Arctic Bath is equally ingenious. Inspired by the old tradition of floating timber downriver to the lumber yards, this ‘floating spa’ is a luxurious oasis hidden by an extraordinary facade of tangled driftwood. Again, you really need to see it to believe it! At its heart lies an open-air natural pool, surrounded by sauna and treatment rooms, plus a restaurant serving delicious, healthy local cuisine. Accommodation is either in separate ‘floating’ cabins reached by boardwalks across the river, or larger contemporary chalets with floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the river (and the aurora borealis during winter). Spend overnight at either the Treehotel or Arctic Bath.


sweden lapland sunset cube treehotel

This offers a unique accommodation experience situated outside the small village of Harads, northwest of Lulea.

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During your second day here, enjoy some of the huge range of activities available. Summer options include hiking, salmon fishing, cycling, canoeing, horse riding, foraging, moose safaris, midnight bear spotting and forest bathing, while in winter take your pick from snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, husky sledding, northern lights watching and finding out about the indigenous culture of the Sami people. There’s also plenty of opportunity to relax with an indulgent day of spa treatments, either at the river, or in the forest.

In the late afternoon transfer to Boden Railway Station for your overnight rail journey to Stockholm.

Arctic Bath, Harads, Swedish Lapland

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This floating hotel and spa on the Lule River near the small village Harads in Swedish Lapland opened in late 2019.

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Arriving in Stockholm in the early morning.

Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, Stockholm is spread across 14 islands. Stroll along the narrow, cobbled streets of Gamla Stan – the impeccably preserved medieval centre – and marvel at the beautiful and colourful buildings on Stortorget, the city’s historic square. You will find ample choice of cafés, bistros and restaurants, each offering local gastronomic specialities. Spend two nights in Stockholm.

Alternatively choose to fly home from Luleå should you prefer.

Visit the world’s oldest open-air museum at Skansen (with its 150 historic buildings) and the nearby Vasa Museum, which displays the amazing relic of the Vasa, a warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. The interactive ABBA Museum is another favourite among visitors. We also recommend a tour of the 600-room Royal Palace, or a trip to Drottningholm Castle – the private residence of the Swedish royal family. You could also take a ferry out to the Stockholm Archipelago for a spot of hiking or canoeing.

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Travel by rail south through the lush forests and fields of Skåne to arrive in Malmö. Admire the city’s innovative architecture, epitomised by the Turning Torso, the world’s first twisted skyscraper. In contrast, you will find Dutch-Renaissance finery in the old town – a warren of cobblestone streets and medieval squares lined with cafés, galleries and designer boutiques. Malmö has more bars and restaurants per capita than anywhere else in Sweden, so you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out. Overnight in Malmö.

Alternatively choose to fly home from Stockholm should you prefer.

Travel back over the Øresund Bridge to Copenhagen and onwards to Hamburg. You’ll have the evening to explore this Germany’s bustling port-city. The striking, scallop-roofed concert hall Elbphilharmonie dominates the skyline, while the St Pauli district is renowned for its restaurants and nightlife. Overnight in Hamburg.

Take the morning train to Cologne and on to Brussels, before changing to the Eurostar service to London St Pancras.

Accommodation Options

This itinerary includes stays in accommodation that is far more than just a place to rest your head – the iconic Icehotel as well as either Treehotel or Arctic Bath.

In addition to these featured properties, we will recommend accommodation for the other locations within the itinerary. However, with a vast choice available, we are happy to adapt the hotels to suit your personal preference mixing different grades and styles in the different cities as required.

  • treehotel mirror cube in summer gr

Prices and Departures

Price from £4120 excluding flights

No flights are required on this holiday as travel is by rail from London.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Breakfast throughout
  • All rail travel and transfers as specified
  • All compulsory seat reservation fees on high speed and international trains
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

From prices per person

Based on two sharing a twin room with private facilities and breakfast. Prices may vary depending on departure date. Please contact us for detailed quote based on your preferred travel dates and arrangements.

Departure Duration Twin Price Description
March - October 21 nights £4,120 Round trip by rail
March - October 19 nights £3,687
Fly back on Day 20 - price excludes flights*

*Please note that flights are not included in the price, but will be quoted at the time of booking.

Although it is possible to enjoy this holiday year-round, we recommend travel from March to October, due to the very short daylight hours during the mid-winter months, hence limiting the time you have to savour the spectacular scenery along the way.

This itinerary is flexible and the number of nights at each of the overnight stays can be extended or reduced.

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