Scandinavian Capitals by Rail

Scandinavian Capitals by Rail

from £1,659 excluding flights

  • 10 nights
  • Year round
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sweden stockholm old town at twilight istk

Scandinavian Capitals by Rail

from £1,659 excluding flights

  • 10 nights
  • Year round

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Highlights

In pictures
denmark copenhagen nyhavn waterfront istk

Explore Copenhagen visiting Tivoli Gardens, Nyhavn & the Little Mermaid

norway frogner park oslo astk

Stroll around the Gustav Vigeland sculptures in Oslo’s Frogner Park

sweden gamla stan restaurants stockholm istk

Uncover the charming Gamla Stan, the medieval Old Town of Stockholm

sweden stockholm aerial view istk

Take a day trip to the Stockholm Archipelago

sweden malmo turning torso and cityscape astk

Admire the ‘Turning Torso’, dominating Malmö’s skyline

swedish fika cinnamon bun and coffee vs

Enjoy a traditional Swedish fika coffee break in Haga

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 over 38 years of experience in creating trips to Nordics we know this region inside out

Overview

There’s something particularly appealing about slow travel through Scandinavia, relaxing on a train as it carries you through a calming landscape of pristine lakes and forests, peppered with villages and hamlets. We can’t think of a better way to arrive in Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm – the three Scandinavian capitals featured in this 11-day rail holiday. With two nights in each of these beautiful capitals, you will have plenty of time to admire their stunning architecture, absorb their history and hygge (a sense of wellness and contentment) and indulge in delicious Nordic cuisine. The added appeal of rail travel is that we’ve also been able to include vibrant Gothenburg and the striking coastal city of Malmo.

Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

After departing London and travelling by train through Belgium and Germany, where you spend your first night in Cologne (famed for its twin-spired cathedral), you arrive in the first Scandinavian capital on your rail adventure. The epitome of Scandi chic, Copenhagen easily rivals Milan when it comes to style. New Nordic pulses through its streets, whether you’re browsing designer fashion and furniture, or perusing the menu of one of the city’s dozen or so Michelin-starred restaurants. But this is also a capital with a rich history. There are parks and palaces to be explored. Hans Christian Andersen’s legacy can be found at iconic sites like the harbourside statue of the Little Mermaid, while Viking treasures – from longboats to runic stones – can be discovered in Copenhagen’s excellent museums.

Oslo: Norway’s eco-capital

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. You’ll feel an added glow of satisfaction arriving in the Norwegian capital by rail, instead of air. 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 shopping and dining district of Aker Brygge. For a maritime twist, the museums here showcase everything from Viking funerary ships to Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki raft.

Stockholm: Venice of the North

Described by locals as ‘beauty on water’, Gamla Stan – the medieval heart of Stockholm – is one of Europe’s most charming and beautifully preserved historic centres. Gabled, golden-hued buildings cast shimmering reflections across the surrounding waters, while cobblestone streets weave between handicraft boutiques, cafés, bars and restaurants. There’s the fine cathedral and Royal Palace to explore, as well as the Nobel Prize Museum. And this is just one of Stockholm’s 14 islands. Stroll across a bridge and you could find yourself walking back in time at Djurgarden’s open-air museum, while a ferry trip can transport you to the myriad isles of the Stockholm Archipelago for a spot of hiking or canoeing.

Itinerary

Day 1 London - Cologne

Depart London on Eurostar to Brussels and continue to Cologne, arriving by late afternoon. There’s time to explore the historic centre, dominated by Kolner Dom – Cologne’s grand Gothic cathedral. Famed for its soaring twin spires, this masterpiece of medieval stained-glass and flying buttresses contains a gilded sarcophagus said to hold the remains of the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem. Overnight in Cologne.

Depart London on Eurostar to Brussels and continue to Cologne, arriving by late afternoon. There’s time to explore the historic centre, dominated by Kolner Dom – Cologne’s grand Gothic cathedral. Famed for its soaring twin spires, this masterpiece of medieval stained-glass and flying buttresses contains a gilded sarcophagus said to hold the remains of the three kings who followed the star to Bethlehem. Overnight in Cologne.

Day 2 Cologne - Copenhagen

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

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

Day 3 Copenhagen

The beautiful Danish capital is easily explored on foot or by electric bike, readily available to rent around the city. The Tivoli Gardens are a good place to start. Dating from 1843, this nostalgic mix of parks, lakes, historic buildings and amusement rides includes a classic wooden rollercoaster from 1914. There’s also a great choice of bars, restaurants and cafés. Return at nightfall and you will find the gardens lit up by thousands of colourful lights.

Other city highlights include the iconic Little Mermaid – a bronze statue perched on a rock at the water’s edge. The nearby 17th-century harbour, Nyhavn, is lined with colourful townhouses and waterfront bars and restaurants, while Denmark’s ancient monarchy is evident in the city’s many royal palaces and castles – the most famous being Amalienborg, Christiansborg and Kronborg.

To fully experience Danish hygge, chill out in the soulful neighbourhood of Christianshavn, spread across a cluster of small islands. This colourful, historic area is probably best known for the self-governing community of Freetown Christiania. Its cafés and restaurants serve delicious Nordic cuisine.

The beautiful Danish capital is easily explored on foot or by electric bike, readily available to rent around the city. The Tivoli Gardens are a good place to start. Dating from 1843, this nostalgic mix of parks, lakes, historic buildings and amusement rides includes a classic wooden rollercoaster from 1914. There’s also a great choice of bars, restaurants and cafés. Return at nightfall and you will find the gardens lit up by thousands of colourful lights.

Other city highlights include the iconic Little Mermaid – a bronze statue perched on a rock at the water’s edge. The nearby 17th-century harbour, Nyhavn, is lined with colourful townhouses and waterfront bars and restaurants, while Denmark’s ancient monarchy is evident in the city’s many royal palaces and castles – the most famous being Amalienborg, Christiansborg and Kronborg.

To fully experience Danish hygge, chill out in the soulful neighbourhood of Christianshavn, spread across a cluster of small islands. This colourful, historic area is probably best known for the self-governing community of Freetown Christiania. Its cafés and restaurants serve delicious Nordic cuisine.

denmark copenhagen amalienborg palace astk

Day 4 Copenhagen - Gothenburg

Leaving Copenhagen, travel by train across the 8km-long Oresund Bridge to Sweden and continue north to reach Gothenburg in just under four hours. A coastal city with a real buzz, Gothenburg has a vibrant waterfront, cobbled streets, canals and a superb art museum. Explore the neighbourhood of Haga with its traditional wooden houses and local artisan boutiques selling chocolates, fashion, antiques and Swedish delicacies. Haga is the perfect place for fika, a traditional Swedish coffee break typically accompanied by freshly-baked cake or a cinnamon bun. Afterwards, take a walk up to the 17th-century fort of Skansen Kronan for 360-degree views of the city.

Dining options in Gothenburg range from tasty street markets to mouth-watering Michelin-starred restaurants. There is plenty of choice, from vegan and organic cuisine to dishes rich in locally-foraged produce. Overnight in Gothenburg.

Leaving Copenhagen, travel by train across the 8km-long Oresund Bridge to Sweden and continue north to reach Gothenburg in just under four hours. A coastal city with a real buzz, Gothenburg has a vibrant waterfront, cobbled streets, canals and a superb art museum. Explore the neighbourhood of Haga with its traditional wooden houses and local artisan boutiques selling chocolates, fashion, antiques and Swedish delicacies. Haga is the perfect place for fika, a traditional Swedish coffee break typically accompanied by freshly-baked cake or a cinnamon bun. Afterwards, take a walk up to the 17th-century fort of Skansen Kronan for 360-degree views of the city.

Dining options in Gothenburg range from tasty street markets to mouth-watering Michelin-starred restaurants. There is plenty of choice, from vegan and organic cuisine to dishes rich in locally-foraged produce. Overnight in Gothenburg.

sweden gothenburg greenhouse at tradgardsforeningen istk

Day 5 Gothenburg - Oslo

Today’s rail journey takes you north along the coastline of West Sweden and on to the Norwegian capital of Oslo. A fascinating mixture of old and new, Oslo is one of its most striking modern buildings, the harbourside Opera House has a rakish roof that appears to slope out of the water – like an iceberg that’s drifted ashore. It’s designed so you can easily walk up the incline for views of the city and surrounding fjord. In complete contrast, the Akershus Fortress takes you back to medieval times, while the outstanding museums in the waterside Aker Brygge district showcase ceremonial Viking longships 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 superb seafood restaurants. Spend two nights in Oslo.

Today’s rail journey takes you north along the coastline of West Sweden and on to the Norwegian capital of Oslo. A fascinating mixture of old and new, Oslo is one of its most striking modern buildings, the harbourside Opera House has a rakish roof that appears to slope out of the water – like an iceberg that’s drifted ashore. It’s designed so you can easily walk up the incline for views of the city and surrounding fjord. In complete contrast, the Akershus Fortress takes you back to medieval times, while the outstanding museums in the waterside Aker Brygge district showcase ceremonial Viking longships 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 superb seafood restaurants. Spend two nights in Oslo.

Day 6 Oslo

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, The Angry Boy and Wheel of Life. Explore more of the maritime treasures in Aker Brygge’s museums, or admire the traditional and contemporary art in Oslo’s many galleries. For a break from sightseeing, visit the The Well, Scandinavian’s largest spa and bathhouse with numerous pools, saunas and steam rooms, as well as massage and treatments to indulge in. Overnight Oslo.

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, The Angry Boy and Wheel of Life. Explore more of the maritime treasures in Aker Brygge’s museums, or admire the traditional and contemporary art in Oslo’s many galleries. For a break from sightseeing, visit the The Well, Scandinavian’s largest spa and bathhouse with numerous pools, saunas and steam rooms, as well as massage and treatments to indulge in. Overnight Oslo.

norway oslo old town istk

Day 7 Oslo - Stockholm

Enjoy the scenic six-hour rail journey, weaving through unspoilt Scandinavian countryside before reaching the stunning capital city of Sweden. 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 Stortoget, the city’s most historic square. You will find ample choice of cafés, bistros and restaurants, each offering local gastronomic specialities. Spend two nights in Stockholm.

Enjoy the scenic six-hour rail journey, weaving through unspoilt Scandinavian countryside before reaching the stunning capital city of Sweden. 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 Stortoget, the city’s most historic square. You will find ample choice of cafés, bistros and restaurants, each offering local gastronomic specialities. Spend two nights in Stockholm.

Day 8 Stockholm

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 visit to the 600-room Royal Palace, or a trip to Drottningholm Castle – the private residence of the Swedish royal family.

There is a superb choice of restaurants in Stockholm offering international and traditional Swedish cuisine, such as classic Scandinavian fare of pickled herring, cured salmon, open shrimp sandwich, moose and reindeer.

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 visit to the 600-room Royal Palace, or a trip to Drottningholm Castle – the private residence of the Swedish royal family.

There is a superb choice of restaurants in Stockholm offering international and traditional Swedish cuisine, such as classic Scandinavian fare of pickled herring, cured salmon, open shrimp sandwich, moose and reindeer.

sweden drottningholm palace summer stockholm astk

Day 9 Stockholm - Malmo

Travel by rail south through the lush forests and fields of Skane to arrive in Malmo for your next overnight stay. Admire the city’s innovative architecture, especially the ‘Turning Torso’, the world’s first twisted skyscraper. In contrast, you will find Dutch-Renaissance architecture in the old town – a warren of cobblestone streets and medieval squares lined with cafés, galleries and designer boutiques. Malmo 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 Malmo.

Alternatively, choose to fly home from Stockholm should you prefer.

Travel by rail south through the lush forests and fields of Skane to arrive in Malmo for your next overnight stay. Admire the city’s innovative architecture, especially the ‘Turning Torso’, the world’s first twisted skyscraper. In contrast, you will find Dutch-Renaissance architecture in the old town – a warren of cobblestone streets and medieval squares lined with cafés, galleries and designer boutiques. Malmo 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 Malmo.

Alternatively, choose to fly home from Stockholm should you prefer.

Day 10 Malmo - Hamburg

Travel back over the Oresund Bridge to Copenhagen and onwards to Hamburg for an overnight stay. You’ll have the evening to explore Hamburg, 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 Hamburg.

Travel back over the Oresund Bridge to Copenhagen and onwards to Hamburg for an overnight stay. You’ll have the evening to explore Hamburg, 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 Hamburg.

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Day 11 Hamburg - London

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

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

Accommodation Options

We will recommend accommodation for this holiday, but with a vast choice available, we can adapt to suit your personal preference mixing different grades and styles in different cities.

Discuss your options with our Travel Specialists.

Prices and Departures

Price from £1,659 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
  • Rail travel and transport as specified
  • 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 a detailed quote based on your preferred travel dates.

Departure Duration Twin Price
Year Round 10 nights £1,659 Round trip by rail
Year Round 8 nights £1,298 Fly back on Day 9 - price excludes flights

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

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

Meet our expert

nordic team eric shadbolt bw
One of our specialists
Meet Eric

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