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Set sail aboard the National Geographic Orion to experience the astonishing natural beauty and delightful cultures of Europe’s Nordic nations. Discover some of Scandinavia’s most remote and spectacular coastal scenery, from the picturesque fishing village of Skagen in Denmark to Sweden’s enchanting Weather Islands and Norway’s fjord-laced western coast. Stroll past brightly-colored fishing huts clinging to rocky outcrops, kayak amid tiny islets and vast fjords, and explore vibrant cities where contemporary life gracefully mingles with centuries of history.
Step back in time while exploring centuries-old fishing villages, Bronze Age rock carvings, and World War II fortresses.
Go biking along the windswept beaches of Skagen in Denmark, and discover the island’s artistic traditions.
Kayak into the sheltered coves of Sweden’s Weather Islands to seek out sea lions, seabirds, and other marine life.
Glide along the waters of Norway’s magnificent, mountain-framed Hardangerfjorden, and sample Norwegian culinary specialties in Oslo.
Itinerary - 8 Days
Day 1 — Copenhagen, Denmark
Arrive in Copenhagen and board the National Geographic Orion. Set sail during dinner en route to Skagen. (D)
Day 2 — Skagen, Denmark
Dotted with yellow and red clapboard houses, Skagen is perched along windswept dunes at the northern tip of Demark. Explore this charming fishing village, and delve into the history of the Skagen Painters—a community of Scandinavian artists who settled here beginning in the late 19th century, drawn by the town’s magnificent landscapes and remarkable light. Discover rich birdlife with our naturalists, or bike along the peninsula’s white beaches. Cap off the day with a taste of the famous "Skagen Sild," a special herring dish that can only be enjoyed with a cold Danish beer. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Weather Islands, Sweden and Grebbestad
Journey across the Skagerrak strait to Sweden’s westernmost archipelago: the Väderöarna, or Weather Islands. This seascape of rugged islets, skerries, and picture-perfect villages boasts some of the most stunning scenery in Scandinavia. Set out by kayak or Zodiac to encounter seal colonies and an array of sea birds. Dock at Grebbestad to explore the evocative Bronze Age rock carvings in Tanum, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a traditional Swedish dinner on shore. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Oslo, Norway
Cruise up the epic Oslofjorden to Norway’s
cosmopolitan capital. Visit the Fram Museum
to learn about the early Norwegian polar expeditions,
and hear a talk from Thor Heyerdahl Jr.,
the son of the Norwegian explorer. Or take a
private, backstage tour of Oslo’s new Opera
House or learn to cook Norwegian style at the
Mathallen Gourmet Food Market. Spend the afternoon with our National Geographic photographer at Vigeland Park, training your lens on more than two hundred life-size human figures by native sculptor Gustav Vigeland. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Risør
Anchor outside Risør, a well-preserved historic town on Norway's heritage list, known for its old wooden buildings and rich cultural traditions. Zodiacs ferry us over the Strangholmen skerry and perhaps a unique experience kayaking near one of the "potholes" or small lagoons. A relaxing outdoor seafood lunch awaits on Strangholmen, with a Norwegian folk music performance. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Hidra
Arrive on the shores of Flekkefjorden, and go for a morning hike on Hidra—a lush island steeped in a rich maritime history dating back to before the Vikings. Travel overland for a village tour of Flekkefjord or cruise in a Zodiac through the scenic channel that divides the island. This afternoon over coffee, one of the locals on Hidra shares his thoughts on Norwegian island living. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Hardangerfjorden
Awaken this morning in the heart of Norway’s western fjord land, considered one of Europe’s greatest natural attractions. Deep in the Hardangerfjorden—the fourth-longest fjord in the world—cruise beneath staggering cliffs, snow-dusted mountains, and rolling valleys dotted with tiny settlements. From our quiet anchorage, head out with our naturalists to explore the area on a variety of Zodiac, kayak, and hiking excursions. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Bergen/U.S.
Our final port of call is the lovely city of Bergen, perched on a fjord and ringed by seven hills. Disembark after breakfast, and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
For more than a decade, Erika Larsen has used photography to learn intimately about and document cultures that maintain strong connections with nature. She has followed Sami reindeer herders in the Scandinavian arctic and explored the significance of the horse in Native American culture for National Geographic magazine. Her work has been shown in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Swedish Museum of Ethnography, and Ájtte Sámi Museum. Larsen is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, which sponsored her study of the North Sami language. She has recently published her first book of photographs, Sámi, Walking With Reindeer. Erika has experienced Costa Rica through its deep-sea fishing and rain forests, and looks forward to sharing her insights about creating images and expressing a personal vision on this journey.