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Ultimate World Cruise Itinerary: Traveling Scandinavia

Posted by Tim Roberts on Dec 29, 2022 8:25:09 PM


Northern lights over waterfall seen while traveling ScandinaviaAs Storylines MV Narrative is a residential vessel, our global community has a say in the itinerary…just one of the many benefits of having a home aboard a residential megayacht. As you can imagine, the destination travel wish list of our residents is extensive so we have broken it down and created a series of blog posts, having covered these regions so far:

 

Scandinavia

Row of colorful boat sheds in Sweden while visiting Scandinavia

Here are the bucket list destinations in Scandinavia requested by our resident owners:

  • Norway
    • Fjords
    • Lofoten Islands
    • Northern Lights
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Iceland
  • Arctic Circle

 

Every country except Finland made the Scandinavia list. Sorry, Finland! With abundant natural beauty, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, iconic cities and the northern lights, it's easy to see why traveling Scandinavia is on many adventurers' bucket lists.

 

Stockholm, Sweden

Escalator through underground cave in Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia

Ships dock in the Port of Stockholm, a uniquely beautiful and stylish city spread over 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. Island hopping on the ferry ride is a great way to explore the city. Another option is the City Sightseeing hop-on on, hop-off bus tour. This double-decker bus with an open-top roof offers a great vantage point for touring this charming old town.

Stockholm has several Michelin-starred restaurants for gourmet food lovers, including the 3-star Frantzén, and 2-star Oaxen Krog, Gastrologik, and Aloë. Besides the delicious cuisine, you will admire these fine dining restaurants' quintessentially Swedish sleek design. For something a little less fancy yet at the same time tasty, try out the street food at the Hornstulls Marknad (market square).

Stockholm must-see:
  • Kungliga Slottet: aka Stockholm Palace or the Royal Palace, guided tours are available to view His Majesty The King's official residence.
  • Gamla Stan: Old Town of Stockholm and one of the largest and most well-preserved Medieval city centers in Europe.
  • Skansen: The world's oldest open-air museum
  • Moderna Museet: Modern art museum displaying the foremost contemporary art.
  • Nordiska Museet: Nominated European museum of the year; come here to learn about the Nordic people's history, culture and lives.
  • Södermalm: Discover why so many like (or wish) to call this super trendy neighborhood home.
  • Biblioteksgatan: Famous central street is known for its high-end luxury boutique shopping.
  • Millesgården: Art museum built in 1908 by famous artists Carl and Olga Milles.
  • Stadshuset: aka Stockholm City Hall, grand architectural building.
  • Historiska Museet: Learn about Swedish history and culture at the Swedish History Museum

 

Oslo, Norway

Homes on the green banks of Oslo, Norway

Cruising into Oslo is an incredible experience. It is tucked away up the beautiful Oslofjord, and the ship docks right in the middle of the city. You can easily explore this charming old city on foot and visit the City Hall, the Opera, and the Nobel Peace Centre. Oslo also offers an impressive 50 museums, an abundance of galleries, and the world's best Christmas Markets.

Like Stockholm, the ferry ride is a great way to get around, or the City Sightseeing hop on hop off bus tours. The good news for the Storylines community is we spend up to five days in each port. Unlike a regular cruise, this allows you to get farther inland from the port cities and immerse yourself in Norwegian culture.

Oslo must-see:

  • Båtservice ferry boat: Takes you to some of Oslo's most famous museums.
  • Vigeland Park: Visit here to see the world's largest sculpture park.
  • Holmenkollen Ski Jump: A must-see for any keen skiers, also home to the Holmenkollen Ski Museum.
  • Nobel Peace Centre: a must-see for all global citizens, home to the world-famous Nobel Peace Prize, striving for a better and more peaceful world.
  • Aker Brygge: Cool neighborhood in Central Oslo known for its shopping, dining and entertainment.
  • Spikersuppa Christmas Markets: One of the closest Christmas markets to Santa's North Pole, so it must be good.

 

Norwegian Fjords

Cruise ship in Norwegian Fjords

The Fjords are long, narrow and breathtaking bodies of water that reach far into the Norwegian Lapland through deep valleys flanked by mountains. Norway has over 1700 fjords, and thankfully many of these natural wonders can be accessed by large ships. If the Norwegian fjords are on the itinerary, then the city of Bergen most likely will be too. Storylines residents can also embark on a port-to-port train ride on the famous Oslo to Norway Bergen Railway before linking back up with the ship. The train travel scenery is spectacular, especially during winter. It’s like the polar express!

 

Lofoten Islands and the Northern Lights

Northern Lights over Lofoten Islands traveling Scandinavia

The Lofoten Islands are off the northern Norwegian coast. They consist of charming Santa Claus-like villages from the North Pole in wintertime. It's important to note that while the Loften Islands were explicitly requested, they are within the Arctic Circle and as MV Narrative is not ice-class rated, we cannot guarantee that the ship will journey here.

If possible, during summertime, MV Narrative  could dock at Stamsund on Vestvagoy or at Svolvaer on Austvagoya. If you cannot pronounce those names, you are not alone! These villages are famous as vantage points to see the northern lights during the winter months.

Lofoten must-see:

  • Lofotr Viking Museum: Fascinating museum has reconstructed a Viking chieftain’s village based on an archaeological excavation.
  • Svolvaer: A picturesque fishing village and harbour at the heart of Lofoten.
  • Trollfjord: Take a boat tour up this beautiful 2km long Fjord
  • Kabelvåg: Cute, a picturesque little village
  • Reine: Another beautiful village beneath a giant wall of granite shooting out of the Arctic Sea.
  • Aurora Borealis: The world-famous northern lights are a sight to behold.
  • Dog sledding: Book a tour to experience this unusual form of transport.

 

The Arctic Circle

Beautiful sunset over snowcapped mountains reflected off the sea in the Arctic Circle near Scandinavia

The Arctic Circle is the area that spans the top of the Earth and is bordered by Norway, Russia, the United States, Canada and Greenland. Unsurprisingly, it is on many world travelers’ bucket lists. Known as one of the last places on Earth still relatively untouched, it boasts other-worldly landscapes, national parks, bountiful wildlife, ice fishing, the midnight sun and natural phenomena such as the northern lights (aurora borealis).

Although it was requested, MV Narrative might not make it past the Finnish Lapland or Swedish Lapland as the ship is not built for the Arctic environment.

Scandinavian volunteer opportunities

As Scandinavia is one of the wealthiest regions on Earth, environmental conservation is the best way to give back. One local and reputable organization is Wild Scandinavia, which runs various programs. One such program is its Beaver and Otter Research Project, where you get to explore the vast and beautiful forests of Scandinavia while carrying out critical research toward beaver and otter conservation.

 

Copenhagen

Copenhagen canal must-see while visiting Scandinavia

Ships such as MV Narrative dock at the Freeport Cruise Terminal in Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen consistently rates as the happiest city globally.  But what exactly about it makes them so happy? It cannot just be the world-famous Danish pastry, or the beautiful canals, social equality, community spirit and beer breweries. It could be all of those things. But we reckon we know the real secret to their happiness:

Hygge.

Say what? Hygge roughly translates to coziness. And the Danes have coziness down to a fine art. They achieve hygge by creating a warm, cozy atmosphere while enjoying the good things in life with great people. Think of snuggling up with a loved one in front of the fire with a fine glass of red wine - that's hygge. The entire country loves hygge, and even the Danish royal family in their royal palace gets into it!

Copenhagen must-see:
  • The Round Tower: One of the most iconic buildings in Copenhagen, this 17th Century tower and observatory is like stepping back in time. Ascend the spiral path to the top, where you will be rewarded with the city's best view.
  • Nyhavn: This famous seaside strip was once notorious for sailors, beer and prostitutes.
  • Amalienborg Palace: Go behind the scenes of one of the world's oldest monarchies.
  • Christiania: Visit this eclectic community and commune for something a little different.
  • National Gallery of Art: Learn about this remarkable country's rich history and culture.
  • Little Mermaid statue: Famous statue in tribute to Danish storyteller Hans Christian Anderson that has survived excessive vandalism, including being beheaded.
  • Any ice cream: Just pick any ice cream parlor, and it's bound to be good.

 

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland with mountains in background

Iceland's tourism is booming and the government recently invested over $12 million in tourism infrastructure. This bodes well for Storylines when our MV Narrative cruises into the main ports of Reykjavik, roughly 2 miles from the city center. Shuttles are on standby to take you into town, or you can self drive a rental car.

Reykjavik is by no means a large city, meaning you can easily explore on foot. There are plenty of choices for galleries, museums, cafes and restaurants. However, we highly recommend tours visiting the city's seven thermal baths and pools in the great outdoors. There is simply no better way to relax.

Once again, the City Sightseeing hop on hop off busses are a great way to take in all this city offers. They come every half hour and take you everywhere you need to go, including the thermal baths.

For our scuba diving enthusiasts, a bucket list item is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Thingvellir. This is the only place where you can dive between two continents. A crack between two tectonic plates has created crystal-clear glacial meltwater. As a result, it is fast becoming one of the most popular dive spots in the world.

Reykjavik highlights:

  • Hiking Esjan: Hike one of the most popular trails in Iceland, which leads to a volcanic mountain range called Esjan.
  • The Sun Voyager: Gleaming steel sculpture created by Icelandic sculptor Jon Gunnar Arnason.
  • Hallgrímskirkja: This unique-looking church stands 244 ft tall.
  • Tjörnin: Take a walk around the lake in central Reykjavik.
  • Perlan: Reykjavik's top tourist attraction isn't your average museum. Expect an experience like no other.
  • Nauthólsvík: Take a dip at this geothermal beach that attracts visitors from all over the world.
  • Viðey Island: Visit this island of nature, art and history just beyond the city shore.
  • Laugardalur: The experience of tiptoeing over frozen ground then into the warm bath-like water of this geothermal pool is next-level.
  • Ice fishing: Take an ice fishing tour on a snowmobile.

 

St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg Palace and Gardens

St. Petersburg is not technically a part of Scandinavia. Still, it's close, right next to Finland, which we bypassed...Sorry Finland! The Port of St. Petersburg is massive and can accommodate up to 7 cruise liners at once.

Known for its rich history, culture and architectural landmarks, St. Petersburg is known as Russia's cultural capital. This seductive old town is brimming with historic sculptures, baroque palaces, immaculate gardens, and centuries-old cathedrals with distinctive onion dome-style architecture. Conveniently, the Port of St. Petersburg is located in the heart of the city center. You can easily explore all the top attractions of the old town on foot or by guided tour. Be sure to try the local cuisine; it is superb.

St. Petersburg highlights:

  • State Hermitage Museum: Learn about the history, art and culture of St. Petersburg in the largest museum in the world by gallery space.
  • Palace Square: The central city square of St. Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire.
  • Senate Square: Another iconic city square.
  • The Canals: Explore the canals on foot or boat.
  • Vasilevskiy Island: The largest island of St. Petersburg and the city's historic center.
  • Peterhof Palace: An impressive series of manicured gardens and palaces.
  • Nevsky Ave: Take a historic stroll along Nevsky Ave.
  • Church of the Savior of Spilled Blood: One of St. Petersburg's main attractions, this Russian Orthodox church also serves as a museum.
  • Saint Isaac's Cathedral: An architectural masterpiece and one of the most impressive landmarks of the Russian Imperial Capital.

There you have it, Scandinavian itinerary - done!  What an incredible region this will be to explore. Be sure to join us on our next leg of the journey…western Europe and the Mediterranean Sea!

About Storylines

Storylines is a luxury lifestyle ship with a like-minded community of globally-conscious citizens traveling the world. We seek unique experiences, cultural events, and community participation while practicing and promoting sustainable travel. To learn more, visit our website.

Topics: Experience, Travel the World, All-Inclusive Cruises

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