The Nordic-Baltic Tour 2018 was planned out for 11 days that covered four countries. We focused on the capital cities of Sweden, Finland and Estonia, and for Norway, we tried covering the capital city and a few more. Scandinavia consists of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. In broader terms, Finland and Iceland are also included when talking about the Nordic Countries. All countries share history and boundaries to varying degree. Since we explored Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia, we would like to refer our trip as Nordic-Baltic Tour. Estonia is one of the three Baltic states. The other two states are Latvia, and Lithuania.
Scandinavia’s largest country by area and population with mountains in the north, woodlands in the center and plains in the south, and the Swedish Archipelago is the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic Countries. It is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden.
We arrived in Stockholm from Los Angeles by SAS airlines and took a bus ride to the city central. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea.
We explored Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm, Stortorget – a small public square that had witnessed Stockholm Bloodbath in 1520, Nobel Museum, Stockholm cathedral, Stockholm Palace and took a stroll along Drottninggatan (Queen Street), Vasa Museum, & ABBA Museum. We took the boat trip “Stockholm Under the Bridges” to cover Stockholm, on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago. We passed through the locks which is connecting Lake Mälaren with the Baltic Sea and was able to feel the rising and lowering level of waters between the lake and the sea.
Finland borders with Sweden, Norway and Russia. Its capital, Helsinki, occupies a peninsula and surrounding islands in the Baltic Sea. Helsinki is home to the 18th-century sea fortress Suomenlinna, the fashionable Design District and diverse museums. We took an overnight cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki. It was a great experience for us. We had a cabin closer to Captain’s deck and didn’t feel any motion. We explored National Museum of Finland, Helsinki Cathedral and Market Square.
We took a boat sightseeing cruise to see the beautiful shorelines of Helsinki. We passed many famous sights, including the historic Suomenlinna Fortress, Helsinki Zoo on Korkeasaari Island, the fleet of icebreakers and Degerö Canal.
We took a two and half day time cruise to Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. We explored Tallinn’s Old Town which is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and visited Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, where in 1988 that Estonia’s massive, musical demonstration against Soviet rule set the nation on its road towards re-independence. We came back to Helsinki the same evening.
From Helsinki, we took a flight to Oslo, the capital city of Norway. A country of fjords, tunnels, and the waterfalls. The lush green and the waters around you would make you why you haven’t visited this country before. The people are friendly and courteous. The Norwegian culture and history and its richness amazed us. We explored the city, Oslo Opera House, and Nobel Peace Museum.
Then we took the Norway in a nutshell trip to enjoy Norway’s most beautiful fjord scenery. The scenic Bergen Railway, the breathtaking Flåm Railway, the Aurlandsfjord, the narrow and dramatic UNESCO-protected Nærøyfjord and a bus trip through the beautiful scenery of Western Norway. It was a day long trip and we reached Bergen around 9 pm. This is not a guided tour and you will have to be watchful about when and where to get off the train to catch the Flåm Railway because the train that we catch at Oslo goes straight to Bergen.
Bergen is Norway’s second largest city, and lies clambering up the mountain sides, overlooking the sea, embracing you. Founded more than 900 years ago, the city has roots to the Viking Age. We explored Bryggen – the UNESCO Heritage site. We explored a few mountains Mount Ulriken and Mount Floyen. From Bergen, we took a rental car and drove up to Trondheim. We went on the Atlantic Road Highway, which is famous for it iconic moonrise photo. The drive over the bridge whether with moon or no moon, was equally mesmerizing. Trondheim is a city on the Trondheim Fjord, in central Norway. Its Old Town Bridge was on Bing’s Homepage and we thought it would be fun to explore this place too. The Old town bridge was a great place to check it out. It is the third largest city in Norway and we explored the city and Nidoras Cathedral and Old Town Bridge.
From Trondheim, we took a flight to Tromso, our final destination in Norway before we came to the end of our 11 day trip. We fell in love with Tromso for her beauty, and Arctic Cathedral and Wooden Cathedral and Northern lights dancing over our heads.
Time to head back home: We took a flight from Tromso to Stockholm with a stopover at Oslo. The next day we flew back to LAX.
Food: Being a vegetarian, our worries about food became worthless. We were able to get very good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
People: The people were friendly and courteous. They helped us with the native pronunciations. No fears about pickpockets and safe to walk about in the early hours and in the late hours.