To view Discover the World’s supplier’s terms and conditions click here.
An Arctic rail odyssey
This incredible three-week odyssey takes you to - and beyond - the Arctic Circle and because it's available year-round, you can choose summer for the midnight sun or travel in September, October and March to catch the Northern Lights.
Setting out from London via Cologne, you will take in all three
Scandinavian capitals - Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo - with their
rich history and exciting design, fashion and cuisine.
You will have the chance to take in the original (and best) Icehotel, plus have the chance to stay in Swedish Lapland's equally extraordinary Treehotel.
Whenever you opt to travel, the world-renowned scenic rail journeys - including the Dovre and Rauma Lines and the epic Nordland and Arctic Circle trains - will live long in the memory.
As will the dragon-back peaks of the Lofoten Islands, the dizzying heights of fjord scenery, the Viking heritage at Trondheim, Swedish style at Malmö and gastronomy in Gothenburg. All this without an airport in sight. Surely this is the antidote to lockdown we have all been craving!
Reasons to book
Wealth of experiences
Spring, summer and autumn travel
- All rail travel, accommodation, Hurtigruten boat travel (from Bodø to Svolvær) and transfers to Icehotel and Treehotel
- Stays at the Icehotel and Treehotel
- Optional boat trips around the Lofoten Islands, Trollfjord and Saltstraumen
- Independent tour
- All accommodation, taxes, charges and services of knowledgeable local guides
Day1London to CologneCologne, Germany
Depart London on Eurostar to Brussels and continue to Cologne, arriving late afternoon. Explore the historic centre, dominated by the impressive Kölner 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.
Day2Cologne to CopenhagenCopenhagen, Denmark
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 Anderson's Little Mermaid, gazing wistfully across the water. To appreciate a spot of Danish hygge, head to the soulful neighbourhood of Christianshavn. Overnight Copenhagen.
Day4Copenhagen to GothenburgGothenburg, Sweden
Leaving Copenhagen, travel by train across the 8km-long Øresund 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.
Day5Gothenburg to OsloOslo, Norway
Today's rail journey takes you north along the coastline of West Sweden 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.
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.
Day7Oslo to ÅndalsnesÅndalsnes, Norway
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 Sødahlshuset, meanwhile, is the perfect spot for a coffee and a chance to browse local ceramics and handcrafts. Overnight Åndalsnes.
Day8Åndalsnes to TrondheimTrondheim, Norway
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.
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 Trondelag 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. Overnight Trondheim.
Day10Trondheim to BodøBodo, Norway
Today, you 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. Overnight Bodø.
Day11Bodø to SvolværSvolvær, Norway
With the morning free to explore Bodø and its stunning natural surroundings, you may want to take an optional boat trip, travelling by high-speed RIB, to the Saltstraumen - one of the world's strongest tidal currents. The famous maelstrom occurs when tidal conditions force some 400 million cubic metres of water through the narrow straits near Bodø. The churning waters and 10m-wide whirlpools create ideal feeding conditions for fish and that, in turn, supports the world's densest population of white-tailed eagles.
Alternatively, enjoy an equally invigorating hike in the mountains that form a majestic backdrop to the town. In the afternoon, at 15:00, depart Bodø on the Hurtigruten line, sailing to the Lofoten Islands, keeping watch for eagles and whales, before arriving in Svolvær at 21:00. Spend the following two nights in Svolvær.
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.
A short drive 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. Overnight Svolvær.
Day13Svolvær to NarvikNarvik, Norway
Enjoy a scenic bus journey, lasting around four hours, from Svolvær 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.
Day14Narvik to KirunaKiruna, Sweden
Today, your travel by rail 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 colder months 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 recent 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 here.
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 spa sessions, wilderness experiences and ice sculpting. Overnight at the Icehotel, in either warm or cold accommodation.
Day16Kiruna to BodenBoden, Sweden
Continue by train across Swedish Lapland to Boden, home of the Treehotel. Spend the following two nights here, perhaps with a night in each of these amazing architectural creations. Like the Icehotel, the Treehotel is one of the truly amazing places to stay in the world.
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, perhaps enjoying the luxury of the 7th Room treehouse, that you appreciate the innovation, attention to detail and sense of fun that has gone into creating this arboreal masterpiece.
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 colder months, take your pick from snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, husky sledding, northern lights watching and finding out about the indigenous culture of the Sámi people. There's also plenty of opportunity to relax with an indulgent day of spa treatments, either at the river, or in the forest. Our Travel Specialists will be able to advise you and prebook everything.
Day18Boden to StockholmStockholm, Sweden
An option to fly home from Luleå or take the scenic rail journey to Stockholm. 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 historic square. You will find ample choice of cafés, bistros and restaurants, each offering local gastronomic specialities. Overnight 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 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. Overnight Stockholm.
Day20Stockholm to MalmöMalmö, Sweden
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 Malmö.
Day21Malmö to HamburgHamburg, Germany
Travel back over the Øresund 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.
Day22Hamburg to LondonHamburg, Germany
Take the morning train to Cologne and on to Brussels, before changing to the Eurostar service to London St Pancras.