Day : 1 Amsterdam
Your tour leader will be waiting for you at our hotel in the afternoon. After everyone's checked in, we'll take a canal cruise, one of the best ways to see this amazing city and its sights! We'll also enjoy dinner on board as the city drifts by. Tonight, we'll experience the unique ambiance of the Red Light District on a walking tour. Learn about the history of this picturesque city. Afterwards, your time is yours to spend as you like.
Day : 2 Amsterdam - Hamburg
Today we'll make our way to Germany, stopping along the way at a local Dutch farm to see how traditional clogs and local cheeses are made. After sampling some delicious cheese (this is the perfect place to pick up a souvenir) we'll make a photo stop at a nearby windmill, a common sight in the Dutch countryside! Then we'll travel through northern Germany, arriving in Hamburg in the late afternoon. You'll have plenty of free time to explore this powerhouse of German industrial chic.
Day : 3 Hamburg - Copenhagen
This morning after breakfast we'll cross the border and make our way to the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Welcome to Scandinavia! As we cross the border onto Danish soil, the drive towards Copenhagen offers fantastic views. On arrival in the Danish capital, enjoy a driving tour of the city. Your tour leader will introduce you to all the highlights, including the parliament house, Tivoli Gardens, town hall, Rosenborg, and the Little Mermaid statue. The city's prosperity and confidence are hard to miss, and it will soon be evident why this charming city has been voted one of the world's most liveable so many years in a row. It's clean, safe, easy to navigate, and blessed with cosy cafés and world-famous restaurants!
Day : 4 Copenhagen - Stockholm
This morning we'll leave Copenhagen and take a short drive north to the port town of Helsingør, home to Kronborg Castle, commonly known as Elsinore, the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet. We'll see the castle from the water as we take a short ferry ride to Sweden. It's then a long drive from the port of Helsingborg through the stunning rural Swedish scenery as we head toward the capital, Stockholm. Upon our arrival, we'll take an evening walking tour of the city center, seeing famous sights such as the Royal Palace, the narrowest alley and the AF Chapman ship.
Day : 5 Stockholm - Helsinki
Spend time this morning exploring the city of Stockholm! Gamla Stan is the old town, comprised of red, orange and terracotta-coloured buildings overlooking narrow cobblestone streets. The numerous islands that make up the town offer fascinating walks, especially through the Djurgården, where you can visit Skansen, the open-air Swedish history museum. Spot beautiful old ships in the harbor and visit some of the many world-class museums and art galleries. This afternoon we take an overnight ferry to Helsinki in Finland, another of the world's most liveable cities!
Day : 6 Helsinki
Arriving in the late morning, you'll have the whole afternoon to explore the Finnish capital at your own pace. An effortlessly cool city, Helsinki prides itself on being slightly off-the-wall, playing with decor and design traditions to humorous effect. Elegant cafés, magnificent museums and impressive Art Nouveau architecture all combine to create a city that is certain to leave an impression! If you want to escape the city, there is the option to explore the nearby Nuuksio National Park.
Day : 7 Helsinki - St. Petersburg
We'll depart Helsinki and make our way to the Russian border; get your passport ready for a new stamp that will be a real talking point!
We'll then continue on to the Russian city of St Petersburg! On arrival, we'll enjoy a comprehensive city tour with our local guide, spotting some of the more notable buildings and sights. Built by Italian architects and sporting neoclassical and baroque architecture that overlooks its many canals, this city stands in stark contrast to the red brick and onion domes of Moscow.
Alternatively, if you do not have the necessary visa to travel to Russia, you can elect to stay on for extra nights in Helsinki and Tallinn, where you will meet up with the group when they arrive from St Petersburg - there is a small extra charge for this. Please contact us for more information.
Day : 8 St. Petersburg
Today is yours to explore St Petersburg! Why not visit some of the great sights you saw on last night's tour? Join our optional day trip to Moscow (own expense).
Day : 9 St. Petersburg
Another free day in St Petersburg! Use your time to explore this fascinating city!
Perhaps join us on our optional tour of the world-famous Hermitage Museum, which also includes a visit to the Church of the Saviour on Blood, one of St Petersburg's most famous attractions. The church was built on the very spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated, and is dedicated to his memory. The Hermitage Museum, founded by Catherine the Great and now one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Some three million items make up its collection. The museum also boasts the largest collection of paintings in the world! This evening, an optional traditional Russian folk show is not be missed! Your tour leader will organize everything for you, including vodka and canapés (own expense).
Day : 10 St. Petersburg - Tallinn
Bidding farewell to St Petersburg, we'll travel once again to the Russian border, and then on to the capital of Estonia. Tallinn is one of Europe's most enchanting cities, with a strong medieval influence contrasted by its more modern buildings. Explore the winding cobbled lanes overlooked by medieval church spires, and investigate the cafés, bars and boutiques within the carved stone walls.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tallinn offers intriguing history while also managing to be a shopper's paradise. Ancient practices such as glass-blowing and pottery share the spotlight with Estonia's hip young fashion designers. After dinner this evening, be sure to check out Tallinn's alternative nightlife, from medieval taverns to cutting-edge bars and clubs.
For those who stayed on in Helsinki and skipped Russia, you'll have an extra night in Tallinn before the rest of the group arrives from St Petersburg.
Day : 11 Tallinn - Riga
Leaving Estonia, we'll enter Latvia and make for Riga, possibly the most vibrant of the Baltic cities and blessed with a culture that you'll find irresistible. In contrast to its smaller neighbors, Riga goes all out with a buzzing atmosphere and impressive Art-Nouveau architecture.
On arrival, your tour leader will take you on a walking tour of this impressive city and you can explore some of its famous landmarks and sights, including the famous central markets and many beautiful churches. This evening you'll have the option of taking a relaxing canal cruise around the city center.
Day : 12 Riga - Vilnius
Once we arrive in Vilnius, we'll take an orientation tour of the city before some free time. A seductive city, Lithuania's capital exudes Old Town charm, so much so that it's been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is also where you'll find the world's only statue of musician and composer Frank Zappa, and a self-proclaimed - though unofficial - independent republic of Uzupis, inhabited almost solely by artists and bohemians. In contrast to the medieval history, there are also reminders of Vilnius' more recent and darker past, including remnants of the ghettos where the Jewish community lived during Nazi occupation, and the influence of the Soviet Union.
Day : 13 Vilnius - Trakai - Warsaw
Our final destination in Lithuania is a comfort stop at Europe's only historic national park, the town of Trakai. The main attraction is undoubtedly a view of the iconic brick-built castle at its center, lying on an island surrounded by crystal-clear water. Arriving before the crowds of tourists, your pictures will be unspoiled!
Back on the road, we'll head towards the Polish border. The cultural hub of Poland, Warsaw, is a city of energy and action, racing to replace what was lost after being utterly destroyed in World War II. With classical music festivals, exciting and forward-thinking art exhibitions, and relics of its Communist past, there's certainly no shortage of culture here. On arrival, a local guide will take you on a city tour, focusing on the faithfully reconstructed Old Town, before going for a traditional Polish dinner.
Day : 14 Warsaw
Today is yours to spend as you wish! Visit some of the highly regarded museums, such as the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the Chopin Museum, or the extensive collections of the National Museum. Being Sunday, you can enjoy free entry to the Royal Palace, and the occasional free music concert in Lazienki Park. Alternatively, you can further explore the Old Town, or join us on an exhilarating optional Communist tour of Warsaw (own expense). You will be driven around in Communist-era Nysa vans, with eccentric drivers and an expert local guide!
Day : 15 Warsaw - Poznan - Berlin
Heading west through Poland, today's morning stop is in Poznan, famous for its historic Old Town and as a coronation city of the early Polish kings. On our way we will stop for an optional tour of the Lech Brewery, Poland's largest brewery and part of the SABMiller family.
We then cross into Germany and continue to the city of Berlin, which prospered under the rule of the Nazis leading up to the Second World War, and then endured the division of the cold war, symbolized by the Berlin Wall. This is a fascinating city with a firm understanding of what it takes to rebuild and regenerate - the very essence of creativity. Reminders of the past are everywhere, but Berlin has a vibrant culture to enjoy, too. On arrival, we'll take a driving tour through the city and see some of the city's more famous landmarks before heading to our hotel.
Day : 16 Berlin
Today is a free day in Berlin, so take time to investigate some of the sights you would have seen yesterday, or strike out on your own to discover the city for yourself. The choice is yours!
If you choose, you can take a tour of Potsdam, jewel of the Prussian Empire. Alternatively, there is a sobering tour of Sachsenhausen concentration camp, one of the first to open to the public. The memorial stands as a reminder of the darkest days of Berlin’s history. For an incredible bird's eye view of the city, head up the Berlin TV tower - your tour leader will organise priority tickets so you can skip the line (own expense). Fancy some museum action? Head over to the museum island, for five world-class museums on one ticket. As one of the largest cities in Europe, Berlin offers an incredibly vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars, clubs and shows - from theatre to cabaret.
Day : 17 Berlin - Hannover - Amsterdam
After breakfast we'll head to Hannover, whose town center was reconstructed in the medieval style after WWII. Its compact size makes for the perfect destination to explore during your lunch stop! We'll then leave Germany and cross in the Netherlands, ultimately arriving in Amsterdam.
Day : 18 Amsterdam
Our tour concludes at the hotel after breakfast. Be sure to share your contact details with your fellow travelers. We hope you've enjoyed your Northern Explorer Tour as much as we have! Ideally located close to the airport, the hote runs a free shuttle service for thoseflying home today. Alternatively, you can extend your stay in Amsterdam and explore more of this incredible city.