Scandinavia in Summertime is heavenly, filled with golden days, long warm evenings, storybook castles, medieval villages and divine gardens. From Denmark to Sweden, to Estonia and St Petersburg, travel with Sandra & Graham Ross on this unforgettable Northern European garden journey.
Meet Graham and Sandra Ross at Sydney International Airport. Check-in at Emirates, 3 hours before departure, for our flight to Copenhagen.
Afternoon arrival into Copenhagen, the oldest kingdom in the world and Scandinavia’s largest and liveliest city. Check-in to your hotel located in the heart of the city. Radisson Collection Royal Hotel in Copenhagen was created by famed architect Arne Jacobsen in 1960 with interiors designed to impress. Guests can relax in an original Swan, Egg and Pot chair or eat with “AJ” cutlery in the 20th-floor restaurant. Free afternoon to settle into your new surroundings, perhaps take a stroll around the nearby Tivoli Gardens. Welcome Dinner this evening in your hotel.
Frederiksborg Castle is one of Denmark’s most famous. Situated on three islands surrounded by a lake and beautiful gardens, it’s simply breathtaking. Spend the morning here exploring, soaking up the rich history, architecture and picturesque gardens. Now fully restored to former glory, the baroque garden has a symmetrical axis following the lines of the castle with festive cascades and parterre flower beds. Look for the royal monograms executed in boxwood! This afternoon, take a tour of Copenhagen. See colourful Nyhavn, the pretty 17th-century canal district, the iconic Little Mermaid, and the Changing of the Guard at Amalienborg Palace. Accommodation: Radisson Collection Royal Hotel, Copenhagen
From Copenhagen this morning, travel to the picturesque island of Funen. Known as the ‘Garden Island’, Funen is covered in hedgerows, rolling hills and charming towns. First stop is the delightful Romantic Garden Sanderumgaard. Here you meet the owners for a guided tour, learning about the garden’s fascinating 200-year history and ambitious restoration projects. Lunch included in Odense, the home of Hans Christian Andersen. Onwards to Egeskov Castle where you step back in time to the 1500s. Europe’s best preserved Renaissance water castle, Egeskov Castle is extraordinary with its expansive moat, the beautiful Versailles-inspired gardens and astonishing 260-year-old hedges.
Travel to Helsingør for the ferry across the stunning Öresund Strait to Helsingborg in Sweden. Situated facing the strait is the beautiful Sofiero Palace, built in 1864 by Crown Prince Oscar for his wife Sofia. Later he gave Sofiero to his grandson Gustav Adolf. Crown Prince Gustav and his wife Margareta planned and loved this garden. Sofiero was a summer palace where the gardens flourished and today are amongst Sweden’s finest. On his death, Gustav bequeathed Sofiero to the city of Helsingborg. Lunch included today. Travel on to Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden, founded by Gustav II Adolf in 1621.
Gothenburg’s Horticultural Gardens are world famous. A beautiful public garden in the heart of the city with rosarium, palm house, butterfly house and brilliant potted gardens. Take a guided tour here then an included lunch in the garden restaurant. Spend the afternoon exploring Haga, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg. The pedestrian street Haga Nygata is lined with well-preserved houses, many in the characteristic Gothenburg style called “landshövdingehus” with one floor in brick and the rest in wood. Today they house independent shops and cafés, making Haga the perfect place to stop for a fika, a Swedish coffee break. Accommodation: Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel Gothenburg
Today is a visual feast as we journey through Sweden’s magnificent scenery from Gothenburg northeast to Stockholm. Take in the vast beauty of Lake Vänern, Sweden’s largest lake, then continue up to Örebro for lunch overlooking the 700-year-old Örebro Castle. Next is Enköping and the Piet Oudolf designed Dream Park. Planted with Oudolf’s favourite plants, his ‘dream seedlings’, where contrasting blocks form a giant tapestry of colour and texture. The park’s exciting mix of wilderness and cultivation goes to the heart of Oudolf’s genius. Afternoon arrival in Stockholm. Check into your elegant hotel and enjoy an included dinner tonight.
Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family and UNESCO World Heritage site. Located on an island in Lake Mälar, this beautifully preserved royal castle was built in the 1600s. On your guided tour, visit the staterooms of the Palace and the Baroque gardens. Catch a ferry back into the city. Visit the Vasa Museum to see the famous 17th-century warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. Free time this afternoon, perhaps take a stroll through Gamla Stan, the Old Town and explore its narrow cobbled streets and antique shops. Accommodation: Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel, Stockholm
Travel to Uppsala to visit Linnaeus Garden, Sweden’s oldest botanic garden founded in 1655, and the Linnaeus Museum, the former home of Carl Linnaeus, Sweden’s greatest botanist. In the Linnaeus Garden, you’ll see plants Linnaeus was known to have grown arranged according to his sketches. The formal garden with geometric layout has been restored according to a plan from 1750 and you see the distinction between spring and autumn flowering plants, and different aquatic ecosystems. Visit Uppsala University Botanic Garden, where Linnaeus taught botany. Get a glimpse of another time at Uppsala’s Viking burial mounds.
On the island of Södermalm are the Tantolunden Allotment Gardens where prettily painted cottages, white picket fences, neatly clipped hedges and colourful gardens give new meaning to ‘picture perfect’. These charming allotments are some of the oldest in Stockholm and will inspire with their stylish, small space growing ideas. Rosendal Garden is an oasis for sustainable farming in the centre of the city, growing food and flowers using biodynamic practices. This afternoon, head to Stockholm Ferry Terminal and board your overnight ferry to Estonia. Experience the thrill of crossing the Baltic Sea sailing along an age-old Viking sea route.
Arrive at Tallinn ferry terminal and transfer to your luxurious hotel in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town. The capital of Estonia, Tallinn is breathtakingly beautiful and the best preserved medieval city in Northern Europe. With origins that stretch back to the 1300s, the Old Town was once the home to wealthy merchants settling from Germany, Denmark and beyond. The city remains largely unchanged and today you join a local guide for a walking tour taking in the winding cobbled streets, hidden squares, Gothic spires, intriguing architecture and soaring bell towers. Dinner together tonight in a medieval restaurant.
Morning visit to Kadriorg Palace and restored gardens of Peter the Great. Built in 1718 when Estonia was incorporated in Russian territory, he named it in honour of Catherine 1st, as a summer palace for Russian Tsars. Later it became the residence of the Estonian President. French style gardens with fountains, hedges and flower parterres complement the palace. After extensive restoration the Flower Garden, Swan Pond were opened in 2000. Visit Tallinn Botanic Gardens then board your train to St Petersburg for a memorable journey. Sit back, relax and watch the gorgeous scenery of pine forest and villages whizz by.
St Petersburg, the former capital of the Russian empire, is the embodiment of the pride and glory of the Russian state. Founded in 1703, the city was planned by Emperor Peter 1 as a northern ‘paradise’ – a city of canals to rival Venice. Explore this dazzling city with a local guide. Visit the Peter and Paul Fortress, Church of Our Saviour on Spilled Blood and St Nicholas Church. Lunch included. Visit the Hermitage where collections are displayed in a complex of six historic palaces including the Winter Palace, former state residence of the Russian emperors.
Take the hydrofoil this morning from the jetty near The Hermitage to Peterhof, the summer palace of Peter the Great who wanted his gardens to be the centrepiece of his Russian Versailles. Opulent and extravagant, the now UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered Peter the Great’s crowning achievement. A gravity fed water system 22 km long, was turned on in 1721 to power more than 176 fountains, water that flows down the marble steps of the double cascade and into the canal that flows into the Gulf of Finland. Dinner included before heading to the ballet at the famous Mariinsky Theatre.
Catherine Palace this morning to see the favourite summer residence of Catherine the Great. Its vast park is decorated with monuments to Russian classicism; Palladian Bridge, Greater Pond and pavilions. The palace was given to Catherine by her husband Peter the Great and is a stunning example of the Russian Baroque style opulently decorated with lavish interiors. Pavlovsk Palace was gifted by Empress Catherine to her son Paul in 1777. It became the only country estate on the outskirts of Petersburg to have complete stylistic integrity with one of Europe’s most beautiful palaces, set in its own park with ten pavilions making an exquisite ensemble. Evening departure to the airport for our flight home.
You will be contacted by a Ross Tours Travel Manager to confirm your details and preferred method of payment.
Please refer to the Ross Garden Tours standard terms and conditions