Spec­tac­u­lar Scan­di­navia

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

SCAN­DI­NAVIA is renowned as one of the most beau­ti­ful re­gions on Earth, with the fjords of coastal Nor­way the jewel in the crown where cliffs plum­met more than 1000m into the water and pic­turesque farms cling to the moun­tain­side.

Of­fer­ing some­thing for all trav­ellers, Scan­di­navia com­bines lively cul­tures, modern de­sign, old tra­di­tions, ad­ven­ture and a mag­nif­i­cent land­scape. Leisurely coastal cruises take in many well­known at­trac­tions, while on land ad­ven­tures in­clude hut-to-hut treks across spec­tac­u­lar moun­tain ranges.

New Nordic cui­sine pre­pared by lead­ing chefs will be es­pe­cially wel­come af­ter days of raft­ing, kayak­ing or cod fish­ing un­der long light days of the mid-sum­mer sun, when golden twi­light stretches into the next day’s dawn.

The Geiranger­fjord and Naeroyfjord in the west Nor­we­gian fjord are among the world’s long­est and deep­est fjords and are con­sid­ered among the most sceni­cally out­stand­ing any­where in the world.

The sheer walls of the fjords have nu­mer­ous wa­ter­falls while freeflow­ing rivers cross their de­cid­u­ous and conif­er­ous forests to glacial lakes, glaciers and rugged moun­tains.

Far­ther south, the his­toric and cul­tur­ally rich area that sur­rounds the Baltic Sea in­cludes the strik­ing steeples and tow­er­ing spires dom­i­nat­ing Hanseatic cap­i­tals like Riga, Tallinn and charm­ing Ro­s­tock, and the gleam­ing gold-domed cathe­drals of St Peters­burg.

High­lights of the Baltic in­clude the his­toric town of Copen­hagen – land of Hans Chris­tian An­der­sen and his Lit­tle Mer­maid, a royal fam­ily well­known to all Aus­tralians and sleek Dan­ish de­signs from names such as Ge­org Jensen.

An­other un­for­get­table high­light is St Peters­burg. Founded in 1703, St Peters­burg was cre­ated by Peter the Great as his win­dow on the West and has an im­pres­sive list of names and his­toric events to its credit. Think Cather­ine the Great and Yusupov Palace, where Rasputin was mur­dered. Wan­der­ing the cob­bled streets of Tallinn, the old me­dieval walled city with Ger­man Hanseatic roots, will trans­port you back to the Dark Ages. The me­dieval town of Visby, on the Swedish is­land of Got­land, is a won­der­ful walk­ing town, although a lit­tle hilly.

Fin­land’s cap­i­tal Helsinki may take you by sur­prise. Each day, a won­der­ful mar­ket, sell­ing lo­cal crafts pro­duced by Sami tra­di­tions, flow­ers and the fresh­est and big­gest berries you’ll likely see, is set up by the har­bour.

Phil Hoff­mann Travel of­fers a huge se­lec­tion of hol­i­days to Scan­di­navia and the Baltic in­clud­ing ex­cep­tion­al­value cruis­ing with Hol­land Amer­ica Line ‘‘ Scan­di­navia and Fjords’’ 21-night fly-cruise pack­age from $5820 a per­son, twin share.

The pack­age in­cludes re­turn air­fares from Ade­laide and the cruise is hosted by ex­pe­ri­enced Phil Hoff­mann Travel cruise spe­cial­ist Ker­rie Lee. Other dates and cruises and tours are avail­able.

For book­ings, in­quiries and more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Phil Hoff­mann Travel on 8350 5700 or visit www.pht.com.au.

COLOUR­FUL: Take a leisurely stroll along one of Nor­way’s wharves.

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