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.