In the Wake of the Vikings: Scotland, Norway and Denmark

Detailed Itinerary


Friday, June 13 - U.S.
Depart the U.S.
 
Saturday, June 14 - Glasgow, Scotland
Arrive in Glasgow, a dynamic Scottish city where the indelible mark of Viking conquest still permeates the art and culture. Transfer to the Five-Star m.s. Le Boréal. Depart for Isle of Skye.
 
Sunday, June 15 - Kyle of Lochalsh | Isle of Skye
Sail the coastline of romantic and ethereal Isle of Skye, from where Bonnie Prince Charlie, against the odds and with the help of Flora MacDonald, was able to escape to France. Skye is home to some of Scotland’s most phenomenal geography, and the mist, shafts of sunlight and vivid rainbows congregate here in a dazzling array of colors that seem to make the glens greener and the sea bluer. Anchor in the Kyle of  Lochalsh, tender ashore and visit Eilean Donan Castle, named for the sixth‑century Irish saint who founded the first community on the island. Constructed in the 13th century and destroyed during the Jacobite rising before being completely rebuilt in the 1930s, it now stands as one of the most iconic and recognizable castles in the world. At the ruins of Armadale Castle, stroll through a spectacular array of flora in the 17th-century gardens and learn about the powerful reign of Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles until 1493, during a tour of the Museum of the Isles. Join the Captain for a Welcome Reception on board this evening.
 
Monday, June 16 - Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
On the northwest coast of the Isle of Lewis, in the “necklace” of the Outer Hebrides Islands, walk amongst the mysterious standing stones of Callanish (or Calanais in Gaelic), undoubtedly the ancient jewel of the British Isles, and learn more about the ingenuity of this astronomical structure, which accurately aligns the equinoctial sunset and the Pleiades while charting the lunar cycle. Travel along the beautiful west coast of the island, a spectacular blend of rugged mountains, peat moors, pristine beaches, flower-speckled machair grazing land and barren rocky landscapes. Visit the site of Dun Carloway, a Pictish broch, built as a defensible residence around the last century B.C. Explore the restored Gearrannan Blackhouse Village settlement, with dramatic views of the Atlantic coast, and listen for Gaelic being spoken as you view displays of traditional crofting activities such as weaving or butter-making.
 
Tuesday, June 17 - Kirkwall, Orkney Islands
Experience the mystique of the Orkney Islands, remote islands ringed with red sandstone shimmering in the sea mist. Kirkwall, founded around 1035, is noted for having Britain’s most northerly cathedral, the 12th‑century Viking‑built St. Magnus Cathedral. Enjoy the gentle rolling landscape of the Neolithic heartland of Orkney, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its wealth of prehistoric archaeology. Pass the standing stones of Stenness and stop at the Ring of Brodgar, a huge semicircle of stones dating back to 3000 B.C. Continue to the 5000-year-old village of Skara Brae, a settlement built of stone that was only rediscovered in 1850 when a great storm wiped away its veil of sand. See Scapa Flow, one of the world’s largest natural harbors, first used by the Vikings and later made famous for its role in both world wars. Enjoy a tasting of authentic Scotch whisky during a tour of the award-winning Highland Park Distillery, believed to be founded in 1798 by the notorious smuggler Magnus Eunson. During afternoon tea on board the ship, listen to a seanachaí tell traditional stories that have been handed down by fireside hearths over the centuries in these remote isles.
 
Wednesday, June 18 - Lerwick, Shetland Islands
Explore the majestic Shetland Islands, declared a Global Geopark by UNESCO for their geologically diverse landscapes and seascapes carved and shaped by ice. Admire nature’s endlessly changing colors and textures and listen for the clamor of gannets and puffins crowding the extraordinary cliffs. Though remote, these islands have a unique 6000-year-old culture, where Scotland meets Scandinavia at this North Atlantic crossroads and legacies linger in the archaeology, dialect and traditional music. From Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, journey to the southernmost point of the island to visit Jarlshof, a pending UNESCO World Heritage site and an extraordinary settlement revealing 5000 years of human history, including late Neolithic stone houses, a Bronze-Age village, an Iron-Age broch and wheelhouse, Norse longhouses, a medieval farmstead and a 16th‑century laird’s house.
 
Thursday, June 19 - Bergen, Norway | Cruising the Norwegian Fjords
The city of Bergen was founded on an old Viking settlement in 1070 and has a proud history as an important part of the Hanseatic League’s trading empire from the 14th to mid‑16th centuries. Today Bergen’s Bryggen (the wharf) still flaunts its colorfully characteristic wooden houses, which are listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Tour Troldhaugen, the summer home of Edvard Grieg, Norway’s most famous composer, and walk the grounds of his estate, where he composed many of his finest works.
 
Friday, June 20 - Cruising the Norwegian Fjords and North Sea
Norway’s fjords and islands offer some of the most stunning coastal scenery in Europe. Watch the light play off granite cliffs and pristine cobalt blue waters, while cruising past the inland waterways once plied by Viking longships, passing traditional Norwegian farms and villages. Attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception this evening.
 
Saturday, June 21 - Copenhagen, Denmark | U.S.
Arrive in Denmark, the spiritual and historic home of the Vikings and from whence sailed their intrepid predecessors—Angles, Saxons and Jutes. Disembark in Copenhagen and continue on the Post-Cruise Option to further explore the rich heritage of the Men of the North. Or, depart for the U.S.

Pre-Cruise Option
Scottish Highlights, Edinburgh & Glasgow
Explore Scotland’s two great cities and their histories of feuding warlords, medieval villains and royal and religious intrigue. In Edinburgh, discover the historic Old Town, Royal Mile and iconic Edinburgh Castle and visit the Museum of Scotland for a glimpse of the nation’s formative years from the Bronze Age to Viking and Roman invasions. During a panoramic tour of Glasgow, walk through George Square, visit the city Chambers and the Tolbooth of Glasgow, Scotland’s most remarkable 17th‑century building. See the extensive collection of art and antiquities during a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Accommodations for two nights are in the deluxe Crown Plaza Edinburgh - The Roxburghe located in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town.

Post-Cruise Option
Home to the Men of the North
Scandinavia’s most cosmopolitan city and the capital of Denmark is an inviting and exuberant showcase of culture rooted in Viking ancestry, Hans Christian Anderson stories and historical architecture. See Amalienborg Palace and Tivoli Gardens and cruise the 400-year-old canals past Christiansborg Palace, the King’s Palace and gardens. In the nearby town of Roskilde visit its ancient cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and explore the Vikings’ life at sea in the fascinating Viking Ship Museum. Accommodations for two nights are in the centrally located, deluxe Copenhagen Marriott Hotel.

If you have any additional questions, please email us at aia@studytours.org (and include your full name) or call us toll-free at (800) 748-6262 (toll: 603-756-2884).

 

Highlighted Tours

October 16, 2014 - October 26, 2014
September 3, 2014 - September 15, 2014

Dig Deeper

Email the AIA
Subscribe to the AIA e-Update

Sign Up!