SCANDINAVIA AND ICELAND - Academy Travel Iceland to the iconic works of Edvard Munch and the flourishing

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  • Overview The Nordic world is a distinct cultural region which has developed from the age of the Vikings, Danes and Swedes to become a world leader in fields, such as design, architecture, education, politics and even, with the success of Nordic noir, television. The extraordinary landscapes of the region – from the forests to the fjords of Norway, the fields of Sweden and the lava flows and glaciers of Iceland – have been a constant source of inspiration, as have the values that have helped these societies flourish in an often-inhospitable environment. This tour takes you beyond the clichés to discover the deep relationships between people, landscape and history, from the megalithic standing stones of Ales in southern Sweden and the enchanted landscapes of Iceland to the iconic works of Edvard Munch and the flourishing modern culture we see today. The tour begins in Copenhagen, where we explore the enduring legacy of the Danish monarchy immortalised by Hamlet’s Elsinore, and the development of the modern Scandinavian design movement through such figures as Jorn Utzon and Arne Jacobsen. We then travel to Norway, to explore the great achievements of its explorers and adventurers, the emergence of Oslo and Bergen as twin cultural capitals, and to experience the sublime majesty of its fjords. The tour concludes in Iceland, where we enjoy varied, pristine environments, see the innovative ways that Icelanders have come to flourish on the edge of the Arctic, and how myths and legends permeate contemporary culture.

    Your tour leader Dr Nick Gordon holds a University Medal and PhD in History from the University of Sydney. He specialises in medieval and early modern European history and has taught at Australian universities for 10 years, on topics ranging from Ancient Greek democracy to the art and culture of Renaissance Italy, the French and industrial revolutions and the rise of modern psychology. He has presented numerous popular art history courses at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education, and

    is a regular speaker in the Nicholson Museum’s public lecture series. Nick’s academic expertise is complemented by the specialised knowledge he has gained as a practicing artist, and he brings these insights to the art enjoyed throughout this tour. Nick has been leading cultural tours to Europe since 2006 and his passion and for the extraordinary art and history of the region led him to develop this tour in 2014. Previous participants on tour with Nick have remarked:

    “Nick was an extremely knowledgeable guide; he organised us very well; he was calm and unflappable; and his lectures were excellent.”

    “Nick Gordon was an excellent tour leader with deep and comprehensive knowledge, excellent rapport and organisational skills.”


    Tour dates: June 11-25, 2018

    Tour leader: Dr Nick Gordon

    Tour Price: $10,720 per person, twin share

    Single Supplement: $2,430 for sole use of double room

    Booking deposit: $500 per person

    Recommended airline: British Airways

    Maximum places: 20

    Itinerary: Copenhagen (4 nights), Copenhagen- Oslo Cruise Ferry (1 Night), Oslo (2 nights), Bergen (2 nights), Iceland (5 nights)

    Date published: June 5, 2017

    Enquiries and bookings

    For further information and to secure a place on this tour please contact Jemma York at Academy Travel on 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699 (outside Sydney) or email

  • Tour Highlights

    SCANDINAVIAN DESIGN Scandinavia’s flair for design has ongoing influence, ranging from the distinctive mid-century modern aesthetic of designers such as Arne Jacobsen to the expressive architecture of Jorn Utzon and Henning Larsen’s opera houses in Copenhagen and Reykjavik. Explore this wonderful modern heritage and the cultural and historic influences that led to its creation.

    LANDSCAPES OF ICELAND Iceland’s landscapes are stunning, from its glaciers, mountains, lava flows, basalt cliffs, waterfalls and glowing golden fields of moss and lichen. They are also central to Icelandic culture and identity, from the time of the sagas to modern movements to protect the houses of elves and other mystical beings and to preserve the environment through novel uses of technology.

    MODERN ART AND ARCHITECTURE Enjoy spectacular private collections of modern art, such as the Louisiana Museum, set on the coastline a short distance north of Copenhagen, to the most important collections of the works of Edvard Munch in Oslo and Bergen. Explore the development of the Nordic style from World Heritage-listed Cathedral of Lund to the birth of Nordic modernism in the age of Hans Christen Andersen.

    THE FJORDS OF NORWAY Experience the pristine fjords of Western Norway, where rugged mountains rise 1,700 metres high directly from the sea (and plunge 1,300 meters below it). We travel the length of the Sognefjord, from central Norway to Bergen, where waterfalls cascade into narrow, fertile valleys and streams flow through isolated communities.

    THE NORDIC WORLD Explore the influence of the Nordic world on western history and culture, from the mysterious Viking standing stones of Ales, to the lands of the Icelandic sagas and Norse mythology, the rise of the Kingdom of Denmark, immortalised by Shakespeare’s Hamlet set in Elsinor Castle, the maritime adventures of Eric the Red, Thor Heyerdal and the polar expeditions of Raold Amundsen.

  • Detailed itinerary Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.

    Monday 11 June Arrive and Copenhagen by Water

    The tour commences in the hotel this afternoon, where Dr Nick Gordon will meet you for a walking tour of old Copenhagen. We then tour the city by boat, seeing the transformation of the city from the Renaissance capital of the Danish monarchy to the flourishing modern city known for its excellent contemporary architecture. There is a light dinner this evening in a superior local restaurant on the waterfront. Overnight Copenhagen (D)

    Tuesday 12 June The Nordic World

    Today we explore the history and culture of the Nordic world. After a talk in the hotel, we visit the National Museum, which has one of the finest collections of art and antiquities from prehistoric Scandinavia to the rise and fall of the Vikings. Highlights of the museum include the Trundholm Chariot of the Sun, extraordinary finds from Viking tombs and the first Danish kings, and prehistoric bog bodies. The early afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to explore the nearby Ny Carlsberg Gyptotek, the private collection of the Carlsberg dynasty, which has a renowned collection of Gauguins and antiquities from Egypt and Rome. In the late afternoon, we have a guided tour of Henning Larsen’s Opera House, with its state of the art facilities (many of which are below sea level) and superb interior decoration. Dinner is at Nimb, a fine restaurant overlooking the historic Tivoli Gardens. Overnight Copenhagen. (B, D)

    Wednesday 13 June Helsinor and Louisiana

    This morning we travel north along the Zealand coastline to Kronborg Castle in Helsingor, better known to English speakers as ‘Elsinor’, the setting of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After a tour we head to the nearby Louisiana Museum of Art. A private collection in a magnificent waterside garden setting, Louisiana features a permanent collection of 20th-century masterpieces by the likes of Giacometti, Henry Moore, Isamu Naguchi, Francis Bacon, and hosts outstanding temporary exhibitions. Overnight Copenhagen (B)

    Thursday 14 June Southern Sweden

    The landscapes of Southern Sweden are quite different from the rest of Scandinavia: its gently rolling and verdant hills may be familiar to you from Wallander. This region has also been vital to the history of the region because of its proximity to continental Europe and its potential to dominate Baltic trade routes. Our tour today takes us over the Oresund Bridge, which connects Denmark to Sweden, and onto Lund. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cathedral of Lund was the centre of Christianity

    Nyhavn, Copenhagen

    Trundholm Chariot of the Sun, National Museum Copenhagen

    Louisiana Museum of Art, Copenhagen

  • in Scandinavia from the 11th to 16th centuries and it is the best and one of the most beautiful example of medieval Scandinavian architecture. After touring the town and cathedral, we break for lunch and then continue across Southern Sweden to Ales to visit a remarkable megalithic iron age monument – standing stones arranged in the form of a boat. The site has been used for various purposes over the millennia, including burials and astronomical calculations, and remains somewhat mysterious. In the later afternoon, we return to Copenhagen via Istad. Overnight Copenhagen (B)

    Friday 15 June Danish Design

    Denmark’s reputation as a centre of modern design is well earned. We explore the origins and development of Danish design today, starting start with a visit to the highly original Grundtvig’s Church, whose combination of gothic architecture with early modernism captures the emergence of a distinct modern culture with its own social and aesthetic priorities. We then continue to the Bagsvaerd Church, designed by Jorn Utzon in the 1970s, immediately after his departure from Australia. The design combines elements of Japanese and Chinese aesthetics wi