Art, Architecture and Design in Scandinavia
Simplicity, elegance and egalitarianism. These are the hallmarks of Scandinavia’s fusion of sleek Modernism and artistic tradition that has given the world many of its art, architecture and design icons of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Begin in Copenhagen, the thriving heart of Danish Modernist design and Functionalist architecture which also boasts a wealth of traditional and contemporary art museums. Travel across the countryside of central Zealand to the Jutland peninsula to visit Århus, a centre for art and interior design, and Ålborg, home of the Jørn Utzon Centre honouring the architect of the Sydney Opera House. Explore Oslo, home of famous Expressionist artist Edvard Munch, where traditional Norwegian vernacular architecture now meets Functionalism and a renewed Aesthetics movement. Continue to beautiful Balestrand, whose mountains and fjords inspired many 20th century landscape painters. Conclude in Bergen, the fjord city where Hanseatic architecture meets modern Scandinavian street art.
This tour is part of the World Art Tours program organised by the Art Gallery Society of NSW in partnership with Renaissance Tours.
Depart Australia or New Zealand in the afternoon on suggested Qantas/Emirates flights to Copenhagen. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
Overnight in flight.
Arrive in Copenhagen and make your way to the hotel.
In the evening, join Rosamund and fellow travellers for a welcome dinner and briefing.
Start the morning with an introductory talk by Rosamund and then acquaint yourself with the city of Copenhagen on a harbour cruise, followed by visits to the renowned architecture of the Circle Bridge, Opera House and Royal Library buildings.
After lunch, visit the Rosenborg Castle, where Denmark’s crown jewels and royal treasures spanning 400 years of history are displayed. In the evening, enjoy a guided tour of the National Gallery of Denmark, with its diverse display from the European Renaissance to contemporary artists, including its famed Matisse collection.
This morning, head to Grundtvig’s Church, where Gothic-style interiors blend with a geometric, modern exterior. Built in the early 1920s and named after Denmark’s 19th century philosopher N.F.S. Grundtvig, the church has two organs and used nearly 5 million yellow bricks in its construction. Travel onwards to Bagsværd Church, whose architect, Jørn Utzon, also designed the Sydney Opera House. Continue on to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and enjoy a guided tour.
In the afternoon, explore Frederiksborg Slot before returning to Copenhagen for a walk in the Superkilen park. Described as a giant surrealist universal garden, Superkilen exhibits the varying everyday objects found in urban spaces across the world. Finish the day with a visit to the Kastrup Sea Baths and the developing Ørestad complex.
Begin the day at the Design Museum, home of the largest library dedicated to industrial design and decorative arts in Scandinavia. Afterwards, explore 19th and 20th century art history at the Hirschsprung Museum.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, to stroll through Tivoli Gardens, the Thorvaldsen Museum or the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Art Museum, or wander instead through the shops and streets of Denmark’s capital.
Over the next two days, your special guide will be Count Henrik Holstein, a renowned writer and speaker on historical matters who resides in Roskilde.
Check out from the hotel and travel to Skjoldenæsholm. En route, stop for a guided visit of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Roskilde Cathedral, considered one of Denmark’s most significant architectural monuments. Constructed during the 12th and 13th centuries, and the first Gothic brick church, the cathedral has undergone multiple renovations and extensions to create extra chapels for the burial of Danish royals.
Travel on to Gavnø, where the castle, built in the Rococo style, is home to one of the most extensive private portrait collections in northern Europe, before continuing on to Liselund Park, a late 1700s English-style landscape garden set around manor houses, castles and summerhouses, and the nearby Møns Klint, the unique chalk cliffs framing Denmark’s eastern coast. Head to Stege, a town made wealthy in the Middle Ages from the herring industry, and amble along the narrow streets past half-timbered houses and cafés to discover some of Stege’s churches with their famed frescoes.
Continue to Skjoldenæsholm, and enjoy dinner in the main dining room.
Depart early for a guided tour of the fortified and beautifully preserved mid-16th century Borreby Castle, where Hans Christian Anderson was known to have frequently dined.
Continue to Kerteminde, and visit the Johannes Larsen Museum, home of the artist, his wife, Anna and Fritz Syberg, and occasionally Christine and Sigurd Swane.
After some free time for lunch, travel to the city of Århus, originally a small Viking settlement in the 8th century, now Denmark’s second largest city and the European Capital of Culture for 2017.
Begin with a morning talk by Rosamund before discovering the historical and contemporary architecture of Århus. Enjoy an orientation tour of the city including the Århus Cathedral and a visit to the Old Town. Then, explore the Kunsthal Århus, one of Denmark’s largest and most beautiful exhibition venues for contemporary art (exhibition to be confirmed).
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of the ARoS Museum, established in 1859, which was rehoused and redesigned in 2004 to be situated between two city precincts along a busy public thoroughfare, encouraging connections with everyday life beyond. One of the most famous exhibits of ARoS is Ron Mueck’s sculpture Boy, 1999.
Enjoy a full day coach journey to Ålborg, a city with a history stretching back to 700 AD, but today popular for its festivals and other cultural attractions. Enjoy time to wander the old town, followed by lunch and a visit to the Utzon Center, the last building designed by Jørn Utzon.
After breakfast, continue exploring the highlights of city, which include The Iceberg, an iconic set of apartments whose sharp white edges plunge into the sea like their real-life namesake, Dokk 1, a public library and culture centre, the star-shaped Navitas building, and the city’s east quarter.
In the afternoon, transfer to Århus Airport for a flight to Oslo. Check in to the hotel, followed by dinner.
After breakfast, join Rosamund for an introductory talk on the history and culture of Norway, followed by an orientation tour of the Viking capital. Pass by the Royal Palace, the City Hall, Oslo Cathedral and the Akershus Fortress, dating from 1299. Amble through the Vigeland Sculpture Park, which showcases the life’s work of the sculptor Gustav Vigeland, and the Viking Ship Museum, which houses the Tune Viking ship dating to about 900 AD.
Continue to the National Gallery and enjoy a guided tour through art history from antiquity to 1950, with an emphasis on Norwegian art after 1800.
Begin with a guided visit of the Munch Museum, containing Edvard Munch’s bequest to the city of Oslo – a vast collection of his own paintings, drawings and graphic works. Return to the city centre for a guided tour of the Oslo Opera House. Opened in 2008 as the home of the Norwegian Opera and Ballet, the Oslo Opera House is one of the world’s most spectacular edifices dedicated to the performing arts, with a magnificent location beside the harbour – and the first opera house in the world to let visitors walk on its roof!
Later in the day, visit the Astrup Fearnley Museum for Modern Art, where the gallery’s permanent collection displays ground-breaking, individual works of artistic significance, with a particular focus on Norwegian and young American artists. The design of the museum’s building pays homage to its maritime surroundings, with its cable-rigged columns emulating the masts of sailboats, and its glass roof shaped like a sail.
Please note: You will need to pack a small bag for travel on the Flåm Railway and the two-night stay at Balestrand. Your main suitcase will be transferred directly to the hotel in Bergen.
In the morning, check out of the hotel and transfer to the Oslo Central Station and travel to Myrdal aboard the famed Bergen Railway, considered one of the world’s most scenic train rides, changing trains at Myrdal to board the Flåm Railway. The Flåm Railway is one of the world’s steepest railway journeys on a natural track, and takes you through spectacular scenery down the steep mountain trails to the village of Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord.
Continue by coach to Balestrand, a small village located on the edge of the main Sognefjord.
Today, travel through a constantly changing landscape of fjords, rivers, lakes, farmland and mountains to Astruptunet, the home and gallery of the famous Norwegian artist, Nikolai Astrup (1880 – 1928). A painter, illustrator, graphic designer and printmaker, Astrup took inspiration from the Norwegian landscape. The gallery contains permanent exhibitions of Astrup’s art, graphics, paintings, lithographs and sketches.
Later, take a journey to the Ludvig Eikaas Gallery, an old dairy farm set beside Jølstravatn Lake and transformed into a modern art space to house more than 800 pieces of art by both Eikaas and other Norweigan and international artists.
Check out from the hotel and travel by ferry to Bergen along the Sognefjord, the longest and deepest fjord in Norway. In Bergen, immerse yourself in the small-town charm of this large city. Surrounded by seven hills and seven fjords, Bergen was a prosperous seaport during the Middle Ages, a heritage which can still be glimpsed in the wooden houses and alleyways along Bergen’s wharf.
The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Embark on a morning tour of Bergen, including the old Hanseatic warehouses at Bryggen, Håkon’s Hall, dating back to the 12th century, and the Rosenkrantz Tower, from the 15th century. Pass the bustling marketplace with its famous fish market and the old white wooden houses at Rosegrend and Skuteviken. Visit the Hanseatic Museum, situated in one of the oldest and best-preserved wooden buildings in Bergen and furnished in the style of the 1700s, providing an intimate picture of the life of a Hanseatic merchant. Continue onwards to KODE 3 and 4 Art Museums, to explore extensive collections of painting and paperworks from Munch and Astrup, along with displays of interiors from old Bergen homes.
Spend the afternoon at leisure and in the evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner with Rosamund and fellow travellers.
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.
OR Join an optional five-night (locally led) extension tour to Iceland (see overleaf).
*For twin share (as distinct from double) rooms,
please refer to note in Hotel information.
**Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
16 May 2018
Please see Terms & Conditions for fitness levels definitions.
Please contact Renaissance Tours for current airfares and flight reservations.
Australian and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa to visit Denmark or Norway.
Tour prices includes
- Accommodation in centrally located 4 star hotels (or best available) with breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
- Lectures and talks with your tour leader, Rosamund Bartlett
- Comprehensive sightseeing including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Economy Class flight from Århus to Oslo (20kg luggage allowance included)
- Transportation on comfortable air-conditioned coaches, trains and ferries as per itinerary
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage (one piece per person; please note, no hotel porterage available at Skjoldenaesholm Manor, your coach driver will assist.)
Tour price does not include
- International airfares (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
- Drinks with meals
- Airport/hotel transfers on arrival and departure
- Airport porterage
- Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, minibar, room service etc.
- Travel insurance (a condition of travel, please contact Renaissance Tours for assistance)
Copenhagen – Radisson Blu Royal****
Jystrup – Skjoldenaesholm Manor *** (Please note that rooms at this property are very modest)
Århus – Comwell Hotel ****
Oslo – Grand Hotel ****
Balestrand – Kviknes Hotel ****
Bergen – Clarion Collection Havnekontoret ****
This tour includes an eclectic mix of hotel styles and room types. The size of some rooms are 15-18 sq m and not all hotels on this tour offer tea and coffee facilities in the room. If you would like to upgrade to a higher room category, please request at time of booking.
Twin-sharing is not recommended for this tour. Most Scandinavian hotel rooms are small and a twin-share room consists of separate mattresses within the one bed frame, separated by the smallest gap which modesty and practicality allows.
NB: Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.
POST-TOUR TO ICELAND*
31 July – 05 August 2018 (6 days) / Locally guided
Tuesday 31 July 2018 / Arrive Reykjavík
In the morning, transfer to Bergen airport for a flight to Reykjavík (airfare not included, please book Bergen to Reykjavík flight in conjunction with your international ticket; Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist).
On arrival in Reykjavík, transfer to the hotel. Your hotel, a new cutting-edge Icelandic- designed building, is set across six connected houses and adjoins Reykjavík’s most vibrant and colourful neighbourhood.
In the afternoon, visit the National Gallery of Iceland, which features the works of famous Icelandic artists and other emotive works that portray traditional Icelandic culture.
Wed 01 Aug / Reykjavík
Discover the world’s northernmost capital with a morning orientation tour. First settled in the late 9th century by the Viking Ingólfur Arnarson, Reykjavík is today a modern but compact city of 200,000 with a vibrant arts scene, striking contemporary architecture and stunning natural surroundings. See Hallgrímskirkja Church – at a height of 75 metres the tallest building in Iceland – and Höfði House, built in 1909 and best known as the location for the 1986 summit meeting between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General-Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev that marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on the harbour, followed by an afternoon and evening at leisure. Why not explore Reykjavik’s multitude of art and craft galleries, or call in at one of the city’s many pubs for an authentic slice of Icelandic hospitality?
Thu 02 Aug / Reykjavík
Journey out of Reykjavík for a full-day tour of what is commonly known as the ‘Golden Circle’ of natural wonders. Visit some of Iceland’s most beautiful natural phenomena, including the site of the ancient parliament at Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park in the broad rift valley where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates diverge. Gaze upon the thundering waterfall of Gullfoss and marvel at the original Geysir, namesake of all other geysirs around the world, and nearby Strokkur, which still hurls boiling water to heights of up to 20 metres.
Fri 03 Aug / Reykjavík
Today, visit the Blue Lagoon, where you can relax in the rejuvenating geothermal water rich in minerals and believed to have healing properties. The water is kept at a constant temperature of 37-39°C year-round. This unique spa is surrounded by a surreal environment of lava fields, and is surely one of Iceland’s most iconic locations.
The afternoon and evening are at leisure.
Sat 04 Aug / Reykjavík
Discover more of Iceland’s unique landscapes on a South Shore Adventure tour. Stand behind the plummeting waterfall of Seljalandsfoss, walk along the black sand beach at Reynisfjara, gaze on the stunning natural basaltic columns of Reynisdrangar, and be awed beside the massive, creeping, cracking bulk of Sólheimajökull glacier where it meets its meltwater lake (depending on road conditions).
Sun 05 Aug / Depart Reykjavík
Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.
For those returning to Australia or New Zealand today, make your way to the airport for suggested early morning flights from Reykjavík to Stockholm on Icelandair, connecting with Qantas/Emirates flights homeward (arriving in Australia/New Zealand in the late evening of Tuesday 07 August).
Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.