While Norway’s rugged western coastline offers a potpourri of natural splendour, it’s the serene fjords that are Instagram gold. Created during a succession of ice ages, when glaciers carved out deep chasms, these most spectacular geological formations are long, narrow inlets that reach far into the surrounding mountains.
The poster-girl of Norway, Geirangerfjord is the very stuff of cruising. Ships glide past the famous Seven Sisters and Bridal Veil waterfalls before reaching the tiny settlement that’s the jumping off point for tours to Mount Dalsnibba – the highest peak in Sunnmøre. The Flam mountain railway climbs 2,800 feet to Myrdal Station, past the spectacular Kjosfossen Waterfall.
Oslo, the ‘Nordic City of Light’, offers one of Scandinavia’s most lively street scenes. Walk along Karl Johans Gate to the Royal Palace, or visit the Ibsen Museum, Vigelandspark, and the Kon-Tiki Museet. Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, but it’s the magical Tivoli Gardens that are synonymous with this city of irresistible charm.
The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg once housed the Tsar’s private art collection; today you can see more than two million paintings and objects d’art. An overnight stay allows time to explore St Isaac Cathedral, Peter and Paul Fortress, plus the battleship Aurora.