The Beat of the Nordic Heart: Vibrant Copenhagen and Stockholm

Lose yourself in the artistry, architecture, medieval charm and gourmet cuisine of these two magical Scandinavian cities as you explore with the experts and during plenty of free time.
Rating (4.92)
Program No. 21898RJ
10 days
Starts at
Flights start at

At a Glance

Copenhagen is the capital of the “Happiest Nation in the World,” shelters the planet’s most bicycle-crazed residents and claims author Hans Christian Andersen and “The Little Mermaid.” Stockholm is home to the 17th-century “Vasa” warship, 70 miles of kaleidoscopic art in a subway system called Europe’s most beautiful, and Alfred Nobel, founder of the prestigious prize. Join us in Denmark and Sweden on a discovery of these Scandinavian sister capitals, from vibrant neighborhoods and nautical history to modern politics, gleaning insight from local experts while enjoying plenty of time for adventures on your own.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 4 miles daily, paved city streets with many cobbled areas; taking public transportation.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Discover Copenhagen’s vibrant Latin Quarter and its bookstores, university-driven energy and cozy public square, Gråbrødretorva.
  • Learn about the founder of the prestigious Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, and join an expert for an exploration of Stockholm's City Hall, home to the Nobel ceremony.
  • Explore the proud warship of Vasa which was restored in the 1960s, and hear a lecture at the Vasa Museum.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
by Michael Booth
Guardian journalist Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history and his own experiences in Nordic regions in this searing cultural portrait.
Copenhagen Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A handy laminated street map of Copenhagen in full color at a scale of 1:11,000.
Smilla's Sense of Snow
by Peter Hoeg
Set in Denmark and Greenland and aboard a secret ship, this page-turner, out in a 20th anniversary edition, includes an excellent portrait of modern-day Copenhagen. Beneath its eerie surface, the novel wrestles with racism and the tangled relations between Denmark and Greenland.
A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland
by T.K Derry
The story of Scandinavia from prehistory to the present with chapters on the Viking and Lutheran kingdoms, medieval times, monarchies, the World Wars and modern period, emphasizing the common cultural, political and social backgrounds.
The Vikings, Lords of the Seas
by Yves Cohat
An indispensable reference that fits in your pocket, this slim volume is packed with maps, archival photos and illustrations.
Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings
by John Haywood
This history of the Vikings tells their story through a series of innovative maps and excellent photographs. It traces the routes of 9th-century Viking merchants and explorers throughout Europe and the New World.
Birds of Europe
by Lars Svensson
Featuring 3,500 glorious paintings by Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterstrom, the second edition of this exquisite guide features updated text and maps.
The Stories of Hans Christian Andersen
by Hans Christian Andersen, Diana Crone Frank, Jeffrey Frank
A newly refurbished collection of 22 tales, adroitly retranslated by Diana and Jeffrey Frank and with the original illustrations.
DK Eyewitness Top Ten Stockholm
by Eyewitness Guides
A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions.
by Karin Alvtegen
Set in contemporary Stockholm, this tautly constructed tale marks the U.S. debut of Karin Alvtegen -- Sweden's Queen of Crime. Intricately plotted and emotionally complex.
The Messiah of Stockholm, A Novel
by Cynthia Ozick
Set in the dark of Stockholm's winter, this atmospheric short novel follows the peregrinations of Lars Andemeing -- and his search for his father Bruno Schulz.
The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living
by Meik Wiking
Why are the Danes so happy? Some contribute it to the emphasis on the sense of comfort and community known as Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga). Wiking teaches readers about this national philosophy with practical, attainable suggestions of how to incorporate hygge into everyday life.
The Saga of the Volsungs
by Jesse Byock (Translator)
A piece full of traditional lore, including runic knowledge, jealousies of princes, betrayals, unrequited love, the vengeance of a Barbarian queen, the greed of Attila the Hun and the mythic deeds of a dragon-slayer.
Winter's Tales
by Isak Dinesen
A collection of 11 haunting short stories by the Danish writer most famous as Karen Blixen. With their Nordic settings, the Gothic tales draw upon the folk tradition and myths of Denmark. Originally published in 1942.
The Vikings
by Else Roesdahl
This well-written look at Norse civilization goes beyond the limited view of the ruthless Viking invaders, creating a full picture of the vibrant, artistic, agricultural and exploratory culture
The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages
by Alain Erlande-Brandenburg
This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a chronology.
Stockholm, City of My Dreams
by Pers Anders Fogelstrom
Young Henning Nilsson arrives in Stockholm on the eve of the Industrial Revolution, eager for success, love and a fully experienced life in this Swedish classic of historical realist fiction, happily now available in an English translation.
Letters on Sweden, Norway, and Denmark
by Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin
Groundbreaking feminist Wollstonecraft records her observations of a late 18th-century journey through Scandinavia in this small masterpiece, rich in detail of people and place.
DK Eyewitness Top Ten Copenhagen
by DK Publishing
A compact, illustrated guide in the popular series, featuring favorite attractions in Copenhagen and a pull-out map.
Stockholm, A Cultural History
by Tony Griffiths
A literary, cultural guide to the art, architecture, traditions and history of Stockholm.
Stockholm Map
by itmb
A convenient, detailed map of Stockholm and surroundings at a scale of 1:12,000.
How to Be Danish, A Journey to the Cultural Heart of Denmark
by Patrick Kingsley
Patrick Kingsley interviews Danes, from Copenhagen to a variety of places, including the so-called "happiest town in the world," introducing a homogenized yet highly intricate Danish culture.

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