Uncover the ancient and tumultuous Viking legacy of remote seafaring destinations as you sail from the northern Scottish Isles to their Norwegian homelands.

Starting at: $5,995 * Price includes special offer Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Traditional Viking boats in Norway  The brooding landscape of Glencoe  The Jacobite steam train, traveling from Fort William to Mallaig  Glenfinnan Monument  The evocative Eilean Donan  The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Islands  St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney Islands  A Neolithic stone house at Skara Brae, Orkney Islands  Evocative landscape of the Shetland Islands  The town of Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands  The archaeological site of Jarlshof on the Shetland Islands. Credit: National Geographic Image Collection/Alamy  Typical village along the Sognefjord  Norway's beautiful Flam Valley  The famous Flam Railroad amid Norway's dramatic landscape  The fjords of Bergen  The World Heritage site of Bryggen, in the town of Bergen  Panorama of Bergen

Scottish Isles and Norwegian Fjords

A Cruise from Glasgow to Bergen Aboard the 220-guest Le Boréal

9 days from $5,995

Uncover the ancient and tumultuous Viking legacy of remote seafaring destinations as you sail from the northern Scottish Isles to their Norwegian homelands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Overview

Activity Level 3: Advanced


Expectations: Most trips will feature long touring days, many full-day excursions, and a full and active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Some tours may have activities with higher intensity and more active choices/options. Excursions require standing and walking for extended periods of time over more difficult terrain (cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails), and walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Specific itineraries may feature hiking, use of local transportation, extended overnight train travel, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Some itineraries may require early morning departures and later evening returns. Travelers may be in remote and/or rugged regions, and may be touring at higher altitudes with steep ascents/descents. Leisure time may be limited (sometimes only in the later evenings). Certain tours feature more active excursions (such as moderate hiking, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking), though another choice may be offered for an alternate skill level. Walking/hiking tours may feature up to six-mile walks/hikes.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Smithsonian surpasses any organized trip we have taken in the past several decades.

- Irving R.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

May 10-18, 2018 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Day 2 — 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 Le Boréal and depart to the dulcet sounds of a traditional bagpiper. (D)

Day 3 — Scottish Highlands / Oban / Fort William / The Jacobite Steam Train / Mallaig

Enjoy a full day’s journey through the lush, resplendent beauty of the legendary Scottish Highlands. From Oban, travel through the heart of the Highlands and see the picturesque Pass of Brander, Loch Awe with views of the striking Kilchurn Castle and Rannoch Moor, one of the last remaining wildernesses in Europe. Enjoy the splendor of majestic Glencoe, most of which is owned and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland, and continue along the verdant shores of Loch Linnhe. After lunch in Fort William, board The Jacobite steam train—immortalized as the Hogwarts™ Express in the Harry Potter film series—for “one of the great railway journeys of the world” through awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Begin your train journey in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles, and ride past Loch and River Morar to Mallaig near Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch in Europe. Along the way, stop at Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied Jacobite Highlanders against King George II in 1745. This evening, attend the captain’s welcome reception. The ship will overnight in Mallaig. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 — Kyle of Lochlash / Portree, Isle of Skye

Disembark in the port village of Kyle of Lochlash and travel across a starkly beautiful land of rolling green moors to visit iconic Eilean Donan Castle, named after the 6th‑century Irish saint who founded the first community on the tiny island of Donan. 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 recognizable castles in the world.

Skye, dubbed “the Winged Island” after its birdlike shape, is the largest and one of the most scenic of the Inner Hebrides. Here, visit Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the powerful Clan MacLeod since 1270, built on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea. Tour Dunvegan’s richly appointed public rooms and view the Fairy Flag, a silken banner that legend claims to have had the power to save the clan from defeat on three occasions.

On board the ship this evening, Ness of Brodgar archaeological site director and head archaeologist Nick Card will provide insights about this impressive ancient compound that lies outside of Kirkwall, which you will visit the following day. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Nearly 1,000 years before the pharaohs built Giza’s pyramids and over 500 years before Neolithic man raised Stonehenge, ancient inhabitants of this archipelago employed technological prowess centuries ahead of their time to erect Ness of Brodgar. Today, this mysterious compound rivals the scale of the 5th‑century B.C. Athenian Acropolis, though it was constructed nearly three millennia earlier. Nearby, walk around the stone monoliths of the Ring of Brodgar, which were raised more than 4,000 years ago to chart the seasons.

See the ceremonial Stones of Stenness en route to visit the settlement of Skara Brae. Archaeologists suggest these sites, along with the Ness of Brodgar, were inhabited by an early Orcadian culture known for decorative arts and sophisticated craftsmanship. Pilgrims and traders carried the Orcadian innovations to the mainland and beyond—making Orkney not a remote scatter of islands but instead a hub of Neolithic civilization.

Thousands of years later, the Vikings established the port town of Kirkwall on Orkney’s main island, leaving behind the towering 12th-century St. Magnus Cathedral, known as the “Light of the North.”

Hear the classically haunting sounds of a traditional Scottish bagpiper as you reembark the ship. This evening, listen as a Scottish storyteller weaves the traditional stories that have been handed down by word of mouth for generations in these remote isles. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Lerwick, Shetland Islands

Dock in Lerwick and 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 dramatic sheer rock cliffs. Though remote, these islands have a unique 6,000-year-old culture, where Scotland meets Scandinavia at this North Atlantic crossroads and legacies linger in the fascinating archaeology, dialect, and traditional music. From Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, journey to the island’s southernmost point, scanning the verdant landscape for Shetland’s famous ponies grazing on the rolling, grass-covered knolls. Visit Jarlshof, a pending World Heritage site and an extraordinary settlement revealing 5,000 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.  (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Bergen, Norway

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 16th-centuries. Enjoy a walking tour of Bergen’s Bryggen (the old wharf), a World Heritage site, which still flaunts its characteristically colorful wooden houses. See Troldhaugen, the summer home of Edvard Grieg, Norway’s most famous composer, and tour his estate. Then, visit the reconstructed Fantoft Stavkirke, a traditional 12th-century wooden stave church, named for its post and lintel construction. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure in Bergen. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Flåm Railway / Cruising the Norwegian Fjords

Arrive in the charming town of Flåm for “one of the world’s most scenic train rides” on board the Flåm Railway. This masterpiece of Norwegian engineering—the steepest standard‑gauge railway track in Europe with an impressive elevation difference of 2,835 feet—opened to the public in 1940 and travels 13 dramatic miles through 20 tunnels to the mountaintop train stop of Myrdal. Enjoy stunning views of snowcapped mountains, cascading waterfalls—including the awe‑inspiring Kjofossen—and picturesque hamlets along this alpine branch of the renowned Bergen Line.

Norway’s fjords and islands offer some of Europe’s most phenomenal coastal scenery, where sea mist, shafts of sunlight and vivid rainbows congregate in a dazzling array of colors that seem to make the landscape greener and the fjords bluer. Be on deck this evening while cruising the majestic Sognefjord and the World Heritage-designated Naeroyfjord, passing traditional farmsteads and villages flanked by soaring mountains.

Tonight, attend the captain’s farewell reception. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart Bergen for the U.S.

Disembark the ship in Bergen and continue on the post-tour extension or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

May 17-25, 2018 Itinerary

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Day 2 — Bergen, Norway

Arrive in the former Norwegian capital of Bergen, set amidst majestic mountains and spectacular fjords, and continue to the Le Boréal. (D)

Day 3 — Flåm Railway / Cruising the Norwegian Fjords

Arrive in the charming town of Flåm for “one of the world’s most scenic train rides” aboard the Flåm Railway. This masterpiece of Norwegian engineering—the steepest standard‑gauge railway track in Europe with an impressive elevation difference of 2,835 feet—opened to the public in 1940 and travels 13 dramatic miles through 20 tunnels to the mountaintop train stop of Myrdal. Enjoy stunning views of snowcapped mountains, cascading waterfalls—including the awe‑inspiring Kjofossen—and picturesque hamlets along this alpine branch of the renowned Bergen Line.

Norway’s fjords and islands offer some of Europe’s most phenomenal coastal scenery, where sea mist, shafts of sunlight and vivid rainbows congregate in a dazzling array of colors that seem to make the landscape greener and the fjords bluer. Be on deck this afternoon while cruising the majestic Sognefjord and the World Heritage-designated Naeroyfjord, passing traditional farmsteads and villages flanked by soaring mountains.

Tonight, attend the captain’s farewell reception. (B,L,R,D)

Day 4 — Bergen

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. Nearby Troldhaugen was the summer home of Edvard Grieg, Norway’s most famous composer. Walk the grounds of the estate before visiting the reconstructed Fantoft Stavkirke, a traditional 12th-century wooden stave church, named for its post and lintel construction. Enjoy a walking tour of Bergen’s Bryggen (the old wharf), a World Heritage site that proudly displays its characteristically colorful wooden houses, before an afternoon at leisure in this charming city. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Kirkwall, Orkney Islands

Nearly 1,000 years before the pharaohs built Giza’s pyramids and over 500 years before Neolithic man raised Stonehenge, ancient inhabitants of this archipelago employed technological prowess centuries ahead of their time to erect Ness of Brodgar. Today, this mysterious compound rivals the scale of the5th-century B.C. Athenian Acropolis, though it was constructed nearly three millennia earlier. Nearby, walk around the stone monoliths of the Ring of Brodgar, which were raised more than 4000 years ago to chart the seasons.

See the ceremonial Stones of Stenness en route to visit the settlement of Skara Brae. Archaeologists suggest these sites, along with the Ness of Brodgar, were inhabited by an early Orcadian culture known for decorative arts and sophisticated craftsmanship. Pilgrims and traders carried the Orcadian innovations to the mainland and beyond—making Orkney not a remote scatter of islands but instead a hub of Neolithic civilization.

Thousands of years later, the Vikings established the port town of Kirkwall on Orkney’s main island, leaving behind the towering 12th-century St. Magnus Cathedral, known as the “Light of the North.”

Hear the classically haunting sounds of a traditional Scottish bagpiper as you reembark the ship. This evening, listen as a Scottish storyteller weaves the traditional stories that have been handed down by word of mouth for generations in these remote isles. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland

Dock in Lerwick and 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 dramatic sheer rock cliffs. Though remote, these islands have a unique 6,000-year-old culture, where Scotland meets Scandinavia at this North Atlantic crossroads and legacies linger in the fascinating archaeology, dialect, and traditional music. From Lerwick, the capital of Shetland, journey to the island’s southernmost point, scanning the verdant landscape for Shetland’s famous ponies grazing on the rolling, grass-covered knolls. Visit Jarlshof, a pending World Heritage site and an extraordinary settlement revealing 5,000 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.

On board the ship this evening, Ness of Brodgar archaeological site director and head archaeologist Nick Card will provide insights about this impressive ancient compound that lies outside of Kirkwall. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Portree, Isle of Skye / Kyle of Lochlash

Skye, dubbed “the Winged Island” after its birdlike shape, is the largest and one of the most scenic of the Inner Hebrides. Here, visit Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the powerful Clan MacLeod since 1270, built on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea. Tour Dunvegan’s richly appointed public rooms and view the Fairy Flag, a silken banner that legend claims to have had the power to save the clan from defeat on three occasions.

From the port village of Kyle of Lochlash, travel across a starkly beautiful land of rolling green moors to visit iconic Eilean Donan Castle, named after the 6th-century Irish saint who founded the first community on the tiny island of Donan. 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. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Scottish Highlands / Mallaig / The Jacobite Steam /Fort William / Oban

Enjoy a full day’s journey experiencing the rich, resplendent beauty of the legendary Scottish Highlands. In Mallaig, a traditional fishing port near Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch in Europe, board The Jacobite steam train—immortalized as the Hogwarts™ Express in the Harry Potter film series—for “one of the great railway journeys in the world” through awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Travel past Loch and River Morar to historic Fort William, located in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. Along the way, pause at the bucolic village of Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied Jacobite Highlanders against King George II in 1745.

After lunch in Fort William, enjoy a scenic transfer to the splendor of majestic Glencoe—Scotland’s most scenic Glen, much of which is owned and preserved by the National Trust for Scotland. Pass the picturesque, castle-spotted shores of Loch Linnhe en route to the Victorian harbor town of Oban where you will reembark the ship for the captain’s farewell reception this evening. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart Glasgow for the U.S.

Disembark the ship in Glasgow, a dynamic Scottish city where the indelible mark of Viking conquest still permeates the art and culture. Continue on the post-tour extension or transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)