Route: London Brussels Hamburg Copenhagen Oslo Stockholm Helsinki Tallinn Riga Vilnius Warsaw Berlin Amsterdam London
Duration: 35 nights
Transport: This route is an 36 day trip covering taking you from London to Scandinavia, the Baltics and back. You’ll spend 34 nights in your accommodation with one spent on an overnight ferry. Otherwise, you’ll travel by train or bus during the day.
Sustainability: This trip only creates 384.5 kg of carbon emissions! To fly the same route would cost 1480
Reviews: All independent reviews
Are you entranced by Scandi style, Nordic cuisine and Baltic culture? Take our Northern Loop to discover the best of Europe’s furthest flung nations. This is the perfect route if you’re after something a little different. Its gorgeous scenery also makes it a perfect winter trip (wrap up warm though!)
With at least 2 nights in each city you’ll have enough time to really explore each city and fit in some day trips as well!
Only have a month off? Our 4 Week Northern Loop goes to the same destinations but over 28 nights for a fast-paced adventure.
Start your Northern Europe holiday by hopping on the train in your local town or city and heading straight for London for your Eurostar to the Belgian capital. Check out Europe’s most impressive square, taste silky Belgian chocolate and let’s not forget about that beer…
Set off for Hamburg in the morning. You’ll have a hard choice to make as you decide whether to explore the arty dock quarter, or settle down on the main square for a historical local beer. Next, Copenhagen awaits; a stylish and modern city with a liberal and relaxed attitude. Join the students relaxing in the parks with a chilled beer, hire bikes and make the most of the city’s excellent cycle paths or visit the fascinating world that is Freetown Christiania.
Continue North via Oslo – check out the nearby ski slopes and modern architecture before you head on to the glorious city of Stockholm. Its gilded golden buildings and gorgeous canals are the perfect place to soak up some culture at a relaxed pace. Hop on your overnight ferry to Helsinki and enjoy the sunset as you head across the Baltic sea. Dissembark bright and early to enjoy the Finnish capital’s stylish boutiques and cafes.
Next up, it’s time to kick off the Baltic part of your trip. Tallinn’s old town has plenty of Russian influence, as well as Slavic style – think a mixture of Prague and St Petersburg. It’s also full of trendy cafes and bars, with a blossoming foodie scene to check out. Next up the beautiful cities of Riga and Vilnius – although they might often be known as Stag-do destinations, there’s plenty of culture to be found in these Baltic gems.
Travel south towards Eastern Europe and stop off in Warsaw, the Polish capital. Often overlooked, this is the place to go for traditional Polish food and crafts at cheap prices. It’s also a treasure trove of fascinating WW2 history with the city being almost totally destroyed and rebuilt.
Re-entering Western Europe, you’ll continue your journey via Berlin. Seek out the city’s famous street art at the East Side Gallery, head to a biergarten to sample the local brew, walk across the buzzing Potsdammer Platz or visit the iconic Brandenburg Gate.
Next, it’s time to nip to Amsterdam to end your trip on a high-point. Stroll along the canals or hire a pedalo, visit the many museums and enjoy the liberal atmosphere of the city. In the evenings head down to the Red Light District and explore the world famous canalside bars and clubs.
Finally, you’ll hop back on a train back to London via Brussels, and onwards back to wherever you started in mainland UK for a well deserved rest!
Ready to start your adventure!? Begin your trip from London, or head there bright and early from your nearest station.
You can use your Interrail pass to travel for free from your UK nearest station to and from London on the same day as departure and arrival!
See some world-famous landmarks
Watch a show at one of many West End Theatres
Experience the quirky nightlife of Shoreditch
Train to Brussels – 4 hours
Belgium’s biggest city accommodates an eclectic mix of old and new, from Europe’s most beautiful square lined with guild houses and continental cafes to its bureacratic alter ego as capital of the European Union itself. Come for the delicious beer, stay for the waffles and moules frites.
Visit Mini Europe in the capital of the EU
See Europe’s most beautiful square the Grand Place
Sepnd an afternoon visiting nearby Bruges (only an hour away!)
Trains to Hamburg – 9 hours
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, but you can still expect a green environment mixed with a maritime spirit. Check out the cool music scene which hosted the Beatles in their early days, as well as the bustling Reeperbahn district, the historical St Michaelis Church, and the famous fish market. Hamburg has an eclectic feel that’s hard not to love!
Visit the Tierpark Hagenbeck
Go to the Fischmarkt – either very late or very early
Explore the 800-year-old harbour
Train to Copenhagen – 5 hours
Copenhagen is a place where equal rights and liberal attitudes take precedence, a land where the atmosphere is incredibly safe and remarkably relaxed. Make sure you visit the hippie commune of Christiania where squatters’ rights still hold sway.
Visit the little mermaid
Go to one of the world’s oldest theme parks – Tivoli Gardens
Sample the fruity beers at plenty of microbreweries
Bus to Oslo – 8.5 hours
Oslo will take you by surprise. It’s not a big city, but it has exceptional museums and you can walk all over and around it into the overlooking hills. Head to the ski jump for a thrilling view but if that’s not your thing go and see Edvard Munch’s The Scream at The National Gallery.
See some excellent preserved viking ships
Understand Norway’s heritage at the Folk Museum
Admire the views from the ski jump overlooking the city
Bus to Stockholm – 8 hours
Stockholm has been described as the most beautiful city in Europe with its calm waterways, colourful buildings and cobbled streets. The Swedes are known for their sleek design, polite manners and propensity to have fun. Forget the meatballs, Stockholm has much more!
Wander up the cobbled streets of the old town
Admire the colourful skyline from a boat tour
Visit the ABBA museum
Night Ferry to Helsinki – 18 hours
Helsinki is understated elegance – sophisticated and arty. Here is where you’ll find Finland’s national gallery and museum, as well as an array of day trip options further afield. Take a boat out to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress or visit the world famous Rock Church, a space age cathedral carved right into the stone in Toolo, Helsinki.
Visit the Finnish folk museum with live actors
Take a boozy sightseeing tour on the red pub-tram
Stroll through the magnificent Sibelius Park
Ferry to Tallinn – 3 hours
At once a modern, stylish city and a medieval maze of passageways and cobbled streets, Tallinn is a great combination of old and new. Recently the city has become a centre for contemporary art and design, with loads of independent boutiques and ateliers springing up – perfect for whiling away slow summer days.
Visit the Museum of Occupations and Freedom
See the sumptuous Aleksander Nevsky cathedral
Drink at numerous pubs with locals and try Kali – the national drink of Estonia
Bus to Riga – 5 hours
Riga is home to one of Europe’s largest Baroque old towns. The spires and coloured facades have a distinctly continental feel – not surprising since you’re only a few hours away from the North of Poland. Enjoy exploring the hub of Lithuania’s culture and arts scene – and don’t forget the hearty local cuisine once the sun sets.
Learn about the varied and fascinating history of Latvia in a walking tour of the old town
Dance the night away, Latvian style, at Folksklub Ala Pagrabs
Marvel at the Art Nouveau style buildings – like the famous building at 2a, Alberta Iela
Bus to Vilnius – 4.5 hours
Vilnius may be austere and gracious on the surface but dig deeper and you’ll discover awesome nightlife and a wealth of Baltic culture too. Wind your way around the cobbled streets by day, come evening go underground to seek out some of the Baltic region’s best music venues.
Visit the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Marvel at Vilnius Cathedral
Wander the old town and admire the Baroque style churches
Bus to Warsaw – 9.5 hours
Known as the ‘Phoenix City’ after having risen from the ashes of so many ruinous wars, Warsaw is home to an abundance of Polish art, vibrant nightlife and wholesome cuisine. A plate of delicious dumplings and soup will keep you nourished as you wander around the stunning rebuilt Old Town.
See the imposing Soviet Palace of Culture
Visit the entirely reconstructed Royal Palace
Have a drink at the fashionable old town bars
Train to Berlin – 7 hours
Berlin is the alternative, cool kid of Europe and a pro at being edgy. It’s how people dress, their liberal attitudes, the graffiti, the skaters and BMXers, the art, the clubs and the food. Berlin is also crammed full of fascinating WWII history around every corner so there really is something for everyone!
See a section of the old Berlin Wall
Climb the dome of the renovated Reichstag
Discover the nightlife of Schoneberg and Kreuzberg
Train to Amsterdam – 7 hours
Despite being credited with certain recreational pastimes, there is actually a lot more to the city than the stereotypical picture, with its abundance of engaging museums, beautiful townhouses and canals. Find out what makes Amsterdam the beating heart of the Netherlands.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum
Discover Europe’s biggest historic centre by pedal
Take a tour of the red light district
Train to Brussels & Eurostar to London – 6 hours
Return via Eurostar to the UK capital and then travel onwards to your nearest station!
With no stress! All your transport to and from the UK is included so you don’t need to worry about anything! You can also use your Interrail pass to travel for free from your nearest station to and from London on the same day as departure and arrival.