Scandinavia: Ice-cool itineraries

Ben Lerwill selects memorable three-day itineraries to maximise on Scandic backdrops.

DENMARK
Day 1 Arrive on a morning flight into Copenhagen before a lunch meeting at the Hilton - the hotel has 29 conference rooms and is connected by a walkway to the airport. Its other attractions include a recently opened spa. After polishing off the pickled herring, make the short transfer to Dragor Golf Club, where groups will be met with champagne and beginners can learn the basics on the driving range while pros can take on the full 18 holes in the Danish countryside. Afterwards, it's back into Copenhagen to the funky Hotel Nimb, a renovated boutique property that opened in May, where delegates can freshen up before dinner in one of the city's 12 Michelin-starred restaurants.

Day 2 Tee off again at Ledreborg Palace Golf, a woodland course designed by Nick Faldo, before returning to the city. Hotel Nimb adjoins the Tivoli Gardens, so participants can enjoy live music and al fresco entertainment in the run-up to lunch. The afternoon is spent on a guided bicycle tour of the city, where delegates can learn a little about Copenhagen's rich history and take in the copper-roofed panoramas. The trip concludes with a tipple at one of the bars along Nyhavn, the city's spirited harbourside area. Dinner is hosted at Premisse, a converted 17th-century palace now specialising in fine dining.

Day 3 After breakfast, head over the eight-mile Oresund Bridge to the Swedish city of Malmo - transfer time is around 45 minutes. "Having the two cities so close together is a real plus from an events point of view," says Eventwise account director Anna Porcherot. "It brings a different dimension to a Copenhagen itinerary". On arrival, head to the 54-floor Turning Torso, a jaw-dropping piece of architecture that wouldn't look out of place in Dubai. Drink in the view from the top-floor reception space, and emjoy a long lunch at Salt o Brygga, a waterside restaurant with a largely organic menu before returning to the airport.

SWEDEN
Day 1 After landing at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport, groups can transfer to the centre of town. The Swedish capital is spread across 14 islands so the city has plenty of natural variety. Check-in is followed by a seafood lunch at the Victory Hotel, a luxury boutique property decorated with nautical antiques. "It's an impressive hotel," says World Events' European development director, Andrew Winterburn, who has taken events to Stockholm for almost 20 years. "The location is great too, with some excellent restaurants and bars all in walking distance."

The afternoon is spent on a treasure hunt around the Old Town before a welcome dinner on board a vintage steamer, cruising around the archipelago.

Day 2 Enjoy an unbeatable view of Stockholm's physical attractions from the basket of a hot-air balloon, floating above the islands - a champagne moment. The city is rated as one of the most eco-friendly capitals on the planet, so groups can head to the picturesque Ecopark for a day of outdoor activities. Choose from the likes of canoeing, horse-riding and cycling, with lunch coming in the form of a gourmet picnic in royal parklands. After time to unwind at the hotel, the day concludes with a formal dinner at the grand City Hall, home to the annual 'Nobel Banquet'.

Day 3 No Stockholm itinerary would be complete without time on the water, and the final day's activity gives the perfect opportunity for some bracing sea air. According to inclination, groups can either be skippered by a pro or become the crew themselves - there are a range of different sized vessels to choose from. The flotilla can stop off at an island restaurant for lunch, then turn back to port. A recuperative massage is followed by a private ballet performance at the 18th-century Confidencen Theatre, before a last dinner at Ostermalmshallen, a finely preserved old food hall.

NORWAY
Day 1 Norwegian Air has a direct route from London Stansted to Tromso, deep in the Arctic Circle. After check-in at the recently renovated Rica Ishavshotel, board a cable-car to the summit of one of the surrounding mountains for broad vistas and a welcome lunch - reindeer risotto for those with a taste for the exotic. The afternoon is spent at two local attractions - wildlife centre Polaria and the Polar Museum. "The museum is great," says Michelle Kent, director at Conferences Etc. "It gives you a really good sense of place, and the Arctic culture itself a huge selling point."

If you're here in winter, head to the outskirts of town for husky-sledding, dinner in traditional tents and star-gazing from a hot tub.

Day 2 The morning passes on a cruise of the fjords around the main island before a hearty gourmet lunch at Emma's Drommekjokken in the heart of town. In early afternoon, transfer to the outlying fishing village of Sommaroy, where a 27-room hotel and conference centre offers a truly unique setting ringed by dramatic fjordland. A rocks'n'ropes challenge course provides good team-building options. By evening, Sommaroy's secluded location really comes into its own - over winter there's every chance of the Northern Lights painting the skies, while in summer the Midnight Sun season has its own appeal.

Day 3 It's back on the water with a combined fishing trip and wildlife safari - groups can try their luck at catching fish the size of their forearms or simply sit back and spot sea eagles, puffins and, if they're lucky, even the odd whale. Then it's a journey back into town for a buffet lunch and a warming session of beer-tasting at the world's northernmost brewery, before heading to the airport.

FINLAND
Day 1 On arrival in the capital Helsinki, check into the five-star Hotel Kamp, an integral part of local life since its opening in 1887. After a meeting in the property's Mirror Room - a luxurious space lately restored to its old-world grace - it's time for a city scavenger hunt to take in the destination's intriguing mix of maritime, Swedish and Russian influences. After time to explore historical sights and unwind at the hotel, dinner is at the renowned NJK Yacht Club Restaurant. "I'd highly recommend Helsinki," says Sarah Johnson, events manager at the Association of Convenience Stores, which counts Spar and Co-op among its members. "The staff at hotels and restaurants are enormously helpful. Our meal at NJK was the highlight of the itinerary."

Day 2 The days starts with a wander around the open-air dockside market, where everything from fur hats to fresh fish draws locals in droves, then it's time for the short boat ride to Suomenlinna Fortress on an outlying island for a relaxed picnic lunch. An afternoon of team building in the Finnish countryside in picturesque surrounds follows. The day ends by travelling back into town to enjoy an expertly crafted meal at multi-award winning Chez Dominique, before a classical concert and the chance to experience Helsinki's legendary nightlife.

Day 3 An exclusive-hire tram hosts a brunch meeting with a difference, then the day is structured around Finland's strong reputation for design. By way of inspiration, a visit to the Design Museum to learn more about the cutting-edge architecture that permeates the city and gives groups the chance to 'create' something of their own, whether a new company logo or a fun invention. The day concludes bracingly with a traditional smoke sauna with the customary plunge into ice-cold water.

ICELAND
Day 1 After being greeted at Keflavik Airport, groups can ease away any post-flight stiffness by heading straight to The Blue Lagoon, the famously mineral-rich natural baths on the outskirts of Reykjavik. One re-energising soak later, it's time to go downtown and check into 101 Hotel, a designer-led boutique property with a suitably funky Scandinavian feel. After a modern Icelandic lunch at the hotel restaurant, the group can embark on a walking tour of the city's key points of interest, including the old harbour and the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church. Dinner with all the traditional trimmings is hosted at Einar Ben Restaurant, housed in an 18th-century building.

Day 2 Start the day with a 'super jeep' tour of the Golden Circle, a popular scenic loop heading into the centre of the country. Highlights include Thingvellir National Park, where Iceland's first parliament was founded more than 1,000 years ago; the Geysir hot springs; Gullfoss, a vast waterfall in a river canyon, and Langjokull, one of the largest glaciers on the island. The day can also include a 90-minute horse-riding tour to take in the valley scenery at a more sedate pace. After a return to Reykjavik, dinner is hosted at the rotating Pearl Restaurant before plunging into the long hours of the city's famed nightlife.

Day 3 A relaxed morning starts with a buffet brunch and hot-stone spa treatment. In the afternoon, board a boat to sail the short distance over to Vioey Island. There groups will be treated to a performance by a string quartet over champagne and canapes, before a farewell dinner at Restaurant Vioeyjarstofa. "Vioey Island was the home of a chieftain we had in the 1700s, so as a historical site it's fascinating," says Gunnar Rafn Birgisson, managing director of Atlantik DMC, whose recent clients include Goodyear and Hugo Boss. "You get a great view of the city and, during midsummer, you can follow a gala dinner by rolling around in the morning dew under the Midnight Sun."

 

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