Taking a cruise to the Baltics is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for cruises. So what is it about this place that’s got you lot going so crazy about?
Sailing from the UK…
Aside from the fact that you will be soaking up the culture and charm of Russia, Estonia, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, a cruise to the Baltics is the perfect choice if you are looking for a hassle-free no-fly cruise because there are so many that set sail directly from the UK.
Where will I sail to?
Russia is a land of cultural and artistic treasures and this is clear to see in the city of St. Petersburg. Perfectly placed on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, St. Petersburg is one of the major port cities in Russia. With magnificent palaces and churches characterize the city’s skyline; prepare to be wowed at this fascinating port of call. The places that you must see include the ‘Hermitage Museum’, which was once the Winter Palace and houses one of the finest collections of art in the world with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Matisse. ‘Catherine the Great’s Palace’ is next on the must see list as it features a 298 metre white, gold and blue façade and is crowned with golden onion domes and ‘St Isaac’s Cathedral’ is quite simply stunning, with its marble walls embossed with an array of semi-precious stones.
Estonia is a beautiful country full of natural beauty and steeped in history and culture. The capital city of Estonia, Tallinn is a popular port of call. As you sail into port you will be greeted by a unique skyline with triangle top buildings and a warm and friendly welcome. The Old Town has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it’s surrounded by magnificent ancient walls, cobbled streets medieval buildings. You can also visit the Alexander Nevski Cathedral with its onion domed rooftops and you may even catch a glimpse of folk dancers performing in the streets of the town. This truly is a fascinating place.
Sweden is a country littered with medieval towns, quaint villages and modern cities. Stockholm is one of the most popular ports to visit and the capital city of Sweden. The scenery will simply take your breath away as you sail into port and see 14 islands along Lake Malaren which are all connected by beautiful bridges. There is plenty of history and culture to soak up here too with museums and historical buildings to explore and discover. During your time here you can explore Gamla Stan which is the Old Town and surrounded in medieval walls and boasts an 18th century royal palace. Vasa Museum is another fascinating attraction which tells the tale of a 17th century warship that sank on its maiden voyage or you can take a tour of the city with walking tours and bus tours readily available.
An endless carpet of forests, lakes and mountains, Finland certainly is one of the most beautiful of all cruise destinations. Helsinki is the capital of Finland and one place most definitely worth a visit. During your time here you can take a stroll through historic Helsinki and discover prime attractions such as the onion-domed ‘Uspenski Cathedral’, the ‘Lutheran Cathedral’ and neo classical architecture dotted in and around the city’s focal point, ‘Senate Square’. Another must see site is ‘Temppeliaukio Church’. Also known as the church in the rock, this unique church is blasted into the solid rock. Alternatively, head to ‘Gardenia’, Helsinki’s colourful, tropical gardens, check out the ‘Ateneum, the national Gallery of Finland or hit Helsinki’s fabulous shops. Whatever you choose to do here, you are sure to love your time here in Helsinki.
Denmark is known as the ‘world’s happiest country’ and it certainly lives up to its name with friendly locals welcoming you as you step off your ship into the delightful capital, Copenhagen. The city itself is made up of 17th and 18th century buildings, beautiful gardens and picturesque promenade, and is quite the picture perfect setting. Copenhagen’s historical architectural pearls make this city a truly remarkable port of call. Popular attractions include the ‘Royal Castle Amalienborg’; Queen Margrethe II and her family live here. With its golden staircase, the ‘Church of Our Saviour’ is also worth a visit. Copenhagen is home to some of the top art museums in Europe… Louisiana, Arken and Glyptotek; so if you like your art, these are the places to go. After enough sightseeing, head to ‘Tivoli Gardens… offering everything from flower gardens and boat rides to beer gardens to fun-park rides, it’s a favourite place with visitors and tourists alike.
That’s not all…
Whilst the above is just a taster of the most popular ports included on the majority of 7-night itineraries, longer voyages may include gems like Kiel Canal, the world’s busiest canal; Warnemude, which leads the way to the great city of Berlin; and the beautiful city of Gdansk (Gdynia) in Poland.
Many cruises stop by at the following ports too: Ronne, the largest town on the Danish Island of Bornholm; Visby, a Swedish port often described as the ‘Pearl of the Baltic’; Klaipeda, a city in Lithuania; and Riga, the capital of Latvia.
Of course, the above is just a small slice of what you can discover on a Baltics cruise. When it comes to the weather, it’s quite like Britain as it can be temperamental. So when it comes to the best time to go, you will find that most cruises to the Baltics tend to be between the summer months of May through to September.
The main focus on this holiday however, is not solely on the weather. What’s so great about a cruise to the Baltics are the fascinating cities and undeniable culture that you will discover on your journey, and quite possibly the reason why the Baltics has fast become one of the most popular cruise destinations for UK travellers.
By Ian Lewis