Admire all the traditional charm and imperial grandeur of port cities along the Baltic Sea, whether you’re visiting the pristine islands of Stockholm or the majestic palaces of St Petersburg. This northern body of water gives access to a bevy of different countries, including Scandinavian destinations, Russia, Latvia and Estonia. Explore the rich history and exciting cultural traditions of this fascinating region, steeped in natural beauty and culture. Visit cultural hubs like Helsinki and Copenhagen, famed for their modern design. ...
The Baltic Sea
St. Petersburg, Russia - Baltic Sea
Copenhagen, Denmark - Baltic Sea
Stockholm, Sweden - Baltic Sea
Kiel, Germany - Baltic Sea
Oslo, Norway - Baltic Sea
Tallinn, Estonia - Baltic Sea
Riga, Latvia - Baltic Sea
Klaipeda, Lithuania - Baltic Sea
Warnemunde, Germany - Baltic Sea
Gdynia, Poland - Baltic Sea
Built by Peter the Great, St Petersburg offers a glimpse into the extravagant grandeur of imperial Russia. Must-sees include the Hermitage art collection, extravagant Romanov palaces, and opulent Russian Museum. The Winter Palace is a highlight of these! Take in a folk show or world-renowned ballet performance at night, and spend your day cruising down the city’s network of canals to view it from a different angle.
Do you fancy strolling along a canal-side promenade, viewing Rococo architecture or visiting Renaissance palaces? Then Copenhagen is the place for you! This Danish city offers plenty of charming landscapes, with 18th-century buildings and outdoor cafes. Don’t miss the chance to see the pretty landscaping at Tivoli Gardens or the iconic Little Mermaid sculpture dedicated to famous storyteller Hans Christian Andersen.
Built up on 14 islands with over 50 bridges to cross, Stockholm’s cityscape blends gracefully into its natural Baltic Sea surroundings. If you’re in the mood to explore its heritage, head to Gamla Stan Old Town with its cobbled streets, 13th-century buildings, and Royal Palace. Get onboard a ship whether it’s the Vasa maritime museum or a ferry. For vintage shopping and independent cafes, visit trendy Sodermalm.
A historic Baltic Sea port city, Kiel is a must-visit destination for fans of maritime history! Start at the Maritime Museum with its model ships and nautical curiosities, all housed in a fish auction hall. Stroll along the Kiel Canal, a key shipping route for centuries. The city centre was bombed during WWII, but many buildings like the St Nikolai Church and Kieler Castle have been restored to their former glory.
Norway’s capital city boasts a newly developed waterfront lined with bustling shops and eateries. Take a seat in one of the outdoor cafes to watch the street musicians, or visit the Norwegian Maritime Museum and Viking Ship Museum. Art fans won’t want to miss a visit to the Munch Museum, home to ‘The Scream’ and other masterworks. Oslo also boasts the Nobel Peace Centre, along with an abundance of green spaces!
Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved in Europe. You’ll feel like you’ve entered a portal to the 1400s as you stroll along its cobblestone streets, passing the old city walls and defensive towers along the way. The main square is dominated by the Gothic Town Hall, while St Nicholas Church features stunning medieval artworks inside its stone walls. For a photo finish, trek up Toompea hill and enjoy the view!
A mishmash of architecture spans the centuries in beautiful Riga. This Latvian capital is a hotspot for classical culture with its concert halls. It’s easy to spend the better part of a day wandering through the twisting cobbled streets in medieval Old Town, while former WWII barracks now house trendy cafes and shops. Don’t miss a peek at the soaring Freedom Monument and magnificent House of the Blackheads.
Positioned at the point where the Dane River joins the Baltic Sea, Klaipeda blends sandy beaches with red-brick castles. Although it’s Lithuania’s third-largest city, you may feel like you’ve entered Germany when wandering about this former Prussian capital. You’ll spy wood-framed houses, cobbled streets and neoclassical theatres. Don’t forget to stop off at the Lithuanian Sea Museum, with its lively dolphin shows!
Germany may not be the first country that comes to mind when you’re envisioning sunny beaches, but Warnemunde has all this and more! It offers stretches of white sands, a pretty beachfront promenade and bustling seafood restaurants. This Baltic Sea port town also offers plenty of cultural highlights with its seaside recreation, including the Edvard Munch Haus, Alter Strom canal, and a historic lighthouse to explore.
Sleek and contemporary, Gdynia offers a scenic, colourful marina and lengthy promenade leading to sandy beaches and wooden piers. Learn all about its maritime history in the Dar Pomorza Tall Ship Museum, or get up close and personal with sharks and piranhas at the Gdynia Aquarium! From the 13th-cenutry St Michael Archangel’s Church to the modern Museum of the City of Gdynia, this city easily bridges old with new.
This northern region can get quite brisk (not to mention dark) during the winter months! So if you’re planning a Baltic Sea cruise, it’s best to plan it during the summer. Although the first Baltic cruises tended to take place during July and August, as this itinerary has grown in popularity the season’s been extended into May, June and September. Temperatures are still fairly warm during these buffer months, and you can avoid the peak summer crowds. June is a great time to visit St Petersburg, with the ‘White Nights’ cultural programme on offer to liven up your days in port.
The crown jewel of a Baltic Sea cruise is undoubtedly St Petersburg, with highlights like the Royal Palace complex and beautiful art collection within the Hermitage museum. You can visit Stockholm’s network of islands, old town and Nobel Museum, as well as the colourful 17th-century waterfront buildings and Little Mermaid sculpture of Copenhagen. Art fans won’t want to miss a trip to the Munch Museum to see Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ in person, and Tallinn’s Old Town is one of Europe’s best-preserved. Riga is another top stop on a Baltic cruise with its blend of architecture ranging from Gothic to Art Nouveau.
You can visit St Petersburg without a Russian visa when you take a Baltic Sea cruise, but there are a few rules you must follow. You’ll need to stay no longer than 72 hours, sleep on the cruise ship, and be accompanied by a licensed tour guide at all times. If you want a bit more freedom to sightsee, it’s worth applying for a Russian Travel Visa in advance. For most other countries covered in a Baltic Sea cruise, no visa is necessary for UK citizens so all you’ll need to bring along is a valid passport!
Each Scandinavian and Baltic country has its own culinary traditions, making a cruise through this region a true smorgasbord of styles! Try open-face Raksmorgas sandwiches in Sweden, featuring toasted bread topped with baby shrimp, egg and fresh dill. St Petersburg’s the place to try Russian blini, deliciously thin pancakes stuffed with fillings ranging from jams to caviar. In Riga you’ll be able to sample smoked sausages washed down with craft beer, and if you’re passing through Gdansk in Poland you’ll need to try the pierogi! You’ll find both sweet and savoury versions of these delectable little stuffed dumplings.