Interested in viewing many different cultures? Love to cruise? Cruising Northern Europe may be perfect for you. Most Northern European cruises can show you the Scandinavian peninsula, Baltic states, and the Netherlands on a seven to fifteen day cruise. You'll tour historic sights and see beautiful landscapes. And since you're cruising, you'll enjoy unlimited first-rate cuisine and you'll have a range of activities available to you while you're not exploring the sights. Cruises in Northern Europe often depart from Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, or London. Ships sailing to this destination also make time to see Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; and Oslo, Norway.
Finland's national capital is a spacious Neoclassical city in fine white granite, whose upbeat pace and fashion sense belie the Finnish reputation for conservatism. The massive Temppeliaukio Church is carved out of solid stone, while on the Esplanadi, famous Finnish designers like Marimekko or Iitala demonstrate a lighter, more modern style.
Peter the Great styled this to be his Venice of the North. Italian architects created baroque facades, the match of any, to line the banks of the Neva River. Long, arched bridges join the city's halves. You'll want to see the spires of the Saints Peter and Paul Fortress, the blue domes of the Ouspensky Cathedral and, of course, some of the million masterworks of art contained in the Hermitage galleries of the Winter Palace.
The southern gateway to the Fjordlands, Stavanger is also the home port of much of the fleet that serves the North Sea oil fields. View its medieval Cathedral, and other highlights of the town, or travel out to Pulpit Rock, a breathtaking vista point high above the fjords.
Tallinn is the capital of the recently independent republic of Estonia. In the medieval old town, with its winding cobbled streets, there is a marvelous cathedral and Gothic town hall dating from the 14th Century.
One of Europe's leading cities, Amsterdam's rings of canals and traditional Dutch architecture are unmistakable. Rich in art, history and culture, Amsterdam is home to the Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank's house, and the Rijksmuseum, which houses many works by Rembrandt and Vermeer.
Barcelona is the cultural heartland of Spain, yet its first language is Catalan, the native tongue of the proudly independent Catalonia region. Stroll down the shady, tree-lined Ramblas between street musicians and elegant bistros. Then perhaps visit the venerable Gothic cathedral, Picasso Museum or enjoy the architectural genius of Antonio Gaudi's Church of the Holy Family.
This is a classic Norwegian town full of colorful charm. You can wander up narrow streets into the surrounding hills or enjoy Gamte Bergen, the old town, with cobbled streets and wonderful little shops and bakeries.
The European culture capital in 1996, Copenhagen is Scandinavia's liveliest city. The musical and artistic pageantry are rivaled only by the changing of the guard ceremony in front of the Amalienborg Palace, home of the royal family since 1794. Yet certain parts of Copenhagen maintain a village-like feel, like the winding streets around the Raadhuspladsen and enchanting Tivoli Gardens.
...Dublin is an extraordinary city that is best experienced on foot...The charming suburbs are glorious, and the small cafes and coffeehouses are enchanting. There are a number of elegant museums in Dublin, and a couple of outstanding galleries and concert theaters. You will never get bored in Dublin, and this is why many visitors to the area stay here longer than planned...
Discover the relics of old Ireland on a port call to Dun Laoghaire, located only 15 minutes from Dublin. In Dublin, visit Trinity College and St. Patrick''s Cathedral. Tour the emerald countryside of Portmamock, and visit nearby Malahide Castle, or see the magnificent Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow. Save time, too, for Dublin''s colorful pubs, or a visit to the world-renowned Guinness brewery.
Dominated by the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, this picturesque city offers shopping on Princes Street, the grandeur of the Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral and historic Palace of Holyrood House, where Queen Mary lived and many Scottish kings were wed. Or you could venture across the moors to marvel at the scenic Highlands.
Hamburg's port on the river Elbe has been busy since medieval times, when it was a cornerstone of the Hanseatic League. It is a graceful city of parks and lakes, and grand old buildings like the Rathaus (City Hall). Brahms and Mendelssohn were born here, and Hans Leip, who wrote Lili Marlene.
Lisbon is many cities, from the cobbled alleys of the Alfama district to the broad Parisian style avenues at its heart. View it all from the heights of St. George's Castle. Belem's Monument to the Discoveries recalls the seafaring past, while nearby Sintra's storybook palaces, and the seaside resort of Caiscais, have different tales to tell.
...The glory of Big Ben and the splendor of a trip to Buckingham Palace are only a beginning. The British Museum is magnificent, and the shopping in the city is spectacular...St. Paul's Cathedral is a glorious site,... and London's time machine museums are magnificent. Art, fashion, and dining in London remain popular...Teatime remains the most sacred part of the day ... tall, red double-decker buses still tour the city...
From the port of Tilbury, it's a short trip to London proper. Even if you've seen the sights (Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament and Buckingham Palace, to name a few), there is always a good play or musical in the West End, or shopping at Harrod's to pass the time.
The white cliffs of Dover are famous in song and story. From Dover you can visit nearby Canterbury or take a full-day excursion to see the sights of London, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and more.
This vibrant city is actually a rich mosaic of many "neighborhoods." Feel the excitement of Broadway with its great plays and musicals. Explore the financial district-Wall Street and there's Soho with its galleries, famed Greenwich Village, Midtown, with its glamorous department stores and soaring architecture, and museums everywhere. It truly is a wonderful town!
Norway's political and cultural capital, Oslo was recently selected as the city with the highest quality of life in Europe. It's not surprising, considering the city's treasures: beautiful Frogner Park filled with modern sculpture, the emotional power of the Munch Museum and the Viking Ship Museum, together with forested mountains and secluded coves, all within the city limits.
This pristine European island is filled with glaciers, volcanoes, and hot, mineral-rich springs to explore. Native Icelanders have a remarkably rich history and culture, and would love to share it with you - they are great storytellers. Stroll through the charming Austurvollur Square, and be sure to stop in one of the many cafes for some of the freshest seafood you'll find anywhere. Or visit the mighty Gullfoss or "Golden Waterfall," the most dramatic cascade in Europe.
The port of Civitavecchia is the gateway to The Eternal City, where all roads lead. Mad traffic careens past monuments of the great civilizations of the past. You will want to see it all: the soaring inspiration of St. Peter's, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel; the flow of life along the Spanish Steps, the Coliseum, the Via Veneto and Trevi Fountain. Be sure to leave time for la dolce vita in one of the piazzas.
Distributed across fourteen immaculate islands in a sheltered Baltic bay, crisscrossed by scenic bridges, Sweden's capital is one of the most beautiful cities on earth. It is a sightseeing smorgasbord, including the medieval "city between the bridges," the vast Royal Palace, and the City Hall, which hosts the yearly Nobel Prize ceremonies.
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