Travel

European Destinations You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Cruise To

cruise ship waterslides

The Baltic is one of the most underappreciated destinations in cruising. – Photo by iStock / Thinkstock

The Baltic region is a wonderland that blends the Old World and the strikingly modern. Here, our recommendations for the top 10 shore excursions in the area:

1. Tivoli Gardens

Port: Copenhagen, Denmark


baltic tivoli gardens copenhagen cruise tours

Photo by SIME / eStockPhoto

Visit the Victorian amusement park that inspired Disneyland. The best time to go is in the evening (nighttime tours are available from many cruise lines), when the gardens glow with twinkling lights. If you're not into roller coasters and bumper cars, hang out in the beer garden or check out a concert in the bandstand.

Getting There: The park is a quick coach ride from the pier, and the evening tour may be combined with a scenic canal ride.

 

2. Berlin's Top 10

Port: Warnemunde, Germany


baltic berlin brandenburg gate cruise tours

Photo by Huber / SIME

Catch an express train through the countryside to Germany's capital, where a guide will escort you to the city’s highlights, including a stretch of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust Memorial, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag government building — more than you'd be able to see on your own.

Getting There: This is a long day: The 13- to 14-hour tour includes a train ride of more than 2 ½ hours in each direction.

 

3. Old Town

Port: Tallinn, Estonia


baltic old town gamla stan cruise

Photo by Huber / SIME

The city's medieval Old Town, with its watchtowers and winding cobblestone streets, is a must-see. An escorted history-focused walking tour takes you to the Gothic Town Hall, a 15th-century apothecary, and the Baroque Toompea Castle, now the seat of the Estonian parliament.

Getting There: The tour starts with a walk or a quick bus ride, depending on where your ship is docked.

 

4. Statues, Vikings, and a Ski Jump

Port: Oslo, Norway


oslo norway viking ship cruise tour

Photo by SIME / eStockPhoto

You can walk right off your ship into town to see such sights as the cutting-edge Nobel Peace Center. But this art, sport, and history itinerary brings you farther afield, starting with the Vigeland Park, the largest sculpture park created by one artist. Then travel through lush countryside to see the ski jump built for the 1952 Olympics, and to the Viking Ship Museum, which is home to real Viking ships.

Getting There: The 3 ½-hour tour is via motorcoach.

 

5.Peterhof Palace

Port: St. Petersburg, Russia


baltic cruise tours peterhof palace petersburg

Photo by SIME / eStockPhoto

Trick fountains designed by Peter the Great are the big attraction at this complex of 18th-century palaces and gardens, once the summer residence of the czars. Your tour of the “Russian Versailles” will also include rooms inside the lavish Grand Palace.

Getting There: The ride from port to palace is about 22 miles.

 

6. The State Hermitage

Port: St. Petersburg, Russia


state hermitage petersburg cruise tours

Photo by Sergey Borisov / Thinkstock 

Art lovers may go on a Baltic cruise with the main goal of seeing the collection of more than 3 million exhibits that was first begun by…

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