Northern Europe

Sailing through Northern Europe offers an amazing opportunity to experience extremely diverse cultures in the matter of a week or so.
By: Kathy McCabe
75939426

75939426

Photo by: Image Source

Image Source

Sailing through Northern Europe offers an amazing opportunity to experience extremely diverse cultures in the matter of a week or so. Even better, you can do it all and only unpack once.

Summer is the main sailing season for Europe because the weather is warm and, especially in the very north, the sun stays out all night. Northern European cruises frequently combine the urban, St. Petersburg, for example, with the road (or sea) less traveled, such as Denmark's Faroe Islands. Don't expect all of your fellow passengers to be Americans, although many of them (as well as the crew) will speak English. If you are unsure of navigating a city where you don't speak the language, sign up for a European cruise excursion.

Selected destinations
The Baltics/Scandinavia
Copenhagen and Faroe Islands, Denmark; Tallinn, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Bergen, Flaam, Geiranger and Hellesyltl, Norway; Stockholm, Sweden; St. Petersburg, Russia

The British Isles/Europe
Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; Fowey, Isle of Wight and Penzance, England; Bordeaux, Le Havre (Paris), Rouen and St. Malo, France; Cobh (Cork), Dublin and Waterford, Ireland; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Greenock (Glasgow), Scotland

Selected embarkation points
Dover and Southampton, England; Copenhagen, Denmark; Bergen, Norway

Cruise lines
Celebrity, Clipper, Costa, Crystal, First European, Holland America, Lindblad, Norwegian, Orient, Princess, Radisson, Royal Caribbean, Royal Olympia, Seabourn, Silversea.

Although Bergen is the rainiest place in Norway, it is still a thoroughly enjoyable city. Around the harbor is the old Hanseatic Wharf, called Bryggen, where the gabled buildings house restaurants, stores and workshops. There's a morning market along the waterfront, too. Also plan to visit the impressive 12th-century Bergenhus fortress.

The most important activity in Bordeaux, France, is the making and exporting of wines. Be sure to visit the vineyards and chateaux in the surrounding countryside.

Remoteness reigns 600 miles off Denmark's coast in the Faroe Islands. The 18 windswept islands are home to 43,000 people and twice as many sheep.

Here's your chance to meet Santa Claus! From Helsinki, Finland, take your cruise line's Lapland and Santa Claus Village shore excursion. Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle, is known for its reindeer farming and endless summer nights. At Santa Claus Village, send a postcard to the folks at home and grab a photo with Old Saint Nick himself.

A stop in Rouen, France, presents the opportunity to take a shore excursion to the World War II Normandy Landing Beaches. You will moved by the beauty and history of Normandy as well as the kindness of her people.

St. Petersburg, Russia, is full of opulent palaces, theaters and art museums. The most celebrated among them is the Hermitage. Be sure to take a guided tour of this treasure trove.

In Tallinn, Estonia, visit the Old Town, 1 percent of the city that still looks like a 13th-century medieval town.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Southern Europe

Cruising the Mediterranean is like embarking on a romantic odyssey.

Europe's River Cruises

Viewing the world from a riverboat is as intimate as you can get with a waterway and the world around it.

Europe's Beaches

Some of the world's most gleaming sands, sparkling waters and glamorous coastal getaways line the edges of Europe.

Europe's Best Castles

From Scotland to France to Germany and beyond, explore our choices of the best castles Europe has to offer.

Europe's Earth Wonders

Visit Iceland and Norway to experience Europe's natural wonders with glaciers, volcanoes and fjords galore.

Europe's Best Hostels

We've compiled a list of the best European hostels to meet fellow backpackers and get a restful night of sleep.
More from:

Cruises

On TV

12pm | 11c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Food Paradise

8pm | 7c

Man v. Food

10pm | 9c

Man v. Food

10:30pm | 9:30c

Man v. Food

11pm | 10c

Man v. Food

11:30pm | 10:30c

Food Paradise

12am | 11c

Man v. Food

1am | 12c

Man v. Food

1:30am | 12:30c

Man v. Food

2am | 1c

Man v. Food

2:30am | 1:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

Bizarre Foods

Tuesdays at 9|8c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.