Splendour of the Baltic
|Resort:||Spirit of Discovery|
Step into a world of Baltic cities
A wealth of experiences and treasures await you as you cruise Baltic waters. From the extraordinary light of Denmarks Skagen which inspired an artists colony to the opulence of St Petersburgs famous Hermitage, discover the cultures, history and highlights of the Baltic region. Your cruise starts in Skagen Denmarks most northerly point where the Skagen artists colony flourished for some 60 years until the 1930s. For music lovers, a visit to Helsinki offers the opportunity to explore the city where many works by Jean Sibelius Finlands most famous composer were premiered. St Petersburg brings the opportunity to visit the famous Hermitage, home to some of the worlds most glittering art treasures, before contrasting its elegant and stately architecture with the historic streets and buildings of Tallinn in Estonia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is regarded as one of Europes great medieval cities. Your cruise comes full circle as you return to Denmark for your final port of call at Esbjerg, distinguished by the sculpture Man meets the Sea four enigmatic nine-metre high figures that look out over the North Sea, watching as you begin the last leg of your journey.
Skagen sits at the northernmost tip of Denmark. Here the seas of Skagerakk (part of the North Sea) and the Strait of Kattegat (part of the Baltic Sea) meet, while migrating dunes create an ever-changing coastal landscape. Skagen is known for its remarkable light which attracted and inspired the Skagen colony of artists that flourished here from 1870 until the 1930s, and whose work captured the areas stunning light and plein air feel. Discover the work and world of the art colony at the Skagen Kunstmuseer with works by artists including Karl Madsen, Peder Kroyer, Viggo Johansen, as well as the Drachmanns Hus and Anchers Hus, the latter both homes of artists. Skagen can offer more than just art, however. Perhaps stroll the main street taking in shops or sampling one of the towns cafes, visit the Teddy Bear Museum, or the Kystmuseet an open air museum not far from the harbour which traces the towns fishing tradition, or just admire the sea and the luminescent light as you stroll the pale sands of Skagens beach.
Warnemnde (for Rostock), Germany
The port of Warnemnde lies on the Baltic sea and is just a short distance from the Hanseatic city of Rostock. Stroll beside the Alte Strom (Old Channel) canal lined with boats and flanked by restaurants, cafes and shops. Art lovers may like to visit the house of artist Edvard Munch who lived in one of the towns fishermans houses for a period of 18 months between 1907-08. The town is also home to the famous Teepott building a notable example of East German architecture, plus a selection of smaller independent shops, a lighthouse, and small museum where you can learn about the history of the town and its fishing heritage.
Helsinki is the capital of Finland and was founded in 1550 by King Gustavus Vasa of Sweden. From 1809 Finland was under Russian control until it finally gained independence and Helsinki became its capital. You can learn more about the citys history at the Helsinki City Museum, just one of many in the city, along with the National Museum of Finland, the Kiasma contemporary museum and more. The city is also known for its Art Nouveau architecture, as well as its green areas which cover around a third of it. Apart from the Central Park spanning some 10 square kilometres, look out for Sibelius Park, named after the composer and site of the impressive Sibelius Monument. Comprised of 600 hollow steel pipes this abstract sculpture was designed by Eila Hiltunen. Jean Sibelius Finlands most famous composer lived in Helsinki during 1903 and from 1939-41, spending much of his time at his house Ainola situated around 40 kilometres outside the city. Sibelius studied at the Helsinki Music Institute (now the Sibelius Academy) as a young man and many of his works were premiered in the city. Helsinki also has a thriving design district which includes the areas of Punavuori and Ullanlinna. Here youll find cafes, design studios, boutique shops and more to tempt you.
St Petersburg, Russia
Step into magnificent St Petersburg, founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and home to the famous Hermitage. A wealth of other palaces lie within the city, together with museums, parks, monuments and cathedrals. No visit to St Petersburg is complete without exploring the Hermitage Complex. Made up of five buildings the most renowned of which is the glittering Winter Palace this was the home of Russias Tsars for 150 years. Catherine the Great began what is today one of the worlds outstanding art collections made up of over three million objects. Opulent interiors, works of art by great masters, and stunning architecture all distinguish this outstanding museum. Your overnight stay in the city offers the opportunity to treat yourself to an exclusive evening at the Hermitage for a select and private viewing of some of its treasures. The city is of course more than just the Hermitage from the Nikhailovsky Castle to the elegant shopping mall of Gostiny Dvor, and the Alexander Column in Palace Square at the heart of the city, there is lots here to discover. To help you get your bearings, perhaps join an excursion to give you a Taste of St Petersburg.
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia a country that is 50% forest, and whose population numbers only 1.3 million people. It also has some 2,000 islands and its capital is one of Europes most magical cities. Tallinn originated in the 13th century and soon became a member of the Hanseatic League. Its historic old town is an outstanding example of a medieval trading city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you explore the city, perhaps linger in the Town Hall Square with its handsome buildings, visit some of the citys 20 churches including St Marys Cathedral and the towering St Olafs Church. Wander the city walls with their defence towers, or weave your way through the cobbled streets as you take in both the lower and upper town once two separate entities. The countrys history is revealed at the Estonian History Museum in the 14th-century Great Guild Hall, while a walk along St Catherines Passage takes you past craft workshops housed in early buildings. For a taste of some of the highlights of this wonderful city, perhaps join our shore excursion A Taste of Tallinn.
Embark on an island adventure today as you visit Saaremaa, Estonias largest island. With its forests, timeless villages, windmills and even meteor craters, it has a character all of its own. The capital is Kuressaare which has a fine medieval castle, now a museum dedicated to the island. In the heart of Saaremaa lies Angla Windmill Hill a picturesque group of 19th-century mills, and a culture centre offering insight into the islands past and heritage. Beyond lies the Kaali group of nine meteor craters believed to be up to 6,000 years old. Along with other islands in the archipelago Saaremaa is a UNESCO-listed Man and the Biosphere Reserve.