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Setting sail from Stockholm
The buzzing city of Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Visitors are captivated by the busy waterfront, the beautiful cobbled streets in the Gamla Stan, or Old Town, the museums, palaces, gardens and galleries, whilst a mere 20 minutes away, Stockholm's archipelago of 30,000 islands offers its own delights, not least some serene tranquillity. The city itself features trend-setting restaurants, a vibrant nightlife and a rich cultural heritage. Many interesting excursions from the city centre ensure that a prolonged stay will be both stimulating and varied.
Hop on hop off boat tours are a perfect way to visit this waterbound city.
Finland’s lovely capital Helsinki is a maritime city, with the sea on three sides and almost 100 kilometres of shoreline, as well as around 300 islands. Its contemporary architecture and focus on modern design sit surprisingly well alongside its four hundred year history.
Russia: St Petersburg
Lovely St Petersburg, the jewel in the crown of Baltic cities, features so much to see and do, with its high art, lavish architecture, dramatic history and rich cultural traditions. An extraordinary wealth of treasures sit alongside historical tales which will captivate and intrigue you.
The historic harbour city of Tallinn in Estonia is really quite captivating. Just the perfect size to explore on foot, its medieval (and UNESCO listed) town centre, with its cobblestone streets and a busy Town Hall Square, is the perfect introduction to Estonia’s rich history.
The Baltic port of Gdansk occupies an important place in 20th century history; the first shots of World War II were fired at the Westerplatte naval base, and it was amongst the shipyards of Gdansk that the Solidarity movement was born in the 1980s.
Germany: Warnemünde (Rostock)
The old Hanseatic port of Rostock was heavily damaged in the Second World War, though attractive enclaves of historic architecture remain. The little village of Warnemünde, a suburb of Rostock, is home to one of the most appealing beaches on the Baltic coast.
Wonderful Copenhagen is the perfect city to explore on foot, by bicycle or by water. Visit the bustling wharf at Nyhavn, enjoy the palaces, galleries and museums, wander through the amazing Tivoli Gardens, and if you have time, make the most of Copenhagen’s gastronomic revolution.
Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth largest city, sits towards the northern tip of the Jutland peninsula, bisected by the Limfjord. It’s an important industrial centre and university town, with a recently revitalised waterfront area and a small but picturesque old town.
Stavanger originally grew rich from its fishing industry, though these days it’s Norway’s oil boom that is powering the city’s economic growth. In spite of this modern gold rush the historic centre of Stavanger retains its charm, and the spectacular Lysefjord is within easy reach of the city.
Beautiful Bergen, Norway’s former capital, is a perfect city to explore on foot. Bryggen – the old Hanseatic wharf, and a UNESCO World Heritage site – still has the old harbour timber buildings, whilst other attractions include the funicular up Mount Floyen and the busy fish market.
The Geirangerfjord is arguably the most spectacular fjord in all of Norway, a sinuous ten mile stretch of sheer mountain walls and tumbling waterfalls. The village of Geiranger itself sits at one end of the fjord, and in summer the population swells with an influx of visitors to this beautiful region.
The city of Molde, at the mouth of the Romsdalfjord in north west Norway, is known for its temperate climate, fertile soil and annual jazz festival. Head up to the Varden viewpoint for a stunning panoramic view over the snow-dusted peaks of the Romsdal mountain range.
Tromsø’s location well within the Arctic Circle means the summer months are lit by the Midnight Sun, a compensation for long dark winters. Explore the streets with their multi-coloured wooden houses, see the amazing architecture of the Arctic cathedral, or take the cable car up to Mount Storsteinen for a fantastic view.
The port of Honningsvåg is the gateway to Europe’s most northerly point, the North Cape, and enjoys 24-hour daylight in summer. Aside from tourism, fishing is the major industry in this part of Norway, and the region is also said to be inhabited by trolls.
Bodø, just to the north of the Arctic Circle, is the largest city in Nordland county and the gateway to northern Norway. The town itself is not the most exciting place, but the surrounding scenery is striking and the islands to the north are home to the world’s densest population of white-tailed sea eagles.
When Ålesund was destroyed by fire in 1904, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II agreed to foot the bill to rebuild it. The result was the stunning Art Nouveau architecture that you see today, which blends elements of the German 'Jugendstil' with Viking flourishes.
United Kingdom: Lerwick
Lerwick is the only town of any size in the Shetland islands, and originally grew up around the herring trade. Highlights include the charming 18th century architecture along the waterfront and the informative Shetland Museum, which provides an excellent introduction to the history and culture of the islands.
United Kingdom: Kirkwall (Orkney Islands)
The flat, windswept Orkney Islands, just off the northeast coast of Scotland, have a distinctive Scandinavian heritage that’s discernible in everything from the unusual place names to the ancient Norse architecture of the capital, Kirkwall. Don’t miss the Ring of Brodgar, a fascinating Neolithic stone circle.
United Kingdom: Rosyth (Edinburgh)
Cosmopolitan Edinburgh, Scotland’s lovely capital, is located in spectacular countryside, always visible from the city centre. Striking architecture, lots to see and do, and great food mean that your time here will be very busy. And if your visit coincides with the Festival, you have a treat in store.
Arriving in Harwich
Harwich is one of the Haven ports, situated near the confluence of the Stour and Orwell rivers on the Essex coastline. There is plenty of history packed into the compact old town - Harwich is where the Pilgrim Fathers built the Mayflower, and was once home to an important Royal Navy dockyard - though these days it is showing the same signs of wear and tear as many other faded English seaside towns. However, you're within easy reach of a number of interesting places, including the picturesque villages of Dedham and Flatford.
The area straddling the border between north Essex and south Suffolk is known as Constable Country, for this is where the artist John Constable painted many his most famous works. Don’t miss pretty Dedham and Flatford Mill.
Your home from home
Viking’s hugely successful river cruise operation is now expanded with contemporary 930 guest ocean ships – three lovely sisters to start with – featuring attractive inclusive pricing and interesting itineraries.
What we love
The airy contemporary style of the ships, with fresh Nordic décor, is most appealing. Add to that the huge choices in dining and other facilities, and veranda staterooms throughout, not to mention included shore excursions and an excellent spa, and you have a winner.
|Crew||602 International Staff|
On Viking it is all about the destination. Back on board, expect to socialise with like-minded travellers, in an easy, spacious and understated hotel style environment.
|Year Built||2015 (Viking Star) / 2016 (Viking Sky & Viking Sea)|
|Cruising Speed||20 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Extend your stay in Stockholm
Lovers of classic hotels should stay at The Grand Hôtel, which is situated in the best waterfront location imaginable.
Add on a private tour
Visit Drottningholm Palace, Sweden's best preserved royal palace, constructed in the seventeenth century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Where to stay near Harwich
Grayson Perry’s spectacular live-in artwork 'A House for Essex', in the nearby village of Wrabness, is available to book as accommodation, although you’ll have to luck out in one of the highly competitive ballots.
Nearby Colchester is full of history; the imposing Norman castle was built on the former site of the Roman Temple of Claudius, which was torched by Boudicca in AD60/61.