Northern Europe and Baltic

View the Northern Europe and Baltic Luxury Cruise Collection

Discover the impressive capital cities of Northern Europe including Stockholm, Tallinn, Copenhagen and Helsinki on a Baltic cruise, or explore the diverse coastlines of Britain, Ireland and dramatic Norway.

This is predominately a summer destination, with surprisingly high temperatures possible in the enclosed Baltic sea, even in northern capitals such as Helsinki and Stockholm. The scenic Norwegian fjords are fully accessible in the summer, and cruises may go further north to the Arctic Circle with expedition cruises going further north still to Spitsbergen or to Greenland.

Cruises around the UK are popular in the summer, but the UK weather is always unpredictable.

North America Port Guide

Aarhus (Denmark)
The second-largest city in Denmark, Aarhus port is a 15-minute walk from the city centre. The Old Town area of Den Gamle By is an open-air museum of old buildings and townspeople dressed in period costume, whilst the modern city has some fine modern architecture, including a Town Hall designed by Arne Jacobsen. In Silkleborg Museum is the famous 2350-year-old 'Bog Man', whose body was excavated from a peat bog.
Akureyri (Iceland)
The small town of Akureyri sits at the end of Eyjafjordur below a landscape of volcanic mountains. The town has a lively atmosphere with art galleries and coffee houses, a folklore museum of local life and a heated outdoor pool with geo-thermal hot pots. Visits to Akureyri may include tours to the thermal Lake Myvatn and the waterfalls of Godafoss.
Alesund (Norway)
Alesund is built across three islands and uniquely for Norway, is an Art Nouveau town, rebuilt in this style after a devastating fire in 1904. The KUBE Art Museum is housed in the former premises of the Norwegian Bank, and upmarket shops line Apotekergata. For good views of the islands, hills and coast, take the steps from Alesund's park up to Mount Aksla. Worthy of a visit is the magnificent 12th-century Borgund Stave Church in Laerdal.
Amsterdam (Netherlands)
The cruise terminal in Amsterdam is a short distance from the city centre and its tall merchant houses and tree-lined canals. Chief sights are the prestigious Rijksmuseum and its large collection of important paintings, the Van Gogh Museum and Ann Frank's House. The attractive narrow streets are full of bars, coffee houses, quaint bridges and interesting shops.
Antwerp (Belgium)
Antwerp port is adjacent to the Steen and connected by metro to the city, which is an important centre of the diamond trade. Cobbled lanes criss-cross the city leading to art galleries, antique and chocolate shops, and the magnificent cathedral of Notre Dame, which holds paintings by Rubens, the tall Flemish buildings of the Grote Markt and the City Hall. Antwerp is also a fashion capital, and the forthcoming Port Authority HQ was designed by groundbreaking architect, Zaha Hadid.
Bangor (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
Bangor is a coastal resort situated on Belfast Lough and just north of Strangford Lough. It is well-known for its abbey, which was established in 558 and contains a specially-commissioned mural by Kenneth Webb. On the seafront is the Old Custom House, a 17th-century tower and tower house which is now home to the town's Tourist Information Centre. Close by is the birdlife-rich Ballyholme Beach, a coastal path leading to Helen's Bay and the city of Belfast.
Belfast (Northern Ireland)
The capital of Northern Ireland has fine Victorian buildings and a thriving port where the Titanic was built - Thompson Dock is a blueprint in stone of the ship's size. Belfast is divided into quarters, and Gaeltacht and the Falls Road are at the heart of its Celtic culture. Sights to visit from Belfast include the Giant's Causeway on the Antrim coast, and Mount Stewart house overlooking Strangford Lough.
Bergen (Norway)
The old Hanseatic port of Bergen is within walking distance of the city centre and the famous Bryggen, the World Heritage listed waterfront area of gabled traditional buildings which dates back 900 years. The outdoor fish market is one of Bergen's popular tourist attractions, along with the Floibanen, the funicular which travels up Mount Floyen close to Skomadkerdiket Lake for views of the city and the sea.
Berlin (Warnemunde, Germany)
Berlin is served by the port of Warnemunde which is one hour away by train. Berlin's landmarks include the Brandenburg Gate which was once part of the Berlin Wall, and the avenue of Unter den Linden which formed part of old Berlin's aristocratic quarter. Potsdamer Platz is an area of theatres and restaurants popular with locals, and the Reichstag's new glass dome was designed by Sir Norman Foster. Berlin's TV Tower has a rotating Telecafe for birds-eye views of the city.
Bodo (Norway)
Like many towns in northern Norway, Bodo was completely rebuilt after the war. It is a very modern town with a buzzing commercial centre. The Norwegian Aviation Museum is one of the most popular museums and off the coast is Saltstraumen, the world's strongest maelstrom or 'whirling stream'.
Bordeaux is a large and elegant city on the Garonne River, and the ideal starting-point for a river cruise in one of the world's most important wine-producing regions. Stroll in the Jardin Public, the pretty district of Saint-Eloi and the beautiful bridge of Pont de Pierre.
Bremerhaven (Germany)
Bremerhaven is a large container port which is usually visited for tours to Bremen. Bremerhaven's harbour has several museum ships including the three-masted Seute Deern, a U-boat and the 14th-century Hansekogge. The fishing port has an aquarium and a zoo with Arctic marine and wildlife and there are beaches close by on Dorum Neufeld. Bars and restaurants can be found along the Alte Burger.
Brest (France)
Set in one of Europe's best natural harbours, Brest is France's chief naval port and a gateway to the scenery of Brittany. The Maritime Museum is located in the Motte Tanguy Castle and Tower, which overlooks the harbour from a headland and the large drawbridge across the River Penfeld. Oceanopolis is a collection of 50 aquariums and a research centre holding a mixture of polar, tropical and temperate fish and mammal species.
Brugge (Zeebrugge, Belgium)
Bruges is a beautiful old town in Flanders crossed by a network of canals. It is famous for its chocolate and for diamonds, and has the Choco-Story centre and a Diamond Museum. Sights include Michelangelo's sculpture of the Madonna and Child in the Church of our Lady , the historic Markt Square, and the tranquil area of Le Beguinage, founded in the 13th century by the women of the Beguine movement.
Cherbourg (France)
Cherbourg's harbour was built on a grand scale and is the largest artificial harbour in the world. Work began in 1783 and was completed in the 19th century under the direction of Napoleon. The town's main attractions are all related to the sea - France's first nuclear submarine, Redoubtable, is now a museum ship moored at Cherbourg's Cite de la Mer where there is also an aquarium. At the foot of the hill-top fortress there is a botanical garden and a small zoo.
Copenhagen (Denmark)
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark, and its port is within walking distance of the famous statue of the Little Mermaid. Copenhagen is a picturesque city which combines traditional Danish copper-roofed buildings with cutting-edge modern architecture. Tivoli Gardens are one of the capitals highlights, along with Kronburg Castle which was the model for Shakespeare's Elsinore, the Carlsberg Brewery, the alternative cultural community of Christiana and the royal palace of Amalienborg.
Cork (Cobh, Ireland)
Cobh is a charming town and port, and has an impressive cathedral with a commemorative statue to the millions of Irish emigrants who left here for North America between the 19th and mid-20th centuries. It is the port for Cork and visits to Blarney Castle and its famous stone. Also in Cork is the historic Beamish and Crawford Brewery, the English Market and the Crawford Gallery, which has a collection of Rodin bronzes.
Dartmouth (UK)
Located on the River Dart on the coast of Devon, Dartmouth is the home of the historic Britannia Royal Naval College, which offers tours. The pleasant town has a cobbled market place, narrow streets and a mixture of interesting shops and galleries. Nearby is Agatha Christie's house, Greenway, which can be reached by ferry or on foot along the Dart Valley Trail. Boats from Dartmouth also connect with the local Steam Railway which visits other towns along the coast.
Dover (UK)
Cruises visiting London berth at Tilbury, 22 miles south of Tower Bridge which has a rail link to Fenchurch Street station. London's attractions are numerous and spread throughout the city. Shoppers head for Oxford Street and upmarket Knightsbridge for Harrods, and there are numerous galleries for art lovers ' the Tate Modern, National and Portrait Galleries. Among the many other sights are the London Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, parks, theatres and restaurants.
Dublin (Ireland)
Dublin port is only a few minutes by bus from the city centre. Dublin sits beside the River Liffey and is renowned for its hospitality, pubs and literary heritage. Among the sights are Trinity College which houses the 8th-century Book of Kells, the Dublin Writers Museum and the Guinness Brewery, which offers tours.
Edinburgh (Queensferry, Scotland)
The city of Edinburgh is visited from the ports of Rosyth and Leith, the latter being home to the Royal Yacht Britannia, now open to visitors. Elegant Princes Street is lined with shops, and overlooked by cliff-top Edinburgh Castle. The famous Royal Mile stretches from the castle to the Palace of Holyrood House. Tours can be taken by open-top bus around the city, which has an old town and numerous museums and galleries.
Falmouth (UK)
Falmouth has good sandy beaches, narrow alleys leading up from the waterfront, a variety of shops along the Kings Pipe and plenty of atmospheric old inns. Glendurgen Garden is a pleasant park with a subtropical garden and a laurel maze dating back to 1833 and nearby is Pendennis Castle, built by Henry VIII. The Eden Project, Mawes Castle and St Ives can be visited from Falmouth.
Felixstowe (UK)
Felixstowe in Suffolk is the site of the largest container port in the UK and also a traditional seaside town on the River Orwell. It has a long military history, and Landguard Fort dates back to 1540, with the later addition of interesting interior barracks. Gardens line the waterfront promenade, which is dotted with colourful beach huts built beside long sand and shingle beaches. Bistros serve locally caught fish, and a foot ferry crosses the Deben estuary to Bawdsey.
Finnsnes (Norway)
This small town in Troms County is a gateway to the so-called 'Fairytale island' of Senja, with a variety of landscapes covering every type of Norwegian scenery from fjords and mountains to small traditional villages. Finnsnes has a large park which has a natural lake, and pretty white clapboard houses along its shore.
Fishguard (Wales)
Fishguard is situated on a headland along the scenic Pembrokeshire coast, and is the gateway to its beaches, the Preseli Mountains and the Coastal Path, served by a bus service for walkers. Most of the coastline is owned by the National Trust, and encompasses many impressive castles and ruined fortifications. Fishguard itself was used as a backdrop for the film 'Under Milk Wood' and has an 18th-century cliff-top fort.
Flam (Norway)
The approach to Flam through Sognefjord and Aurlandsfjord is spectacular. Flam itself is positioned between high cliffs streaked with waterfalls, and is the terminus of the Flamsbanen, the scenic railway which travels to Myrdal 2800 feet above sea level, twisting through the mountains. Flam has shops, banks and restaurants and a summer shuttle bus service to nearby villages.
Gdansk (Poland)
The port of Gdansk is in the area of Gdynia a short distance away from Gdansk city. A walk down Ulica Dluga will bring you to the shops, cafes, pubs and historical buildings of the Old Town which include the Prison Tower, Golden Gate, and the historic church of St Mary which has 50 chapels. There is also an interesting Amber Museum spread over six floors of the city's Barbican Tower.
Geiranger Fjord (Norway)
The village of Geiranger sits at the head of the 9-mile long Geirangerfjord, a World Heritage Site of great beauty enclosed by sheer cliffs and mountains. En route you will pass the famous waterfalls of the Seven Sisters and the Suitor. Athough small, Gerainger is a busy cruise ship port, with up to three vessel visits a day, and is also situated on the scenic Norwegian National Road. The Union Hotel has a collection of classic cars from Geiranger's early days as a tourist destination.
Gothenburg (Sweden)
There are attractions in Gothenburg to suit most tastes. Visitors can tour a submarine in the harbour at Maritiman, see the Barken Viking ship at Bommen or take the historic Ringlinjen tram to Liseberg Amusement Park and its Balder rollercoaster. The cobbled streets of old Haga have craft shops and caf's and at the time of writing, Gothenburg has four Michelin-star restaurants.
Greenock (Glasgow, Scotland)
The city of Glasgow is served by the port of Greenock. Glasgow has a variety of shopping areas - the new Buchanan Galleries near famous Sauchiehall Street, the elegant Argyll Arcade and open markets. The Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintoch, offers tours, and Glasgow is also home to the magnificent Burrell Collection. The Museum of Transport has a fascinating collection of exhibits and Clyde-built ship models, and in the harbour visitors can board the restored Tall Ship Glenlee.
Hamburg (Germany)
The old Hanseatic port of Hamburg is a major centre of trade for northern Germany and is situated on the River Elbe. One of its key features is Alster Lake, edged with parkland and buildings painted white and copper-roofed to retain the area's beauty. The Jungfernstieg is an elegant shopping street beside the Inner Alster, and one of the city's many imposing buildings is the City Hall, an impressive Renaissance-style building fronted by a large market square.
Hammerfest (Norway)
Hammerfest, the world's most northerly town, is at the same latitude as northern Siberia, but largely ice-free thanks to the Gulf Stream. The fur trade and international trade with neighbouring Russia brought prosperity, as did the growing fish processing industry. Its strategic position made it the ideal base for Germany's fleet during World War II. Visit the amusingly named Polar Bear Club for a taste of Arctic natural history.
Hardangerfjord (Norway)
Over a hundred miles long, Hardangerfjord extends from the Atlantic Ocean near Bergen to Ulvik and Eidfjord. The region of Hardanger is a major fruit and berry producer, and blossom trees add to its beauty in late spring. Among the many sights are the 182-meter Voringsfossen waterfall, the Folgefonna Glacier and the Barony in Rosendal, which has a famous Renaissance garden. The open-air Hardanger Folk Museum is a popular visitor attraction.
Harstad (Norway)
Harstad is an important port with a natural, sheltered harbour surrounded by an archipelago of small islands. Apart from its fjords and mountains, Harstad's attractions include the underground Grottebadet, a cave complex of Jacuzzi, pools, caf' and sauna, and on the Trondenes Peninsula, the Adolf Gun from World War II and 13th-century Trondenes Church. Harstad is also the base for the 1868 schooner, Anna Rogde.
Harwich (UK)
Harwich in Essex is one of the Haven Ports and has direct rail links to London, the Midlands and the South-East. Ships depart from Harwich for the North Cape, Holland, Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Harwich itself has one of the oldest surviving silent screen cinemas, the Electric Palace, and is home to the headquarters of Trinity House. Constable country, Cambridge and Sutton Hoo are possible excursions from Harwich.
Hellesylt (Norway)
The old Viking village of Hellesylt is situated at the head of Sunnylvsfjord. It is a stepping-off point for cruises along Geirangerfjord, and is surrounded by mountains and valleys. Places of interest include the Peer Gynt Gallery, and a small bridge in the town over the tumbling waters of Hellesylt waterfall. On the mountainside there are restored old farmsteads, including Skagefla which was built on a ledge 250 meters above the fjord.
Helsingborg (Sweden)
The harbour of Helsingborg is overlooked by the ruins of a 14th-century castle, and the renovated docks area of Norra Hamnen now has restaurants and cafes. In town is the open-air museum of Fredriksdal, where there are gardens and theatre in the grounds. Raus Kyrka is one of the oldest churches in Sweden and dates back to the 12th century. There is a large shopping centre on the outskirts of Helsingborg at Vala.
Helsinki (Finland)
Helsinki port is approximately one mile from the city, which is Finland's capital. Suomenlinna Fortress is one of the largest sea fortresses in the world, built in 1748 and now a residential are with cafes and restaurants. The city is compact and easy to explore on foot, where the sights include the grand Neo-Classical architecture of Senate Squar and the Design Museum which showcases Finnish art and design.
Honnigsvag (Norway)
Honningsvag is the gateway to the North Cape and is Norway's most northerly municipality, set in a landscape of waterfalls and forest. A small fishing town, along the waterfront are brightly-coloured wooden buildings, and shops sell traditional goods including furs, textiles, pottery, silver and enamel ' some of them are tax free to tourists. Worthy of a visit are the North Cape Museum and Visitor Centre.
Ijmuiden (Holland)
Ijmuiden is a fishing port situated at the mouth of the North Sea Canal which travels on to Amsterdam, and is famous for the large Spui Locks which drain the canal to the North Sea. The town's South Pier can be walked, and juts into the sea for three kilometers.
Invergordon (Inverness, Scotland)
Invergordon in Easter Ross is a gateway to the Scottish Highlands and lies on the Cromarty Firth, an area of natural beauty with a wide diversity of marine and birdlife, including a colony of bottlenose dolphins. Nearby are 14th-century Cawdor Castle and gardens, the site of the Battle of Culloden and several distilleries, including Glenmorangie. There is little of interest in Invergordon itself.
Isles of Scilly (England)
The Isles of Scilly consist of five main islands; St Mary, Tresco, Bryher, St Agnes and St Martins. Most cruise ships anchor off Hugh Town in St Mary, where there is a 16th-century garrison, Bronze Age burial chambers and the sub-tropical garden of Carreg Dhu. There are many pristine white sand beaches and boat tours are available between the islands. Bikes can be hired on Tresco, where the Abbey Gardens include the Shipwreck Museum which exhibits figureheads from local wrecks.
Kiel (Germany)
Kiel is a wealthy Baltic town, and an important shipbuilding centre and port situated just south of the Kiel Canal which is a short-cut for vessels travelling between the Baltic and the North Sea. The town has a large shopping mall, the Holstenstrasse, and an elegant town square bordered by Schreven Lake and the rathaus. Kiel Strande beach is popular in summer, and entrance to the mature grounds of the Old Botanical Gardens is free.
Kirkenes (Norway)
The isolated town of Kirkenes is close to the Sami communities of North Finland, and just 10 kilometers from Norway's border with Russia, situated on the extreme north-eastern coast on Bokfjorden. It is in the Land of the Midnight Sun and popular with visitors in search of the Northern Lights. The Grenselandmuseet is a museum exhibiting woodcuts and historic regional artefacts, but Kirkenes is best-known for the Snow Hotel.
Kirkwall (Orkney Isles)
Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Islands which comprise over seventy islands, rocks and skerries. The town is dominated by the impressive cathedral of St Magnus, and beyond are the important archaeological sites of Neolithic Skarae Brae, the large Ring of Brodgar - both World Heritage Sites -and the Standing Stones of Stennes. Offshore, seals porpoises, whales and dolphins are often seen.
Kristiansand (Norway)
The pleasant port town of Kristiansand is easy to explore by train, visiting the Fish Quay, the fountain sculpture in Nupen Park, the pretty harbour and the town's beach. The old town area of Posebyen is worth a visit for its elegant and well-preserved white wooden houses. Boat trips are available to the island of Odderoya which has scenic walking trails and military remains, and nearby is the open-air museum of Vest-Agder where there are historic buildings and reconstructed streets.
Leith (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Leith is the port for Edinburgh and its many attractions, including elegant Princes Street, the Royal Mile, Holyrood Palace, and the cliff-top castle. Prince's Quay in Leith is home to the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the town has the remains of a citadel built for Cromwell's troops, found on Dock Street. Dean Gallery holds works by Picasso, Dali, Man Ray and Giacometti, and Lamb's House is one of the oldest buildings in Leith, where it's said Mary Queen of Scots stayed after her arrival from France in 1561.
Lerwick (Shetland Isles)
Lerwick is the capital of the Shetland Islands, a remote archipelago north of Orkney on the same latitude as Anchorage in Alaska. In the rugged landscape around Lerwick are Neolithic and Bronze Age remains, including Jarlshof, an extensive network of 4000 years of settlement on the coast. In Lerwick town, winding alleys lead from the port to the upper town and Clickhimin Broch, a well-preserved Pictish round tower.
Liverpool (UK)
The famous skyline of Liverpool's waterfront consists of the Three Graces ' the Royal Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool Buildings, now a World Heritage Site. Liverpool has several attractions ' the Metropolitan Cathedral, Tate Liverpool at Albert Dock which houses works by Warhol, Dali and Anthony Gormley, and the former homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Boutiques and shops can be found in the historic Cavern Quarter and the large complex of Liverpool ONE.
London (Tilbury)
Cruises visiting London berth at Tilbury, 22 miles south of Tower Bridge which has a rail link to Fenchurch Street station. London's attractions are numerous and spread throughout the city. Shoppers head for Oxford Street and upmarket Knightsbridge for Harrods, and there are numerous galleries for art lovers ' the Tate Modern, National and Portrait Galleries. Among the many other sights are the London Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, parks, theatres and restaurants.
Longyearbyen (Norway)
Longyearbyen is the capital of the remote and beautiful Svalbard Archipelago, situated on its largest island, Spitsbergen and the gateway to the High Arctic. The town nestles between two glacier tongues on Advent Fjord and has a modern feel to it, with brightly-painted buildings, good facilities and the interesting Svalbard Museum. Longyearbyen has several research stations and the Global Seed Vault, which was dug into the permafrost and preserves seeds to ensure the future of plant diversity and food crops.
Lubeck (Travemunde, Germany)
Lubeck is visited from the port of Travemunde. This Hanseatic city has many medieval buildings and its old town is a World Heritage Site, surrounded by water and crossed by picturesque narrow alleys. Highlights include Lubeck's most famous landmark, the 15th-century turreted Holsten Gate, the convent of Burgkloster and 13th-century Castle Monastery. The city has some interesting, specialist shops and the childhood homes of Thomas Mann and Gunter Grass are open to visitors.
Lysefjord (Norway)
Lysefjord is the most southerly of Norway's large fjords and offers dramatic scenery, stretching for over 20 miles through a narrow channel bounded by high cliffs. Hengjanefossen Waterfall is 400 meters high, and the famous plateau of Pulpit Rock, or Preikestolen, overlooks the fjord from a height of 600 meters.
Milford Haven (UK)
The port of Milford Haven was once a whaling centre and Royal Navy dockyard, but is now one of the largest oil and gas ports in northern Europe. It is overlooked by the ruins of 19th-century Fort Hubberstone. A shuttle service operates between the port and the town, which lies in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, a scenic area of beaches, mountains and coastal paths with many castles and ruined fortifications.
Molde (Norway)
Facing south along the Romdalsfjord, in the northern part of Norway's Fjordland, the colourful and modern city of Molde is known as the 'Town of Roses', surrounded by over 200 mountain peaks. The market place has an impressive city hall and Molde Church has been richly decorated by Norwegian artists. Shoppers buy local crafts including knitwear, silver, reindeer skins and glass. The area of Molde is known for its scenic roads, including the Trollstigen and the island-hopping Atlantic Road.
Newcastle (UK)
Ships and ferries visiting Newcastle berth at Royal Quays, where there is a large shopping centre a short distance from the city centre. The city is famous for its modernist tilting Millennium Bridge, the spectacular Sage building, and the Angel of the North to the south. Visits to Newcastle are an opportunity to see Hadrian's Wall, Durham and the historic castles and wild coastline of Northumberland.
Nuuk (Greenland)
Nuuk is the capital of Greenland, founded in 1728 and situated at the head of a large network of fjords. It is a blend of modern architecture and the older buildings of Kolonihaven. The Greenland National Museum houses the famous 15th-century Qilakitsoq Mummies, discovered beneath a hillside underhang in 1972 in a remarkable state of preservation. In the harbour is the beautiful statue of the 'Mother of the Sea' which is covered by the waves at high tide.
Ny Alesund (Norway)
Ny Alesund has a population of less than one hundred, and is a former coal-mining town situated on the west coast of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. It was from here that Raold Amundsen's successful airship flight over the North Pole began, and today it is home to the most northerly, permanently-inhabited Arctic Research Station.
Olden (Norway)
The village of Olden has a spectacular position at the head of Nordfjord, with steep mountains on either side. Cruise ships dock at the quay a ten-minute walk away from the town, mainly for visits to the Briksdal Glacier. Two-wheeled horse-drawn carts known as 'Troll Cars' take visitors through the scenic Olden Valley and nearby is the impressive 984-foot Volefossen waterfall. In Loen just outside Olden are some of the many Viking burial mounds found in Nordfjord.
Oslo (Norway)
The port of Norway's capital, Oslo, is located in the heart of the city below the medieval Akershus Fortress. Oslo is a small city located at the end of Oslofjord, surrounded by mountains and offering interesting shopping opportunities in the Old Bazaar Halls, the Kon-Tiki, Fram and Viking ship museums, the modernist building of the new Opera House at Bjorvika, and restaurants serving traditional dishes of moose, fish and reindeer.
Paris (Le Havre, France)
The busy Normandy port of Le Havre has rail links to Paris, Rouen and Marseille, and visits can be made to the picturesque fishing town of Honfleur. Le Havre suffered heavy bombing in World War II, and won World Heritage status after its reconstruction by Auguste Perret in the 1940s. The Docks Vauban area is an historic district now housing shops, restaurants and swimming pools. The Musee des Beaux-Arts Malraux contains paintings by Monet, Degas, Sisley and Manet.
Penzance (England)
Penzance is a town on the picturesque Cornish Riviera beside Mounts Bay, with views across to the spectacular St Michael's Mount. In the town is the unusual 19th-century Egyptian House, a promenade and open-air Art Deco swimming pool. Nearby is the charming fishing village of Mousehole, Newlyn and its art gallery and the unusual Minack Theatre, built into the cliffs above Portcurno Bay in the style of a Roman amphitheatre. Ferries and helicopters depart Penzance for the Scilly Isles.
Portsmouth (England)
Portsmouth has long been an important naval port and is still a Royal Navy base. It is the home of HMS Victory and the 19th-century HMS Warrior, and the new Spinnaker Tower, built to resemble sails at the former site of HMS Vernon. This area has been re-named Gunwharf Quays, a new waterfront development of restaurants, bars and designer shops. In Old Portsmouth there are fish markets, tea rooms, cobbled streets and traditional pubs.
Reykjavik (Iceland)
Reykjavik is the most northerly capital in the world. The wooden buildings of the old town sit beside lively, modern Reykjavik which has excellent museums, galleries and contemporary outdoor geo-thermal pools. There are superb viewing decks in the lovely church of Hallgr'mskirkja, built to resemble lava flow. The Imagine Peace Tower opposite the harbour was built by Yoko Ono as a memorial to John Lennon and emits a tower of light during the last three months of the year.
Riga (Latvia)
Riga is a Free Port and the capital of Latvia, considered one of the most beautiful of the Baltic's capitals. The outstanding Art Nouveau buildings in the old town have earned it World Heritage status, and some of the best are found on Alberta and Elizabetes Streets. The vast cathedral has a 6718-pipe organ, and there are markets in the city's old Zeppelin sheds. A pleasant canal runs through the old town and there are sandy beaches at nearby Jurmala.
Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world, and provides excellent transport links to the city 24 miles away. Having suffered heavy bombing in World War II, Rotterdam is an energetic city with an impressive array of modern buildings. Explore on foot to see the remarkable Cube Houses, the Euromast and the Erasmus Bridge. With a large student population there's a lively caf' culture and good galleries, including the Kunsthal.
Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Rotterdam is one of the largest ports in the world, and provides excellent transport links to the city 24 miles away. Having suffered heavy bombing in World War II, Rotterdam is an energetic city with an impressive array of modern buildings. Explore on foot to see the remarkable Cube Houses, the Euromast and the Erasmus Bridge. With a large student population there's a lively caf' culture and good galleries, including the Kunsthal.
Rouen is the capital of Upper Normandy, and has a picturesque medieval quarter of glaze-tiled and timbered houses. Joan of Arc was imprisoned in a tower and burnt at the stake in the marketplace in Rouen. The city is well-known for its astronomical clock and the famous cathedral which was painted several times by Monet
Sevastapol (Ukraine)
Sevastopol port began as an 18th-century military fortress and is now a busy commercial port as well as the base for Russia's Black Sea Fleet. The interesting tunnels of the former Soviet Underground Submarine Base are open to visitors, and other attractions include St Vladimir Cathedral, the remains of the Greek city of Chersonese and the excellent Panorama Museum in the valley of Balaklava, which depicts the defence of Sevastopol
Southampton (UK)
The port of Southampton is one of the busiest cruise ship ports in the British Isles. The city has several parks and a large common. Places of interest include the newly-opened Bargate Monument Gallery and the 12th-century Medieval Merchant's House, whilst shoppers and diners head for the up-market area of Bedford Place. From Southampton, its possible to visit the New Forest or the Isle of Wight which is served by ferry from the harbour.
Spitsbergen (Norway)
Spitsbergen is the largest island in the remote Svalbard archipelago and the only one with a permanent population. For travellers continuing north, it is the gateway to the High Arctic and the last stop before the North Pole. This harsh habitat supports polar bears, reindeer and hardy flora, and is home to international research stations and the Global Seed Vault. Its dramatic scenery includes Advent Fjord, the Monaco Glacier and jagged granite mountains.
St Malo (France)
St Malo is considered one of the most attractive towns in Brittany. Its old walled town was a former citadel and has cobbled streets, a handsome cathedral and the 14th-century Solidor Tower. Offshore is the island of Grand Be, where you can visit the tomb of the writer Chateaubriand, and the magnificent Mont St Michel. It's possible to walk a circuit of St Malo along the walls, with views of the long sandy Grand Plage below.
St Peter Port (Guernsey)
Guernsey's capital is a picturesque town with tax free shopping and good beaches. Above the bay is Castle Cornet, dating back to the 12th-century and occupied by the Germans in World War II. St Peter Port's lanes are cobbled and narrow, lined with seafood restaurants and sophisticated boutiques. Victor Hugo's house can be found on Hauteville behind the South Esplanade, and the former German Underground Military Hospital is to the south of the town.
St Petersburg (Russia)
The imperial city of St Petersburg is full of treasures. Important works by Italian Renaissance artists, Rembrandt, Matisse and Picasso are on display in the vast Hermitage Museum, which is housed in the extravagant Winter Palace. Peterhof Palace was inspired by Versailles, and perhaps outshines it. See the lavish fountains, culminating in the splendour of the Grand Cascade. Perhaps visit the suburb of Pushkin and the onion-domed Catherine's Palace at Tsarskoe Selo, or Mariinksy Theatre, formerly the Kirov Ballet.
Stavanger (Norway)
Stavanger cruise port is situated beside the old wooden seahouses of Gamle Stavanger which now house restaurants, bars and shops. The city is built across several islands, linked by bridges and has a well-preserved 12th-century cathedral. The former sardine canning factory provides an insight into the region's historic fishing industry, and nearby Pulpit Rock is a famous viewpoint overlooking Lysefjord.
Stockholm (Sweden)
Most cruise ships berth within a 20-minute walk of Stockholm's old town, Gamla Stan, giving easy access to the museums, galleries, shops and restaurants of Sweden's capital. Spread across 14 islands connected by 50 bridges, its sights include the Royal Palace of Drottningholm which can be reached by steamer boat from the City Hall, the Wasa Museum which holds an ancient ship, and the futuristic Ericcson Globe where you can take a SkyView Gondola outside its huge dome.
Tallinn (Estonia)
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia. This well-preserved medieval city is surrounded by defensive walls marked at intervals by fairytale pepper-pot towers. From the cruise port there are is a shuttle service into the old town where highlights include the cobbled artisans' area of St Catherine's Passage, Kadriorg Palace built by Peter the Great and the renovated factory quarter of Rotermann which gives a flavour of contemporary Tallinn.
Tobermory (Isle of Mull, Scotland)
The colourful waterfront houses of Tobermory are instantly recognisable. It is a small harbour town on the island of Mull, with galleries selling artwork and jewellery by local craftspeople and a choice of cafes. There is a short coastal walk to Aros Park and to the lighthouse where there are views to the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Further afield on Mull are Glengorm, Torosay and Duart Castles and gardens.
Tromso (Norway)
Tromso is the capital of the Arctic, and has been the starting point for many Polar expeditions. In the waterfront Polar Museum there are exhibits related to these and the history of hunting and trapping in the Polar region. There are shops, cafes, the stunning stained glass Arctic Cathedral and the world's most northerly botanic garden in the town, which benefits from the Gulf Stream.
Trondheim (Norway)
Trondheim is an attractive city partly encircled by the River Nid and was once the capital of Norway. Its waterfront is bordered by brightly-painted wharves and the old town bridge leads to the lively Bakklandet neighbourhood where there are numerous wooden houses, shops and cafes. The town's chief sight is the ancient cathedral of Nidaros which was built in the 11th century over the burial site of St Olav.
Turku (Finland)
Turku is probably the oldest city in Finland and an important business centre, situated alongside the mouth of the Aura River with a pleasant waterfront. Attractions include the white-painted Turku Castle; the 'Village of Living History', a 1950s farmstead; the three-masted museum ship, Swan of Finland and several spas. In the Old Great Square is the imposing cathedral, rebuilt after a fire in the 19th-century. There are plenty of shopping centres and specialist shops selling antiques.
Vadso (Norway)
This small town in Norway is well known for King Crab fishing and for the airship mast which was the departure point for Amundsen's North Pole crossing aboard the airship Norge. The landscape around its archipelago is dramatic, with mountains, lakes, and Arctic habitats of flora and fauna including cliff-side bird colonies and sea eagles, and is a popular destination for hikers.
Vardo (Norway)
Norwegian Vardo is a small fishing village close to the Russian border, and the gateway to the North-east passage and the Barents Sea. Attractions include the 18th-century Vardohus Festning fortress and colonies of razorbill and Brunnich's Guillemot at Hornoy and Reinoy. Brightly-painted buildings line the harbour, and there is a memorial to the victims of witch hunts conducted here in the 17th-century. On the day when daylight returns after the darkness of winter, a two-round salute is fired from the fortress guns to announce a day's holiday.
Visby (Sweden)
Visby sits on the Swedish island of Gotland and is a well-preserved, medieval town and World Heritage Site with 13th-century walls known as the Visby Ringwall. The oldest structure is the powder tower of Kruttornet, one of several red-roofed towers along the walls. Modern Visby has good restaurants serving traditional Gotland lamb and asparagus dishes, and shops on Wisbystrovet and St Hans sell locally-produced ceramics and glass
Volendam (Netherlands)
The quaint lakeside town of Volendam is a maze of fishermen's houses, small gabled buildings and wooden shops, and was a popular subject for 19th-century artists. Some of its inhabitants still wear traditional Dutch dress, and there is a museum dedicated to Dutch costume and its history. Volendam is close to the historic cheese-producing town of Edam.
St Petersburg
Isles Of Scilly