The Baltic Sea is an enclave of the Atlantic Ocean that boasts an enviable geographical location thanks to the many beautiful and exciting countries bordering its deep blue edges. The Baltic Sea is large enough that cruise ships can easily sail along it and these cruises take passengers to the countries of Scandinavia and northern Europe. On Celebrity Cruises, itineraries that sail along the Baltic Sea are often titled as Scandinavia and Russia cruises, though they typically visit other countries as well.
To find out just what you can do while in port during a cruise sailing the Baltic Sea, we’ve rounded up some of the best shore excursions to do in some of the Baltic’s most popular ports. For each city, one excursion is listed that gives you an overview tour of the city and its top sites, and then another excursion that is a bit more unique or specialized.
St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia is the second largest city in Russia and is known for its fascinating architecture (particularly the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood) and vibrant cultural activities ranging from art to ballet to music. Here are two shore excursions that will help you experience the sites, sounds, and culture of St. Petersburg.
Walking Tour and Visit to the Spilled Blood Church: If you want to see a broad range of St. Petersburg with an emphasis on the city’s famous church, then this is the tour for you. In addition to the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, you’ll get a tour of Mikhailovsky Castle and see some of St. Petersburg’s other top sites.
VIP Mariinsky Ballet and Backstage Pass: St. Petersburg is known for its ballet and this special shore excursion lets you fully experience what goes into a world-class ballet performance. You and a very limited number of others on the tour will get a tour of the backstage area, which is generally closed to the general public. You’ll then get the chance to watch an evening performance with newfound knowledge of the workings of the ballet and Mariinsky Theater.
With a happening design district, myriad of boutiques, and delicious food scene, Helsinki blends modern with history among its art-nouveau buildings and bustling city scene. Helsinki is also surrounded by beautiful scenery and you can explore the city and the countryside in different ways during a shore excursion; here are two to look into.
Finnish Countryside Home Visit and Helsinki Highlights: See some of Helsinki’s top sites from your comfortable coach transportation as you drive outside of town to a traditional Finnish farm village called Sipoo. Dating back to the 14th century, Sipoo is full of Finnish charm and you’ll get to experience it firsthand when a local family gives you a tour of their farm and explains the rural lifestyle in Finland.
Helsinki By Bike: Explore Helsinki like a local – via bicycle. And not just any bicycle; you’ll be cruising around Helsinki exploring sites on a Jopo, which is a gearless bicycle that became popular in Helsinki in the 1960s and ‘70s and is once again popular today. You’ll feel like one of the cool kids cruising around town on your Jopo.
Tallinn (Muuga), Estonia
Your ship will dock in the port of Muuga, the gateway to the alluring city of Tallinn, Estonia. Tallinn is off the radar of many European travelers and you’ll be glad you got the chance to visit this city as soon as you glimpse the terracotta-colored roofs of its historic Old Town, which is still amazingly preserved from when it served as a center for the Hanseatic League in the 13th century. Here are two shore excursions to consider for Tallinn.
Tallinn – City of Contrasts: This well thought out city tour gives you both a taste of Tallinn as it is today and how it was in centuries past. You’ll explore both the Old Town and suburbs of Tallinn during a combination of coach and walking tour. You’ll also visit Viimsi Open Air Museum and have a special coffee break during your excursion.
Medieval Rakvere and Tallinn: Explore Old Town where you’ll see some of Tallinn’s best sites and make your way up to viewing platforms for stunning photo ops. Next you’ll travel to the ruins of Rakvere Castle, where you’ll learn more about Estonia during Medieval times, and and also get lunch and a vodka tasting in the castle’s courtyard.
Stockholm has a gorgeous vantage point against the Baltic Sea, with its land spreading out over 14 islands. While in Stockholm, you can explore these different islands that make up the city and see both trendy shops and historic palaces and buildings. Here are two shore excursions that give you different views of Stockholm.
Stockholm Beauty by Land and Water: You’ll explore Stockholm both by foot and by boat on this shore excursion which takes you all over the city. Walk around Old Town, the shopping district, and Stockholm’s business district, before boarding a canal boat for a scenic cruise past lovely neighborhoods and urban gardens.
Historic Rooftop Tour: Elevate yourself and your experience in Stockholm with this adrenaline inducing shore excursion that lets you see Stockholm from new heights. You’ll start atop the Parliament Building, where you’ll be hooked into a safety harness that lets you safely walk along the rooftops of Stockholm, taking in incredible views. Once you’re back on solid ground, you’ll get a walking tour of Gamla Stan, one of Stockholm’s oldest and most beloved areas.
Berlin (Rostock), Germany
Rostock is a pretty port town with colorful buildings lining its streets. Though Rostock itself is visually appealing, the main allure of stopping in this port during a Baltic cruise is the chance to visit nearby Berlin. The journey is two hours by train or around two and half hours by bus, but it’s worth it to see the historic sites of Berlin. Here are two top shore excursions to check out for your time there.
Berlin from All Sides (By Train): This shore excursion swiftly takes you from Rostock to Berlin via a comfortable and scenic train ride through the German countryside. Once you’re in Berlin, you’ll explore some of the city’s most famous sites, including the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie. In addition, you’ll partake in a river cruise and a traditional German lunch. (A similar shore excursion is also offered with a coach transportation option instead of train.)
Amazing Rostock with Microbrewery: Been to Berlin before? Then stay in Rostock! On this shore excursion you’ll get a tour of Rostock during which you’ll learn about historic universities and churches and see other sites Rostock is known for. During your tour, you’ll also stop at a microbrewery and hear how German beer is made and get to sample some brews.
Copenhagen is a thriving metropolis and port city that has a bit of everything for travelers, from an exciting food and beer scene to gorgeous buildings and parks to a thrilling history, that includes Vikings. Here are two shore excursions that will show you a broad range of all that Copenhagen has to offer.
City Sightseeing with Dragor Village: You’ll get nature and culture on this tour, which takes you on a tour to Copenhagen’s best sites, like the beautiful Tivoli Gardens and the home of the Royal family called Amalienborg Palace. In addition to city life, you’ll get to see a quieter side of the landscape around Copenhagen thanks to a visit to Dragor, a farming village that dates back to the 16th century.
Copenhagen by Kayak: Get your heart rate up with this fun way to explore Copenhagen. You’ll learn about the canals and waterways of Copenhagen and then get to hop in your kayak to explore them and the sights surrounding the waterways.
In Oslo, you’ll be kissing the Baltic Sea good-bye as you enter the Skagerrak Strait, which connects to the North Sea. Though technically not on the Baltic Sea, Oslo is part of many Baltic Sea cruise itineraries so you’ll want to know what excursions you can do while in Oslo. Here are two top picks.
Oslo City Walk and Ice Bar: Experience the city first hand on a walking tour around some of its prominent areas with a knowledgeable guide. After your walk, you’ll get to cool down in Oslo’s Ice Bar where everything from the walls to the bartop to the chairs are made out of ice. Cool indeed.
Hadeland Glass Works and Viking Ships: Learn about Oslo’s culture and history during this unique shore excursion, during which you’ll tour the Viking Ship Museum and visit a glassblowing shop to watch glassblowers create their masterpieces. You’ll also see some of Oslo’s other major sites like Akershus Castle when driving through the city.
Your Scandinavia and Russia cruise itinerary through the Baltic Sea also may travel further into the North Sea, visiting ports of call such as Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Southampton, London. To see all of these thrilling Northern Europe cruise itineraries sailing along the Baltic Sea with Celebrity Cruises, click here.