With the reality of the Coronavirus reaching new and unheard of heights, the last thing you’re probably thinking about is planning a trip or luxury cruise. In fact, the best thing to do for the coming months would be to not travel. With that said, it doesn’t mean you can’t dream of the places you’d like to visit once things return to normal. And the enchanting cities of Northern Europe exude a magical charm and romantic feels that are certainly alluring. Get thinking about adding some of these beautiful gems of Europe to your travel bucket list. And do stay safe everyone!
On top of being the capital of Finland, Helsinki is also the cultural, commercial and political centre of the nation. Easy to roam around and not get lost in, while simultaneously getting lost in its architectural delights, the clean-cut and perfectly manicured streets are spacious and interlaced with gardens and parks, making it so visually stunning. Heading there, you’ll be sure to spot and appreciate its beautiful neo-classical buildings that surround the town square. Quintessentially European in look and feel, and also housing a well-reputed and tasty dining scene, a visit to Helsinki should definitely be on your radar.
Must-do: Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site – Suomenlinna Sea Fortress that dates back to the mid-1700
Must-stay: Hotel St. George Helsinki
A trip to Riga could be one of the most culturally rich explorations of a lifetime, as the capital of Latvia has been the true melting pot of European cultures. The city is simply teeming with a complex history characterised by fights for independence from German, Swedish and Russian rule, and later the Soviet Union. Set on the backdrop of the Baltic Sea, Riga is vibrant and bursting with wonderful architectural masterpieces to get lost in. Distinguished by its extensive Art Nouveau architecture, the Historic Centre of Riga was even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Must-do: Wander around Riga’s Old town and explore the meandering backstreets, markets, and banks of the river Daugava.
Must-stay: Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga
If you’re looking for somewhere probably not many of your friends have been, it’s Gdansk! The stunning and scenic port city is slightly off-the-beaten-path and filled with ample amounts of grandeur and exceptionally exquisite architecture. Once a powerful member of the Hanseatic League, the city is also known for its Medieval history, with gothic cathedrals towering over baroque style townhouses and period buildings. The astronomical wooden clock you’ll no doubt look up and see is perhaps one of the most striking centuries-old clocks in Europe.The city’s recent history and its shaping by the events of WWII can all be better understood through a visit to the recently opened The Museum of the Second World War.
Must-do: Try a sip of vodka distilled and served with real flecks of gold. And for the non-drinkers, walk along the legendary Long Street, known for its striking period buildings.
Must-Stay: Dwór Oliwski
St. Petersburg, Russia
Famously referred to as the “Window of Europe” by Peter the Great, Russia’s St. Petersburg was the capital of the Russian Empire for some 200 years and is to this day seen as the country’s artistic and intellectual centre. With many culturally rich things to do such as tour the different-coloured marble floors and frescoes of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, visit the city’s other cathedrals and take in historic sites such as the last resting place of the Romanovs (!) or the Peter Palace, a visit to St. Petersburg is an absolute must for culture vultures. Visits to nearby Moscow and Catherine’s Palace in the countryside will round off your trip nicely.
Must-do: Experience real Russian ballet at St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre
Must-Stay: Belmond Grand Hotel Europe St. Petersburg
With all of these European destinations being port cities, why not consider a luxury cruise through some of Europe’s northern gems? Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers a myriad of routes to explore the Nordic cities by sea, and more. Simply head to www.rssc.com to find out more.