Medieval Cities, Seaside Villages & Legends of a Northern Realm aboard the Serenissima

Overview

This voyage aboard the 95-passenger Serenissima weaves through eight fascinating Baltic countries: Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Denmark. You'll walk the narrow, cobbled lanes of beautifully intact medieval Old Towns, including Riga and Tallinn, visit the famed Solidarity sites of Gdansk, tour the stunning 13th century walled city and World Heritage Site of Visby on Gotland Island, and learn the history and legends of Europe’s Baltic cultures. Highlights include fishing hamlets of tranquil Bornholm Island, the seaside town of Palanga in Lithuania, Helsinki’s lively Market Square, and stunning St. Petersburg, Peter the Great’s grand vision and one of the most elegant imperial cities in all Europe.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Days 1-2, Jul 4- 5, 2019
USA / Stockholm, Sweden

Fly to Stockholm and transfer to the hotel. We gather on Day 2 for a Welcome Dinner.

Day 3, Jul 6, 2019
Stockholm / Embark

Join a half-day tour of this dynamic city with lunch at a local restaurant. Board the Serenissima this afternoon.

Day 4, Jul 7, 2019
Turku, Finland

Today visit Turku, the oldest city in Finland and its one-time capital. Your tour includes the 13th-century castle and cathedral, the handicrafts museum, and lively market. Conditions permitting, board Zodiacs to cruise among verdant islands and rocky outcroppings of the scenic Turku archipelago.

Day 5, Jul 8, 2019
Helsinki

The capital of Finland since 1812, Helsinki is a cosmopolitan city with a small-town feel. A city tour reveals the beautiful neoclassical architecture of Senate Square and allows you the opportunity to stroll through picturesque Market Square, where numerous vendors offer a variety of Finnish foods and souvenirs. Or, choose to tour Suomenlinna Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Sweden in 1748 to protect Helsinki’s harbor.

Days 6-7, Jul 9-10, 2019
St. Petersburg, Russia

Arrive in splendid St. Petersburg in the late morning and enjoy two days of exploration. Visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace, which houses Catherine the Great’s incomparable Hermitage Museum. Enjoy an advanced entry and special guided tour that includes the Gold Room—a dazzling display of jewelry, as well as the famous Scythian and Greek gold. Drive across the Neva River to the burial place of the tsars, Peter and Paul Cathedral; its 18th-century spire dominates the skyline. Visit the spectacular Church of the Resurrection and drive along Russia’s most famous street, the Nevsky Prospect, lined with magnificent palaces, churches, and theaters. A scenic drive takes you to the palace and gardens of Peterhof, a grand summertime residence built by Peter the Great.

Days 8-9, Jul 11-12, 2019
Tallinn, Estonia

Spend two days exploring Tallinn, whose Old Town is a visual feast of soaring spires, towers, and turrets. After a renaissance in restoration and reconstruction, Tallinn proudly proclaims itself the finest preserved city in the Baltic. In the upper Old Town, visit Palace Square and the magnificent cupola-crowned Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the lower Old Town, visit the Town Hall Square, once a medieval marketplace; one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, founded in 1422; and stroll along St. Catherine’s Passage in the Latin Quarter. You will also visit Kadriorg Palace and Park, built by Peter the Great as a summer residence.

Day 10, Jul 13, 2019
Riga, Latvia

Your day in Latvia showcases the riches of this 800-year-old Hanseatic river port. A walking tour takes you to multiple landmarks, including the Blackheads House, one of the oldest buildings in Riga; St. Peter’s Church, a superb Gothic masterpiece; the 15th-century Three Brothers merchant houses; and both St. Jacob and St. John churches. Also visit the 13th-century Dome Cathedral, whose organ concerts are legendary. Continue your exploration by motorcoach, driving past lovely parks along the City Canal lined with the stunning Art Nouveau architecture built in 1899 during the Jugendstil movement. There is free time this afternoon to explore Riga on your own.

Day 11, Jul 14, 2019
Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden

Disembark this morning at Gotland Island, the largest island in the Baltic. The splendid city of Visby, a World Heritage Site, is famous for its intact medieval architecture, especially the 44 guard towers built as part of the city walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Drive to Almedalen, a green oasis in the city center, then walk past lovely medieval granaries and the city’s oldest building, the Powder Tower. Visit the Botanical Garden, known for its exotic plant collection, and take a ride up to a splendid panoramic viewpoint of the city and its spires. Continue your tour on foot along charming cobblestone streets, to visit the impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Gotland Museum with its excellent medieval collections.

Day 12, Jul 15, 2019
Klaipeda, Lithuania

Today, drive to the amber center of Palanga. A stroll through the Botanical Park with its 500 varieties of trees and bushes takes you to the Amber Museum, housed in a 19th-century neo-Renaissance-style mansion. Afterward drive to the Old Town for a walking tour. From beautiful Theater Square, explore the narrow streets that meander between the charming half-timbered houses and shops.

Day 13, Jul 16, 2019
Gdansk, Poland

Enjoy a full day in this city whose history spans nearly 1,000 years. Stop at the Solidarity Monument in front of the Gdansk shipyard, then view the exhibition, Roads to Freedom, a fascinating audio-visual portrayal of those important and world-changing events. A walking tour through lively Old Town reveals a magnificent collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and monuments. Pass through the Golden Gate and walk down Long Street to the 15th-century Palace of Artus, where Neptune’s Fountain commemorates Gdansk’s Hanseatic past. Also visit medieval St. Mary’s Church, the world’s largest brick church. After lunch onboard, there is time at leisure for further exploration.

Day 14, Jul 17, 2019
Bornholm Island, Denmark

After breakfast, step ashore on serene Bornholm Island, endowed with sugary white-sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, thick forests, and heather-clad hills. Visit the ruins of Hammershus Castle, Scandinavia’s largest medieval fortress; the unique, round 12th-century churches, Osterlars and Nylars; and the charming half-timbered fishing hamlet of Gudhjem. You may also choose to visit art studios renowned for their glass blowing and pottery.

Day 15, Jul 18, 2019
Copenhagen / Depart

Arrive in Copenhagen and disembark the Serenissima. Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.

Note: These cruises are not exclusive Wilderness Travel departures. The itinerary, lecturers, and other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the ship operator.

Highlights

Highlights

Stockholm’s charming medieval core, the Gamla Stan
Magnificent imperial monuments of St. Petersburg, one of the loveliest cities in Europe
Historic Old Towns of Tallinn and Riga
Visby, a walled city on Gotland Island
Fishing hamlets of secluded Bornholm Island

Details

Length: 15 days
Cost From: $13,480  
Arrive: Stockholm, Sweden
Depart: Copenhagen, Denmark
Lodging: 12 nights aboard 95-guest vessel, 1 night hotel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Cultural Adventures, Small Ship Cruising
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration and walking tours

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