Traveling aboard the National Geographic Explorer, discover the magnificent cities of the Baltic Sea. Meet former president Lech Walesa and stroll through medieval towns, visit the great maritime capital of Stockholm, and spend two days in stunning St. Petersburg.
Venture into the medieval Old Towns of Lübeck, Riga, and Tallinn, designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Meet with former President Lech Walesa of Poland and Trivimi Velliste, a leader of Estonia's Singing Revolution.
Explore the tiny islands of the Stockholm Archipelago by Zodiac or on nature walks.
View one of the world's greatest art collections at the Hermitage Museum.
Itinerary - 16 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Amsterdam
Depart on an overnight flight to Amsterdam. Gather for lunch in town, and then embark the National Geographic Explorer and enjoy a welcome dinner on board tonight. National Geographic Explorer (L,D)
Day 3 — At Sea/Kiel Canal
Trace the northern coast of Germany this morning and transit the Kiel Canal, which passes south of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Look for seabirds, which use the 61-mile canal as a migratory path. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Lübeck, Germany
Our ship heads into the canals of Lübeck, the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League. Take a boat ride along the canals and a walking tour after lunch. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Christiansø and Bornholm Islands, Denmark
Travel by Zodiac to the small island of Christiansø and wander through an artists’ village that occupies the site of an 18th-century castle. At the island of Bornholm, you have the option to visit one of the round churches, enjoy a scenic country drive, and visit the ruins of Hammershus Castle—one of Europe’s largest medieval fortifications; hike the northern end of the island and finish at the ruins of Hammershus Castle; or visit the beautiful gardens and old farmhouse of Kraemmerhuset and stroll through the charming town of Svaneke. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Gdańsk, Poland
By special arrangement, meet with former President of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lech Walesa. Then, choose to visit either the Roads to Freedom Museum to learn about Poland's Solidarity movement; the Gdańsk Maritime Museum, where you’ll discover how the city’s existence has been shaped by maritime forces; or the Archaeological Museum to learn the ethnic roots of the region and take in the sweeping city view from the museum’s tower. Stroll Gdańsk's Old Town and see the 15th-century Artus Court. In the afternoon, visit Oliwa Cathedral for a concert and garden walk, followed by a Zodiac tour though the Gdańsk shipyards where Poland's Solidarity movement was born. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Klaipeda, Lithuania
From Klaipeda, travel north to the seaside town of Palanga, stopping at a 19th-century estate that houses the celebrated Amber Museum. Hike the Hill of Witches, surrounded by woodcarvings of Lithuanian folklore; or explore the Ornithological Station of Vente established in 1929 and which lies along a major migration route of tufted ducks, black-headed gulls, mallards, and coots. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Riga, Latvia
A member of the Hanseatic League, Riga is renowned for its architectural diversity. See the Latvian National Opera, the Freedom Monument, and the 14th century Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Venture into the castle, and explore the Great Guild Hall square. Walk the winding old town streets with our historians or explore on your own with suggestions from our concierge service. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn’s Hanseatic Old Town is one of the Baltic’s best preserved medieval cities. Explore this
UNESCO World Heritage site, and, if you wish, have lunch ashore.In the afternoon, discover the beautiful plants of the verdant Viru Bog located in the Laheema National Park. “Bog shoes,” similar to snowshoes, are provided. (B,L,D)
Days 10 & 11 — St. Petersburg, Russia
In St. Petersburg, explore Catherine Palace in Pushkin, step into the Peter and Paul Fortress, visit the golden-domed St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and admire the treasures of the Hermitage Museum. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Exploring Coastal Finland
Today we explore the low-lying, granite islands along the coastline, looking for an idyllic place to take a Zodiac cruise, launch our kayaks, and go for a hike. Experience the tranquility of rural Finland, and if you wish, take an authentic Finnish sauna. (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Stockholm
In charming Stockholm, visit the Vasa Museum to see its 17th-century warship—the prize of
King Gustav II Adolf’s navy, which sank on its maiden voyage. Then stroll the cobbled streets of
Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s pastel-hued Old Town.
Day 14 — Visby, Gotland, Sweden
This walled city is known to be the best preserved medieval city in Scandinavia and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here you can choose one of three ways to explore this former Viking trading post: Explore the medieval city on foot and then visit the Gotlands Museum; take a bike ride around Visby’s walls and into the country; or enjoy a scenic drive and discover a panoramic view of Gotland’s history. In the afternoon, everyone will have the chance to visit a local brewery or enjoy free time.
Day 15 — Exploring southern Sweden
On our final day aboard National Geographic Explorer, our plans are flexible so we can enjoy the best of spring in southern Sweden. Take leisurely walks, get acquainted with Swedish coastal culture, and photograph everyday life in centuries-old seaside villages. (B,L,D)
Day 16 — Copenhagen, Denmark/U.S.
Disembark in Copenhagen and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B)