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Explore eight countries united by the Baltic Sea, discovering their intertwined histories and rich cultures. Walk the medieval streets of Visby and Tallinn, trace World War II history in Gdańsk, and get immersed in the imperial splendors of St. Petersburg. Discover the rugged islands of Sweden and Finland on kayaking excursions and scenic hikes. As we circumnavigate the Baltic Sea from Copenhagen to Stockholm, experience the region’s charming cities and towns as they were meant to be experienced—by sea.
Discover an array of UNESCO World Heritage sites, from the medieval old towns of Riga and Visby to the windswept dunes of the Curonian Spit.
Explore the tiny islands of the Finnish coast and the Stockholm Archipelago by Zodiac, by kayak, and on foot.
Delve into St. Petersburg’s imperial treasures, including the opulent Catherine Palace and the splendid art collections of the State Hermitage Museum.
Uncover the history of Poland’s Solidarity movement in Gdańsk and the roots of the Singing Revolution in Tallinn, Estonia.
Itinerary - 14 Days
Day 1 — Copenhagen, Denmark
Arrive in Denmark’s capital and board the National Geographic Orion. Visit the Town Hall and cruise the city’s charming canals. (L,D)
Day 2 — Bornholm
Our first stop is the fishing port of Gudhjem on Bornholm Island. Hike up to the cliff-top ruins of Hammershus Castle, or explore the island’s round churches and white-sand beaches. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Gdańsk, Poland
Delve into Gdańsk’s art and architecture at the Gothic-Renaissance Town Hall and the Historical Museum. Or visit the Westerplatte peninsula, where World War II began with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. Tour the European Solidarity Centre, commemorating the independent trade union founded by former President of Poland Lech Walesa. Enjoy a Polish lunch onshore. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Klaipėda, Lithuania
Stretching along the Baltic Sea, the wild barrier peninsula of the Curonian Spit is a World Heritage site shared by Lithuania and Russia. Delve into local folklore at the Hill of Witches and see dramatic sand dunes, or visit the Ventė Cape Ornithological Station. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Visby, Gotland, Sweden
Walk along Visby’s 13th-century wall and explore this former Viking settlement. Opt to bike across Gotland and visit its museum. Or, take a tour of the Gotland Brewery. (B,L,D)
Days 6 & 7 — Riga, Latvia
Tour Riga's historic center, discovering wooden houses, art nouveau architecture, and the Central Market.
Day 8 — Tallinn, Estonia
Tallinn’s Hanseatic old town is one of the Baltic’s best-preserved medieval cities. Explore the city’s cobbled streets and defensive towers, and visit the Baroque-style Kadriorg Palace, built by Peter the Great. Trace the roots of the Singing Revolution, which played a pivotal role in Estonia’s struggle for independence from the Soviet Union. (B,L,D)
Days 9 & 10 — St. Petersburg, Russia
Discover a wealth of cultural treasures in St. Petersburg, including the State Hermitage Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Venture to Peter the Great’s summer palace at Petrodvorets and the Catherine Palace in Pushkin. (B,L,D)
Day 11 — Helsinki/Coastal Finland
Discover Helsinki’s intricate coastline, laced with tranquil bays and inlets, and launch Zodiacs and kayaks to seek out islands ripe for exploration. (B,L,D)
Day 12 — Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
Anchor near Utö, exploring the island’s rugged shores by kayak or hiking its nature preserve. Cruise through the spectacular Stockholm archipelago to Stockholm. (B,L,D)
Days 13 & 14 — Stockholm/U.S.
In Stockholm, see the royal Vasa warship and stroll the streets of Gamla Stan (old town)—or venture above them on a unique rooftop walk. Visit the Skansen open-air museum and Woodland Cemetery. Disembark the next day, and transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B,L,D)
Sisse Brimberg has produced more than 25 stories for National Geographic magazine over the last three decades. Her work ranges from documenting the life of fairy-tale writer Hans Christian Andersen to her latest National Geographic project chronicling the Viking culture. Brimberg won first prize for “Picture Story of the Year“ from the National Press Photographers Association for her story on migrant workers. Born in Denmark, Brimberg established and managed her own photo studio in Copenhagen after attending photography school. Her photographs have been exhibited around the world in Germany, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, New York City (International Center for Photography), and Washington, D.C. (The Newseum).