From Viking raiders setting out across its frigid waters, to medieval traders carrying goods among Hanseatic ports and epic clashes among Russian, German and British fleets, the Baltic has lengthy been at the centre of Europe’s altering fortunes.

Sandwiched among their former master, Russia, and the generally-icy waters of the Baltic Sea, the nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania may possibly not be everyone’s go-to vacation destinations. But this unlikely trio, and their colourful, vibrant, café-strewn capitals – Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius – are producing some really serious waves. For these who appreciate their history and culture, a cruise to this area opens up a globe of possibilities, with itineraries that, in the most important, pay a visit to far far more than just these 3 fascinating destinations.

In truth, from the delicate spires and pastel-hued townhouses of Copenhagen to the grandiose palaces, iconic onion-domed buildings and landmark museums of imperial St Petersburg – a city broadly regarded as a single of the most architecturally impressive on earth – this outstanding region’s list of cities reads like an historical record.

UNESCO-listed Tallinn’s attractions, for instance, include things like a delightful medieval Old Town and the equally enchanting Kadriorg district: a throwback to the time when Estonia was ruled from afar by Russia’s Tsars. In neighbouring Latvia, Riga’s quaint streets reveal myriad cafes and beer cellars framed by some of Europe’s most impressive art nouveau architecture. It is also dwelling to a host of fascinating museums and excellent galleries, all of which helped to make it a single of Europe’s Capitals of Culture in 2014.

A further classic Baltic city is Gdansk on Poland’s north coast a city with a outstanding history and some distinctly un-Polish architecture, a lot of which requires its influence from the multitude of sailors and wealthy merchants who, more than the centuries, have plied their trade along the busy shipping lanes that connect Poland’s Baltic coast with Russia and the rest of Northern Europe.

Then, ultimately, there are the 3 Scandinavian capitals: Stockholm in Sweden, Finland’s Helsinki and Copenhagen in Denmark, exactly where cutting-edge style and some of Europe’s trendiest bars and restaurants blend seamlessly with historic harbours and complicated coastlines that are dwelling to peaceful inlets, idyllic islands and secluded bays.

When to go

The Baltic area is normally ideal explored in the course of the European summer season, from Might to September, when the days are lengthy and temperatures warm. In the winter, huge swathes of the Baltic are frozen and temperatures plummet to effectively under zero.

Who to cruise with

Various of the world’s major cruise lines pay a visit to the Baltic, such as Regent Seven Cruises, Silversea, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Azamara and Celebrity Cruises.

Scott Anderson is Basic Manager at The Luxury Cruise Organization. The Luxury Cruise Organization is your port of contact for extraordinary cruise holidays.

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