The wondrous waterways and rugged coastlines of the Baltics are a stunning introduction to the fascinating history of this unique region. In Denmark you’ll explore the craggy shores of Christanø Island, visit the Grasholmen Bird Sanctuary and the Fortress of King Christian V. Sweden’s Visby on Gotland Island is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Scandinavia with its 13th Century wall and countless ruins. Enjoy Utö Island’s Elderflowered Orchids and famed Apollo Butterflies. Visit the 17th Century warship of Stockholm’s Vasa Museum and wander through Gamla Stan (Old Town). And you won’t want to miss Finland’s Turku Castle, the ruins of Aboa Vetus, and the Åland Maritime Museum—arguably the finest in the world.
Embark the National Geographic Orion then settle into your cabin and prepare for an evening departure.
Zodiacs take us to the almost uninhabited island of Christiansø, where Danish fortifications date from 1684. Explore the craggy shores and lighthouse—the first in Denmark Christiansø, and just one type of mammal, the hedgehog. Look for eider ducks, razorbills, and more nested on the small island of Græsholmen, a bird sanctuary.
Visby, Gotland, Sweden
Extremely picturesque, Visby is perfect for a guided photo walk through medieval neighborhoods capped off with a visit to the Gotland Museum. Spend the day exploring Visby, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Scandinavia. Founded as a Viking settlement, the town became a center of the Hanseatic trade in the 12th to 14th centuries. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the enchanting old town and walk along its nearly two-mile-long, 13th-century wall. Ride a bike through town or along the many bike paths across the island of Gotland. This evening join us for a special night on Gotland with a Swedish dinner and a private concert by Swedish folk music group, Väsen.
Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
Arrive in Stockholm like no one else: via Zodiac through the lush greenery of the Djurgärden Canal. Anchor near the small island of Utö and explore its quiet coves by kayak. Or, take a Zodiac to the island to walk through Utö’s nature preserve. Keep your camera handy as we maneuver through the scenic Stockholm Archipelago to dock in the heart of Stockholm, the city built on 14 islands.
The great Scandinavian maritime capital of Stockholm provides some favorite experiences: view the royal Vasa warship (which capsized in Stockholm harbor in 1628 and was salvaged and restored 350 years later.) Take a walking tour of Old Town Gamla Stan, or learn about Sweden’s living history at the Skansen open-air museum. This afternoon enjoy time on your own or take a tasting tour of Swedish sweets in the Gamla Stan. We stay docked overnight so you can enjoy this magical Scandinavian city.
Take a rooftop walk across the Old Town. Yes, opt to buckle up in your safety harness and step along the narrow rooftop path that only we will follow. You’ll be stunned by the fantastic views and the fascinating stories that your guide will narrate.
Mariehamn, Åland, Finland
Sail to the Åland Islands, an autonomous, Swedish-speaking, Finnish territory. In Mariehamn, the capital, visit the four-masted merchant sailing ship Pommern, and visit the Åland Maritime Museum, or bicycle out into the countryside. Tonight we have a special tasting ashore while we hear traditional sea shanties from the Age of Sail.
Experience an authentic Finnish sauna in the good ol’outdoors. Take a sauna or a swim in the waters of one of the many islands in Turku’s Archipelago. Visit Turku, the oldest city in Finland. Explore Turku Castle, the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum, or the artwork and underground ruins at Aboa Vetus and Ars Nova museum. This afternoon cruise via Zodiac to a small island for nature hikes and a relaxing swim.
Disembark today for flights home or remain for an added stay in our centrally-located hotel in Tallinn.