Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

  • Discover fascinating UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Hanseatic trade centers of Lübeck and Visby and the enchanting Estonian capital of Tallinn.
  • Navigate the wild isles and inlets of the Stockholm archipelago and Finland’s Archipelago National Park by kayak or Zodiac.
  • Marvel at the myriad treasures on display in St. Petersburg’s renowned State Hermitage Museum.
  • Trace the origins of World War II along the Westerplatte peninsula, site of Germany’s infamous invasion of Poland.

Itinerary

Itinerary

Discover the legendary history and vibrant cultures of the Baltic Sea, where picturesque islands and coastlines have played host to innumerable seafaring explorers—from invading Vikings to the wealthy traders of the Hanseatic League. As we explore the Baltic’s storied shores, witness the many cultural layers that have shaped this diverse region. Wander through well-preserved medieval towns, and visit fishing villages that still celebrate age-old maritime traditions; glide past rocky cliffs and into serene coves by Zodiac; and see the old vie with new in vibrant cities from Riga to Stockholm.

This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.

 

Days 1-2: U.S./COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

After an overnight flight, arrive in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. See the city from the water on a boat cruise along its charming canals, then embark the National Geographic Explorer.

Meals Included:Day 2 (Lunch, Dinner)
Accommodations:

National Geographic Explorer for the entire voyage

Day 3: LÜBECK, GERMANY

Today we dock at World Heritage-listed Lübeck, once the medieval capital of the Hanseatic League. Take a walking tour of the old town for an insider’s perspective on its Hanseatic and Renaissance architecture, including Buddenbrookhaus—once home to Germany’s famed novelist brothers, Heinrich and Thomas Mann.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: CHRISTIANSØ, DENMARK/ BORNHOLM

Sail to the tiny isle of Christiansø, where Danish fortifications date from 1684. Walk among the colorful buildings of this car-free island, home to less than 100 people and just one species of mammal: the hedgehog. This afternoon we cruise to Bornholm Island. Hike to the cliff-top ruins of the Hammershus fortress, visit the island’s round churches and white sandy beaches, or opt for a smoked herring tasting followed by a leisurely stroll around one of the island's many colorful fishing harbors.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5: GDAŃSK, POLAND

Arrive in Poland and take in Gdańsk’s art and architectural highlights, including the Gothic-Renaissance Town Hall and the National Museum. Visit the Westerplatte peninsula, where World War II began with the German invasion of Poland and take a guided tour of the European Solidarity Center.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6: KLAIPĖDA, LITHUANIA

Arrive in the enchanting cobbled town of Klaipėda, and ferry across to the wild barrier peninsula called the Curonian Spit, a World Heritage site shared by Lithuania and Russia. Drive down along this narrow peninsula to hear folk tales at the Hill of Witches and see some of Europe’s tallest sand dunes. Learn about migratory bird populations at the Ventė Cape Ornithological Station.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: RIGA, LATVIA

Take a walking tour through Riga's World Heritage-designated center, passing wooden houses, art nouveau architecture, and funky cafés. Wander through the airy Central Market—Europe’s largest market, housed in old Zeppelin airship hangers. Or drive to the Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum, situated in a wooded park on the outskirts of the city.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8: TALLINN, ESTONIA

Cross the Gulf of Riga, arriving in Tallinn this morning. Set out on a guided walking tour through the enchanting cobbled Old Town, crowned by the Kiek in de Kök—a 15th-century defensive tower. Take in views over Tallinn’s picturesque spires and gables from atop Dome Hill.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 9-10: ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA

Designed by Peter the Great’s favorite European architects, St. Petersburg was conceived as Russia's link to the western world. Spend two days discovering the city’s treasures, including the extensive art collections at the world-renowned State Hermitage Museum. Tour the Peter and Paul Fortress, and step into St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the city’s largest Russian Orthodox church. Venture outside the city to Pushkin, site of the lavish Catherine Palace—country estate of Catherine I, wife of Peter the Great.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 11: COASTAL FINLAND

Today we’ll explore Finland’s southern coastline, with its numerous bays, inlets, and islands rich with natural history. Navigate the labyrinthine passages of Archipelago National Park by kayak or Zodiac and disembark to explore its rocky and windswept islets.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 12-13: STOCKHOLM ARCHIPELAGO, SWEDEN/STOCKHOLM

Cruise the Stockholm archipelago en route to the Swedish capital. We’ll stay docked in Stockholm overnight so you can enjoy this magical Scandinavian city at your leisure. The next day, marvel at an amazingly preserved 17th-century wooden warship Vasa, housed in Stockholm’s Vasa Museum. Take a walking tour of the Old Town and perhaps stop for a kanelbullar—a local cinnamon bun.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Daily
Day 14: GOTLAND

Spend the day exploring Visby, a former Viking settlement on the island of Gotland and one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Scandinavia. Stroll the old town’s cobbled streets and walk along its 13th-century wall, then visit the Gotland Fornsal Museum. Alternatively, join a local guide for a bike ride along one of the many paths that wind across the island, or drive into the countryside to learn about the isle’s early Viking settlement.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 15: SOUTHERN SWEDEN

Spend the day cruising through the southern archipelago of Sweden. Using our ship as a base camp, we’ll explore some of the archipelago’s many islands and inlets as our naturalists interpret the region’s varied natural history and geology.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 16: COPENHAGEN/U.S.

Disembark our ship in Copenhagen and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Meals Included:Breakfast