A glimpse to the beauty of northern european cities or an experiment
A good offer made me to give this kind of different and quite new travel experience a try and also get a glimpse of Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Tallinn. The cruise itself is a way to travel I am not very used to and I am not sure if this will become my favorite travel style but for a trip with my mum it was a good and very relaxed idea. No sleeping at different places every night, no hassle to look for places to eat or have good cocktail but even so visiting different cities.
The first stop in Stockholm was like meeting a familiar old friend. A destination which is always worth to spend time. Södermalm – the area next to the old town with its nice shops and the stunning view over Gamla Stan, Skansen and Grönalund from Mosebacke Open Air Bar. Norrmalm – the main shopping area. Gamla Stan – the beautiful old town on the small island between Norrmalm and Södermalm with its small streets and scandinavian style houses.
If the weather is good the worlds first open air museum -Skansen is a great place to spend a couple of hours learning about the former local rural culture, watching the domestic animal and buying handmade pottery or smörrebröd. The Vasa museum and Fotografiska – the photography museum – are very good to dos for bad weather days. Buying the Stockholm card is a great possibility to safe money by free entrance of 80 sights/museum and using the public transport for free for 3 days.
Tallinn is not a very big capital with only 430.000 inhabitants. It has a beautiful old town with a big cathedral, churches, small streets and colourful houses. In a couple of hours it is a possible to get a good overview. But not enough to get any idea about the people and the culture and also to crowded on a day when four cruise ships stop at the harbor . A good reason to come back and visit also the other baltic countries.
Exploring St. Petersburg, the multimillion inhabitants city with its long history, is a mission for at least 4 or 5 days. This one day excursion brought me to the beautiful (and for the public closed at this day) St. Isaacs Cathedral and a nice long walk at Peterhof – the gigantic summer residency of the czar- situated one hour drive aways from the center of the city.
The palace is a massive building stuffed with endless gold, valuable porcelain, paintings of the family, unique wallpapers and much more. Unfortunately it is not allowed to take pictures (staff is placed in every single room to monitor the visitors) and very crowded with tour groups which means you almost have to run through. The arrangement of the gardens is very special and they have the size to spend a couple of hours without getting bored or seeing the same things twice.
Helsinki is a good place as last destination on this trip with a time frame of only a couple of hours. Like all harbors this also has a good connection to the center with public transport. Helsinki cathedral, market square, senat square, rock church orthodox cathedral – a couple of sights, blue sky and a tram line crossing all famous places which is a cheap possibility for a sight seeing tour made the day memorable.