The biggest travel drawback in northern Europe is the cost, so taking a cruise is a good option for those hoping to save money. The cruise fare covers the most expensive items in northern Europe, which are room, food, and transportation. Taking a cruise also certainly makes planning easier, since the ship sets the itinerary.
At least 18 cruise lines will send over 30 ships to northern Europe in the summer of 2013. Cruises to Scandinavia and the Baltic often stopover in many of the great capital cities of northern Europe, including Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, and Helsinki. These northern European capitals feature marvelous historical sites, museums, and parks. In addition, you can climb to the top of a ski jump in Oslo, marvel at the ancient Vasa war ship in Stockholm, explore Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, and visit the underground Rock Church in Helsinki. I've done all these things on northern European cruises.
Many travelers to northern Europe find St. Petersburg the most fascinating city of the region. Due to its popularity, cruise ships usually overnight in St. Petersburg. I've visited St. Petersburg three times on cruises, and could easily return a dozen more. The city's history is spellbinding and its museums and palaces are breathtaking. It would take years to see all of the exhibits in the Hermitage Museum.
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Church on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg (c) Linda Garrison