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The “Venice of the North,” spanning 14 small islands at the outflow of Lake Mälar into the Baltic, Stockholm is the largest city in Scandinavia and architecturally one of the finest in the world, with broad streets, waterside parks and many pedestrian walkways. For a taste of the city, take a walking tour of Old Town, and particularly the Royal Palace and beautiful Riddarholm Church; take in the views from the observation deck in the Town Hall; or visit one of the Skeppsholmen Museums, including Skeppsholm Church (1842), the Museum of Architecture, the Museum of East Asian Art and the Modern Museum. A main attraction near the center of town is the Vasa Museum, on the island of Djurgården, displaying the almost fully intact 64-gun warship Vasa, that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.
On the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland lies Tallinn, the capital and main seaport of Estonia. Though the city has been bombed and pillaged many times throughout the ages, much of the town as it was in medieval times remains. Atmospheric streets serve as home to the palaces of Castle Hill. Ancient convents, steepled churches and handsome guild houses are all preserved as they were in Tallinn’s Old Town area, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kotka is a city in the southern part of the Kymenlaakso province on the Gulf of Finland. Kotka is a major port and industrial city and also a diverse school and cultural city, which was formerly part of the old Kymi parish. The neighboring municipalities of Kotka are Hamina, Kouvola and Pyhtää.
The capital of Finland, Helsinki is also the cultural, commercial and political center of Finland. Helsinki is an easily-navigated city and an architectural delight. Helsinki is laid out with spacious streets interspersed with many gardens and parks. Wide streets and nearby islands add to Helsinki’s visual appeal. Beautiful neo classical buildings surround town squares and the cathedral is probably the most recognized of all Helsinki landmarks.
Visby is the largest city on the island of Gotland, and was once one of the most powerful cities in Europe. The entire island is full of ruins, artifacts and memories from its periods of greatness during the Viking period and Middle Ages when Visby was a member of the Hanseatic League. The town is surrounded by the Visby Ringwall, a huge 13th century stone wall that encloses the city. Inside the wall, Visby beckons with its medley of modern and medieval times.
Warnemünde is a sea resort and district of Rostock in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, situated at the Baltic Sea in the Northeast of Germany at the estuary of the river Warnow. Being a center of maritime traffic, the district of Warnemünde comprises numerous navigational aids, the oldest of which is the lighthouse located near the beach promenade. The lighthouse, which is currently still in use, was built in 1897. Warnemunde is also our gateway to nearby Berlin.
Discover charming Helsingborg with its gorgeous gardens, and miles of waterfront promenades on the dazzling Oresund Strait. Visit the 700 year-old medieval Kårnan Tower and admire the views of the harbor and Denmark from the highest point in Helsingborg. Then explore Sofiero Castle at the top of a rhododendron ravine. The beautiful Dunker Culture Center features an international art museum, town museum and concert halls. Stroll over to Kullagaten for exceptional shopping. Peruse the boutiques for fine Danish porcelain, silver and amber jewelry and leather goods. Relax while enjoying a “fika” (coffee and cake) in a vibrant, friendly setting.
Oslo is Norway’s capital and largest city. Located at the head of the Oslofjord, the city is encircled by wooded hills and snowcapped peaks. Norway is a maritime nation with Oslo being the chief port for sea services from the Continent and England. Throughout Oslo’s 900-year history there have been many fires, and as a result it has a mixture of architectural styles. With a fairly compact city center, many of Oslo’s attractions can be explored on foot.
Discover cosmopolitan Kristiansund with its cultural, tranquil atmosphere, blend of contemporary and traditional architecture, and natural beauty woven throughout and beyond the city set on the shores of a sparkling fjord. Visit the old town, Posebyn, and admire the small, white wooden houses that speak of a bygone era. Stroll along the boardwalk to the town center and Fiskebrygga (fish market), enjoying the maritime history and fresh local seafood. Visit the Adger Nature Museum and Botanical Gardens for an overview of Norway’s history dating back to the Ice Age. Then go to Markens gate to browse the shops, making a turn onto Skippergada for a selection of smaller boutiques, galleries and cafés. Look for hand-knit sweaters, fine Norwegian glassware and local crafts in this picture perfect setting.
Stavanger is the fourth largest city in Norway, and has been called the Petroleum Capital of Norway. Starting in the 1880s, industry grew in Stavanger, primarily based on treatment and exports of fish and fish-products. In the 1960s, exploratory oil-drilling in the North Sea changed the economic situation for Stavanger. With its good harbor and plane connections, Stavanger was well-positioned to take advantage of the increased activity. Stavanger and its region, along with Liverpool, United Kingdom, have been selected as a European Capital of Culture for 2008.
One of the highlights of the fjordlands, this hamlet sits quietly at the head of the beautiful Synnylvsfjord. Near the village, the gorgeous Hellesylt Waterfall plunges over the granite face of the fjord, cascading in thousands of feet of rainbows and foam. This majestic area, along with its breathtaking glaciers and mountain lakes, inspired Henrik Ibsen’s drama Brand. The town is a starting point for trips to Geiranger, considered Norway’s most beautiful fjord.
Geiranger is a small tourist town in the western part of Norway in the region called Sunnmøre in the municipality of Stranda. It lies innermost in the fjord Geirangerfjord, which is a branch of Storfjord. Geiranger is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Views include snow-covered mountain peaks, waterfalls, lush vegetation and the deep blue waters of the fjord. Since 2005, the Geirangerfjord has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One look at the abundance of canals and gabled houses in Gothenburg, and it’s clear that the Dutch founded this robust city on the Göta River. Touring the citadel is fascinating, as are the 17th century Crown House, and Gothenburg Art Museum with masterpieces from Edvard Munch to Picasso. Gothenburg is one of Sweden’s greenest cities, compliments of parks such as Slottsskogen. For a vibrant atmosphere, walk along Kungsportsavenyn, Gothenburg’s main street, lined with cafés, boutiques and plazas.
Copenhagen, the royal capital of Denmark, is one of Europe’s oldest capitals. It was a fishing village until the middle of the 12th century, but then grew in importance after being fortified in 1167. Because of its harbor, it soon became a place of commercial importance. Copenhagen has a long history well-integrated with today’s modern life. Theaters, museums, art galleries and musical entertainment are among the attractions that make Copenhagen memorable.
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