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London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
A centuries-old fishing village, Skagen is perched along the windswept sand dunes at the northernmost point of Denmark, where the North Sea and the Baltic merge in a frenzy of crashing currents. The town has long been depicted by painters because of its spectacular scenery, charming communities and the remarkable quality of its light, inspiring a group of artists known as the Skagen Painters. See their work at the Skagen Museum, and then learn the science behind the region’s natural wonders at the nature center, housed in a striking building designed by architect Jørn Utzon of Sydney Opera House fame.
The grand harbor and seaside promenade take center stage in this historical maritime city that’s the gateway to the famed Kiel Canal. Everywhere you go – the Kiel Fjord, the museums and memorials in the city center, the bustling waterfront known as Kiellinie – you’ll feel the seafaring and naval influences. Top choices include the maritime-focused Schifffahrtsmuseum, Aquarium GEOMAR, Botanical Gardens Kiel and of course, stopping at a café along the promenade to enjoy the ever-changing vista of the harbor. Just outside of Kiel in Laboe, you can explore a restored German submarine U-995 on Ostsee beach, a somber reminder of the city’s role as the main German submarine base during World War II.
Enjoy a scenic drive to the German capital and savor landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and the glorious Charlottenburg Palace. Stroll down Unter den Linden, see the site of the Berlin Wall and take a boat ride along the city’s canals. Explore on your own and visit one of the many museums. Or discover charming Warnemünde and its lovely Gothic church, market square and seaside promenade.
Largely rebuilt after World War II, Rønne still feels historic because even the new buildings reflect the older architecture. As a result, walking from more modern areas into the charming Old Town (Gamle Stan) is less noticeable. Don’t miss the 14th-century St. Nicholas Church, one of the more historic buildings on Bornholm Island, or the massive round-tower castle and its fascinating military museum in the south of Rønne. To better understand the island’s seafaring and natural history, visit Bornholm Museum.
Enjoy the lovely countryside beyond the towered walls and take in the view of this former Hanseatic League town before exploring its narrow, winding lanes, marvelous ruined medieval churches and impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral. Or visit an intriguing Bronze Age burial in the midst of farmland and take in the cliff-top view of the precipitous coastline.
Spend a marvelous day discovering this lovely city and its beautiful buildings. Visit the charming Old Town, medieval Gamla Stan, the elegant royal palace, the wonderful parks and the impressive Vasa, the magnificently restored 17th century warship that sank in the harbor on her maiden voyage.
Established in 1680 when Sweden was a great military power, Karlskrona was founded as a naval port, and the city’s rich maritime and architectural heritage have earned it the designation of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many Baroque buildings remain intact, such as those on the grand main square, Stortorget. Having protected the harbor for more than three centuries, Kungsholm Fortress and Drottningskär Citadel reveal a remarkable history. In the fascinating Marine Museum, explore a Soviet submarine, inspect a World War II minesweeper, and observe an 18th century shipwreck through an underwater tunnel.
See another side of this lovely city with a cruise along its charming canals. Visit the quaint old harbor at Nyhavn and beautiful Rosenborg Castle and, of course, the famed statue of the Little Mermaid. Or venture into the countryside and enjoy its panoramic vistas, fairy tale castles and the village of Fredensborg.
Overlooking a gorgeous fjord, Norway’s capital and largest city simply radiates with natural beauty and sophistication. Oslo’s rich seafaring history is on display at the Viking Ships Museum, rivaled only by the Kon-Tiki Museum, which holds the balsawood raft that Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl used to sail from Peru to Polynesia. History aside, Oslo exudes a love of the outdoors in city parks like Vigeland, which is adorned with over 200 life-size sculptures by artist Gustav Vigeland. Much of Oslo is heavily forested with pines, making it one of Europe’s greenest cities.
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