fbpx

Helsinki to Reykjavik

Helsinki to Reykjavik

YKKSS
Call for Price

Description

Welcome to the Baltic Sea, the British Isles and Iceland. This unusual itinerary sees you enjoying some of Northern Europe’s shiniest jewels during the midnight sun. Starting in Helsinki, you’ll begin by taking in Finland’s indefinable wild beauty and UNESCO World Heritage sites, before sailing on to Sweden, Estonia, Denmark and Germany. Two days sailing the Kiel Canal take you to Hamburg, and on to the rugged Scottish Isles. Iceland’s excellent shores complete your cruise.

Trip Name
Helsinki to Reykjavik
Days
29
Overview
Vessel Type: Small Luxury Cruise Ship Length: 156.7 metres Passenger Capacity: 274 Built: 1995 / Refurbished: 2021 A major upgrade in December 2018 saw Silver Wind looking better than ever. A second refurbishment in summer 2021 will see her benefitting from a strengthened to ice-class hull and will make her one of the most adaptable ships in our fleet. Still timelessly elegant, still luxuriously relaxed, her improved cruising versatility means she is able to whizz from the Polar Regions at the ends of the earth to the iconic ports of the Mediterranean with fluid ease. So whether you want to get up close and personal to penguins in Antarctica or laze on the golden sands of the Caribbean, get ready for a wealth of diverse destination experiences, in traditional Silversea comfort. Dining The Grill. Soft breezes and ocean views beckon at the Grill, especially as the sun goes down when cruise guests gather for cocktails at the outdoor bar and talk about the day’s events. La Terrazza. Authentic Italian recipes and the freshest, sustainable ingredients come together in this restaurant at sea. The Restaurant. Enjoy Continental and regional specialities, as well as sweeping ocean views in our main dining room. La Dame. La Dame features a menu of seasonally inspired dishes prepared with the freshest locally sourced ingredients. Public Areas Pool Deck. Chaise lounges arranged in the sun or shade. Bubbling whirlpools. The pool water refreshing in warmer climates, heated for cooler weather. Reception. Be sure to visit the Reception area, where our experts can provide invaluable information to help you get the most out of your cruise. Fitness Centre. The Fitness Centre offers world-class equipment, classes, and personalized services. Connoisseur’s Corner. If you appreciate good cognac or premium cigars, be sure to visit the Connoisseur’s Corner to see the ship’s exceptional selection. Boutique. There is a wealth of luxury shopping experiences aboard all Silversea ships, featuring the most distinctive and appealing brands from across the globe. The Show Lounge. Applaud a broad spectrum of entertainment — from full-scale production shows and classical soloists, to cultural entertainment and feature films. Panorama Lounge. Relax and unwind in the Panorama Lounge, a sophisticated yet amicable space offering beautiful ocean views as you enjoy your cruise. Zagara Beauty Spa. Come and indulge in a luxurious spa treatment. Facials, body wraps, massages: the spa is the perfect place to unwind. Dolce Vita. Dolce Vita is the gathering place for our savvy travellers of the world, a place where guests mingle and exchange stories and where new faces become lifelong friends. Zagara Beauty Salon. Maintain your fresh look throughout your luxury cruise at the Zagara Beauty Salon. Services are available for men and women. Observation Library. The Observation Library boasts exceptional views overlooking the ocean as it stretches out below you while you enjoy your cruise. Photo Studio. The Photo Studio offers a professional space for budding photographers to retouch, print and display their work.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 Pre Cruise
a:0:{}
Day 2 - Day 2 Helsinki FINLAND
"A thriving, flawlessly-designed seaside city, Helsinki is famously livable and inspiring. A regional powerhouse of outstanding design and creativity, Helsinki lies across a confetti scattering of 300 islands and skerries in the Gulf of Finland. Known for the light granite hue of its buildings - which lend the city a bright, whitewashed appearance - traditional buildings mingle seamlessly with bold new structures, showcasing Finland's celebrated design outlook. Helsinki Cathedral is the crowning glory - rising high over the city's waterfront with its pearly white domes gleaming. A city that reveres knowledge and creativity above all else, artworks and statues litter the streets and parks, honouring creative minds of the past. Open parks offer space to lie back and soak up summer's sun, while sculptures like the abstract organs of the Sibelius Monument celebrate national heroes like composer Jean Sibelius - whose music gave Finland national identity in the quest for independence. Feel the stunning acoustics of the incredible Rock Church deep in your gut, as you witness a performance in this collaboration between man and nature. Built into the rock underground, the amphitheatre's soaring copper bowl roof is suspended dramatically on a bed of glass windows. One of Helsinki's many incredible buildings, the Design Museum offers a comprehensive insight into the city's balance of style, function and form. Helsinki's easy-going, forward-thinking way of life was hard fought for, and the spectacular Suomenlinna fortress rears out of the waves as a reminder of the historical struggles that have played out in this stretch of sea. The chain of forts covers six islands and was built to defend the archipelago when it fell under Swedish rule. Sail out to the quaint little beaches, and waterfront pathways that now lend a calm, peaceful ambience to this UNESCO World Heritage Site."
Day 3 - Day 3 Ulko Island FINLAND
Ulko-Tammio Island is one of the most easterly islands in the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park and is known for its natural beauty. During the Second World War however, the island was a military outpost that helped to defend Finland from Russia (the Russian border lies a mere 10 kilometres (6 miles) away).Numerous war-time sites can still be seen, including cannon foundations, trenches and a 70-metre (230 feet) long bunker tunnel, as one explores the island and juxtaposes the peace and natural beauty with the fear and suspicion that must have accompanied the military forces stationed here in the past.The island is an important stopover during the spring migration of Arctic breeding bird species, and thus draws many birdwatchers to its rocky shores, in the months of April and May. Summer visitors can enjoy the species that breed on the island, such as Lesser Black-backed Gull, Arctic Tern, Razorbill and Black Guillemot to name but a few. The latter with its striking black and white plumage and bright red feet is also the emblem of the national park.From the birding tower in the middle of the island, one’s eye can follow the red-brown rocky coastline and bathe in the relaxing vistas of stunted pine forests, copses of broad-leafed trees and brightly coloured wildflower meadows. This mosaic of habitats is not only kind on the eye but helps one to remain focused in the beauty of the present moment while processing the conflicts of the past and the continuing divisions of today.
Day 4 - Day 4 Oro Island FINLAND
Örö Island is one of the thousands of islands that make up the Archipelago National Park off the southwest tip of Finland. The island’s location made it a strategic military post, and therefore closed to the public for about a hundred years. Visitors have only been allowed to explore the island’s natural beauty and learn of the unique military history since June 2015.A looped trail to the south of the island takes the visitor back to a time when huge Obukovski guns projected out ominously into the Baltic Sea, ready to shell any would-be invaders. These and other installations made up part of the maritime defences of St Petersburg, the then capital of Tsarist Russia. Many of these defences were built by forced labour under harsh conditions, and to the demise of the labourers, which lends a haunted air to the island’s history. A museum of the Russian, and subsequent Finnish defences can be seen in one of the island’s barracks.The northern trail focuses more on the nature of the island and loops through pretty coastal meadow and forest habitat. In spring the island becomes an important stopover for northward migrating birds, while during the summer the meadows burst with flowering plants and butterflies. Owing to its location the island hosts a variety of habitats and subsequently plant life rare on the mainland. These habitats support rare wildlife including birds like both Ictarine and Barred Warblers, as well as butterflies like the Purple and Gold and Finland’s largest, the Apollo.
Day 5 - Day 5 Rauma FINLAND
This pretty seaside town has more than an element of chocolate box to it. Narrow cobbled streets flanked by painted wooden cottages and overflowing flower boxes may seem a little twee to the urbanite, but once you let yourself be charmed by its olde-world fairy-tale magic, you will soon fall in love. Rauma also has the happy label of being the largest unified wooden town in the Nordic countries, and has a UNESCO World Heritage badge of honour to prove it. It is also close to 580 years old, making it almost 500 years older than its host country, Finland and the third oldest town in Finland. And yet, over five centuries of history is not the jewel in Rauma’s crown, rather the lace-making festival that happens every summer. People flock from far and wide to take on the resident lace-making champion in a series of “lace-battles” that involve speed, precision and of course bobbins. Historical sources reveal that bobbin lace-making in Rauma goes back all the way to the 1740s. Initially, Lace Week was a set of exhibitions during which skilled bobbin lace-makers could display their works, but it has since developed into a wide-ranging communal event, with music, dance and traditional cooking.
Day 6 - Day 6 Kalajoki FINLAND
Formerly known for controlling the wood tar industry of northern Finland, Kalajoki has more recently emerged as one of the country’s best beach resorts. The long days of Arctic summer lend a holiday feeling to the town, with beach-goers sunbathing, picnicking and enjoying various water sports.The town has plenty to offer the culturally-minded, with museums covering the local history and traditional fishing industries, along with the well-preserved old town of Plassi. Here, the quaint wooden houses transport you back to a time of lively and colourful market days when the air was filled with the shouts of vendors and the shrieks of excited children.To learn about the region’s sawmill industry a visit to the Havula museum is a must. This Art Nouveau villa was the former home of one of the town’s sawmill magnates and contains period furniture as well as original artwork.The standard Finnish relaxation amenities of swimming pools and saunas are of course commonplace, though at Linnakallio, a short distance out of town, they take second stage. The main features of relaxation and contemplation here are the log churches of Riihikirkko and Pahkakirkko, which are a favourite choice for marriage celebrations.For nature lovers Kalajoki offers many trails through the birch and spruce forests while the nearby Rahja archipelago draws the attention of birdwatchers, with many breeding bird species such as Arctic Tern, Ruddy Turnstone and Ringed Plover utilising the sandy and rocky beaches as nesting sites.
Day 7 - Day 7 Oulu FINLAND
a:0:{}
Day 8 - Day 8 Vaasa FINLAND & Valsorarna FINLAND
Set in the Finnish north, on the spectacular World Heritage Site of the Kvarken Archipelago, Vaasa offers the full package of museums, art and scenic beauty. Sweden’s shores lie just 50 nautical miles away, and almost a quarter of the population here speak Swedish as their first language. With three universities in town, and the sweeping Replot Bridge welcoming visitors from many miles around, Vaasa always feels fresh and energetic, as you wander its compact streets. Visit the remains of the Old Town, to see the ruins of the city's earlier incarnation, which was engulfed in flames in 1852, when a sleepy trader accidently dropped his pipe, igniting some hay in the process. The town was largely destroyed, and had to be rebuilt from scratch a short distance away. Take a tour of the Museum of Old Vaasa to learn a little more about the former settlement, and pay the Korsholm Church a visit – which was converted from a court building to replace the town’s burnt out church.The observatory at Meteoria at Söderfjärden, stands in the centre of a gigantic crater, which formed when a colossal meteorite struck the area 520 million years ago. Admire the sheer scale of the incredible impact zone, and observe the diverse birdlife that now occupies the site. Elsewhere, the Ostrobothnian Museum is a great place to place to learn about the region's past, or you can direct your attention forwards, to the innovative Kuntsi Museum of Modern Art.Valsörarna is an archipelago of rocky islands in the narrowest part or so-called “throat” of the Gulf of Bothnia. From the outer islands to the Swedish coast is only 25 kilometres (16 miles) and thus these Finnish islands act like stepping stones between the two countries. In centuries gone by, the fastest mail route between the two countries was here, across the winter sea ice.
Sheltered bays allow access to a landscape of rock and boulder moraines, interspersed with wetlands, coastal meadows and small woods dominated by birch, alder, spruce and juniper.The islands form part of the Kvarken or High Coast Archipelago UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, shared by both countries, and recognising the area’s post-glacial geology. Most notable is the area’s glacio-isostatic uplift, whereby the earth’s surface rises over time having previously been held down by the weight of ice sheets during the last Ice Age. For the last 10,000 years the rate of rebound has been an impressive 0.9 metres (3 feet) per century - very much noticeable within a human generation - and such that geologists predict that a land-bridge will join the two countries within 2500 years.Valsörarna is also a bird sanctuary that offers protection not only to the island’s 80 breeding species - Black Guillemot, Common Gull, Razorbill and Arctic Tern are the most numerous - but also to migratory species. As many as 273 different species have been recorded since conservation efforts began, highlighting just how precious the islands are.
Day 9 - Day 9 Ornskoldsvik SWEDEN & Gnaggen SWEDEN
Örnsköldsvik, with a population of approximately 29,000, is located on the east coast of Västernorrland County on the Bay of Bothnia. Situated on a bay enclosed by skerries, the town is named after Per Abraham Örnsköld, governor of Västernorrland from 1762 to 1769, who did a great deal to promote the development of the region. The town's economy depends principally on the paper industry and its deep port. The area benefits from a natural harbour that remains ice-free for 11 months of the year. The figure of an eagle carved in local granite by Bruno Liljefors has become the emblem of the town and can be found in the Torgpark (city park). The western side the town is bound by wooded crags and inland are a range of hills offering excellent fishing in summer and skiing in the winter. Örnsköldsvik is a young town in an old district with many cultural traditions. The centre of the city has been developed into a lively place for people to meet offering a varied mix of shops, restaurants, and activities. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at Stadskajen inner harbor. The center of town is about a 3-4 minute walk. Metered taxis are available at the pier. Shopping Örnsköldsvik has a bustling commercial centre. Here, you find small, pleasant shops side by side with large department stores and well-stocked shops offering specialist goods for sale. A speciality of this region is Surströmming (fermented herring). To save on the cost of Swedes’ all-important winter supply of salt herring, the amount of salt was reduced, causing the herring to ferment instead. Cuisine With the locals’ penchant for good food, many restaurants and several cafés, pubs and bars cater to a wide variety of tastes. Swedish fare tends to be hearty, practical and sustaining. Other Sites Paradisbadet This is one of the best waterparks in northern Europe, fully enclosed with a tropical climate and water at 100ºF (38 C). The park is dotted with green plants, Jacuzzis, rapids, and plunge pools. The 328 foot (100 metre) long water slide is the longest in Sweden. The Hans Hedberg Museum Famous potter Hans Hedberg has a museum all of his own in one of the glass-roofed areas at Arken. A few examples of Hedberg´s world-famous ceramics are on display here. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board.Gnäggen barely protrudes above the waters of the Gulf of Bothnia, and but for the scattering of willow, rowan and aspen trees that try to grow in the cracks between the rocks, one could be forgiven for thinking that the whole island is regularly wave-washed. In fact this dolerite speck a few kilometres off the Swedish coast was smoothed by the action of ice sheets during the last Ice Age, and like many of the land forms in the region has been rebounding upwards since the great weight of ice melted away.The fascinating geology can be easily overlooked however, as the island is most well-known as a bird reserve. The coves and inlets echo to the less than melodious braying of members of the Alcid family, like Razorbills and Common Guillemots. These heavyset birds are instantly recognisable as the “penguins of the north” though they retain the ability to fly, albeit in a lumbering manner.Exploring the coastline, your eyes will pick out ledges overflowing with the messy guano and seaweed nests of Great Cormorants while your ears hear high-pitched squeaks from deep crevices, where the strikingly handsome Black Guillemots make their home (how those naming the bird omitted mention of the blood red legs is a mystery).Such seabird treasure naturally attracts pirates. Loitering on prominent rocks are the bulky Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. With their piercing intense eyes and formidable beaks any unattended egg or chick will be mercilessly dealt with. Nature can be raw along the High Coast of Sweden.
Day 10 - Day 10 Gotska Island SWEDEN
Gotska Sandön is Sweden’s answer to a tropical island paradise with miles of white sand beaches fringing an island of dense forest. As you explore this uninhabited and remote island of the Baltic Sea, you can easily imagine yourself marooned on a desert island far from the trappings of modern day life.Numerous trails criss-cross the island revealing the wonderful pine forest that dominates the interior. The beauty is also in the detail: the intricate pattern of a fern frond; the perfect form a clump of moss takes; the rich assemblage of beetle species. Look closely and a whole new world is unveiled.While glimpsing the birdlife might prove tricky in the dense canopy, linger in the glades and forest edges looking for movement. At the small pond at Kapellänget you might be lucky enough to see flocks of exotic-looking Parrot Crossbills. You could be forgiven for thinking that their beaks are deformed given how the tips overlap, but this is actually an adaptation to feed on pine cones.The forest is alive with the sound of birds too, from the flashy but elusive Golden Oriole, to the camouflaged Greenish Warbler and even the Eurasian Hobby, a small bird of prey that manoeuvres adeptly through the branches.Emerging from the shade to the shore at Säludden you can find grey seals sun-bathing on the rocks, and an array of terns, gulls and oystercatchers and just offshore families of Common Eider duck bobbing gently on the waves, in soporific effect, lulling you to stay longer.
Day 11 - Day 11 Kuressaare ESTONIA
Kuressaare is the perfect launching pad to experience the island of Saaremaa and authentic Estonia. It is the main town on the island and retains architecture typical of the region, with a mix of Nordic and Germanic styles, steep roofs of red tiles, regularly arranged square windows and charming cobbled streets. Nowadays the open spaces have become outdoor cafes and restaurants to soak in the atmosphere, sample the local fare and of course people watch.On approach by sea, the high walls of Kuressaare Castle catch your eye. This stern fortification is further protected by broad ramparts and a moat, and dominates the old town and harbour area. Having played its part in the various power struggles in the region it nowadays houses the Saaremaa Museum where visitors can learn about the local history as well as lose themselves in the maze of passages, stairways and rooms as their minds wander to Lords, Ladies and banquets.For natural beauty, the Vilsandi National Park lies a short distance to the northwest, where numerous hiking trails allow you to explore the forest and coastline, birdwatch and perhaps even take a boat out to some of the offshore islands.Also near Kuressaare is the Kaali Crater site, where 9 meteorites crashed into the earth some 7500 years ago. The largest is a perfect circle of 110 metres (360 feet) across and was used in sacrificial ceremonies.Alternatively ease into a blissful Estonian cultural experience with a sauna and spa at the Georg Ots Spa Hotel or the Grand Rose Spa Hotel.
Day 12 - Day 12 Christianso Island DENMARK
Christiansø is the furthest east island of Denmark and sits so far out into the Baltic Sea that it is closer to Poland, Germany and Sweden than to the Danish mainland. The island’s varied history owes itself to this isolation, coming to prominence first as a pirate haven, summer fishing camp and later as a fortress and prison.Solidity greets you as you set foot on the island, not only through the bedrock underfoot but through the stout granite bulwarks that formed the first line of defence since 1684 when it was made into a Danish naval base.Though defensive, one can’t help think that the bulwarks and island must have felt a bit like a prison for those serving here. Indeed it was for some, with the adjacent island of Frederiksø - accessible by suspension bridge - holding political prisoners in the 19th century (you can stay overnight in one of the cells if you wish). While on Frederiksø you can also learn of the local history in the Small Tower, and pay your respects at the Cholera Graveyard.As you stroll around Christiansø be sure to visit Gallery Palivaren, Denmark’s easternmost art gallery, and perhaps linger romantically with your partner on the love bench next to Bielke’s Bulwark. Look for the quaint island garden too: the thick walls not only shelter the plants but retain heat well into the autumn boosting the growing season.If you choose not to stay in that prison cell, then you will leave not only to the echoes of gulls but of the peace and rich history that Christiansø holds.
Day 13 - Days 13 - 14 Kiel Canal GERMANY & Hamburg GERMANY
One of the world's great canals, the 60-mile-long Kiel Canal provides a spectacular, water shortcut through Northern Europe. Opened in 1895, following eight years of construction at the hands of 9,000 men, it has been upgraded twice since, to serve the growth of both the ships it can accommodate and the rise in demand. The long waterway links the North Sea with the Baltic, and this engineering marvel is now one of the world's busiest shipping routes. Sparing ships from an arduous 280-mile journey around the sometimes challenging waters of the Danish peninsula. Ships from pleasure yachts to giant tankers cruise the gently curving, artificial waterway - which is fringed by walls of forest, green fields, and occasional soaring bridges. The western entrance branches off from the mouth of the Elbe river at Brunsbüttel, and you'll easily spot the eastern entrance at Kiel-Holtenau, where you are saluted by a Venetian bell tower as you sail the town's fjord. Huge locks raise and lower the water level at the entrances, and the leisurely transit takes roughly eight hours, with plenty to look out for along the way. The Rendsburg High Bridge is a spectacular structure spanning the wide canal. It features a hanging gondola, which can swing people and vehicles across from one side of the bank to the other. More recently the dramatic archway of the Levensau High Bridge was added.A true city of water, effortlessly cool Hamburg is an outward-looking city, with a unique flow of its own. Nestled snugly between the Baltic and North seas, Germany's second-biggest city is intersected by a frayed network of rivers and canals, spanned by hundreds of pretty bridges. The comparisons are obvious - but Hamburg's reputation as the 'Venice of the North' is a little wide of the mark. This quirky, heritage-filled city has a distinct character and open outlook all of its own, and continues to relish its role as Germany's gateway to the world. The water brought Hamburg its wealth, and vast redbrick warehouses stack up against the waterfront in the Speicherstadt district - now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They linger from the era when the city was a Hanseatic League trading capital and the warehouses essentially formed a city unto themselves, with goods brought and exchanged from distant shores. Elsewhere, the Reeperbahn is a notorious and unabashed street of nocturnal mischief, with shifty neon-lit nightclubs, in amongst the city's famous red-light district. Hamburg has a much more wholesome side too, however, and is a powerhouse of museums, theatre and culture. It’s littered with over 100 music venues and the city played a crucial role in The Beatles’ early story. The spectacular Elbphilharmonie concert hall, with its wavy, surrealistic interior, is a work of art in and of itself. The city has been named a European Green Capital, and the vast Lake Alster adds to the airy, pleasant atmosphere, providing a spacious oasis of tranquillity. Planten un Blomen is another burst of zesty colour, where fountains fan out, and lilypads float on rhododendron-lined lakes.
Day 14 - Day 15 Day at sea INTERNATIONAL WATERS
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 15 - Day 16 Newcastle, England UNITED KINGDOM
Once a shipbuilding city, Newcastle, remains proud of its history and there’s plenty of it to see, from Roman ruins to its more recent industrial days. Today it’s a city of innovation, using its past to embrace the future.Welcoming visitors to the area is the unmissable modern sculpture, Sir Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North. This is public art on a massive scale at over 20ms high, a cherished landmark.The cities of Newcastle and Gateshead face each other across the River Tyne and are united by seven bridges across a spectacular riverside. See for yourself the innovative Gateshead Millennium Bridge in action, a sweeping arc of steel, tilting to allow boats to pass.The Discovery Museum, bursting with interactive displays, is a thoroughly modern place to learn all about the city’s past. Meanwhile, the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, housed in a landmark, industrial building is a hotspot for modern art lovers.It’s a passionate city, bursting with character and it’s the friendly locals that make Newcastle a truly special place to visit. "Geordies," as they are often called, embody the pride, industriousness and resilient spirit of their city and they like to celebrate the fact by having a good time!Get ready to be charmed by the famous Geordie spirit in a city with award winning restaurants and a thriving nightlife. Live music, comedy, theatre sit comfortably alongside the clubs, cocktail bars and independent breweries.
Day 16 - Day 17 Farne Islands UNITED KINGDOM & Lindisfarne Island UNITED KINGDOM
His favourite place in the UK to see nature at its best, is how David Attenborough described the Farne Islands. The scatter of small islands begins 2.4 kilometres (1.5 miles) off the Northumberland Coast. The islands are dolerite which formed from liquid rock cooling underground. Softer overlying rock has eroded to leave hard rounded columns and fissured dolerite cliffs. The treeless landscape makes viewing of the island wildlife and history easy, even from a boat. The Farnes are cared for by the National Trust. In Medieval times the Inner Farnes were home of the famous hermit bishop Saint Cuthbert. In 676 CE he introduced laws to protect the Eider Ducks—one of the earliest written bird protection laws in the world. Locally, Eider Ducks are known as Cuddy’s in honour of the saint. Historic buildings that can be spotted include St Cuthbert’s Chapel, a stone Pele lookout tower and two standing lighthouses. With 100,000 breeding seabirds and thousands of seals, the natural reputation of the Farnes is clear. Atlantic Puffins are the most common bird during their April to July breeding season when they raise their pufflings. The puffin is called the Tommy noddy in Northumberland. Other birds include Common Guillemots and Arctic Terns. Grey Seals drop pups here in winter, while in the summer you can see them in and on the islands. Common now, the seals were once hunted for food by monks. Birds were special to monks, but seals were classified as fish (not mammals) and thus fair game. Not now!The island of Lindisfarne, otherwise known as Holy Island, was a destination for religious pilgrims. It was perhaps the holiest site in Anglo-Saxon England. Now many visitors are more interested in history and recreation. Most arrive by driving on a causeway from the Northumberland mainland, but only at low tide. The island has an intertidal boat harbour, a castle, a ruined priory and a village of less than 200 folks. A priory (small monastery) was established on Lindisfarne in 635 CE by Aidan, an Irish monk based at Iona Island in Scotland. The priory was a base for Christianity for northern England. Cuthbert joined the monastery and became abbot and, after death, a saint and subject of pilgrimages. An account of him residing at Lindisfarne is the oldest known piece of English writing. Vikings raided the wealthy Linisfarne monastery in 793 CE in their first major attack on western Europe. Fear spread throughout the land. The monks abandoned the island for 400 years, before returning to revive the religious centre post-Vikings. The stone ruins of Lindisfarne Priory can be observed near the island’s village. Lindisfarne Castle is small compared to other castles, but you can see how it dominates the island from all directions. It was built in 1550 using some of the stones of the priory and is in good condition. The castle, with adjacent gardens and lime kilns, is cared for by the National Trust. Lindisfarne mead made on the island is touted as an aphrodisiac. What would the monks think?
Day 17 - Day 18 St Abbs UNITED KINGDOM & Isle of May UNITED KINGDOM
The small village of St Abbs and the adjacent St Abbs National Nature Reserve encapsulates the cultural and natural history of southeast Scotland. Huddled on the coast with its small, protected harbour, the village was established in the mid-18th century by the local fishing community. St Abbs was named after Æbbe, a 7th-century Northumbrian princess who was shipwrecked on these shores. Thankful for her survival, she founded a nunnery and spread Christianity through the pagan land.Beyond the huddle of fishing cottages is St Abbs Head, a bastion of basalt on the siltstone coast. The waves have created a rugged coast of cliffs and rock stacks which provide opportunities for crowds of breeding seabirds, especially guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills. Walking tracks and the lighthouse provide excellent opportunities for viewing the cliffs with ledges occupied by nests, chicks or adult birds. Fulmars, cormorants and puffins also nest here.The Nature Reserve also protects grasslands strewn with wildflowers. Sea Thrift, Wild Tyme, Rock Rose, and Purple Milk Vetch in turn attract butterflies like the Dark Green Fritillary and the rare Northern Brown Argus. Behind the headland, Mire Loch supports nesting swans, ducks and coots. The sea is also treasured, as particularly clear waters attracted SCUBA divers who created Britain's first Voluntary Marine Reserve at St Abbs in 1984. Look into the waters from cliffs, harbour or boats. It is a world of kelp, crabs and fish and despite the allure, it is COLD.The Isle of May in Scotland is owned and managed by Scottish Natural Heritage as a National Nature Reserve and is an important breeding ground for approximately one-quarter of a million seabirds. In fact, over 40,000 puffin burrows have been counted as occupied. Not only kittiwakes, shags, eiders, and guillemots but also Razorbills, Arctic Terns, Sandwich Terns and Common Terns, Lesser Gulls, Herring Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls nest here. The island is located roughly four nautical miles off the coast of mainland Scotland and is used by biologists for surveying migrating passerines and for ringing breeding seabirds to better study their movements and breeding success. While hosting an impressive array and quantity of seabirds, the island itself is small at only 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) long, and less than half a kilometer (one-third of a mile) wide.
Day 18 - Day 19 Fair Isle, Scotland UNITED KINGDOM
Lying mid-way between Shetland and the Orkney islands, Fair Isle is a tiny jewel in the sea. Famous for birds, knitwear and historic shipwrecks, the island offers a warm and friendly welcome to visitors. With a population of only around 70 people this island is truly a beautiful setting and is one of Britain’s most successful communities. View the cloudy light turquoise water as it drifts out to sea beneath the breath-taking Sheep Rock, rising over 100 metres, which is almost an isle of its own. Fair Isles oceanic climate brings stormy but fairly mild winters, in summer, you can expect rapid changes in the weather, sparkling sunshine can be followed by a thick blanket of mist and fog, and this makes the isle a truly inspiring area. Over the centuries the island has changed hands many times and was named the island of peace by Norse settlers. The isle has been a useful landmark for shipping but in storms and fog it is highly dangerous creating over 100 known shipwrecks such as the Spanish armada flag ship “El Gran Grifon”.
Day 19 - Day 20 Noss, Scotland UNITED KINGDOM & Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland UNITED KINGDOM
Exploring the sandstone cliff faces of the Isle of Noss will reveal ledges loaded with gannets, puffins, guillemots, shags, kittiwakes, Razorbills, fulmars and Great Skuas. The island was recognized as a National Nature Reserve in 1955, and has one of Europe’s largest and most diverse seabird colonies. Sheep have grazed the inland hillsides of Noss since the late 1800s and early 1900s when around twenty people lived on the island to manage the sheep farm. Along with the sheep, shaggy Shetland ponies graze the windblown slopes of Noss.Adrift between the Scottish and Norwegian coasts, the craggy Shetland Islands form the most northerly point of the British Isles. Sprawling across 100 islands, connected by sandy bridges and crisscrossing ferries, explore the highlights of this scenic archipelago outpost. With incredible Neolithic history, spanning 5,000 years of human heritage, these islands, which sit just shy of the Arctic Circle, are an isolated and immense treasure trove of history and thrilling scenery. Look out over dramatic coastline from atmospheric Iron Age towers. Sweeping, windswept beaches and wisps of sand connect islands and rugged cliffs - stand back as the sounds of the waves smashing against the shore and calling gulls fills the air. The islands are also home to some of the most adorable four-legged creatures you’ll ever meet, the diminutive and wavy-fringed, Shetland Ponies who roam the hills and reach a maximum size of 42 inches. Don't be fooled, though, they are amongst the strongest and toughest of all breeds. Their existence here points to Viking history, as local horses bred with ponies brought ashore by Norse settlers, creating the lovable crossbreed that is an icon of these islands today. The towering Broch of Mousa is perhaps Europe’s best-preserved Iron Age building - and one of the Shetland's finest brochs - a series of round, stone towers, believed to have been constructed around 100 BC. Seals and birdlife ensure that the isolated islands are always well-populated with life - and you can embark on hikes to discover their coastal homes. Lerwick is the islands’ capital, and there's a charming welcome on offer, as you arrive before the waterfront of stone buildings, which cascade down to the shore.
Day 20 - Day 21 Pierowall, Westray, Orkney Islands UNITED KINGDOM & Papa Westray UNITED KINGDOM
With 80 registered historic sites—one per resident—history dominates Papa Westray, one of the smaller inhabited islands of the Orkney island group. Farming is a long-running tradition, and cattle raising continues today. Amongst the island’s rustic farms, lochs, heaths and coastlines are several historic buildings.The oldest preserved house in Northern Europe is the Knap of Hower on Papa Westray. It dates from as far back as about 5700 years ago, even older than the more well-known Skara Brae on Orkney’s main island. The Neolithic farmstead has two rectangular rooms linked by a passageway. Intact walls of stacked flat rocks rise to 1.6 metres (5.2 feet) in height. Only the roof is missing. Inside are fireplaces, partition screens, beds and storage shelves made of stone. The preservation is stunning, and it is easy to imagine domestic scenes. Nearby middens of discarded material prove the people collected seafood, grew grain and kept domestic sheep, goats and cattle.St Boniface Kirk is an 8th century church that has recently been restored and is in use today. Its graveyard includes a carved Viking grave. Only ruins remain of the medieval St Tredwell’s Chapel on a mound beside a loch. St Tredwell, or Triduana as she was originally called, was a maiden. A king praised her beautiful eyes as part of a marriage proposal. Not impressed, she plucked out her eyes and sent them to him. St Tredwell’s chapel became a destination for pilgrims with eye problems, in the days before ophthalmologists.
Day 21 - Day 22 Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland UNITED KINGDOM
Scattered just off the northern tip of Scotland, Kirkwall is the capital of the Orkney Islands - a scenic archipelago of fascinating, dual heritage. The Viking influence is deep, while a prehistoric past and World War history adds to the endless stories that these dramatic islands have to tell. Sparse and beautiful, let the sweeping seascapes of frothing waves, and dance of the northern lights, enchant you as you explore. Windswept beaches are inhabited by whooping swans, while grassy cliffs hide puffins amid their wavy embrace. Sea caves and crumbling castles - and the dramatic meeting of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean add to the romantic beauty of these lands, which may be physically close to the UK, but feel an entire world away. The sandstone St. Magnus Cathedral is the centrepiece of Orkney's main town - a place of winding lanes and atmospheric walks - and Britain's northernmost cathedral is a masterpiece that took 300 years to complete. Started in 1137, the beautiful cathedral is adorned with mesmerising stain-glass windows and has been evocatively named as the Light of the North. Look down over the ruined Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces nearby from the tip of the cathedral's tower. Or, test out the islands' history-rich distilleries, which produce smokey single malts - said to be the best in the world. You can also venture out to Europe's best-preserved Stone Age Village, at the extraordinary World Heritage Site of Skara Brae, which offers an unparalleled vision into prehistoric life.
Day 22 - Day 23 St. Kilda UNITED KINGDOM & Boreray Island cruising UNITED KINGDOM
Gloriously remote, St. Kilda is an archipelago 50 miles off the Isle of Harris. Although the four islands are uninhabited by humans, thousands of seas birds call these craggy cliffs home, clinging to the sheer faces as if by magic. Not only is St. Kilda home to the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic Puffin (almost 1 million), but also the world largest colony Gannets nests on Boreray island and its sea stacks. The islands also home decedents of the world’s original Soay sheep as well as having a breed of eponymously named mice. The extremely rare St. Kilda wren unsurprisingly hails from St. Kilda, so birders should visit with notebook, binoculars and camera to hand. While endemic animal species is rife on the island, St. Kilda has not been peopled since 1930 after the last inhabitants voted that human life was unsustainable. However, permanent habitation had been possible in the Medieval Ages, and a vast National Trust for Scotland project to restore the dwellings is currently being undertaken. The islands even enjoyed a status as being an ideal holiday destination in the 19th century. Today, the only humans living on the islands are passionate history, science and conservation scholars. One of the caretakers even acts as shopkeeper and postmaster for any visitors who might like to send a postcard home from St. Kilda. It should be noted that St. Kilda is the UKs only (and just one of 39 in the world) dual World Heritage status from UNESCO in recognition of its Natural Heritage and cultural significance.As an isolated island of the remote St Kilda Group, Boreray island is one of the most far flung and weather impacted islands of the North East Atlantic. Imagine trying to live here during stormy weather. Landing requires jumping or swimming ashore; and yet the island has been lived on or visited from Neolithic times. Collecting seabirds and their eggs, and storing them for winter, may have been even more important than raising sheep. Boreray Sheep are the rarest breed of sheep in Britain. They evolved from short-tailed sheep brought from the Scottish mainland but have been isolated long enough to have evolved into a distinctive small and horned breed. Only found on Boreray Island, they remained as a wild flock when the last people left the St Kilda Islands in 1930. The Souy are a separate and different breed of sheep found on the other St Kilda Islands. Look out for the Boreray Sheep grazing on the slopes of hilly Boreray Island. Seabirds thrive on Boreray and its two attendant rocks stacks, raising new chicks each summer. Northern Gannets glide overhead as they attempt difficult landings at nest sites. Seeing gannets plunge from a great height into the sea is an exciting way to understand the effort required to feed themselves and chicks. Northern Fulmers nest on the volcanic rock cliffs and Atlantic Puffins fly in and out of burrow-strewn slopes. Boreray is part of the St Kilda World Heritage Site, a rare example of a site recognised for both its outstanding natural and cultural values.
Day 23 - Day 24 Day at sea INTERNATIONAL WATERS
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 24 - Day 25 Seydisfjordur ICELAND
A world of tumbling waterfalls and colourful creativity, Seydisfjordur is Iceland at its most epic and eccentric. A spectacular fjord lends the town its name, and the structures are dwarfed by this majestic setting, as they huddle around its glassy waters. Sail around the fjord, head out on a kayak amid the scenery, or venture to meet Puffins and other nesting birds settled on sharp cliffs. Encounter sea lions, or try some fishing as you immerse yourself in this highlight of the wild and wonderful Eastfjords. Herring fishing sustained this settlement founded by Norwegians in 1848, leading to a town of colourful wooden buildings, which gleam white against the moody scenery's palette, providing a spirit-lifting splash of colour during the harsh winter months. A rainbow pathway leads to a pretty, pastel-blue church and there's more local art and culture to unravel at Skaftfell, which displays bright and bold contemporary art. Its bistro also serves up a perfect caffeine hit and refreshments. Waiting on the open jaws of the Seydisfjordur, this is a gloriously picturesque town, and the steep fjord banks reflect beautifully on the smooth waters below. The snow-capped Bjólfur mountain stands above the town and invites you to crunch along hiking trails amid untouched nature - rewarding with mesmerising views across the fjord and town below. These hills can literally sing thanks to a unique sculpture - which resonates with a traditional five-tone harmony. The remote and gorgeous Skalanes Nature reserve is a major draw, with 47 bird species resting on its dramatic bird cliff, along with countless plant varieties.
Day 25 - Day 26 Djupivogur ICELAND
Slow the pace and discover the refreshing approach to life that Djupivogur has made its trademark. You can leave your phone behind as you step out into this Icelandic town, which has won awards celebrating its leisurely outlook and stubborn rebellion against the frenetic pace of modern life. After all, who needs emails and notifications when you have some of the most humbling monochrome scenery and gashed fjords, waiting on your doorstep? Sitting on a peninsula to the south-east of Iceland, the glacial approach to life here wins many hearts. A place where hammers knock on metal in workshops, artists ladle paint onto canvases, and where you might spot a few Icelandic horses roaming across mountains, Djupivogur is an uninhibited artistic hub - full of makers and creatives. The most expansive project is the 34 egg sculptures that dot the coastline, created by the Icelandic artist, Sigurður Guðmundsson. Each egg represents a different native bird species. Fishing remains the primary industry, and you can savour the soft fruits of the labour in restaurants serving up smoked trout and fish soup within their cosy confines. Wander the surrounding landscapes, where snow-freckled mountains rise, and lazy seals lie on dark rock beaches, to feel Djupivogur's natural inspiration seeping under your skin. Alive with greens and golds in summer, further ventures reveal glaciers and the sprawling waterfalls of Vatnajökull National Park. The cliff-hugging puffins of Papey Island are a must see, while Bulandstindur Mountain's pyramid shape is a stand out even among these fairy-tale landscapes.
Day 26 - Day 27 Vestmannaeyjar ICELAND
The name Vestmannaeyjar refers to both a town and an archipelago off the south coast of Iceland. The largest Vestmannaeyjar island is called Heimaey. It is the only inhabited island in the group and is home to over 4000 people. The eruption of the Eldfell Volcano put Vestmannaeyjar into the international lime light in 1973. The volcano’s eruption destroyed many buildings and forced an evacuation of the residents to mainland Iceland. The lava flow was stopped in its tracks by the application of billions of liters of cold sea water. Since the eruption, life on the small island outpost has returned to the natural ebb and flow of a small coastal fishing community on the edge of the chilly and wild North Atlantic.
Day 27 - Day 28 Reykjavik ICELAND
The capital of Iceland’s land of ice, fire and natural wonder, Reykjavik is a city like no other - blossoming among some of the world’s most vibrant and violent scenery. Home to two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik is the island’s only real city, and a welcoming and walkable place - full of bicycles gliding along boulevards or battling the wind when it rears up. Fresh licks of paint brighten the streets, and an artistic and creative atmosphere embraces studios and galleries - as well as the kitchens where an exciting culinary scene is burgeoning. Plot your adventures in the city's hip bars and cosy cafes, or waste no time in venturing out to Iceland’s outdoor adventures. Reykjavik’s buildings stand together in a low huddle - below the whip of winter’s winds - but the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church is a solid exception, with its bell tower rising resolutely over the city. Iceland’s largest church's design echoes the lava flows that have shaped this remote land and boasts a clean and elegant interior. The Harpa Concert Hall’s sheer glass facade helps it to assimilate into the landscape, mirroring back the city and harbour. Its LED lights shimmer in honour of Iceland’s greatest illuminated performance – the northern lights. Walk in the crusts between continents, feel the spray from bursts of geysers and witness the enduring power of Iceland’s massive waterfalls. Whether you want to sizzle away in the earth-heated geothermal pools, or hike to your heart’s content, you can do it all from Reykjavik - the colourful capital of this astonishing outdoor country.
Day 28 - Day 29 Post Cruise
a:0:{}
Day 29 - Please Note:
The excursions are provided as a sample of what may be offered on this voyage and are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type

Inclusions

    • Helsinki, Finland
    • Ulko-Tammio Island, Finland
    • Valsorarna, Finland
    • Gotska Island, Sweden
    • Kiel Canal, Germany
    • Lindisfarne Island, England
    • Lerwick, Scotland
    • Seydisfjordur, Iceland
    • Reykjavik, Iceland

Map