Europe is home to some of the most fascinating, historic and cultured cities in the world, not to mention its magnificent scenery including stunning fjords. Yet it’s all too often overlooked by cruisers in favour of faraway destinations. Redress the balance and enjoy the very best that Europe has to offer.
If Liverpool merely calls to mind the Beatles and the urban decay of the 1980s, it’s time to think again. Named 2008’s European Capital of Culture, this magnificent waterfront city boasts a striking skyline, setting gleaming skyscrapers against the world-famous Liver Building. With both English and Irish influences, Liverpool offers a unique culture; a powerhouse of the arts, where experimental theatre meets fascinating museums and street performers rub shoulders with up-and-coming bands.
For more Irish culture, visit Dublin; a lovely city with a relaxed charm all its own. Set along the banks of the Liffey and fronting the Irish Sea, it’s home to world-famous Trinity College, the alma mater of Oscar Wilde. Fascinating history, exceptional shopping and several world-class restaurants unite in the capital of the Emerald Isle.
You’ll be equally charmed and captivated by Amsterdam, with its relaxed pace of life, countless bicycles and tranquil canals. Ablaze with colourful flowers, it’s a melting pot of different traditions and is one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with around half the population originating from a huge array of nations.
Scandinavia and the Baltic countries also make for enchanting cruising, being home to countless historic cities. Tallinn, capital of Estonia, was formally founded in 1248 but its earliest settlements date back 5,000 years. It is famous across the world as a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the best preserved mediaeval cities in Europe.
History-lovers will also find themselves enamoured of Saint Petersburg in Russia, formerly known as Leningrad. The most Westernised city in the country and its undisputed cultural capital, it is home to The Hermitage, one of the world’s largest art museums, and boasts magnificent architecture that has named it as another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For the ultimate getaway, journey to Reykjavík, capital of spectacularly remote Iceland. The world’s northernmost capital, Reykjavík is visually unique, with its brightly coloured roofs adorning chocolate box buildings. Like many remote communities, it’s a vibrant location, with great shopping, lively bars and a wealth of culture belying its small size. Experiencing it will transform your perspective on the world and your home town.