The historic sights of Northern Europe are plentiful. Some cruises sail among the natural beauty of the fjords and glaciers of Norway and stop at Oslo, the capital. Here, visitors can step into the medieval era as they tour Akershus Castle and its magnificent banquet halls and reception rooms. The Viking Ship Museum has three blackened wood Viking vessels dating to A.D. 800.
Royal residences from another era can be found in St. Petersburg, where those looking for vestiges of Russia’s czarist past can explore Catherine Palace and Peterhof Palace. The latter, situated on a 300-acre park dotted with fountains, often is compared to Versailles. In the 20th century, a backlash against Soviet politics brewed in the Baltic region: Gdansk, Poland, was the cradle of the Solidarity movement, which helped end Soviet control of Eastern Europe and transformed the map of the region.
Itineraries that include Warnemunde or Rostock in Germany enable visitors to access Berlin on an excursion. Some of the city’s turbulent past is encapsulated in sights like the Brandenburg Gate, previously a symbol of the stark division, now a representation of reunification. Model ships and other artifacts are on display at the National Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, Germany. Local fish auctions held early in the day at the harbor are another reminder of the city’s seafaring heritage.
Many London attractions tell the story of Britain’s monarchy. The Crown Jewels are on display at the Tower of London, and you can watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Victorian-era sights include the Tower Bridge, an engineering icon, and the famous Parliament clock tower, Big Ben. The extensive collection at the Museum of London offers an overall history lesson.