The Baltics is one of the most fascinating on earth, rich in history, arts and crafts, museums and breathtaking scenery. Central to the development of modern Europe, the medieval ports of call in this area include some of the most cultured and refined city itineraries in cruising.

Copenhagen in Denmark is usually the first stop along the way. It’s history dates back to pre-Viking days and over the years has developed a cosmopolitan atmosphere. Known for creative, innovative architecture, Copenhagen has more Michelin star restaurants than any other country in Scandinavia. After dining in such a fine fashion, there is world class ballet to take in and jazz clubs to chill out in. During the day, antique shops and fashionable boutiques line the cobbled streets for plenty of shopping.

Stockholm is next in line, located between Denmark and Russia. The people of Stockholm make this place what it is, with a friendly warm welcome. The scenery is spectacular and it is often said that this is the most attractive of the Nordic capitals. To get a fantastic view of the city, visit City Hall Tower. Here you can see everything, or you may choose to take Stockholm in from the water and take the ferry from Gamla Stan to Djurgarden, where you can also take in some of the finest museums.

Sweden’s second city, Gothenburg is on the sunny west coast, with dutch canals running through it’s heart and a lively city centre boasting galleries, theatres, restaurants and street cafes. For a relaxed trip out, try the Botanical Gardens.

Helsinki is next, the capital of Finland. In 2000, Helsinki was an official European City of Culture, with contrasts between east and west Europe. It is an ideal island for cruising as it is made up of hundreds of tiny islands with 450 years of history to learn about. Finnish design blends with innovative and contemporary fashion for the city, with forests nearby to provide a haven for peace and tranquillity.

The highlight of many Baltic cruises is St Petersburg, Russia. Famous for ballet and opera, St Petersburg has something for every season and every traveller. Although it is just 300 years old, it has an exciting and dramatic history, and boasts world famous attractions such as the Hermitage, St Isaacs Cathedral and the Mariinsky Theatre. Built on over 100 islands, bridges play an important role in St Petersburg, some being technological and architectural masterpieces. For those looking for open green space when they step of the cruise ship, St Petersburg offers beautiful historic gardens and leisure parks.

As well as other lesser known ports of call, cruise itineraries also take in cities such as Hamburg in Germany, Riga in Latvia, Oslo in Norway and Gdansk in Poland. There really is no better way to see all of these than on a cruise.