Northern Europe is home to some of the most wonderful and fantastic cities in the world. Metropolises as beautiful as Lisbon, Amsterdam and St Petersburg are so very different from the UK – and indeed, one another – that it would be a crying shame to go on holiday and only experience one of them.
Embark on a cruise from Southampton courtesy of MSC Cruises and you could see any number of landmark destination cities situated in northern Europe. Here is but a small selection of what the continent has to offer.
The unique charm of Amsterdam attracts thousands of tourists every year. Oozing with appeal, this conveniently sized metropolis has personality and history in abundance. Whether you choose to roam the little streets filled with all sorts of interesting shops that characterise the city centre, or instead wander along the wide and sweeping canals – of which there are many – you’re sure to have an incredible time in Amsterdam.
Lovers of the past will undoubtedly want to check out Anne Frank’s house, while art enthusiasts will make a beeline for the Van Gogh museum. The city has a wealth of attractions as long as your arm, so make wise use of your time here.
Clinging to the side of a cliff, the ramshackle roads of Lisbon have entranced visitors for centuries. You’ll find no end of coastline beauty and excellent seafood here – and the rugged shores are far more charismatic than the beaches you tend to find in front of five-star hotels. The cuisine is excellent and you’re missing out big time if you don’t try a fish stew while you’re here. Venture into the Old Town and explore the long, winding roads that take you past many ornate fountains and ancient buildings of note. Lisbon has a long history that has been influenced by a variety of societies – its position on the coast made it very desirable to invaders. The result is a fantastic medley of cultures that will bewitch you.
Another city and yet another completely different atmosphere. The superb architecture, rich history and quintessential Russian feel to St Petersburg combine to create a true spectacle that you will remember forever. Whether you go in the winter, when the streets are powdered with snow, or in the summer when they are revealed for all to see, you’re sure to have a splendid time. There are a lot of sights to see, but it’s tempting to spend your entire time exploring the streets, anticipating what could lie around the next corner. But having said that, the azure-blue roofs of the Trinity Cathedral are a must-see, as are the rounded towers of Colby College. And whatever you do, make sure you visit the Hermitage, one of the oldest museums in the world. Its position on the Neva River makes it all the more enticing – in the evening, the brightly lit windows are beautifully reflected upwards towards the sky in the still water.