Northern Europe Cruises: Countries, Ports & Attractions

Northern Europe cruises combine a relaxing vacation on board and activities on land. Holidaymakers can expect a wide range of countries to explore, historic ports and impressive sights. Anyone interested can find out more about this in this guide.

Departure ports and country destinations for Northern Europe cruises

Depending on the offer, Northern Europe cruises head to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia are also typical destinations, as are the North Sea coastal areas of Great Britain, France, Germany and Belgium.

In Germany, cruise ships usually depart from one of the cruise terminals in Hamburg, Kiel, Bremerhaven or Rostock-Warnemünde, with Warnemünde primarily known for ship trips to the states bordering the Baltic Sea. All German cruise ports are also popular destinations for international cruise ships. There is a lot to see here, although the cities themselves are also worth a visit and an earlier arrival is recommended for a city tour.

Iceland - Strokkur Geyser

Iceland - Strokkur Geyser

The range of Nordland cruises is huge. Routes to Scandinavia are in demand and are also offered in connection with the countries on the east coast of Northern Europe.

Great Britain is also an attractive destination. The route mostly extends along the Central European North Sea coast. Scandinavian destinations are usually also integrated into the trips.

Short trips to Northern Europe are also offered. Either two or three countries are visited or the length of stay for the country visits is limited in time. Cruises to Scandinavia are particularly popular with short-term vacationers.

Scandinavian cruise ports and attractions


Norway's coastline is around 2500 kilometers long, excluding all fjords and bays. From Frederikstad in the south near the border with Sweden to Kirkenes in the north near the border with Russia, there are a number of ports that are visited by cruise ships and offer many attractions to visitors. We present three ports in Norway here:


In Kristiansand, cruise vacationers encounter an idyllic region of southern Norway with pleasant temperatures and palm trees on the beach close to the city. Cozy cafes and restaurants, cultural tours and other attractions, such as the following, characterize this port city and the surrounding area:

  • Typical Norwegian wooden houses in Posebyen
  • Fish Market
  • Ravnedalen Nature Park
  • military museum

Kristiansand - wooden houses in Posebyen

Kristiansand - wooden houses in Posebyen


The small town Molde is located in the southwestern part of Norway on the Romsdalsfjord. What makes the destination special is its mild climate. The vegetation is more reminiscent of southern countries. The main attractions include:

  • Romsdalsmuseet, an impressive folklore museum
  • Chateauet - a 19th century villa with beautiful gardens
  • Gothic-style cathedral church with a free-standing bell tower
  • Mount Varden with fascinating panoramic views of the peaks of the Sunnmøre Alps


Stavanger is one of Norway's most frequently visited cruise ports and is also the administrative seat of the province of Rogaland. In Stavanger and the surrounding area, these sights are magnets for tourists:

  • Petroleum Museum
  • Øvre Holmegate shopping street with colorful houses
  • Cathedral church from 1125
  • Maritime Museum
  • Flor & Fjære - man-made tropical gardens
  • Monument: Swords in the Mountain (Sverd i Fjell)

Travel to Finland by cruise ship

The most important port for cruise ships is in Hernesaari, a port city southwest of Helsinki. The capital can be reached and explored on foot. Here are some examples of things to do and places to see:

  • Uspensky Cathedral
  • Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum
  • Chapel of Silence
  • Finnish National Museum
  • City center with varied architecture

Discover Denmark

Copenhagen welcomes cruise ships at three piers. Ships often dock at the Oceankaj's three terminals. Copenhagen itself is the seat of the royal family, has a historic old town and is known for its waterways. Other attractions include:

  • Amailienborg and Rosenborg castles
  • 19th century Tivoli amusement park with historic rides
  • The Little Mermaid as a symbol of Denmark
  • Botanical garden
  • Old town

Copenhagen - Rosenborg Castle

Northern Europe cruise to Iceland

The most famous cruise port is Skarfabakki Harbor in Reykjavik. This is ideal for exploring the numerous surrounding islands. The port is only 15 minutes from the city center. Iceland has a lot to offer, such as:

  • Thingvellir National Park
  • Hallgrims Church
  • Skogafoss waterfall
  • Perlan Natural History Museum
  • Snaefellsnes
  • Kerið crater lake
  • Blue Lagoon

To royal Sweden

The cruise ships on routes to Northern Europe mainly dock in Stockholm or Gothenburg, although the latter port has only had a cruise ship terminal since 2019. Gothenburg has a milder climate than Stockholm. In addition, you can probably get the freshest fish in the idyllic restaurants near the harbor. Gothenburg has numerous attractions worth seeing, such as the Fish Church, the western district of Haga with its playful vintage shops and Gothenburg's boulevard Kungsportsavenyn. While there is a relaxed atmosphere here, life is raging in Stockholm. The following should not be missed here:

  • Stockholm Castle
  • Abba Museum
  • Castle Drottningholm
  • Livrustkammaren, museum with weapons, armor and historical clothing
  • Skansen Aquarium
  • Royal Opera

By cruise ship to Great Britain

Great Britain and the British Isles are a highlight, especially for holidaymakers who want to be impressed by old cities, impressive landscapes and a royal ambience. Whether you go to the Orkney Islands in Scotland, follow in the footsteps of the Titanic in Belfast, Northern Ireland, marvel at the breathtaking landscape on the cliffs of Newcastle or from the cruise ship pier in Southampton Experience the nearby capital London in all its facets - the northern European cruise ship routes offer a lot of variety and entertainment.

Belfast - Titanic Museum

Head to France by sea

The port of Cherbourg in France is a busy cruise ship destination. The Ravalet Castle, the Parc Emmanuel Liais and the Théo Capelle cider distillery are among the top 10 sights in French Normandy.

The port of Le Havre is also a popular destination. The city center of Le Havre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its modern post-war architecture.

It is a modern city with a typically French flair and a long seafront promenade along a popular bathing beach. The most famous sights include these:

  • Rouelles Park
  • Heritage Maison du Patrimoine
  • Museum D'Historire Naturellee

Belgium's ports and sights

Antwerp and Zeebrugge are the two ports that are visited almost daily by cruise ships in Belgium. Especially if you are traveling with children, you should not miss the Chocolate Museum in Zeebrugge. The Diamond Museum in Bruges is a special highlight for jewelry lovers. The magnificent, pompous medieval buildings in the center of the city are a reminder of the former wealth of the former trading metropolis in Flanders.

But also Antwerp is worth exploring. Until 2016, the port had the world's largest lock. There are cozy restaurants and bars near the harbor that invite you to linger and especially pamper fish lovers. These sights in Antwerp are among the most interesting:

  • Grote Markt
  • Sint-Anna Tunnel
  • Plantin-Moretus Museum
  • Rubenshuis,

Antwerp - De Grote Markt

Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - ports and attractions

The Baltic countries are very popular with cruise tourists. From Klaipeda port in Lithuania The old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, can be reached quickly. Travelers can also expect endless beaches, several nature and animal sanctuaries and an amber museum.

In Latvia Investing is already adventurous. Almost all cruise ships steer from the Baltic Sea through the Daugava River to the pier near the city at the large Vanšu Bridge in the capital Riga. Numerous Art Nouveau villas, a medieval town center and other attractions worth seeing can be found here, such as the cathedral and the Riga Castle walls.

The main port for cruise ships in Estonia is the one in Tallinn on the Baltic Sea. The center is about 1,5 kilometers away and is characterized by a historic old town. Furthermore, these sights are ideal for a longer stay in Estonia:

  • Katharinental Castle with art museum
  • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
  • Baptist Olai Church
  • Rocca al Mare open-air museum
  • Kadriorg Park

Tallinn's lower town

What sets Northern Europe cruises apart?

Northern Europe cruises not only offer a pleasant stay on board, but also allow you to discover the most beautiful port cities in Northern Europe. They offer the ideal symbiosis of a luxurious ambience with a pampering program and exciting experiences in foreign countries - for an unforgettable holiday.

Further articles