Visby, Sweden

Even Our Staff Agrees - You Don't Want to Miss the Baltic!

Zegrahm Contributor|May 2, 2017|Blog Post

We’ve been traveling to the Baltic region for nearly a decade; in that time, we’ve honed an incredible itinerary, filled with natural delights, stunning architecture, and rich history. Even our expedition staff is eager to return! Find out why, below:

 

Nadia Eckhardt, Expedition Leader

"The Best of the Baltic is definitely one of my top three Zegrahm expeditions...ever! How marvelous to unpack once and explore 10 awesome countries in just 17 days in superb comfort. And this Baltic trip is so diverse—from the Kiel Canal to Sylt Island; the historic old towns of Gdansk, Tallin, and Riga; and not to mention, the awesome architecture at every stop!" 

 

Olga Eggert, Lecturer

“The Baltic area is so rich in history and culture that one needs a lifetime to learn about it in depth; but the best way of doing a reconnaissance of this fascinating part of the world is undeniably taking a cruise that allows you to visit several wonderful cities during a short period of time. Although I might be partial as a Russian historian and musician, I think that St. Petersburg offers a fantastic cultural heritage with its ornate palaces lining dreamy canals and its ostentatious display of wealth. I also love Riga, the capital of Latvia; this city is, perhaps, somewhat underrated, but it has amazing architecture, especially of the Art Nouveau style, and a great cultural and musical tradition stretching back to Wagner and Eisenstein. Riga’s Dome Cathedral is one of the oldest and most magnificent buildings in the Baltic, and when the sounds of the organ bring it alive, you have the sublime feeling that centuries of history come alive around you.”

 

Susan Langley, Maritime Archaeologist

“There is so much in the Baltic about which I am passionate, but I'm especially excited that our journey will follow in the wake of Klaus Störtebeker, the Henry Morgan of the Baltic, and visit many of the beautiful Hanseatic Ports that alternately welcomed and hunted him—Gdansk, Riga, and Visby. There’s also Sylt, Bornholm, and Gotland islands, which, while they bear few traces of their pirate past, their popularity with artists, photographers, and birders is well-deserved. The Baltic is also a source of amber, which is actually ‘fished’ near Gdansk and can be found washed up on the shore making for interesting beachcombing. We’ll have the chance to shop for beautifully crafted amber pieces—should your beachcombing leave you empty-handed—as well as other arts and crafts for which the region is justly known, like textiles, pottery, glass, honey, and honey liqueur.”

 

Hector Williams, Maritime Archaeologist

“Ingmar Bergman, the great Swedish filmmaker, made his home at the north end of Gotland Island and it has become a place of pilgrimage for his fans—and is one of the real highlights of Zegrahm’s Best of the Baltic voyage. The beauty of the island still attracts visitors by the thousand but somehow it rarely seems overrun. Gotland’s main town of Visby is one of the finest medieval towns of Europe, with its ancient fortifications still standing for two miles. In fact, Visby is so well-preserved, that it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the town has one of the finest regional museums in Sweden.”

 

Ann Wilson, Art Historian

“I am really looking forward to visiting the Baltic again this year! This is a trip offering a great variety of cultural experiences; but as an art historian, the highlights for me have to be the unique Art Nouveau architecture of Riga in Latvia, and the utterly mind-boggling Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, whose art collection is one of the most impressive in the world. As a city, St. Petersburg is spectacular in both its layout and architecture, and the interiors of its grand buildings don’t disappoint either, especially the lavishly decorated, icon-filled churches. We will also visit the Danish island of Bornholm; the churches there are equally charming, however different—small, white, and round, yet historically resonant.”

 

Jim Wilson, Ornithologist

“I cannot think of a better way to explore the Baltic than by ship; the Vikings and Hanseatic traders thought so, traveling with ease from port to port, and who am I to disagree? An area steeped in culture, from history and archaeology to art and architecture and of course, the great local cuisine—it’s all there!”

 

Ron Wixman, Cultural Geographer

“During my career as a professor of cultural and political geography, I focused most of my time on issues of culture, ethnicity, religion, and nationalism among the peoples of the Russian Empire and the USSR. Caught between the German hammer and the Russian anvil, the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland developed unique cultures maintaining their older pre-Christian and Christian heritages, as well as negotiating them with their neighbors and the great powers around them. In Gdansk we see one of the best examples of Hanseatic German architecture; in Tallinn a mixture of native Estonian, Teutonic Knight German, and 19th-20th-century Russian cultural and architectural legacies; and in Riga we find some of the best examples of Art Nouveau architecture found anywhere in Europe. I hope you join me on this fabulous cultural experience!”

 

For more information, visit Best of the Baltic

 

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