In May, 2010, my daughter, sister, & I are planning on the Baltic cruise. We are considering doing the walking tours for Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Stockholm. Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.
Hi there, although we have never gone on any formal walking tours in these citites, we havw walked each of them quite extensively, so the following reports may give you some thoughts.....
Copenhagen - a must for walking, flat & easy - this write up sounds lengthy, but it's not that bad - honest. You should dock at Langelinie, with a wall in alongside which contains souvenir shops. On the other side of this wall are some very odd sculptures - but you can get some nice photos of them with the ship in the background. Any back on the shipside of the wall, walking along the front, you will come to 2 statues, the first you will notice is of a rather voluptious mermaid, probably complete with people posing as if supporting her (yes we're guilty of that), the other behind the hut of a couple of bears. From here walk over the bridge & round the small yacht harbour. As you reach the water on the other side, continue to your left & about 50 yards ahead it the Little Mermaid statue (yes she IS little). Once you've made this obligatory photo stop you continue along the waterfront, passing a waterfall statue, and arriving at two hexagonal boxes. This is the area where the Royals join or leave their yacht. Continuing along this route, you next come to an imitation of Michaelangelo's Statue of David, and an art college/museum. You should now be able to see a large glass building ahead on the other side of the water - this is is the Concert Hall, when you arrive alongside this take a look to your right - you should find a large Fountain & beyond that a statue of a horse. This is in the centre of Amalienborg Palace, where they change the guards at 12:00. We saw these again in December, and they marched in playing the theme tune to "Monty Python's Flying Circus", and left to the tune "Let it Snow" - which raised a laugh or two. Okay, from here you can either return to the waterfront & continue your walk that way, then turn right at the end, OR, leave the palace grounds towards the waterfront, turn right & follow the road. Both end up at Nyhavn, which is the old dock area, full of outdoor bars & life. You turn right here & having had a very nasty shock at some of the prices, continue to the head of Nyhavn, where there is a large plaza. On the other side of this you will find the main shopping streets, which lead down to Tivoli Gardens (half way down there is a McDonalds with free washroom !!) . Once at the plaza by the Tivoli Gardens you will find the town hall. You may want to have a chat with the shuttle buses when you leave the ship, as they usually pick up at one of these 2 plazas which could save you a walk back - or alternatively take the shuttle in & walk back. There are other ways to walk back which take in other palaces, and an old Fort with moat which is still in use (on any map look to the left of the Little Mermaid).
There are also hop-on/hop-off coaches & waterbuses which we keep looking at, but haven't ever got round to using. We heard that they are quite good.
Helsinki - There is usually a shuttle bus into the town from the working docks which drops you at the top of the main gardens/esplanade. At the bottom of these is a fresh produce market, half way down is the Tourist Info Office. You can buy a one-day hop-on/hop-off tram ticket here which allows you a good view of the city to get your bearings. There are plenty of old buildings - including the Church in the Rock (sorry another Church), but this one is quite unusual in that it is inside a hollowed out rock, and has a copper roof made from one very long strand of copper (tram stop Temppelikatu). Worth a look if you're passing, but not a special trip. DO NOT be tempted to pay for a tour to Sibelius Park, if you pick up a map, and are semi mobile, it is an easy & pleasant walk along the waterfront. And whilst on the subject of walking, last time we were in Helsinki, we actually walked into the town. The first part is boring as you leave the docks area, but when you reach the main road (the buses turn left) you turn right & keeping the water on your right. At the large roundabout you can either continue along the waterfront, or go straight on into the park ahead of you, which cuts off the corner & returns to the same road by the ferry terminals, you then continue with the water on your right & end up at the previously mentioned Fresh Produce market.
If you like walking, this is a great city to walk around - just get a good map.
Stockholm - First check that you really are docking in Stockholm, last time we were here, the ship docked in Nynahsamn which is 20 miles south west of Stockholm. There is a train service, but we stayed local (not much to see), so I cannot help with how good the train service was. If you do moor up in Stockholm, you will probably be just short of the main Ferry Terminal, and can either take the shuttle bus into the main shopping area, or walk along the waterfront, and into the city that way. The city itself is made up of dozens (maybe hundreds) of small islands joined by bridges. The best tour that we've done here was to the Vasa Museum, which was sunk even before making the sea on her maiden voyage. She remained covered in slow moving silt until she was excavated, and found to be in near perfect condition. The museum has plenty of features, including one which tells of Sweden's naval successes - they captured one ship & on sailing it back were attacked & sunk by their own fleet - whoops.
Anyway that's probably more than enough for now, but hopefully this has given you some ideas. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Have a lovely time, in one of our favourite parts of the cruisable world.
Alan & Katrina
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