Y-A-Y! I’m finally spilling the itinerary details from our trip through Scandinavia with Princess Cruises! Thirteen days of exploring, sightseeing, eating and drinking everything in sight (obviously! 😉 ), being immersed in new cultures and of course, a whole lot of rest and relaxation time. (…Pretty sure you could find me bundled up on our balcony sipping coffee or wine at all hours of the day while at sea, ha! It was so magical!). Our two weeks abroad was unbelievably incredible and a trip that I will never forget…I truly can’t recommend this getaway enough!
On the final day of our trip, I asked my Instagram followers what questions they had regarding this trip – overwhelmingly, the most requested was to share our travel itinerary and of course, what to pack! 😉 Thus, today I’m excited to share a sneak peek of each stop along our trip, as well as my outfit details from each city. I’ll be posting in-depth travel posts for each of our ports through Scandinavia over the next few weeks, but wanted to be sure and share the overarching details first! So, let’s get to it…
Princess Cruise Ship: Regal Princess
Cruise duration: 11 days
Number of ports: 6 ports
Time of year: this cruise is offered May through September – we visited in late May, early June
Weather: 40s-60s in each city, definitely bring a winter coat! (Oslo was high 60s, Russia was low 40s)
Scandinavian Cruise Itinerary (detailed version via Princess HERE):
1. Depart in Copenhagen, Denmark
2. Oslo, Norway
3. Day at sea
4. Berlin, Germany
5. Day at sea
6. Tallinn, Estonia
5. Saint Petersburg, Russia (spend two days here)
6. Helsinki, Finland
7. Stockholm, Sweden
8. Day at sea
9. End in Copenhagen, Denmark
To begin our trip, we flew from Austin to Copenhagen, Denmark – the first stop on our cruise. We flew in a day early and stayed at a hotel (the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers) near the port. We got in around 3pm and although jet-lagged, were too excited not to go explore the city! Thus, we grabbed train tickets then spent the afternoon at Tivoli Gardens, followed by a sunset dinner along Nyhavn (the famous colorful street lining the harbor).
The weather in late May/early June is still quite cold! Probably in the 40s-50s range…which meant layers and a giant coat for this Texas gal! It rained quite a bit when we were in Copenhagen, but we still were happy to get out and grab fresh waffles (omg the smell of this bakery! Literally heaven!) and stroll around, then enjoy a patio dinner as the sun was setting along the harbor. Not too shabby for our first day of the trip!
Oslo, Norway was one of my favorite stops (excited to dive deeper in upcoming posts!)…this city is filled with historical monuments (see that fortress above – built in 1290!), juxtaposed with modern, minimalist buildings throughout. I busted out the sneakers for this day because we walked a ton (…Blake and I prefer to stroll leisurely until we find something…we’re not planners, so this is our preferred method over Uber or a taxi to get around!). The weather really warmed up and I was able to nix my jacket as the sun came out. We spent some time sipping cappuccinos at an adorable cafe lining the harbor (notice the sheepskin on my chair, you really got a sense of the Scandinavian design aesthetic here) , then walked to the Oslo Opera House (absolutely stunning!) and enjoyed lunch at a local burger/beer garden.
Blake and I have both previously visited Berlin with friends, but this time around we had a blast exploring together! Of course, at the top of our list in each city is to try a cappuccino from a local coffeehouse and grab a local beer – we love sightseeing, but we’re big on feeling out the atmosphere and vibe of a new city, too. After visiting a few historical sights around town (oh, and the parks throughout Berlin are truly magical…so lush and green!), we ventured to Schleusenkrug beer garden to meet our friends Eden & Zan (Eden runs Sugar & Charm) and Cassandra & Christie (Cassandra runs Coco Kelly) for a beer before heading back to the ship. Special shoutout to Zan for capturing that candid shot above…Blake hates photos, so this is a ‘real moment capture’ I’ll cherish, ha!
The ship ports in Warmunde, Germany – a seaside town about two hours away from Berlin (by train). We booked a “Berlin On Your Own” excursion that provided a train ticket to/from our port into Berlin. It was an easy ride, and a fun way to see the German countryside before heading into the major city!
Of all the places we visited on this trip, Tallinn was the best surprise. I knew Estonia was beautiful, but I had NO idea just how much I’d be swooning as soon as we stepped foot into the adorable main square area of this darling city! Medieval architecture, colorful buildings (truly, I felt like we were in a painting it was so pretty!) and rich history that dates back to the 1400s. The people were wonderful and friendly and the food was SO good, too. (If you visit, you must go to Rukis Cafe for a cappuccino and some baked goods…I’m still dreaming about that croissant, ha!).
The main square in Tallinn is a quick 10 minute walk from port, so we didn’t book an excursion but rather spent the day roaming on our own. However, Princess offers a ton of amazing tours through Tallinn (super awesome options if you’re looking to learn about the history of Tallinn!).
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA (TWO DAYS IN RUSSIA)
^^How cute is this group?! We were so lucky to go on another Princess Cruise with a few of the same bloggers as our previous trip (through the Mediterranean last June). We hit it off on our first trip and have since all stayed in touch and become good friends – it was an absolute dream to be reunited and soak up a trip through Scandinavia with the same crew!! Forever grateful to travel with such wonderful (…and hilarious, talented, kind) people! (Shoutout to our friends above: Sugar & Cloth, Hi! Sugarplum, New Darlings and Sugar & Charm)
So much to say about our time in Russia (fear not, will be doing a full post on this portion of our trip!), but I can 100% say that St. Petersburg was the stop we had anticipated the most going into the trip (…which is why the ship spends two full days here) and that it was an experience I’ll never forget. What I love about cruising is that you get an introduction into numerous cultures within a short timeframe. Russia, in particular, has such a different culture than the U.S., so it was a very eye opening two-days where I walked away having felt like I gained new perspective. That’s the beauty of travel – it opens your mind to new situations or ways of life that you hadn’t known existed before. Needless to say, reading about or watching something on TV was very different than experiencing it…we were very fortunate to spend time in this historical city!
Given the rich history and short stay in St. Petersburg, we chose a two-day excursion and guided tour (…that was seriously amazing!! Highly recommend this one – you learn a TON in a short amount of time…just be sure to wear something comfortable because you will be busy!). Our excursion was The Ultimate St. Petersburg – Two Day Discovery Exclusive.
Through this excursion we visited numerous palaces (Peterhof Palace, Catherine Palace to name a couple), soaked up some sight-seeing during a private canal tour (this was so cool!), strolled through the stunning Hermitage Museum (you MUST view the Gold Room if you go, it was magical!), enjoyed two authentic Russian meals and some shopping. Our guide was so wonderful and incredibly knowledgable, such a gem!
PS. Russia was one of the coldest stops on the trip – definitely bring a winter coat and layer up for this one!
A day trip to Helsinki was just enough to have me adding it to my “must go back” list of destinations. The seaside city was beautiful (lush and green but also gorgeous, grand buildings everywhere), the people were friendly and the interior design shops here were tuhh-die! (Seriously…the Scandinavian design aesthetic is sooo lovely). For $20, you can take a bus from the port into the city, so Blake and I hopped on board then explored on our own once we arrived. My Instagram followers were sooo wonderful throughout this trip and sent me dozens of suggestions for Helsinki (thank you to everyone who commented or sent messages during this trip!). We settled on coffee and a cinnamon bun (I think I received about 10 votes for cinnamon buns in Helsinki haha) at Cafe Esplanad, followed up by some wandering through the downtown area (…where it started snowing!!), then ended the day with a glass of wine and that gorgeous view at Ateljee Rooftop Bar (truly stunning!). Needless to say, Blake and I both loved this city and would love to return one day!
Of all the stops on our trip, Stockholm, Sweden stole my heart. We definitely plan to return one day! This city is HUGE with such an array of things to do and pockets to see: waterfront, city, parks, countryside, historical monuments…you name it, it’s there (and completely picturesque)…one day here had me yearning for more time! We took a bus from our cruise port into Stockholm (about a 45 minute drive), then got off to explore on our own. The day started out freezing (snowing!) and a little gloomy, then cleared up and was gorgeous and sunny by the time we hopped back on the bus. A couple must sees: Old Town (those quaint, colorful buildings also known as Stortorget, are part of the oldest square in Stockholm…here you’ll find cafes, precious boutiques, bars and more) and Rosendals Trädgård greenhouse and cafe (omg you MUST visit…insanely adorable and lovely!).
This trip was one for the books and allowed me to see a part of the world I have dreamt of visiting! Truly, I can’t recommend this cruise itinerary enough – you see SO many stunning Scandinavian countries and cities, eat at the delicious restaurants on board the ship, sip coffee on your balcony (…my favorite activity haha), explore by day and relax on your “floating hotel” by night. It was 11 days of pure bliss!
If you have any questions at all about the cruise or the cities we visited, please leave a comment below! 🙂
A huge thank you to Princess Cruises for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.