The Baltic Sea is home to some of the most beautiful harbours in Europe, providing visitors with a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history and cultural diversity. From bustling urban ports to tranquil natural harbours, there is truly something for everyone.
Join us on a journey to discover some of the most breathtaking ports in the Baltic Sea, where we'll discover top-notch destinations, must-see attractions, exciting activities, and indulge in the finest local culinary delights.
Stockholm, also known as the Venice of the North, is a popular destination for sailors in the Baltic Sea and offers a unique combination of natural beauty, cultural attractions and historical sites. The archipelago, which consists of more than 30,000 islands, is a must for anyone sailing in the region. Visitors can explore the islands by boat, take a guided tour, or rent a kayak and paddle through the breathtaking landscape.
There are a number of cultural sites worth exploring in the town itself. These include the Vasa Museum, dedicated to the famous 17th-century Swedish warship the Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, the Skanse open-air museum, where visitors can see the traditional Swedish buildings, animals and crafts, or the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Swedish Vedic royal family, with its beautiful architecture and rich collection of artworks. Don't miss the medieval part of the city packed with picturesque streets, historic buildings and beautiful squares.
Stockholm is also famous for its gastronomy, with many restaurants offering traditional Swedish cuisine.
A view of Gamla Stan in Stockholm's Old Town at sunset.
Visby, a charming town on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, boasts a wealth of historical landmarks and stunning natural beauty. Encircled by 13th-century walls and towers, this well-preserved site offers spectacular views of the city. St Mary's Cathedral, a 12th-century Gothic structure, stands as the largest church in Gotland, adorned with artwork and historical artefacts. The local botanical garden exhibits plants and flowers native to Gotland's unique climate and terrain. Visby's pristine beaches feature fine white sand and gentle waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The town is home to several museums that highlight Gotland's history and culture, such as the Viking Museum, the Museum of Art and Heritage, and the Museum of Games and Entertainment. For those who appreciate nature, Visby provides various outdoor pursuits, including hiking in nearby nature reserves or embarking on boat excursions around the surrounding archipelago.
View of the picturesque town of Visby
YACHTING.COM TIP: The Baltic weather can be unpredictable, making planning crucial for a successful trip. In the event of unfavourable conditions, it's important to remain adaptable and have backup plans at the ready, such as immersing yourself in the local culture instead by visiting museums, galleries, and restaurants.
Helsinki is another popular destination for yacht charter travellers in the Baltic Sea, offering a unique blend of Nordic charm, stunning architecture and rich history. Highlights not to be missed include Uspenski Cathedral, one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in Western Europe providing breathtaking views of the city. Other notable sights include the Helsinki Cathedral, the Parliament of Finland and the National Museum of Finland. For lovers of traditional Finnish cuisine, there is the Kauppatori Market, where you will find many stalls selling local specialities and souvenirs.
For relaxation and recreation, visit the local Kaisaniemi Park or Linnanmäki, an amusement park with roller coasters and other attractions. Thrill seekers can book a catamaran or jet ski ride. If you have time, it's worth visiting some of the nearby islands, such as Suomenlinna, an island fortress centred on the city's defences, or indulge in some hiking in the nearby Nuuksio National Park.
Visitors can explore the city's many museums and galleries, including the Ateneum Art Museum, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and the Finnish National Museum.
Helsinki Cathedral and harbour
Check out some other destinations:
Tallinn is a charming medieval city with a rich history, stunning architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. Visitors can explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Toompea Castle and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, as well as the beautiful Kadriorg Park. The city is also famous for its museums, such as the Estonian Maritime Museum and the Kumu Art Museum.
For those looking for outdoor activities, Tallinn offers a number of options, such as hiking in the nearby Lahemaa National Park or taking a ferry to one of the nearby islands.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the old town of Tallinn
If you go to Klaipeda by yacht, it opens up many tourist opportunities. Be sure not to miss a visit to the old town centre, filled with picturesque streets, beautiful buildings and monuments, such as the Gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas. For art lovers, a visit to the Municipal Gallery, located in the city's largest building, is ideal and if you love nature, it is definitely worth visiting the Curonian Spit National Park, with its stunning sand dunes, forests and beaches. There are also opportunities for water sports such as windsurfing or kayaking on the Minija River. Klaipeda Port also hosts various cultural events and festivals, so you can witness local folklore, concerts and other events.
Sunset in the port of Klaipeda, Lithuania
Gdansk is a historic port city with a rich maritime history, stunning architecture and a vibrant cultural scene. Visitors can explore the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the nearby Westerplatte Peninsula, site of the first battle of World War II.
The port of Gdansk is located in the historic part of the city, so everything is within easy reach. One of the main tourist attractions in Gdansk is the Long Market, a historic street surrounded by beautiful medieval houses with different coloured facades. It is also a short walk to St. Mary's Basilica — the largest brick church in the world, or the Shield House — a historic 16th century house that was restored after being damaged during World War II. Today it serves as a museum. Gdansk's most famous symbol, the statue of Neptune, stands on Długie Pobrzeże Square and is a popular spot for tourists who like to take photos with this iconic statue. If you want to enjoy a view of the city, then don't miss the one St. Mary's Cathedral — another important brick structure in Gdansk, which is one of the largest churches in Poland.
For nature lovers, Gdańsk offers a number of outdoor activities, such as hiking in the nearby Tricity landscape park, a visit to the nearby Hel peninsula or a boat trip on Kashubian Lake. Gdańsk is also famous for its cuisine, with a number of restaurants offering traditional Polish dishes.
Gdansk with the beautiful old town over the Motlawa River at sunrise
YACHTING.COM TIP: The weather in the Baltic Sea can be unpredictable, with strong winds and sudden changes in temperature. It is crucial to check the weather forecast before setting sail and be prepared for any changes. Navigation is equally important, as the Baltic Sea can be busy with commercial shipping traffic. Staying vigilant while sailing is vital for safety..The water depth in the Baltic Sea can be shallow in some areas, so it is essential to know the depth and navigate accordingly.
Riga is a vibrant cultural centre with a rich history, stunning architecture and a lively nightlife. Visitors can explore the old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the nearby Art Nouveau Quarter, which boasts some of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in Europe.
For nature lovers, Riga offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking in the nearby Gauja National Park or a boat trip on the Gulf of Riga. Riga is also known for its cuisine, with a number of restaurants offering traditional Latvian dishes.
Aerial view of the Old Town and the Daugava River from St. Peter's Church, Riga
Kiel is a bustling port city with a rich maritime history, stunning architecture and a lively cultural scene. Visitors can explore the city's many museums and galleries, such as the Kiel Maritime Museum and the Kunsthalle Kiel. Kiel is also known for its outdoor activities such as sailing, windsurfing and fishing.
For those interested in history, Kiel offers a number of historical sites, such as Kiel Castle and the U-Boot-Ehrenmal Memorial.
Kiel with City Hall Tower, Opera House and Hiroshima Park
Copenhagen is a vibrant cultural centre with a rich history, stunning architecture and a lively nightlife.
There are many interesting places to visit from Copenhagen's harbour. Highlights include Nyhavn, the famous canal with its beautiful colourful houses that are a typical symbol of Copenhagen. From Nyhavn you can also take a boat trip, offering canal cruises through the city. Other notable sights include Copenhagen Castle, the most important and most visited historical building in Denmark, and Amalienborg, the residence of the Danish royal family, where a ceremonial changing of the guard takes place every day. For lovers of art and history, there are museums such as the Danish National Museum, which offers offers exhibitions from prehistoric times to the present and Rosenborg Castle, where royal treasures, including the Danish crown jewels, are on display.
If you're looking for something to relax and unwind, you can visit parks such as Tivoli, one of the oldest theme parks in the world, or Kongens Have, which is a beautiful royal park with a maze and a lake. For nature lovers, Copenhagen offers a range of outdoor activities, such as cycling around the city's many bike paths, a visit to the nearby Dyrehaven Deer Park or a boat ride along the canals.
Copenhagen's harbour also offers many shopping opportunities, such as boutiques, markets and shopping centres offering local specialities and souvenirs.
Nyhavn harbour street in Copenhagen
YACHTING.COM TIP: While sailing the Baltic Sea, be sure to experience its two primary attractions — saunas and fishing. Numerous excellent options are available throughout the region. Saunas, a cherished tradition in the area, can be found in many hotels and resorts. The Gulf of Finland, situated between Estonia and Finland, is an ideal fishing location, teeming with various fish species like salmon, pike, and perch. Bornholm, Denmark, is another favored fishing destination, where you can catch an array of fish, including cod, herring, and mackerel. In Sweden, Visby is a popular fishing locale, known for its diverse range of fish such as herring, pike, and perch.
St. Petersburg, Russia
St Petersburg is a city rich in history and culture, with amazing architecture, museums and galleries. From the harbour, you may be initially drawn in by the famous Church of the Saviour on Blood, which is not only one of the most beautiful but also one of the most important Orthodox churches in Russia. Nearby is the Saint Isaac's Cathedral, an impressive cathedral with incredible views of the entire city from its dome. Also worth a visit is the Hermitage Museum, which is one of the largest museums in the world and features thousands of exhibits from ancient civilizations to the present day. If you're interested in history, you shouldn't miss a stroll along the Palace Embankment, where you'll find many highlights, such as the Winter Palace, which served as the main residence of the Russian Tsars.
For rest and relaxation, you can visit St. Petersburg's parks, such as Peterhof Park, where there are beautiful fountains and gardens, or the Catherine Palace Park with its eponymous palace filled with incredible interiors. If you like modern architecture, you can visit Krestovsky Island, where the Zenit Arena stadium, built for the 2018 World Cup, is located.
St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg with warships in the background
Do you prefer an urban port or a natural hrabour?
When it comes to urban and natural harbours in the Baltic Sea, there are many great options to choose from.
All Scandinavian capitals are urban harbours.
Helsinki in Finland is a bustling port city with a vibrant culture and stunning architecture. The city offers many museums, galleries and restaurants as well as outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking.
Sweden's Stockholm is a beautiful city built on a series of islands, offering spectacular views and unique cultural experiences. The city is famous for its museums, galleries and historical sites, as well as its cuisine.
Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, is a vibrant cultural centre with a rich history and stunning architecture. Visitors can explore the city's many museums and galleries as well as enjoy a range of outdoor activities.
If you'd rather dock in a natural harbour, the top three include:
- Archipelago Sea, Finland — the Archipelago Sea is a stunning network of islands and waterways that offers beautiful natural scenery and a range of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the islands by boat or enjoy hiking and cycling on land.
- Kosterhavet National Park, Sweden — visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking and fishing in the park.
- Saaremaa, Estonia — visitors can explore the island's many historical sites and enjoy hiking, cycling and fishing.
Aerial view of Saaremaa with the castle in the middle. Kuressaare Castle is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city.
What local delicacies should you sample during your voyage?
If gastronomy is your love, then you should definitely try these delicacies.
In Sweden, for example, Köttbullar — traditional Swedish meatballs, Gravad lax — smoked salmon with spices and salt, Janssons frestelse — baked potatoes with fish fillets, sardines and onions, Smörgåsbord — an extensive buffet of Swedish specialities such as caviarr, foie gras, prawns and ham, or Ostkaka — a traditional Swedish dessert made of cottage cheese and cream.
However, these dishes are just a mere sample of traditional Swedish cuisine, which can vary from region to region and season to season.
Even in Finland, you won't be able to resist. Local specialities include Karjalanpaisti — traditional Finnish lamb stew with potatoes and spices, Kalakukko — baked bread stuffed with fish and bacon, Lohikeitto — a creamy soup of salmon, potatoes and spices, Poronkäristys — fried reindeer steak with mashed potatoes or Mustikkapiirakka — blueberry pie with cottage cheese. Finnish cuisine also uses many seasonal ingredients such as berries, fish and wild game, which influences the amount and types of food available at different times of the year.
The Baltic Sea offers boaters a unique combination of natural beauty, rich history and cultural diversity, from bustling urban harbours to tranquil natural harbours. Visitors can explore many museums, galleries and monuments, enjoy a range of outdoor activities and savour local cuisine.
Travelling on a yacht in the Baltic Sea is a truly unforgettable experience.