Historic destinations like London, Edinburgh and Dublin call out to you to explore their rich past. Lesser-known gems of the Isles of Scilly, Isles of Lewis and other destinations throughout the United Kingdom beckon you to discover their ancient past and marvel at their natural wonders. The majesty of the Norwegian Fjords inspires a sense of awe as you gaze upon their lush beauty. From local pubs to woodland trails to stunning gardens and beyond, Northern Europe contains plenty of scenescapes rife for exploration.
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IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND
In Ireland’s capital, Dublin, tour the Guinness Storehouse located in the heart of St. James’ Gate Brewery, and raise a glass at the Gravity Bar with a 360-degree view of the city skyline. Explore Blarney Castle in County Cork or sip on a glass of whiskey at the Old Jameson Distillery, a beautifully restored and self-contained industrial complex taking you right to the heart of the cherished whiskey making tradition. While Belfast’s popular point of interest is the Titanic Museum, it’s also the gateway to the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s most famous landmark deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Delve into Scotland’s rich history in its capital, Edinburgh, with a visit to Edinburgh Castle. Wander the medieval streets of Old Town or savor a fine whisky at Leith’s Kaleidoscope Bar and Dining Room on Queen Street. Discover the beauty of the Scottish countryside heading toward the magnificent Stirling Castle, home of the Stuart kings and birthplace of James II. Along the west coast of the Isle of Lewis, find the Neolithic standing stones at Callanish, older than Stonehenge. Walk down the cobbled streets of Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney Islands, and travel back to Norse times as you explore a medieval cathedral built by the Vikings. Admire the World Heritage sites of the Standing Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. Among castles, lakes and heathered fields of Invergordon, the capital of Inverness and your entrée to the Scottish Highlands, take in the rugged mountains, foggy mist and verdant peaks that create the land of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Photographers often want to head toward central London near Westminster Bridge. With Big Ben and Westminster Palace on one side and the London Eye on the other side of the river, it’s the best spot for the ultimate picture of the English capital. Newcastle upon Tyne, or simply Newcastle, invites you to imagine life in medieval times. But it also contains modern appeal with contemporary architectural designs, like the renowned Gateshead Millennium suspension bridge. The charming town of Poole is surrounded by golden-sand beaches, nature reserves, quaint parks and gardens. Following the brass plaques of the self-guided Cockle Trail around the Old Town, you can dive into its rich history. Falmouth offers plenty of seaside views and charms. As a thriving university town, it is filled with pubs, restaurants, art galleries and independent book shops. Among the Isles of Scilly, a remote and rarely visited destination, sits the enchanting St. Mary’s with three nearby beaches – Porthmellon, Town Beach and Porthcressa.
Norway has no shortage of UNESCO World Heritage Sites that run the gamut of natural wonder, historic and cultural significance. Witness the magnificence of Geirangerfjord, from the snow-covered mountain tops to the clear, blue water. Among the extraordinary features are the Seven Sisters waterfalls, jutting out from the cliff sides in seven separate cataracts and creating a curtain you can walk behind. Surrounded by steep mountainsides, roaring waterfalls, and deep valleys, Flåm is located off one of the hidden arms of the Sognefjord. To fully appreciate its breadth, leave the harbor behind to reach Gudvangen, a tiny hamlet at the tip of spectacular Nærøyfjord, an 11-mile-long fjord. Visit Bergen’s famous Hanseatic wharf, Bryggen or enjoy its unique culinary culture with a commitment to organic and sustainable food that has made it a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.
ARCTIC CIRCLE CROSSING & LOFOTEN AND VAERØY ISLANDS CRUISING
Become a member of the Order of the Blue Nose as you cross the Arctic Circle. Reaching into regions of the North Pole, where you may spot the elusive polar bear, you’re sure to tap into your explorer spirit. The stunning Norwegian coastline has to be seen to be believed. Gaze upon the soaring, craggy mountains to tranquil fjords, glaciers and quiet seaside villages that comprise the Lofoten archipelago. Vaerøy is the hidden gem of this region, with surprisingly warm waters and snow that rarely stays on the ground for long. Pay close attention as you sail Vaerøy Island’s Mount Mostadfjell, the nesting site of more than a million seabirds, including sea eagles, puffins, arctic terns, and others.