**Disclosure: I was a guest of Tallink Silja and Visit Stockholm for this trip. Regardless of this, please be advised that all opinions expressed in this blog post are genuine and authentically my own.**
Ahoy there, fellow travellers! I recently had the opportunity to embark on a two-night cruise adventure with Tallink Silja, one of the leading transportation companies in the Baltic region. This exciting experience took me from Helsinki to Stockholm and back again and was the perfect way to discover the delights of Sweden’s capital.
As a lover of both travel and the sea, I was thrilled to be setting sail on the Silja Serenade, a magnificent cruise liner built in 1991. With the capacity to carry 2,852 passengers in 986 cabins and 395 cars, the Silja Serenade offers a unique and memorable cruising experience. The Silja Serenade is the jewel in Tallink Silja’s fleet of 15 vessels, which connect the fascinating cities of Helsinki, Stockholm, Turku, and Tallinn with daily departures throughout the year.
As soon as I stepped on board, I was in awe of the ship's luxurious design and the warm hospitality of the crew. The standard A-Class cabins, which I stayed in, were a comfortable 11 meters squared, and well-appointed with all the necessary amenities, making me feel right at home. I was also given a glimpse of some of the more luxurious cabins that are available onboard which were quite impressive.
The most exciting feature of the Silja Serenade, however, was the 143-meter-long Promenade. It must be the longest walking street at sea! The outside decks are also the perfect place to stretch your legs, soak up the sea air and enjoy the beautiful views of the Baltic, especially the beautiful Helsinki waterfront.
One of the highlights of the Silja Serenade is its dining options, with 7 restaurants and 6 bars to choose from. From casual dining to fine dining, there's something for everyone. And if you're feeling lucky, the ship also has a small casino area for you to try your hand at some games. But the real crown jewel of the ship is its Tax-Free shopping mall, the largest at sea. With a wide range of products available, from designer clothing to jewellery, I couldn't resist indulging in a little shopping therapy!
For those looking for entertainment, the Silja Serenade truly delivers. I was wowed by the fabulous show productions and various activities offered on board, making the time fly by. We were treated to a live Queen tribute performance on the first night, which was excellent, and they then excelled themselves with an Abba tribute the following evening, which was very apt, since I had visited Abba The Museum earlier that day!
After an enjoyable first night on board, I awoke to the beautiful Swedish coastline as we approached Stockholm. The liner had departed Helsinki at 17:00 the previous day and by 10:00 we were docked at this beautiful and vibrant capital city. With its stunning architecture, vibrant cultural scene, and rich history, Stockholm is a destination that should be on everyone's travel list. From the picturesque streets of Gamla Stan to the buzz of modern neighbourhoods, Stockholm has something for everyone. Whether you're looking for a relaxing escape or an action-packed adventure, this city has it all, and I was planning to see as much of it as possible before the liner departed back to Helsinki at 16:45.
I was met by a friendly representative of Visit Stockholm, who guided me to the local bus stop, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the ships berth. Within 15-minutes, I had been transported into the heart of Stockholm. I also noticed that there were plenty of taxis available, should I have wished to take that option. It is also worth noting that there is a subway station just fifteen-minutes’ walk from the dock as well.
I left the bus at the bridge over to Djurgarden Island, and within minutes, I was walking around this hotspot of fascinating museums. I limited myself to visits of the Vasa Museum, The Viking Museum and Abba The Museum, but you could easily spend two or three days visiting all the attractions on this island.
The Vasa Museum is one of Stockholm's top tourist attractions, dedicated to the preservation and display of the 17th-century warship, Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. Visitors can marvel at the ship's well-preserved remains and learn about its history, as well as the history of seafaring in the region, through interactive exhibits and displays. The museum also features several exhibitions showcasing the art and technology of shipbuilding during the time of Vasa's construction. The Vasa Museum is a unique and fascinating experience for anyone interested in history, maritime culture, or engineering.
The Viking Museum
The Viking Museum is an interactive museum showcasing the history and culture of the Vikings. Visitors can explore the world of the Vikings through exhibits of artefacts, including weapons, household items, and jewellery, as well as interactive displays that demonstrate the Vikings' daily life, religion, and trades. The highlight of the museum has to be the mini-ride that takes you through various dioramas telling the harrowing saga of Ragnfrid. The Viking Museum provides an insightful look into the fascinating history and culture of the Vikings, making it a must-visit for history buffs.
Abba The Museum
ABBA The Museum is a tribute to the legendary Swedish pop group and an immersive experience for fans. Visitors can explore the history of the band, see costumes and stage outfits, and even take the stage with them in a virtual performance. The museum also features an extensive collection of ABBA memorabilia and artefacts. ABBA The Museum is a fun and nostalgic experience for anyone who loves the music of ABBA.
After enjoying visits to these excellent museums, I jumped on the ferry, crossing over to the historic heart of Stockholm – Gamla Stan. The crossing only took around 10-minutes and gave lovely panoramic views of the capital from the water.
Gamla Stan is Stockholm's charming and historic old town, featuring narrow, winding streets, picturesque buildings, and quaint shops and cafes. Visitors can explore this historic neighbourhood, visiting its many museums and historic sites, including the Royal Palace and Storkyrkan. Gamla Stan is also a great place for shopping, with many unique and locally made souvenirs and gifts. Visitors can wander the streets and enjoy the charming atmosphere of this historic neighbourhood, making it a must-visit for anyone visiting Stockholm.
The Wooden Horse Museum
As the name suggests, The Wooden Horse Museum is dedicated to the tradition of wooden horse-making in Sweden, showcasing the various styles of wooden horses from different regions of the country. Visitors can learn about the history of this art form and see examples of beautiful wooden horses. It is also a great place to purchase handmade souvenirs.
Marten Trotzigs Grand
A quirky stop on your tour of Gamla Stan is Marten Trotzigs Grand. It is known for being one of the narrowest streets in Europe with a width of just 90 cm at its narrowest point. A great opportunity to see a unique aspect of Stockholm's architecture!
Storkyrkan is Stockholm's oldest church and a major landmark in the city. The church is currently receiving a major exterior facelift, but you can still admire its beautiful interior, including its stained-glass windows, and learn about its history, which dates back to the 13th century. The church is also a cultural and musical hub, hosting concerts and events throughout the year. Don’t miss the stunning rendition of St. George killing the dragon, which is near the altar.
Parliament House is the home of the Swedish government, and a major landmark in Stockholm.
The Royal Apartments at the Royal Palace
The Royal Apartments at the Royal Palace in the official residence of the Swedish monarchy have some of Stockholm's most impressive interior. Visitors can take a self-guided or guided tour of the palace, exploring its stunning rooms, including the throne room, and learning about the history of the Swedish monarchy. The Royal Palace is a must-visit for anyone interested in royalty and the history of Sweden.
The Royal Treasury
The Royal Treasury is located within the Royal Palace and contains a stunning collection of royal treasures, including crowns, sceptres, and other regalia. Visitors can see the exquisite craftsmanship of these objects, learn about the history of the Swedish monarchy, and admire the beauty of the priceless items on display. It’s a unique opportunity to see some of the most beautiful objects in the country.
My experience with Tallink Silja and the Silja Serenade was nothing short of extraordinary. From the luxurious amenities to the exceptional service, I would highly recommend this cruise liner to anyone looking for an unforgettable Baltic adventure. Stockholm is a must-visit city for any traveller. With its blend of historical and modern attractions, world-class museums, and lively cultural scene, it's a destination that truly has something for everyone.
So pack your bags, set sail and experience the magic of the Silja Serenade and Stockholm for yourself!
Comment below and let us know what was your favourite cruising experience has been.
Don’t forget that at Tailor-Made Itineraries we delight in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting Stockholm appeals to you, reach out to us by email. We would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating the attractions of Stockholm.
Join me next time when I take a ferry to Tallinn, and explore the capital of Estonia. Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.
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