If you're hoping to venture off the beaten track during a Baltic cruise, one place you should be certain to visit is Torshavn. The capital of Denmark's Faroe Islands, Torshavn is well worth stopping at on a cruise of Northern Europe. Although small, the city is pleasant and picturesque, combining old and new.
One of the smallest capital cities in the world, Torshavn is also a port where cruise ships dock, so climb ashore here. Book a place on a guided tour and you can learn all about the settlement, including how it was home to the former Viking parliament.
You'll discover the historic section of the city - Tinganes - as well as the more modern areas, and will be able to stop at a great lookout point, from where you'll be afforded exceptional views over the city.
The settlement, which dates back to 850 AD, has grown since its humble beginnings but retains a quaint charm in the form of narrow, winding streets and historical wooden houses with turf roofs. When you explore the area, you'll find art abounds, and one of the most popular attractions is the Nordic House.
This building often features art exhibitions but is also used as a venue for concerts, theatre and dance performances. Meanwhile, about five minutes away from here on foot you'll discover the Faroe Islands Art Museum, which houses paintings, sculptures and graphic art.
Modern and early Faroese works are displayed here - including a number by the prominent artist Samal Joensen-Mikines - while the gallery also regularly hosts guest exhibitions.
In addition, there are a couple of fascinating museums to be found in Torshavn - the Faroese Historical Museum and the Faroese Natural History Museum, and you can learn more about local life through the ages here. The latter is also home to a small botanical garden, where you can view around 150 species of native plant.
When you get peckish, you can stop at one of the cafes in the area, or head back to your ship - especially if you've chosen an all inclusive cruise. This type of getaway usually means you pay upfront for your drinks throughout the whole holiday, so popping back to the ship could save you money on dining or drinking out. An all inclusive drinks package also tends to cover any service charges, so you'll have even less to pay for.
This sort of deal often applies to drinks consumed in the restaurants, at the onboard bars and even some of the beverages you have available in your cabin.
Back on land, take a look at the city's most historic sites, which - aside from Tinganes - includes Fork Skansin. Here, you can see the remains of an old castle, complete with canons and some British guns. You can also admire the lovely cathedral, which was built in the late 1700s and has a picturesque exterior painted in white and brown.
The main church, meanwhile - the Vesturkirkjan - was built in 1975 and is also worth viewing, as the structure is very distinctive. The architecture s and has artworks outside by renowned local sculptor Hans Pauli Olsen.
If you're looking for an interesting 2012 cruise in Northern European where you can explore some rich history, Torshavn certainly fits the bill.