The City of Copenhagen, Denmark - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe

10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe

Cruising the hidden gems of Western and Northern Europe exquisitely could be just the luxury vacation you have been waiting for. You will discover in this post the best luxury cruise ports and destinations in Western & Northern Europe for your ultimate European luxury cruise vacation.

As one of the foremost cruise regions in the world, Western & Northern Europe is adorned with spectacular natural wonders and scenic coastal towns and villages that delight cruisers and leave unforgettable memories.

From watching the impeccable Northern Lights, majestic fjords, and glacier lakes to visiting museums, gardens and town tours, each cruise port and destination you’ll experience in Western and Northern Europe are unique with fascinating history and culture.

A luxury cruise to Western and Northern Europe will bring you to ports and destinations on the British Isle, the Western part of continental Europe (including countries like Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany), Scandinavia (including Iceland) and the Baltic countries.

You will be wowed by the enormous attractions hidden in this mostly overlooked cruise destination.

If you are considering a more adventurous luxury cruise alternative to the popularly hyped cruise destinations like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, a Western and Northern European cruise is a great choice where you’ll have the chance to see powerful geysers, gushing waterfalls, bubbling thermal pools, jagged volcanic landscapes, lively wildlife and picturesque fairytale towns albeit with an authentic traditional European flair.

Cutting across the major countries of Western and Northern Europe, here are our top picks for the best luxury cruise ports and destinations in Western & Northern Europe.

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Copenhagen Historic Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Copenhagen Historic Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe

1. Flam, Norway

Flam is a Norwegian port town located at the end and innermost part of one of the branches (Aurlandsfjord) of Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, the Sognefjord. Experiencing Flam is one of the highlights of a cruise through Norway’s coast. It is one of the most visited cruise destinations in Norway.

This exhilarating town of 350 people is surrounded by steep mountainsides and roaring waterfalls. Flam welcomes more than 150 cruise ships every year.

Apart from the shore excursion you should not miss, Flam offers cruise passengers engaging attractions like the Flam Railway, the Stegastein Viewpoint, Flam EcoCars, the Viking Valley in Gudvangen (Njardarheimr), Undredal (an authentic Nordic goat’s cheese making village), the Freitheim Cultural Park and the Flam Beach.

Indulge in fun activities like Flam Zipline, the Fjord Sauna, Leisure Boating, Fjord Paddling, and Fjord Safari, taste some street foods and sample local wines in the Flam Brewery.

External Link: Welcome to Flam Port

Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Luxury Cruise Ship in Flam, Norway - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Luxury Cruise Ship in Flam, Norway

2. Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, the Capital of Sweden, is one of the most picturesque cities in Scandinavia and is known by the moniker the “Venice of the North”. Stockholm is served by three major cruise ports – the Skeppsbron, Stadsgarden and Frihamnen on the Baltic Sea. The Frihamnen is the most popular cruise port in Stockholm.

Stockholm is not just alluringly beautiful; the city and port have several attractions and amenities to offer disembarking and visiting cruise passengers. The city offers a mesmerizing blend of old-world vibe and modern Nordic development.

Frihamnen or Stockholm Cruise Port’s appeal is its proximity to the city’s primary attractions like the Royal Palace, the Vasa Museum and Gamla Stan (the Old Town) which are all a short distance away from the port. Other prominent attractions to experience in Stockholm include the Skansen, ABBA Museum, and Drottningholm Palace.

There are also a variety of shopping and dining options for cruise passengers’ delight and satisfaction. Head to Sodermalm for trendy and vintage shopping or the district of Ostermalm for high-end luxury fashions and interior designs.

Relish Stockholm, its attractions and authentic Scandinavian ambiance on your Western & Northern European luxury cruise Read More.

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Gamla Stan (Old Town), Stockholm, Sweden - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Gamla Stan (Old Town), Stockholm, Sweden

3. Southampton, England

Southampton is the most remarkable cruise port, and the busiest and number one port city is the United Kingdom (UK). The city is the home port to some of the biggest and most luxurious cruise lines and luxury cruise ships in the world. It is known as the cruise capital of Northern Europe.

P&O Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean all have one or more cruise ships that call Southampton home and as home port.

There are five (5) main cruise terminals in Southampton all located within 5 to 10 minutes from each other. These terminals include Horizon, Mayflower, City Cruise, Ocean and QEII.

There is a wide array of attractions and things to do in Southampton. From shopping and sports activities to visiting museums, parks and galleries, Southampton is a vibrant cruise port and destination to enjoy on a Western/Northern European cruise.

The OceanVillage, WestQuay Shopping Centre, St. Mary’s Stadium, Titanic Engineer’s Memorial, Riverside Park, Ferry Trips, SeaCIty Museum, Tudor House and Garden, and the Mayflower Theatre are among the most popular attractions and places to experience in Southampton.

Recommended Read: 10 Best Luxury Cruise Lines for Families

Southampton Port, England - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Southampton Port, England

4. Cork (Cobh), Ireland

The port of Cork, situated in Cobh, a town on the southern coast of Ireland, a 30-minute drive from Cork city centre is the only port in Ireland with a dedicated cruise berth.

Several of the cruise ships visiting the Irish city of Cork dock at the Cobh Heritage Centre, a historic harbour at the town centre.

Explore the Cobh Heritage Centre and learn about Irish history, take a guided tour to learn about the connection between the Titanic and Cobh harbour, visit St. Colman’s Cathedral – the tallest church in Ireland, take a trip to the radiant Irish city of Cork just 30-minute away from Cobh, see the famous Blarney Castle, explore the quaint fishing village of Kinsale, and experience the Fota Wildlife Park.

Cork (Cobh), Ireland is one of the best luxury cruise ports and destinations in Western & Northern Europe.

Ruby Princess Cruise Ship Dock in Cobh, Ireland - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Ruby Princess Cruise Ship Dock in Cobh, Ireland

5. Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, the Capital of Denmark is indisputably one of the foremost luxury cruise ports and destinations in Northern Europe. Cruises to Northern Europe usually don’t miss this breathtaking Danish city.

Ocean Quay (Oceankaj), Langelinie and Nordre Toldbod are the three main cruise terminals of the Copenhagen Malmo Port (CMP). Larger cruise ships dock at Ocean Quay on Amager Island about a 20-minute drive from the city centre while smaller cruise ships and luxury superyachts dock at the Langelinie terminal where there is no cruise terminal building. Nordre Toldbod on the other hand is located about a 15-minute walk from Langelinie and a 10 to 15-minute walk from Copenhagen’s main attractions.

Several attractions and a wide selection of activities await visiting cruise passengers in Copenhagen Denmark.

See the smallest but most visited attraction in Copenhagen, the Little Mermaid. Stroll down Nyhavn, the most famous street in Copenhagen. You can also take a Canal tour of Nyhavn. Explore the Tivoli Gardens. Visit the Christiansborg Palace, home to the Danish Parliament and Supreme Court, and, tour of the residence of the Royal Danish Family, the Amalienborg Palace.

In Copenhagen, you should also see the Rosenborg Castle, one of the most beautiful castles in Copenhagen and the Kronborg Castle in Helsingor, Northern Europe’s largest Renaissance Castle and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Christiania (Freetown), the National Gallery of Denmark and the Bakken Amusement Park are also top attractions you shouldn’t miss in Copenhagen.

Must Read: Best 10 Top Things to Do on a Luxury Cruise

The City of Copenhagen, Denmark - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
The City of Copenhagen, Denmark

6. Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a major northern European luxury cruise port and destination known for its fascinating canals, tulip gardens, unique Dutch architecture, bicycle “culture” and heartwarming locals.

Amsterdam is a dual-cruise city and one of the most visited cities in Europe accessible by large cruise ships as well as river cruises. Amsterdam is a moderately sized city which makes exploring and getting to know the city a bit easier for cruise passengers. Most of the city’s attractions are accessible on foot.

Two cruise terminals are serving the Amsterdam Cruise Port (Port Amsterdam) – Passenger Terminal Amsterdam and the Felison Cruise Terminal in Ijmuiden town about a 40-minute drive from Amsterdam. The Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) is located in the Amsterdam city centre and this is where most cruise ships dock.

Among the top attractions to see in Amsterdam are the Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Royal Palace in the heart of Amsterdam, the Red-Light District and if you are a beer lover, you may want to explore the Heineken Brewery.

Amsterdam is world-known for its beer, tulips and canals, you don’t want to visit Amsterdam without experiencing or taking a cruise through the city’s spectacular canals from which you can see some of the city’s main landmarks.

The Keukenhof Gardens, the largest flower garden on Earth is as enchanting as it sounds and it is the most visited Dutch attraction, especially during the summer. You can also check out the Zaanse Schans Windmills with a day trip.

Must Read: The Top 10 Best Luxury Cruise Lines in the World

Canal Boats in Amsterdam, the Netherlands - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Canal Boats in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

7. Geiranger, Norway

A luxury cruise through Norway or Northern Europe is not complete without witnessing and experiencing Geirangerfjord.

The Geiranger Cruise Port is the second largest cruise port in Norway and it is located in Geirangerfjord, the biggest and most popular cruise spot attracting tourists visiting Norway for generations.

Geirainger itself is a small Norwegian village located at the end of the enthralling fjord. Sailing in this fjord is one of the major highlights of a cruise through Norway. The Geirangerfjord is an internationally recognized natural wonder protected by UNESCO as a heritage site.

You can appreciate the small villages that dotted the fjord, the extraordinary landscape, the lush green scenery, the several towering waterfalls including the “seven sisters”, enjoy spectacular views from scenic viewpoints like the Eagles Bend and Ornesvingen viewpoint, visit the Mount Dalshibba, brave the Geiranger Skywalk, learn about the fjords at the Norwegian Fjord Centre, kayaking through the fjords and visit to a traditional Norwegian Summer Farm.

Your luxury cruise experience in Geiranger is worth every moment of it.

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Geirangerfjord, Norway - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Geirangerfjord, Norway

8. Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal. It is also one of the most beautiful port cities in Western Europe. The city is located on the Western coast of the Iberian Peninsula saddled along the Atlantic coast and the Tagus River.

Lisbon is famous for its Fado rhythms, old city quarters, sumptuous cuisines, fine Portuguese wines, the “pasteis de nata”, spectacular monuments, its riverbank, and scenic viewpoints.

The city of Lisbon is served by the Lisbon cruise port (Porto de Lisboa – Port of Lisbon) which is situated at the centre of the city. The Port of Lisbon consists of three cruise terminals – the new Lisbon Cruise Terminal, the Santa Apolonia Cruise Terminal, and the Gare Maritima da Rocha Conde de Obidos.

There is a wide range of experiences that cruise passengers can enjoy in Lisbon. You can explore Lisbon by Tuk Tuk and see prominent landmarks like the Miradouro da Graca Viewpoint, the Senhora do Monte, Sao Pedro de Alcantara, the Rossio Square and the Belem District.

You can also ride a hippotrip amphibious bus, tour the Alfama District, experience the Baixa neighbourhood, savour authentic Portuguese Pastel de Nata, go for wine tasting in Estremadura (a prominent wine region in the north-western part of the city) and book a day trip to Sintra and Cascais.

Worth Reading: The Top 10 Best Cruise Lines in the World

Lisbon, Portugal - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Lisbon, Portugal

9. Le Havre and Cherbourg, France

Normandy is one of the most scintillating regions of France and this culturally rich region is best explored via a luxury cruise through the western coast of France or in a cruise itinerary to Western and Northern Europe. There are so many places and attractions to see in Normandy.

Two of the best and most exciting luxury cruise ports and destinations in Normandy are Le Havre and Cherbourg.

Le Havre, located where the Seine River meets the English Channel on France’s Atlantic Coast, is the largest containership port and second-largest cargo port of France and it is known for the vibrant city of Havre, exceptional post-WWII architecture and the city’s UNESCO-listed city centre.

The Museum of Modern Art Andre Malraux and the St Joseph’s Church are the two most prominent attractions in Le Havre. Landmarks such as Le Volcan, Havre Cathedral, Graville Abbey and the Natural History Museum are also popular among visiting tourists.

Cherbourg-en-Cotentin or just Cherbourg on the other hand is a city in Normandy at the northern tip of the Cotentin Peninsula in the French Department of Manche. Cherbourg is strategically located on the English Channel and it is a popular cruise stop on Western and Northern European cruise itineraries.

In Cherbourg, you can experience La Cite de la Mer, the Cherbourg Theatre, Fort du Roule, and the Ravalet Castle.

And about 178 km/110 miles southwest of Cherbourg is the majestic Mont Saint-Michel, one of France’s most visited attractions and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other famous attractions close to Cherbourg are Normandy’s D-Day Landing Beaches, the town of Bayeux, Cap de la Hague, Honfleur, and Caen.

Read Also: 21 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in the Mediterranean

Le Havre, Normandy, France - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Le Havre, Normandy, France

10. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the capital of Finland is globally reputed as the happiest city in the world and it is the northernmost capital in Europe. With about 650,000 residents, the largest city in Finland is a famous luxury cruise port and destination in Northern Europe. Hundreds of cruise ships stop in Helsinki every year.

The Port of Helsinki is one of the busiest cruise ports in Europe. It is also the largest cargo port in Finland. The port is made up of four (4) cruise terminals – Hernesaari Terminal, West Harbour, South Harbour, and Katajanokka. Most cruise ships dock at the Munkkisaari Quay of the Hernesaari terminal and this is where you’ll also likely disembark.

The Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church), Cathedral of Helsinki, the Market Square, Uspenski Cathedral, Suomenlinna Fortress, Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, Sibelius Memorial, and the Helsinki WInterworld are the most prominent landmarks and attractions to see and perhaps experience in Helsinki.

Shop for local produce at the Helsinki Market Square, taste some Finnish delicacies in one of the local cafes and explore beyond the city by booking a day trip to the picturesque village of Porvoo, a stunning medieval town and the second oldest of its kind in Finland.

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Helsinki, Finland - 10 Best Luxury Cruise Ports and Destinations in Western & Northern Europe
Helsinki, Finland


A luxury cruise itinerary through the coasts of Western and Northern Europe is a great way to explore and experience the charms of this alluring but largely overlooked cruise region.

From enticing towns, towering fjords, lively harbours, museums, parks, scenic viewpoints, fortresses, and castles to natural wonders and UNESCO Heritage Sites, Western and Northern European cruises expose you to sights, activities and marvels to remember for life.

The Geirangerfjord, the bustling Southampton Port, spectacular Stockholm and Copenhagen, the Tulips haven of Amsterdam and the happiest city on Earth, Helsinki, if you have not experienced Western and Northern Europe on a cruise, perhaps this is your time to consider a luxury cruise itinerary to the region.

Join luxury cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Regen Seven Sea Cruises, Cunard, Norwegian Cruise Line and Seabourn on an enthralling and memorable voyage to the fascinating ports and destinations in Western and Northern Europe.

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