5 Must-Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Northern Europe

View of standing stones at Stonehenge in England, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with sun peeking through.

Do you have a heart for history, the arts, architecture and more? Exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites is a great way to immerse yourself in the destinations you cruise to with Holland America Line.

Here are just a few of the must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Northern Europe:

Thingvellir National Park (Iceland)

This UNESCO Heritage Site in Reykjavik, Iceland is unique for many reasons. It’s where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and slowly drift apart (19 millimeters per year). In addition to its camping ground and hiking trails, it holds a lot of history. Bordered by Iceland’s largest natural lake, general assemblies were hosted here to inform the country’s national identity and political future for more than 800 years.

View of waterfall in Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Iceland.

The Forth Bridge (Scotland)

Open to the public beginning in 1890, the Forth Bridge in Edinburgh once had the longest span of 541 meters. Serving as a railway bridge across one of Scotland’s rivers, it was a significant achievement in bridge design when trains were the primary method of land travel.

View of Scotland's Forth Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with Holland America Line cruise ship in background.

Kronborg Castle (Denmark)

Calling all Shakespeare fans! If you’re exploring Copenhagen, you’ll want to check out Kronborg Castle. Serving as the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kronborg Castle takes you back to the Renaissance. It’s also where 1.8 million ships passed by and paid a toll when traveling the Sound to the Baltic Sea between 1429 and 1857.

View of Denmark's Kronborg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Geirangerfjord (Norway)

If you’re planning to embark on a Norway fjords cruise, Geirangerfjord will definitely impress. It’s claimed to be the world’s most beautiful fjord and could easily top your list of things to see on a Norway cruise. It has a depth of nearly 1,640 feet (500 meters) below the surface. Above the water, the fjord’s walls shoot up three times as much.

View of Norway's Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, below cloudy skies.

Standing Stones and Stonehenge (Scotland and England)

Soak up the sights of the Standing Stones near Kirkwall – also referred to as the “Stonehenge of the North.” Located on the Isle of Lewis, the Standing Stones are thought to be 3,000 – 5,000 years old, predating Stonehenge. Both are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll find the latter on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Stonehenge is a prehistoric structure gazed upon by visitors around the world, especially during solstice celebrations. Archeologists think this ancient wonder was constructed in phases around 3100 to 1600 BC.

Which UNESCO World Heritage Site would you like to visit in Northern Europe on a Holland America Line cruise? Share in the comments below.


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One Comment

  1. Carolyn Pittman June 19, 2024 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    I still hope to get to Edinburgh—and more of Scotland! When we scheduled with that in mind the itinerary changed, and we decided not to repeat mostly places we had previously visited.

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