Superyacht Destination Guide: The Baltic Sea

With thanks to Baltic Superyacht Support, and Josip Baresic, captain of M/Y SOKAR

“We have noticed that more and more yacht owners are shifting towards exploring new areas and looking further than the traditional Mediterranean and Caribbean. Therefore, we see a great potential in the Baltic Sea region as a unique and interesting sailing destination with lots to offer curious yacht owners who are willing to explore more. The diversity of the nature and sea in the Baltic Sea area will surely awake the new perspective in the yacht industry.”Krisjanis Lamberts, managing director of Baltic Superyacht Support

Visiting the Baltic Sea

Welcome to the Baltic Sea, the centre of crumbling castles, soaring dunes, enchanting forests and magical lakes. A trip to the Baltic proves that fairy tales do come true: there are endless sandy beaches, a multitude of lakes, large areas of forest and wildlife-rich wetlands. Visitors are likely to see white storks in their bathtub-sized nests balanced on lampposts, or woodpeckers tap-tapping away, or the odd startled deer scampering along the side of the road. The gastronomy of these countries represents a whole new world of taste and uniqueness!

Weather in the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea has a temperate continental climate. The best time to enjoy the full potential in the Baltic States is from mid-June until the end of August. On clear summer days, the temperature climbs over 30°C and is above 23°C on most days during summer.

Ports in the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea has sailing legacy and therefore an extensive network for small sailing yachts. However, in most of the mains ports, it’s possible to arrange berthing for large yachts of 50 metres (164 feet) and more.

Denmark: Cold Hawaii

How do you connect two countries that are separated by a deep body of water? In Sweden and Denmark, it’s achieved by travelling above and below the water. The Oresund Bridge connects Malmö, on Sweden’s southwest coast, to a region of Denmark near Copenhagen. Several heavy shipping channels between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea separate the areas, but they share a Nordic cultural heritage. So, here is where the journey through the Baltic Sea begins!

Canal in Denmark

Denmark seems to be an undervalued cruising destination, but it has a lot to offer superyachts.

The main ports for superyachts in Denmark are: Copenhagen, Skagen and Frederikshavn.

Copenhagen is home to several museums, historical castles, Michelin-star restaurants such as Noma, Geranium, Alchemist, and Kiin Kiin, and four and five star hotels.

The main piers allocated for superyachts are Amaliehaven and Nordre Toldbod 177 in Copenhagen, both of which are located in the inner harbour, and are within 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) of the city centre and walking distance to many tourist attractions. These include Amalienborg Palace - the home of the Royal family, Tivoli Gardens – Denmark’s theme park and the 3rd oldest in the world, high-class restaurants with live entertainment, and the 400-year-old Rosenborg Castle that houses the crown jewels.

You cannot deny that Denmark is lined with some of Europe’s most stunning beaches, many with warm dunes, tall beach grass, the finest white sand, and clear, shallow water. There are more than 1,300 beaches in Denmark, so no matter where you are, it’s never far to the coast.

Blokhus has some of the finest white sand in Denmark, and on a clear sunny day with offshore winds, it’s possible to see a rare side of Vesterhavet – calm, clear and shallow water. Another favourite is Blåvand beach. What’s special about this beach is that the North Sea is always calm and clear here, when it’s usually wild and windy elsewhere. There is also Rømø, a Danish island in the Wadden Sea National Park in which the entire west coast is one long, sandy beach that’s perfect for sunbathing, kite surfing and sunset watching.

In Thy, the North Sea and National Park Thy is on one side, and to the other lies Klitmøller, a region crammed with nature. Locals and tourists have enjoyed surfing in Klitmøller since the 1980s, and the culture is still growing. The name Cold Hawaii has emerged from the surfing culture because of its perfect weather conditions, with wind and waves every day, just like the American island of Hawaii.

Sweden: daylight 24/7

When the sun is shining in the Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden, and you have the beach all to yourself, you will wonder why you ever spent summer in the Mediterranean. Sailing conditions in the Stockholm Archipelago are idyllic during the summer. The waters are never rough and there is always land in sight due to the close proximity of the islands.

The main ports for superyachts in Sweden are: Malmo, Gothenburg and Stockholm.

Malmo is the 3rd biggest Swedish city. It is a multicultural city with much to do outdoors, especially in the summer. Malmö has 16 outdoor parks that are worth a long walk.

Top city sights include: Kungsparken, Oresund Bridge, Malmöhus Castle, the chocolate factory, Malmö Brygghus and many more.

View of Stockholm, Sweden

In order to really enjoy the summer in Malmo, it’s worth visiting Ribersborgsstranden - a beautiful 2.5-kilometre (1.5-mile) long sandy beach. It stretches from Västervång neighbourhood to the waterfront park of Vastra Hamnen. The water is quite shallow, so it’s perfect for children, and it includes a few food stands and a dog friendly area on the right hand side.

Gotland is a large, unique island that lies in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Latvia and a pleasant sailing spot. It is rich in history with 94 medieval churches and many prehistoric sites. There are also sandy beaches suitable for swimming.

The island of Grinda is located not far from the mainland, along the middle fairway into Stockholm. Famous for its 1000m² palace that has been turned into one of the most famous attractions of the Stockholm archipelago, the old Grinda Inn and restaurant, and the remainder of the island, has been turned into a nature reserve with farming and livestock and it’s open to the public with amazing views of the bay.

Located in the middle of the Stockholm archipelago, the two islands of Ingmarsö and Finnhamn, along with the surrounding area, is a very good anchorage spot to enjoy the evening sunset, as well as a stop for lunch or dinner. Discover the deep bays in Finnhamn, known as ‘paradise cove’. Alternatively, tourists can rent kayaks to explore the island.

Stockholm is the country’s largest city and is often referred to as ‘beauty on water’ as it is built on seven different beautiful islands, all connected by bridges. In the old town, there is a modern metropolitan with a perfect mix of culture, history, trendy shopping, fine dining and a vibrant nightlife. One of the highlights is the Vasa Museum in the Stockholm harbour. The Royal Navy ship ‘Vasa’ capsized in her maiden voyage and sank to the bottom of the Stockholm inner harbour. After over 300 years it was salvaged and carefully restored to her former glory.

The Stockholm archipelago is completely unique with spectacular scenery and consists of about 30,000 islands linked by narrow straits and beautiful bays. Anchorage is allowed everywhere as long as it is not too close to the private residential areas. The archipelago is filled with nice restaurants on the waterfront.

A highlight of sailing around Stockholm is the Lake Mälaren, the 3rd largest lake in Sweden. There are many sights to visit such as Drottningholms Palace – a residence of the Swedish royal family, Birka - where the Viking Era started, Marifred, Kungsör and Västerås.

One of the greatest spots to visit in Sweden is the Aland Islands, situated between Sweden and Finland. They lie in the Baltic Sea at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia and consist of over 300 islands and 6,000 islets and skerries. Mariehamn in Finland is the best starting point for exploration of this archipelago.

Finland and its 1000 islands

Finland’s Baltic coast is a perfect travel destination for anyone looking for a sailing experience with a difference. The Finnish coastline stretches from the eastern Gulf of Finland to the western edges of the Åland islands, and north to the far end of the Gulf of Botnia. The shortest route to cover the whole coast is a mere 660 nautical miles!

The main ports for superyachts in Finland are: Port of Helsinki, Port of Turku and Kotka.

For the sea and the nature lovers, Rauma archipelago offers refreshingly breezy experiences. The archipelago consists of approximately 300 beautiful islands close to the town. Rauma archipelago is also a significant part of the Bothnian Sea National Park.

Turku is another interesting destination. Situated by the Baltic Sea and sheltered by the beautiful islands of the Archipelago Sea, Turku is a prime example of the city with a distinct marine character. Turku also has a notable commercial and passenger seaport.

Turku has hosted the Tall Ships Races five times, and there are various other maritime events, including the River Harbour Festival, during the summer. Throughout the summer there are always several regattas, so there is always plenty to see and experience for both the residents and travellers!

While in Turku, you must visit the legendary Bengtskär lighthouse, which is south of Rosala island. It is the tallest lighthouse of Scandinavia and has a very fascinating history.

St. Petersburg-Venice of the north

St Isaac Cathedral, across Moyka River, St. Petersburg, Russia

The sheer grandeur and history of Russia's imperial capital never fails to amaze, and there is also a great revolutionary spirit in the city. St. Petersburg was intended from its inception as a display of imperial Russia’s growing status in the world. Revelry begins in May, with parks and gardens greening with flowering trees, and peaks in mid-June when performing arts festivals pack out concert halls and the entire city seems to party all night long.

Whether cruising by tender along the elegant canals, crossing one of the 342 bridges in the city, or just watching them being raised in summer over the mighty Neva River at night to allow ships to pass through, you are never far from water in St Petersburg. This has earned the city unsurprising comparisons to Venice, but the similarities don’t stop there. Walking around the historic centre reveals canals lined by Italianate mansions broken up by striking plazas adorned with baroque and neoclassical palaces. Depending on the size and air clearance of the yacht, berthing can be arranged on the shores of the Neva River, right in the heart of the city, or in the outer harbour.

There are also pristine beaches fringing the Gulf of Finland at the north of the city centre. St. Petersburg is an almost unrivalled treasure of art and culture.

The Baltic States

The Baltic States include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The destinations of the East Baltic Coast offer diverse sailing experiences along sandy or rocky beaches and cosy small islands. You can visit fishing villages, green countryside, port cities, vibrant capitals – Tallinn and Riga, popular resorts and gourmet restaurants.

Estonia: the land of white nights

Estonia, a secret well-kept country on the coast of the Baltic Sea, is much closer and accessible than it seems. Its winding coastline is by far longer than its land border, surrounded by roughly 2000 islands.

The main ports for superyachts to visit in Estonia are: Tallinn and Roomassaare.

Tallinn is the capital city of Estonia and a perfect holiday destination that combines the comforts of the modern world, versatile nightlife and luxurious adventures with a rich cultural scene in the local historical setting.

The Tallinn old town is one of the best-preserved Hanseatic town centres in the world. The city’s business centre with modern towers and luxurious hotels, trendy neighbourhoods and large shopping centres is just a stone’s throw away. The city has preserved many cathedrals and castles, and the ancient museums are now modern and interactive. It’s no wonder the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. While in Tallinn, larger yachts can be berthed a walking distance form the Tallinn old city.

Tallinn’s luring coastline, dotted with promenades and sandy beaches, is especially stunning during the summer, but offers scenic views of the iconic cityscape throughout the year.

Tallinn old town, Estonia

Roomassaare port is located next to the city of Kuressaare, which is the administrative centre of Estonia’s largest island, Saaremaa, and is the main port where large yachts can find berth to visit the Estonian islands. Estonia’s largest island, Saaremaa, and the third largest island, Muhu, are almost addictive. Thanks to its mild climate and lime-rich soil, the Saaremaa and Muhu islands have very diverse flora and fauna. Exciting destinations also include the famous Kaali Meteorite Crater Field (the first scientifically proven meteorite crater in Europe), the Panga Cliff, which is perfect for scenic walks, and the Järve beach, which is a great spot for sunbathing. The small islands of Vilsandi, Abruka, Ruhnu and Viirelaid are great locations all year round.

Saaremaa is also on the 2020 Top 100 Sustainable Destinations list. The competition for international sustainable travel destination success stories is organised by Green Destinations to recognise places that put the effort into making tourism more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Kuressaare, which has a long history as a resort town, likely has the highest number of spas per capita in the world – it has one spa location for every ten inhabitants. The city is great for walks in the lovely old town and taking in the architecture, cafes and galleries.

Latvia: the second greenest country in the EU

Latvia, like other European countries, offers a vast culture and historical heritage.

The main ports for superyachts in Latvia are: Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja.

From magnificent cathedrals to fresh food markets and opera to a one-of-a-kind car museum, Riga has everything for a memorable visit. Steeped in over 800 years of history and recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, the old town of Riga is the heart and soul of Latvia’s capital. One third of Riga’s city centre is built in the attractive Art Noveau style, making it the premier Art Noveau destination in Europe, with its rich collections of this exuberant style. The greatest presentation of this style is on Alberta Iela, a street largely built in a flurry of creativity by Mikhail Eisenstein.

The Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation is the oldest public museum in Latvia and one of the oldest in Europe, the origin of which dates back to 1773. It is located in a 13th to 20th century architectural monument — the Riga Cathedral ensemble, which apart from the church, comprises the gothic Cross Gallery and a museum, the pride of which is the Column Hall from the 18th century.

Bridges in Riga, Latvia

With almost 500 kilometres (310 miles) of coast, Latvia has many beaches. There is something for everyone, whether it’s having fun in the sun or swimming in the sea, and it’s all open to the public. Jūrmala is the only official resort in Latvia, which is well known for its natural mud, mineral waters and pine forest. The almost 25 kilometre (15-mile)-long white sand beach, which is well landscaped for all, will allow everyone to find an undisturbed place for sunbathing and swimming. Although Jūrmala is well known to most people, its hidden treasure is the Open Air Museum.

Ventspils has a modern port, innovative production facilities, and a beautiful beach coexist - the former being decorated by the Blue flag since 1999, a symbol of neatness and safety. Attractions include the oldest medieval fortress in Latvia and the oldest building in Ventspils, where the visitors can view the digital exposition ‘Living History’, art and history exhibitions, and educational programmes.

One of the main attractions of the port city Liepaja is a night in jail. The haunting Karosta district offers accommodation in the old military lockup complete with Soviet-style treatment. The only military prison in Europe available to tourists, visitors can experience how prisoners lived, how it feels to be confined in a cell, and look at the exhibited relics from different eras and ruling powers. In Karosta Prison, visitors can enjoy the reality show ‘Behind Bars’ and the game ‘Escape Room’, whereby thrill-seekers can spend the night in a prison cell. In Liepaja there are also excellent restaurants and charming cafes that will provide a true gastronomic experience.

It is worth a trip to Latvia because of its unspoilt nature. Where else in Europe can you find 500 kilometres (310 miles) of long sandy beaches and 45% of the territory covered by natural forests?

Lithuania: the land of nature

Lithuania is landlocked on all three sides with only its western border formed by the Baltic Sea. This border, stretching only 118 kilometres (73 miles), gives access to Lithuania’s sole port and maritime border control station at Klaipèda, which makes Klaipeda the only port for superyachts in Lithuania.

The most notable feature of Lithuania’s sandy coastline is the Curonian Spit, an 80-kilometre (49-mile)-long wooded sand spit which stretches northwards from the Russian town of Zelenogradsk in the Kaliningrad enclave. Within the sheltering arm of the Spit lies the Curonian Lagoon. In 2000 the Curonian Spit was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as an object of the cultural landscape. Lithuania's sand coast is devoid of offshore islands.

The nearest island to Lithuania is the Swedish island of Gotland, around which there is an annual race. Yachts from Lithuania often participate in the Round Gotland Race. Also, several interesting and very different sport boat regattas are arranged in the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon.

A few hours from Klaipėda, you will reach Juodkrantė, which is a good stop for dinner on the shore, a walk in the beautiful town, the Hill of Witches, or even an overnight stay. Another hour away, Nida has Dead (Gray) Dunes. Boaters can throw an anchor and admire them on the small Curonian Lagoon waves.

Rostock: the city of fairy tale castles

Schwering Castle, Germany

One of the most important German cities on the Baltics Sea shores, once a significant Hanseatic trading city, Rostock today attracts visitors with almost a millennium of intriguing history, an appealing white sand beach and a picture-perfect harbour. Here, larger yachts can berth a short ride away from the city centre.

A short distance from the city centre of Rostock is the beautiful Warnemünde Beach, Rostock’s very own seaside resort. The beach promises 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of fine, white sand, peppered with barbeque areas, naturist zones, playgrounds, and beach sports areas. The beach is always manned by lifeguards and known for being among the safest and cleanest in the country.

What makes the area in the vicinity to Rostock so special and appealing is the diversity of castles that will make anyone forget about reality – a true fairy tale moment! Surrounded by a wonderful landscape composed of lakes and forests, Schwerin Castle is truly magical. It is the landmark for the town of Schwerin and even more for the whole of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. A stroll along the paths of the garden shows the mastery of the garden architects Klett and Lenné. During the summer, there is a café and the orangery directly at the base of the main tower. Next to the castle, there are plenty of cafes and restaurants offering a variety of food, snacks, drinks and more.

"We have made Baltic Sea our charter destination very consciously and on purpose. It has caught our attention thanks to its unique natural diversity blended with historical heritage. Already being here I can assure, that Baltic Sea is a destination offering much different experience than Mediterranean and Caribbean, and it allows to explore more beyond the traditionally beaten paths," - Josip Baresic, captain of M/Y SOKAR.

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