Beautiful Maritime cities of Europe
Stockholm ferry.jpg

The Maritime trade in Europe dates back far in history and today the same cities and other cities by the sea are still used as important ports. 



An important port in history and in the current world. This city is the gateway to the United Kingdom. Once the centre of the British empire, this port city is still a prominent city in the modern world. At the heart of it all is the Thames river which is still used today to transport passengers and goods. You can check out the Guildhall library for more on the Maritime history of the city of London

I always love visiting this historic port city of London because there is so much history, culture, art, food, wine, cafes, shopping, parks, and of course a lot of my friends live there too. It remains a top destination for travelers for a reason. This bustling city has so much to do! One cannot simply say they have seen everything that London has to offer. A bustling urban landscape that has everything for everyone. Though you must remember that this is a busy city and so many people live and work there. The sensory overload upon arriving can be a bit overwhelming at times but it is still an exciting city. The port of London is still very busy and you can see the evidence in the city's offering of microcosms of the world. 

You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
— Samuel Jackson


Once belonged to the English, the ports of Bordeaux played an important part in the wine trade. If you visit this beautiful city for wine, you can see the buildings all along the Gironde river were remnants of the wine merchants and negociants. The history of this important port city dates back to the marriage of Eleanor Aquitaine and Henry of Plantagenet in 1152 cemented the union of the Aquitaine region to the English crown. This link played a pivotal role in the trade of wine within Europe. Read more about the maritime history on Bordeaux

Bordeaux is a wine lovers' dream! Right bank, Left bank, and Pessac Leognan, Entre de meurs, Bergerac... La Cite du Vin (The city of Wine museum)... There is so much about wine in this region. If you love red, white, rose, sparkling, and visiting wineries. THIS is A MUST destination for you! I spent almost a fortnight in this city going on wine tours almost every day and the one day I stayed in the city, I went to La Cite du Vin to study more about wine. In preparation for a wine exam, I planned this wine trip to help me study in real time as opposed to just burying myself in the books. When I arrived in Bordeaux, I was blown away by the hospitality of the residents. I was expecting to struggle through with my rudimentary French skills I acquired from living in Switzerland and Brussels as well as daily Duolingo lessons. Most restaurants in the city centre were very accommodating and have English speaking staff but they are more than happy if you attempt French. The port of Bordeaux is very important for the historical significance on the wine trade.

Wine is the most civilized thing in the world.
— Ernest Hemingway


Sometimes dubbed as the 'second' city of The Netherlands after Amsterdam. This modern skyscraper city in Europe was bombed heavily by Nazis in World War II, the rebuilding of the centre with modern buildings and modern bridges was the result. Urban planners embrace creative and new innovative city planning. The waterways of Rotterdam are busy and the history of the maritime influence can be seen at the Maritime museum.

I have been to Rotterdam a few times and discover more of this exciting innovative city. One cannot deny the role this city had on the Dutch East India Company during the heyday of its prime. I got to visit the Maritime Museum in the centre of the city on one of my trips there. There are interactive exhibits where you can simulate an oil rig in the ocean as well as reading stories of inhabitants living in house boats all over Holland. You can also visit the boats that are living museums right outside the museum which is a great activity for the entire family. 

I wish to be a citizen of the world, to be a fellow-citizen to all people
— Erasmus
Stockholm Gamla Stan


What a gorgeous Swedish capital city! It never fails to take my breath away. For a maritime experience, you can go to the Vasa Museum and/or visit the various islands in the Stockholm archipelago in the summer months. Many of the large cruise ships dock near the Slussen stop in Södermalm. You can also purchase a ticket to Finland or Estonia from Stockholm's port.

On my first trip to Stockholm, I made the stupid mistake of only giving myself 24 hours in the city because I thought it would be super expensive and I would be able to get a nice little overview of the city. What I did not expect was to completely be enamored by the city, since that first taste of Stockholm, I have been back to Stockholm several times a year. Every single trip has been a totally different and also a reminder of why I am so in love with this city. From the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan to the hipster district of Södermalm (or Söder as residents like to call it) to the multitude of arts, food, museums, architecture, and beautiful people (seriously!? I have never been to a city where MOST of the people are so stunning!). Stockholm gets a reputation for being cold but even in winter this capital city can feel really cozy with softly candlelit restaurants, cafes, bars, and apartments. I cannot rave about this city enough but all I know is that this city makes me feel ALIVE. 

Tiden går fort när man ha roligt
— Time goes fast when one has fun
Frozen canal in Amsterdam


The capital city of The Netherlands is filled with canals and houseboats but it had humble beginnings as a small fishing village. With any city in Holland, the history of the Dutch East India company influence is prevalent in the artwork at Rijksmuseum and the multitude of Indonesian restaurants littered throughout the city.

Walking up and down and across the city's canals is truly my favorite activity in Amsterdam. The parks are also wonderful during the spring time because all the tulips are in bloom. If you are looking for evidence of the result of the maritime history that Amsterdam, look no further than the multitude of Indonesian restaurants in the city. This city touts itself as the big city with the small town feel. You definitely get that sense when you explore areas like Jordaan and Westerpark and De Pijp. 

I get inspired in certain places. You have to write in places like Amsterdam or Paris or New Zealand, when you’re standing on a yacht, looking out at the middle of the ocean.
— Action Bronson


The Swedish city with the most fun-loving residents. Urban planning for Gothenburg was designed by the Dutch back to the 1600s because they were the best at building on marshlands. You can see their influence with the multitude of canals running through the center of the city. The maritime museum in Gothenburg is a look back in time to the Swedish East India company.

In the summer, Gothenburg comes alive with activity. Visit the sjöfartmuseet for the maritime history, get some fresh caviar (I recommend kalix löjröm) and crackers from the feskekörka ("fish church") and take it to the nearest park or canal for a picnic, take a ferry to the southern archipelago islands and just wander. When night falls, visit one of the many bars near the Avenyn in Kungsportsplatsen for a nightcap. 

A life without love is like a year without summer
— Swedish proverb


Malta is a gem in the Mediterranean sea. Comprised of three islands: Malta, Comino, and Gozo - this country has been used as a fort city by so many different civilizations in history dating back to Phoenicians around 700 B.C. with several cultures invading and occupying the country since then. One would find the historical significance of this tiny island European nation fascinating. Huge shipping containers and cruise liners park themselves around the capital city of Valletta. Malta Maritime Museum

From fancy yachts parked along Portomaso in San Julians to the ports in Sliema and Valletta, Malta is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea so the life at sea is very much embedded into the cuisine, culture, and history. My favorite exercise activity is to walk along the promenade from San Julians to Sliema ferries. The breeze from the ocean and the wide open pathway for pedestrians is truly made for jogging, walking, and strolling. Stop by one of the many cafes lines along the promenade for a quick coffee break to take in the views and people watch. 

Fejn thobb il-qalb jimxu r-riglejn – Where the heart loves, that’s where the legs walk.
— Maltese proverb


This German city has a lot of activity on the water with large shipping containers and ships docked along the Elbe river. The water is hard to escape in Hamburg. From the Elbe tunnel to the Landungsbrücken piers to all the maritime museums - Hamburg is certainly a destination for maritime history buffs.

The old elbe tunnel and the Landungsbrücken pier is not to be missed! We had quite the adventure walking through this narrow tunnel and the journey down into the tunnel. To get to the elbe tunnel you to can either take an industrial lift down or take several flights of stairs down. Free for visitors but you should be prepared to walk quite a distance!

I was born in Liverpool but I grew up in Hamburg
— John Lennon
Stockholm ferries

All opinions and pictures are property of Alaine Handa except otherwise stated. All rights reserved. (c)