The former Russian settlement of Sitka
is a mainstay on the cruise circuit, with Holland
America Line among others frequently disembarking to enjoy Sitka shore excursions
here. As with other regular points of call on Alaskan cruises, such as Juneau
and Ketchikan, shore excursions
tend to revolve around one of two things: the things to do in the city itself,
or the attractions and activities offered by the awe-inspiring wilderness that
surrounds it. Sitka shore excursions thus cover the full gamut and you should
find something to do here whatever your needs and desires.
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For those who want to get a feel for the history of the city, there are normally one or two shore excursions in Sitka that tour its historic sites with a professional guide in tow. Given its Russian heritage, one of the abiding themes of these tours is colonial architecture, with the Russian Blockhouse, St. Micheal’s Orthodox Cathedral, and the Russian Bishop’s House all showcasing Alaska’s unique Russian heritage.
Shore excursions in Sitka that call in at the Russian Bishop’s House also tend to head into the Sitka National Historical Park, which is only a short walk away. This 113-acre site is home to protected flora and fauna indigenous to Alaska, along with a collection of Native Alaskan totem poles, Indeed, the park is often referred to as the Sitka Totem Park, so good is its display of the great carved monuments. One can easily spend hours at this park, thanks both to its tranquil nature, and the pleasingly long walks that are marked out for visitors.
Sitka shore excursions also frequently call upon the waters just off the city’s coast, as these prove to be a veritable haven for adventure sport-lovers. Sportfishing is the primary activity here, with a plentitude of salmon and halibut populating the seas. The cruise liners that organize fishing excursions normally arrange for everything you need, from charting a boat to providing appropriate clothing and equipment. Consequently, all visitors need to do is take things easy, cast their rods, and wait for that all-important big catch.
Nature-lovers, meanwhile, are provided for by bird-spotting shore excursions
in Sitka. Sitka and the surrounding area is known as a haven for winged species,
with the island of St Lazaria
a particular hotspot. Although it’s a short journey from the city itself, a
trip to St Lazaria always proves worthwhile thanks to the near 7,000 birds,
including puffins and murres, that nest here.
For those who want to really get their muscles working having spent happy days lounging about on a cruise liner, Sitka shore excursions include mountain bike trips around the rugged hinterland. This, it must be said, is not one for the weak-hearted, and cycling up mountains probably isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. However, if the prospect of cycling around some jaw-dropping beautiful scenery does sound like your type of thing, then you won’t find many better shore excursions than this.