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Helsinki & Tallin (& maybe St. P) w. kids

My family of 4 (w/ kids 9 & 11) will be in Helsinki for around 5 days this summer.
We have the RS guidebook, but need some advice on traveling with kids.

  1. Any specific kid-friendly things in Helsinki? They're pretty easy going and handle travel well.
  2. Is Tallin interesting for a family?
  3. St. P is the biggest unknown for us. Would it be fun/worthwhile for kids?

Every family is different, but I'd appreciate any insights. Thanks!

Posted by
271 posts

I was in Helsinki last summer, but didn't go to Tallin. I found looking at the ice breaker fleet fascinating and stayed at Hotel Katonjonakah (sp?), a former prison, very cool, quite close to the harbor and cathedral. You would all enjoy the design museum, a nice size. You will need a visa for Russia, unless you are going on a ship and meet those requirements? I went through the visa process about a decade ago- if you are traveling on your own you should factor in enough time for that.

Posted by
1297 posts

St. Petersburg is a fascinating place with wonderful churches, palaces and museums. They are like fairy tale would find them entertaining. There is a boat ride that you can take to the Summer Palace which has many wonderful fountains. There used to be a day trip on a ferry to St. P. that didn't require a visa if you left the same day...but that may not exist anymore. There were at one time package deals for transport, hotel and museum passes. You would need an overnight in St. Petersburg to make it worthwhile. Hopefully Summer will bring Health and Happiness to us all.

Posted by
11 posts

Not going this year due to COVID - so aiming for 2021. Want to make enough time for St. P.
Everyone be safe. :)

Posted by
4631 posts

Then you might appreciate some answers I guess. But is this just a trip to Finland or part of a longer trip? St Petersburg is nice but requires a visa for most westerners. Tallinn is also a worth an excursion, so is Stockholm.

Posted by
99 posts

Suomenlinna- an 18th century island fortress is a highlight of Helsinki and definitely adventure for the whole family.
Museums like Vesikko, Sotamuseo Maneesi and Lelumuseo may be fun for the kids as they include checking out submarines, bunkers, and toys. The last one has several playgrounds, and a tree with a slide for the younger kids.

Tallinn can be interesting too, especially the old town. Make sure you visit the Old Hansa for some authentic Estonian cuisine.

I love St.Petersburg, and yes, there are plenty of places to visit there too but you will need more than a day.

I recommend at least 2 days in each city.

Posted by
11294 posts

The following information is from before the coronavirus, so of course you have to check what the situation will be when you're actually traveling.

To visit Russia (even for a day), you need a visa. These are expensive and somewhat onerous to get. However, there is a loophole. If you take the St. Peter Line cruise from Helsinki, you get three nights in St. Petersburg without having to get a visa. You cannot visit any other part of Russia this way.

If you have only 5 days total, pick two of the three cities. If you meant 5 days in Helsinki alone, I think you'll struggle to fill them (I know I would).

Posted by
15 posts

Hello Marlowe,

Greetings from Finland!

There are so many kid-friendly things in Helsinki: Suomenlinna fortress, Linnamäki amusement park (they offer free rides for kids!), Helsinki City Museum with lots of activities and fun for kids, Seurasaari open-air Museum, Serena water park, etc.
Your kids will love Tallinn as visiting Old Town is like taking a step back to the Middle Ages. And the ferry trip is more like a mini-cruise experience, especially on these Tallink Silja ferries.
St Petersburg is really beautiful and much cheaper compared to Helsinki. You can estimate your trip costs here:
However, I'm not sure it'd be possible to enter Russia this summer due to the coronavirus situation. You may consider visiting Stockholm instead.