My wife and I are planning a two-week trip to St. Petersburg next year. We are both American citizens. We will be arriving by air and will not be on a tour. The visa will be sponsored by a hotel in St. Petersburg. If we take side trips to Tallin and Helsinki, will returning to St. Petersburg be a problem? Thanks in advance for your help.
We absolutely loved our two days in St. Petersburg coming off a cruise ship. We went with a tour operator in a Mercedes can that could navigate small streets and back alleys in order to beat all of the full size buses to popular attractions. We found our tour company on Trip Advisor with about 50 others. And they're very good at what they do.
If you think about it, St.Petersburg's opulence was just for show. In its heyday, the rest of Russia was completely broke and starving. It is quite a beautiful place, however.
The same thing was going on in France in the late 1700:s, but their monarchs were not so tough and lost their heads.
You should have no problem returning to Russia if the dates are valid.
If you apply for double- or multiple-entry visa, you can do side trips as you please. From logistical standpoint, though, why not do your European leg before or after Russia?
The whole"visa sponsorship" is not that big of a deal (at least not yet) - if you can't line up enough hotels to cover the whole duration of your stay (or if your itinerary doesn't chrystallize by the time you submit your visa application), you can always get a 30-dollar "blanket invitation" from an online company for the duration of your trip.
If you visit on a single entry visa , you cannot return . You can do this once on a double entry visa . ( I.e. two separate entries ) Given your plans , arrive in St Petersburg , leave by rail for Helsinki ( easy rail journey ) , then ferry to Tallin . No back tracking necessary , and only a single entry visa required .
Thanks to all for your help. Much appreciated.