We will be staying in Estonia for a week with family in June. We want to go elsewhere for another week. My family came from Vilnius so I thought it would be interesting to go there. St. Petersburg was highly recommended. Any thoughts on Vilnius or St. Petersburg?
I have been to Vilnius but not to St. Petersburg. A week in Vilnius would be 6 days too long, a week in St. Petersburg probably not long enough.
There is a lot to see in St.Petersburg. But with American Passport you will need Russian visa. For Vilnius no visa.
I visited Helsinki and Tallinn on one of my yearly summer trips to Europe.
When I got home several of my traveling friends, both live and online, asked me how I liked St. Petersburg. I replied that we did not go there much to the criticism of all replying. Well,it is now on our list of places to go.
My last trip to both was in 2006, so some of my impressions lay be tempered by the passage of time, but here's a few observations. Vilnius was a big surprise. I included it more or less an obligatory stop because my mom's family came from Lithuania, but I didn't expect much. I was proven quite wrong. The Old Town is beautiful and rather large. Imagine Prague, now delete about 90% of the cheap souvenir shops, and place a Baroque church on nearly every street. The food was delicious, a big surprise to me, this was nothing like the awful peasent food that my family had cooked on special "Lithuanian" occassions growing up. Look for one of the many restaurants that serve the zeppelin-shaped dumplings. But the beer is some of the worst in Europe. There's enough written about St. Petersburg elsewhere, so I won't go into much detail, other than to note two things. If pressed for time on which museum to visit, choose the Russian Museum. The Hermitage is more famous, but the art on display there is of similar style and subject matter to just about any large art gallery in Europe. But you'll never see such a trove of Russian art outside the country as is found in the Russian Museum. Second, if you like opera, don't miss a chance to see a performance of a Russian-language opera. Even well-known repetoire peices like Yevgeny Onegin rarely get staged outside the country, but there's at least two companies that give regular performances in St. Petersburg. There's the more prestigious Mariinsky Theater, but if you can't get tickets, the less-esteemed but just as enjoyable Mussorgsky Theater is also an option.