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Hellsinki/ St Petersburg tour

We are scheduled on a Sept tour through Rick Steves. For others who have done this tour, a couple of questions. Did you return to Tallin to return home and if so, how did you travel from St. Petersburg.? Has anyone gone on to Moscow after St. Petersburg - and if so, how did you travel and was it difficult to make arrangements?

Any other thoughts or tips on this trip?

Posted by
632 posts

Becky,

The most import thing you need to know is that any traveling that is done in Russia outside of an organized tour will require that you get a seperate visa...and it will involve a lot of work on your part to make it happen before you leave, so you better start firming up your plans (having reservations at various hotels can help with the visa process as they will be "sponsors" for your travel for the days you are staying in their hotels.

Posted by
107 posts

I believe that this is a new trip for Rick Steves this year. I haven't done this trip in the past, but I'm also planning on it for this September. I don't have any reservations yet but I wasn't planning to go back to Tallin; cost wise I couldn't see any reason to. I even tried to setup something where I had a single entry exit point into and out of Europe (Copenhagen or Amsterdam) For example Seatle-Amsterdam-Tallin, then return StPetersburg-Tallin-Amsterdam-Seattle, but that didn't seem any cheaper than Seattle Copenhagen-Tallin, and return STPB-Paris-Seattle.

If you do want to go back to Tallin from STPB I believe Baltic Air and/or Estonian Air have once or twice daily service between STPB, Riga, and Tallin. I think the train service between STPB and Tallin is either non-existent or very long, like 24 hours?

The Russian visa problem seems a bit frustrating, I was hoping to add a couple extra days in Russia to the end of the trip, but with the visa difficulties and since I don't have any firm plans for the extra days in Russia let alone hotel reservations it seems like the visa would be a problem. I wasn't really planning to go on to Moscow but was thinking of a couple extra days around STPB. During my research it seems like there are pretty good train connections between STPB and Moscow and also airline flights.

It seemed like there was something on the STPB Hotel web site about services to help with Visas and also arranging side tours, maybe they could help with your Moscow trip?

My current plan is probably to leave STPB on the last day of the tour and spend the extra days in my exit city (Paris, Munich, Frankfurt, etc). I'm assuming the hotel in STPB will be able to help with the Visa since that is the only place in Russia I'll be staying.

Posted by
8946 posts

Your paying extra for the convenience, but for Russian visas you may want to consider using www.gotorussia.net
They will handle everything including the hotel invitation (you're free to use any hotel).

Posted by
9 posts

We are taking the Rick Steves tour in July and they provided us with a 30 day visa application package with an extension to Moscow including a generic hotel. You don't need to get a separate visa if you are going to continue on to Moscow as we are (and I believe that they can adjust the information if you decide to go to another site in Russia). We are in the process of getting the rail tickets from St. Petersburg to Moscow as we already have booked the hotel and flights out of Moscow. The visa does not have to list the exact days and hotel in Moscow as long as you leave Russia before the 30 days.