I am planning a trip through Eastern Europe in September, beginning in Russia and working my way back through the Baltics, Poland, etc. Should I fly into Moscow then take the train to St. Petersburg or fly directly to St. Pete.? I've heard Moscow can be a bit of a hassle and I don't know if it's worth the trouble.
Tom is right; each city is different and well worth a visit. There is so much history and interesting architecture that will interest you.
Before I went I did a google search for "Moscow sights". And same for STPB.
After I read about each city I made a list of places I wanted to see. I hired a guide and gave him my list.
I found Moscow very much "worth the trouble" and easy to navigate once I learned the subway system. It is probably the oldest in the world, but quite useful. They claim that one station is over 100 feet below street level.
Fly into Moscow. You won't regret fitting it into your schedule. The train ride to STPB is an old-world experience because the coaches are so old.
Kind of hard to answer this question for you. Each city, from a tourist perspective, are very different. Both are very large. Many areas of Moscow contain a fascinating jumble of Tsarist decadence, Stalinist Gothic, Soviet rot and modern hyper-capitalism. Saint Petersburg, by contrast, has a wonderful museum-perfect (and quite large) older section of town surrounded by a sea of gray Soviet-era buildings- most tourists never venture here. Both cities have the feel of massively controlled chaos, but Moscow a little more so.
Neither is an "easy" destination, unlike the rest of Europe, but both are well worth a visit. Just be aware that the entry and exit procedures for Russia are much more complicated and restrictive than the Schengen Area. Make sure you get some help from an experienced travel agent.
Thanks for the input, guys.
BTW, has anyone out there travelled from St. Petersburg to Helsinki by train? The Sibelius (Finnish run) looks to be more comfortable, but the Repin (Russian run) shcedule works better for me. Any ideas?
Before my wife and I traveled from Helsinki to STPB I did research on the web to comments from travelers. At that time everyone recommended taking the Finnish train.
However we couldn't get a compartment on it and had to take the Russian train. It was quite an experience because the cars are so old.
We enjoyed it because it was just like travel used to be 100 years ago. I suggest you consider both of them before you decide. Take the one that fits your itinerary.
Sounds like a good idea, Carl. I would hate to pass up an opportunity to experience a real Russian train :-) I think we will take that one since it fits our itinerary, gives us more time in STPB and will be another interesting adventure. Thanks.