Scandinavia, Tallinn and St. Petersburg

We will be in Copenhagen during the last week of September. The following week, the first week of October, we'd like to visit Helsinki, Tallinn, and St. Petersburg. 5-day cruises seem to be over by then. What is recommended for ease and toting of bags? Stay in Hellsinki and do a day trip to Tallin and then take the high speed train to St. Petersburg? What about the St. Peter ferry line to St. Petersburg? Other options?

Posted by Elizabeth
Reno, NV
2 posts

Thank you. We are thinking of staying in St. Petersburg for only a day or two - less than 72 hours. I've read that these visits don't require a visa, especially if we travel by ferry or cruise ship. Are you familiar with the St. Peter line ferries? Are there any cruises the first week of October?

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3496 posts

Before you make plans to visit Russia, find out if you need a visa. They can be very expensive ($180 each, last time I checked) and can take a couple of months to obtain, unless you pay extra for an agency. You also have to have reservations in hand when you apply. It's possible that if you take a ferry and are only planning to be there for a day or two, that you don't need an individual visa. I've read conflicting reports. Do make sure to check it all out before you lock into anything.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8727 posts

I don't know anything about the answer, but I put "cruise st petersburg russia october 2013" into google and got lots of information. The results at http://www.cruisetimetables.com/visitingstpetersburgrussia-oct2013.html bring up two cruises of the Baltic, one from London and one from Southampton that seem to be going where you want. I changed the first word in the search to "ferry" and found several pages explaining the ferries from Helsinki to St Petersburg in October, giving the dates of travel. Maybe these will help you?

Posted by Val
Long Beach, USA
92 posts

Hi, If you plan to stay in St-Petersburg less than 3 days as you stated...I would suggest taking the ferry with St-Peter Line. It is really ''visa-free''.
I cannot speak about cruiseships...but I heard that you need to be part of a tour if you travel by cruiseship; you would need to double-check on that. As for the ferry...if you have any questions, please feel free to private mgs me. I was just in Helsinki and St-Petersburg in June of this year. I LOVE Russia! Don't count on them speaking good English...but to me, it is part of travelling and I would suggest learning few russian words and the cyrillic alphabet. Bon voyage!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2372 posts

The ferry has an arrangement for customers to visit St. Petersburg for up to 72 hours without the visa. If you arrive by other means, you must have a visa and they are complex and expensive to obtain - not something you do on a whim or last minute. Helsinki makes a good base in that region. Tallinn is only a 90 minute ferry ride and an easy daytrip, though it can be worth a night or two. The harbors are convenient in both cities so toting lightly packed luggage is not an issue. Tallinn old town does have significant hills to climb and winding streets.