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Post Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki Tour (June '22)

(Edit 2/23/22 - While current events make travel to Russia not possible, I will leave this post/responses for future refence. Thanks for your replies)
Hi - I'm adding at least 2 days post tour and considering heading to Moscow. I have lots of questions and appreciate any direction/suggestions you would care to share.

  1. Is Moscow too ambitious for only 2 or maybe 3 days?

  2. Should I be concerned (as a female) about solo travel to Moscow?

  3. is there a way I could connect with others on my tour prior to ask if anyone else is heading to Moscow?

  4. If not Moscow, where would you visit with your extra days....explore more of St, Petersburg or go somewhere else?

Thanks in advance for your comments, Robin

Posted by
248 posts

I really enjoyed my visit to Moscow 3 years ago. I was a solo traveler who was part of a very small tour group j(different company) that spent 9 days in Russia, split between Moscow and St. Petersburg and we had lots of time on our own to explore the city. I felt very safe walking all over the city by myself (just take the usual precautions as you would in any city), and it was a fascinating place. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard that is in the city center which was within easy walking distance of most of what you want to see. You could look into a small group local tour when you get there and that would give you a good overview of the city and its sights. You're going to already be in St Petersburg, so I think it's well worth taking the extra days to head over to Moscow for a bit. It's an easy train ride between the 2 cities. Look through some of the past forum posts - a number of people have posted info in the past about how they extended this tour by heading to Moscow and their experience.

Posted by
5593 posts

If you've gone through the process of getting a Russian via, visiting Moscow as well seems like a good idea.

Posted by
2251 posts

I’m not going to be of much help since we didn’t do it but several/most tour members took advantage of already being in St Petersburg and having the required visa and took the train to Moscow after the tour was over. Word was getting the train tickets and to the train as well as the trip itself was a very easy process. Everyone who did this had a great time and were happy they had extended their stay. We were sorry we hadn't! You could get some helpful advice from the tour office also by taking advantage of a half price consulting appointment with their in house experts through the website. As I recall, it wasn’t very expensive even at full price and was certainly worth it for us (different tour transportation questions.).

Posted by
10344 posts

You should take advantage of being able to go to Moscow! We were impressed with how nice it was and the Kremlin complex is beautiful. We only had three days and wished we had stayed longer.
Ask your tour company( RS?) if you can contact your other tour members in advance.

Posted by
25 posts

This is a wonderful tour. For a variety of reasons, I did not go to Moscow. Did not want another tour group or 4 days of private guides. Instead I stayed in St. Petersburg for 4 full additional days and had a fabulous time. After 4 days with the tour there I felt very comfortable on my own. Afterwards I spent 12 days in Stockholm and Copenhagen, as I was already "there". You really can't make a wrong decision here.

Posted by
4269 posts

We were scheduled for the Best of St Petersburg tour in 2020 and planned to take the train from St Petersburg to Moscow for 4 additional nights, 3.5 days:

Arrival evening: Bolshoi Ballet (some performances sell out, others do not, best to buy tickets in advance if you are keen)
Day 1 (a Thursday): Moscow Metro Tour; Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts (late opening on Thursdays, pre-COVID)
Day 2: City Walking tour
Day 3 (a Saturday): Moscow Kremlin Tour with private guide; Ceremonial Parade of Horse Guard and Foot Guard

Is Moscow too ambitious for only 2 or maybe 3 days?
You may wish to research the Moscow Metros to see if you want to include time for them; the Stalin government spent billions to create the underground "palaces"

Should I be concerned (as a female) about solo travel to Moscow?
I usually travel solo but we had planned to hire guides for each of our major activities. We were working with Marina Penkovskaya, as recommended on the tour FAQ page. She was incredibly responsive and provided helpful recommendations, even for the ballet tickets that we booked independently.

I did study the Russian alphabet and a few Russian phrases so that we could at least recognize a few signs.

is there a way I could connect with others on my tour prior to ask if anyone else is heading to Moscow?
We were scheduled to be on that tour this year, but had to cancel. Shame, it would have been fun to connect!

The last time I checked, all but essential personnel had left the Moscow embassy (that was the case even before the current Ukraine situation) and the embassy website said that they could offer passport services.

Posted by
4269 posts

We had decided that, once having gotten our Russian VISA, it made sense to go to Moscow as we expected this would be our one and only chance.

Despite this being our only anticipated visit to Russia, we had planned to get the 3 year VISA, which is (was?) the same cost. It provided an extra cushion if we missed a flight or had any delay. With COVID, I would absolutely only travel with a 3 year VISA, to allow for a worst case scenario.