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RS tour to St Petersburg Tallinn Helsinki Aug 2016

Question:
I'm considering going on to Stockholm after the tour, in Aug. 2016, for 4 nights and then fly home to Atlanta. Is Stockholm the best city to experience another part of Scandinavia? I know we will be in Helsinki on the tour, but is there more to do there? It seems Stockholm is close and offers a smorgasbord of sights and activities.

Moscow would be great to do but my friend says no to that and I am afraid to go there alone, even with a private guide.
Thanks for your help,
Judy

My friend and I like art, history, and the culture reflective of that specific place. Any suggestions!

Posted by
6554 posts

We just returned from a Baltic Cruise, and found a 9 day cruise to be the easiest and most cost effective way to see the region. Food and drink is deadly expensive throughout Scandinavia, and cruises are really a bargain way to travel.

A stay over before or after the cruise would be suggested. We toured Copenhagen 3 days before getting on the cruise. It was easy to fly to Oslo from Copenhagen and we took the Norway in a Nutshell trip through the fjords. After spending 2 days in Bergen, Norway, we flew home from Bergen transferring flights in Oslo.

Posted by
50 posts

Stockholm is far more interesting than Helsinki. Spend your time there. The tour will provide enough time in Helsinki, I think.

Posted by
16832 posts

I agree with spending extra time in Stockholm, not Helsinki. Copenhagen is also a great destination (to fly to), but since it's closer to mainland Europe, could also make sense on another trip.

Posted by
1791 posts

Thanks everyone for your responses.

Now, the question is: what are the best things to do in Stockholm? Art, history, culture, architecture, churches or cathedrals and other sights.

Thanks,
Judy B

Posted by
14241 posts

Skansen Outdoor Museum, Vasa Museum, National Museum. Skip the Nobel Museum.

Posted by
6609 posts

I am afraid to go there alone, even with a private guide

Any reason why? What are your expectations? Only downside I see is you'd have to get a Visa for more than 3 days travel.

Posted by
373 posts

Hi Judy. We have done this RS tour. Since you end the tour in St. Petersburg it will be a bit of backtracking to then go onto Stockholm, but it is certainly doable. One way would be to take the fast Allegro train from St. Petersburg back to Helsinki, and then take the overnight ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. (You will be using both of those modes of transport while on the tour so will have some comfort level with what to expect.) We have not been to Stockholm, but have been to Copenhagen. It was a great place to visit, and the airport had good connections to the US. We did make day trips to Malmo and Lund in Sweden, and they were both interesting in terms of architecture and culture.
I completely understand about being alone in Moscow. We did not go on to Moscow after the tour, but many in our group did. I think they had a wonderful time, but it could be intimidating for many people. We did not find SPB scary in any way, and would feel comfortable returning on our own. However, we were told that SPB is definitely the "Europe" part of Russia and that Moscow is very different. (more of a language barrier, less acceptance of diversity, etc)
Enjoy the trip. If we were to do this RS tour again, we would probably have returned to Tallinn for a few more nights. We were charmed by the people, fascinated by the culture and inspired by the history.

Posted by
1791 posts

Thanks everyone, your comments are very helpful.

Agnes: I would love to go to Moscow but feel intimidated by the idea of being alone there. I plan to find out if anyone on the tour (when I sign up) might be planning an extension of the trip there, that is, if the RS office will connect tour members before the trip. I will find out.

TravelingMom: thanks for your insightful comments about your trip there. I know I will love St Petersburg as I understand it is quite European! I can't wait to see the Hermitage!

In any case, I have food for thought now.

Thanks again,
Judy B

Posted by
6609 posts

I would love to go to Moscow but feel intimidated by the idea of being alone there.

Judy, I am not disparaging your opinion or questioning your judgment (everyone's values and objectives need to be respected). I am genuinely interested in why people feel the way they do about certain places (I guess mostly to try to break down stereotypes and fears). I was born and grew up in Eastern Europe (Poland) and my country was dominated by Russia/communism for a long time (hence we immigrated to the US). But for whatever reason, I am not intimidated by Moscow or St. Petersburg mostly because "I'm comfortable being uncomfortable" in big crowded foreign cities...even though I don't know the cyrillic alphabet (but could learn it). I am guessing that you feel it would be unsafe and overwhelming? I was just in Istanbul and it can be overwhelming just due to the sheer number of people and, yes, some of them will hassle you like crazy (and hence you can feel uncomfortable). I don't think anyone would hassle you in Russia (especially with a tour guide) unless they think you're spy or there for less-than-noble purposes to try to stir something up politically or otherwise (maybe that sounds naive but I do believe it). I think the soured politics between US and Russia are really unfortunate and sad, and will drive tourism away...I have no doubt that it's a place worth visiting. I hope you can hook up with someone in the RS group and go there.

Posted by
1791 posts

Agnes,
I believe my attitude has a lot to do with the fact that Moscow is the seat of government for Putin's Russia and the former Communist Soviet empire. It seems soured politics between the U.S. and Russia has been reality for so long it is hard to overcome that attitude. And, I do feel fear at the possibility of being given a hard time by Russian security at train station/airport because I am an American. The Cyrillic alphabet adds to the foreignness of Moscow, not insurmountable as I could learn the rudiments enough to get by I think.

However, I have read of some fantastic things to see and do in Moscow - the Faberge Museum, the Bolshoi Ballet and other interesting things. Plus, I have seen pictures of the interiors of their subways, glorious splendor! That is why I want to explore how I could plan an extension to the end of my trip.

Thanks for your question.
Judy B

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Judy,
We were on this fabulous tour over the summer and spent 2 days in Stockholm before joining the tour in Tallinn. It is a wonderful city - easy to get around, beautiful sights and friendly people. We spent time in the old town, attended the changing of the guard at the Palace, visited the Vasa Museum, Skansen, and just enjoyed walking around. We then took the overnight ferry to Tallinn, which was a great experience too. You could take the train back to Helsinki then overnight ferry to Stockholm.

Posted by
1791 posts

Thanks everyone for your ideas and comments! I believe, at this moment, that I may possibly consider this tour for another time. I have another friend who is considering a trip with me in 2016. GAS in 14 Days, Heart of Belgium and Holland in 11 Days, Scandinavia in 14 Days. She is not interested in Russia.

I will keep all your ideas in mind for the future.

I love this forum!

Judy B