We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

Hermosa Beach...
Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Topic
2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

I am just reading up and trying to determine how much time my wife and I should spend where, for a 2-week trip in late May / early June. It seems like a couple of days each in these three cities may be sufficient to see the major sights and get a feel for the culture - so I'm thinking we should plan the # of nights in each location based on side-trips/day-trips. Any suggestions on where we should plan to spend our 'extra' time? We enjoy outdoors/hiking, historical sights, food/drink of course, and generally like to just experience local culture. We are more early to bed / early to rise people, so late evening night life is not necessary.

By the way, we are flying in & out of Helsinki - so planning to take a train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg, then another train from St. Petersburg to Tallinn, and then finally the ferry back from Tallinn to Helsinki. In May/June, is it necessary to make advance reservations for all travel & hotels - or would we be safe to "wing it" and just stay longer or move on as we like once we are in country (booking hotels/trains/ferry same-day)?

I have Finnish ancestry, but have never been there & do not speak any Finnish. So I'm thinking maybe more time in Helsinki - or even spend a couple of nights elsewhere? All suggestions are welcomed!

Thank you in advance!

Athens, Greece
Level Contributor
1,634 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

Your plan sounds good. You will find more things to see in St. Petersburg than in Helsinki.

The city of Helsinki is rather small, and can be done in couple of days. Please include a trip to Suomenlinna, you will love it, especially that time of the year. Also you can make small trips to nearby town, such as Porvoo, or an island excursion.

Perhaps you can divide the time 4 days in Helsinki, 4 days in St. Petersburg, 2 days in Tallinn and then back to Helsinki. Counting your arrival and departure days plus travelling from one place to another.

Have a look at Things to Do in Helsinki on this site for more ideas. For people watching, visit Senate Square of course, and Hakaniemi market place.

In my opinion, late May and early June are not busy periods.

Hermosa Beach...
Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

Thank you Morocco! We will definitely plan to visit Suomenlinna, and I think the Porvoo/islands trips are just the kind of excursions we are looking for. Thanks for your advice.

Oulu, Finland
Destination Expert
for Helsinki, Oulu, Lapland
Level Contributor
3,870 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

Between St. Petersburg and Tallinn a bus is the best means of travel: http://www.luxexpress.ee/en .

Start your visa process early enough after you've finalised your itinerary and made the needed reservations (in and outbound travel to/fom Russia and hotels in Russia) as these will be asked in the visa application and corresponding confirmations should be enclosed with the application).

Finland
Destination Expert
for Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
5,137 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

St Pete has a remarkable amount of all sorts of cultural heritage. Because of the sher amount of places worthwhile visiting and the size of the city, I'd plan a longer stay there. Russia definitely needs to be booked in advance as you will be asked this info on your visa application.

Otherwise you may plan as you go.

Hermosa Beach...
Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

Thanks zam72 and polarbearfin! We will take the LuxExpress bus from St. Petersburg to Tallinn, and will book our St. Petersburg hotel & travel in advance to enable the visa process.

As of right now, we are planning 4 days in Finland (to see Helsinki and some of the countryside), 4 days in St. Petersburg, 2 days in Tallinn and now 2 days in Stockholm - with a few travel days in between where we will also be able to see some sights. Does this sound like a reasonable distribution of time, or too much/too little time in one place or another? Our alternative ideas are to spend one more day in St. Petersburg vs. Finland, and/or to skip Stockholm on this trip in order to have one more day each in Finland/St. Petersburg....

Thanks for your advice!

Oulu, Finland
Destination Expert
for Helsinki, Oulu, Lapland
Level Contributor
3,870 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

As a side notice, there is a train service between Tallinn and St. Petersburg, but it is operated only once a day: http://www.gorail.ee/?id=1672 (GoRail's English webpages are practically empty). They run also the Tallinn - Moscow route. Buses are more frequent (and especially LuxExpress coaches more comfortable) and buses also provide a bit shorter travel time.

Hermosa Beach...
Level Contributor
75 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

Thanks zam72, we'll go with the LuxExpress for sure then!

8. Re: 2 Weeks Around Helsinki/St. Petersburg/Tallinn

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:16 am, March 26, 2014