• Tallinn, Estonia
  • Marzipan Shop in Tallinn
  • Lutheran Church in Helsinki, Finland
  • Helsinki's Sibelius Monument
  • St. Petersburg's Church on Spilled Blood
  • Peter & Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Catherine Palace in Pushkin, Russia

Tour Questions? Call 425-608-4217

Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki in 9 Days Tour

Discover a formerly forbidden corner of Europe, where a blend of east and west has created a region unlike any other. Your Rick Steves guide will get you started with the cozy squares and inspiring independence of Estonia's capital of Tallinn. Then you'll travel by ferry across the Gulf of Finland to the Art Nouveau ambience and high-tech prosperity of Helsinki. From there, it's a mere train ride to the elegant, treasure-packed city of St. Petersburg and its magnificent Hermitage. Join us for the best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki in 9 Days!

What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24-28 people — half the size of most tour groups
  • Full-time services of a professional Rick Steves guide and local experts who will make the fascinating history, art and culture of St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Helsinki come alive for you
  • All tours and admissions — at no extra cost — covering at least 19 group sightseeing events • Tallinn walking tour • Russian Orthodox Cathedral • Museum of Occupation • Kadriorg Park • Rusalka Monument • Song Festival stage • Seurasaari Open-Air Folk Museum • Helsinki walking tour • Sibelius Monument • Lutheran Church • Panoramic bus tour of St. Petersburg • Peter & Paul Cathedral • Church on Spilled Blood • Hermitage Museum tour • Catherine Palace tour • Siege Museum tour • Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad • St. Isaac's Cathedral • St. Petersburg walking tour...and more
  • All group transportation from Tallinn to St. Petersburg
  • 8 nights accommodations in memorable, centrally-located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • Free stuff including Rick Steves' Snapshot: St. Petersburg, Helsinki & Tallinn guidebook, moneybelt and earplugs
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2014
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour
  • Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks and free-time sightseeing. See our Tour Conditions Agreement for important details regarding everything listed above

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2-4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2-6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2-8 miles walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Tallinn

Our hotel is in the charming Old Town of Estonia's capital city, just a short walk from the historic Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). We'll meet at the hotel at 5 p.m. for a "Welcome to Tallinn" get-together, a short orientation and dinner. Sleep in Tallinn (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Historic Tallinn

Our morning begins with a walking tour of Tallinn's Old Town — a marvelous mix of Swedish and Germanic influences from the Reformation and Middle Ages. Starting with the Old Town's narrow streets and whimsically-decorated merchant houses, we'll walk up Toompea Hill to the Upper Town. There we'll learn about the Estonians' struggle for independence as we see the onion-domed Russian Cathedral, Parliament Building, and the fascinating Museum of Occupation. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore Tallinn's inviting streets, squares, cafés, shops and museums. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Over the Baltic Sea

This morning we'll take a bus outside Tallinn's walls to Peter the Great's ornate Kadriorg (Catherine) Park and equally-Russian Rusalka Monument. We'll also visit the famous Song Festival stage where Estonia's peaceful "singing revolution" began back in 1987. Then we'll hop aboard a streamlined ferry to cross the Gulf of Finland. In a couple of hours we'll arrive in Helsinki — one of Europe's wealthiest, fastest-growing cities. Upon arrival we'll visit the imaginative Sibelius Monument, the wonderfully-furnished Seurasaari Open-Air Folk Museum, and the awe-inspiring "Church in the Rock." After an orientation to this surprisingly young capital, we'll end our day with dinner together. Sleep in Helsinki (2 nights). Boat: 2 hrs. Bus: 3 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 4: Helsinki's Old Town

We'll begin our day with a walking tour of Helsinki's relatively young (mid-1800s) "Old Town" — a tidy tangle of Neoclassical and Art Nouveau streets. Starting on the busy Market Square, we'll see the unusually-Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, the contrastingly stark Lutheran Church, the seriously Art Nouveau train station and the pedestrian-friendly Esplanade. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city's modern side, or take an excursion out to the islands where Suomenlinna fortress guards the city. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: All Aboard to Russia

This morning we'll catch the train to St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia. Arriving by early afternoon, we'll transfer to our bus for a rolling tour of St. Petersburg's bridge-and-canal-laced city center. We'll stop to visit the city's birthplace and resting place of the tsars, the golden-steepled Peter and Paul Cathedral. We'll end our tour at the colorfully-ornate, mosaic-filled Church on Spilled Blood, built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Then we'll get settled in our centrally-located hotel and enjoy a Russian meal together. Sleep in St. Petersburg (4 nights). Train: 4 hrs. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: light.

Day 6: The Hermitage

We'll spend the morning at the Tsars' Winter Palace, known today as one of the world's premier museums — The Hermitage. With over 2.5 million items on display, our three-hour guided tour will focus on the opulent rooms of the palace and the museum's must-see masterpieces by Leonardo, Rembrandt, Picasso, Chagall and others. Your afternoon is free to relax, continue sightseeing on your own through the palace/museum's six buildings, or take an excursion out to Peteroff by hydrofoil to view the palace's spectacular fountains. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Catherine's Palace and WWII Leningrad

Today we'll venture out to the town of Pushkin where we'll tour Catherine I's palace and its stunningly restored Amber Room. After lunch together we'll return to the city to tour the Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad and the Monument to the Heroic Defenders. Here we'll learn how the city, from 1941 to 1944, endured a 900-day Nazi blockade. Bus: 2 hrs. Walking: moderate.

Day 8: St. Petersburg's Sights

On a walking tour this morning, our local guide will help us gain a vivid understanding of Peter the Great's love for the town he created. We'll explore more of the remarkable buildings, streets, and old ethnic neighborhoods that make St. Petersburg unique, ending at the impressively-domed St. Isaac's Cathedral. You'll have the remainder of the day free to wander along Nevsky Prospect (the Champs-Elysées of St. Petersburg) and the picturesque canals, or see more masterpieces at the Russian Museum. For our final dinner together, we'll share travel memories and toast new friends. Nastrovia! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

Some will head for the airport to fly home, while others may choose to continue along the Volga to Moscow. (Be sure to finalize your visa to match your full Russian itinerary, including any post-tour travels in Russia.) Dosvedanya!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Activity Level

Our tours are physically active! It’s an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki in 9 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily...

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (several blocks possible) and up stairways to reach your hotel; then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

Daniel

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Three different cities that were so different from each other. Lots of history and things to see. Nice group of people to experience it with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The maritime museum in Tallinn. Our guide visited it earlier and recommended it to us as something "different". She was right."

Wendy

Langley, WA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We choose to join this tour because it is an area of the world we were uncomfortable traveling in on our own. This was our first Rick Steves tour. I would have to say that the tour exceeded all of our expectations. The hotels were charming boutique hotels located in the city of each city we visited, the shared meals were regional cuisine and delicious, and our guide was fabulous!!!! The group that we traveled with were interesting and like minded folks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really liked having the opportunity to go the Song Festival stage where the 'Singing Revolution' happened in Estonia and the Museum of Occupation. My husband was very taken with the Russian part of the trip, but I liked the connections to the people best...and these occurred in Finland and Estonia."

Ralph

Long Beach, CA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Energetic, knowledgeable "uber" guide Ezter, great sense of humor and excellent problem solver! Very compatible group, good synergy, much laughter! Local guides in Helsinki and Saint Petersburg were outstanding, informative, energetic. One in Saint Petersburg, Katja (sp) has a PHD in Art History. You can't come more qualified than that!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage, overpowering splendor, incredible history."

Lynn

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Three fascinating cities. This tour was an incredible experience, especially with such an outstanding guide. She ensured lots of local experiences and we learned so much about the culture, people, and history of these cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg subway tour was amazing. I ride the train to/from work everyday at home, and it was so cool to be with locals doing the same thing halfway across the world. Except their subway stop have crystal columns, chandeliers, and tell a cultural/historic story."

Robert

Oak Park Il, IL

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was excellent. She managed the whole experience with great charm and efficiency. And our group itself was quite cohesive and cooperative. I especially appreciated how she helped us arrange for extra curricular events that were not included on the regular tour schedule. A wonderful tour experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Attending the folkloric production at the Nicolaievsky Palace on Sun. evening."

Mary

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wanted to do tour that would get me into Russia. Felt a bit intimidated in going to Russia on my own. So going to Russia was the driving force and then to have Estonia and Finland on top of this made this for a great tour. Small group (22) was just right for getting about in confined places, being able to hear and to feel like you got to know the people who were sharing the experience with you. The Rick Steves organization made everything very easy especially in getting the visas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Life is not about the number of breaths you take, but about the things that take your breath away. This happened several times on this tour. First at the Church in the Rock in Helsinki, the second on hearing 5 men singing The Volga Boatman in a small pavilion near Catherine Palace and lastly the Church on the Spilled Blood."

Marfa

Corvallis, OR

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour, itself, was great in many ways, disappointing in others. The guide was fantastic. The group was delightful. Food was terrific. The local guides - 25% good. The "through the back door" part very disappointing. Seemed we were usually at the same sights as every other tour group with only a few exceptions. The weather you ordered was marvelous. Thanks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Back ways of Saint Petersburg. Rock Church in Helsinki - but with only minutes to be there!!! Really enjoyed the boat ride in St. Petersburg. Evening was the perfect timing for it. Like learning about the history of this part of the world, distressing as it is."

Jerry

Chicago Il, IL

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I'm a chronic introvert and when we first gathered in the hotel meeting room to "meet and greet" I looked around at all those intimidating people and strangers and thought "there is no way in hell I can get through the next eight days." And by the eighth day I was feeling very sad to be saying good-bye to some new friends. Our guide was terrific (plus all the local Guides), plus the hotels (location!), food, and things went so smoothly. THANK YOU.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was coincidence, but I had my 58th birthday during the Tour. It was terrific that Eszter generated the Birthday Song in my honor that morning just before we headed to our bus, but then she also gave me a Christmas ornament as a token of appreciation not having any idea of my connection to Christmas (I founded a Christmas collector's club/magazine in 1980). Then all throughout the day many of the tour members brought up my birthday and made a special effort to reference it."

Karen

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/09/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great! Our tour guide worked super hard to make our tour fun and stress free

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage and Russian singers singing folk songs. Walking through St Petersburg and the parks in Tallin"

Nelda

San Antonio, TX

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 4th Rick Steves' tour, and just like the previous ones this one was outstanding. Not only was our weather perfect, but our tour group was amazing. Our guide was truly a treasure - so knowledgeable and caring. It could not have been any better!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the whole of St. Petersburg was a constant visual, mental and sensory experience - a truly awesome blend of history, palaces, museums, art, canals, churches and people."

Janet

Westfield, NJ

Tour: 08/26/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were incredibly lucky to have such good weather. The tour was extremely well planned out.Such a great way to get a look at Tallinn,Helsinki, and St. Petersburg.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The quality of life in Helsinki. What the country has been able to do since WW2. Finland seems to have been on a clear path as to what they want for their country and citizens. We Americans are not envied anymore as the "go to country" we need to learn how to get along in the world."

Curtis

Dallas, TX

Tour: 08/16/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

The tour met all my expectations. The mechanics of the tour worked well. Time was used well when arriving in Helsenki and St P. Hotel check in, ferry transport and train all were efficient.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Viewing an Orthodox service in St. P. Clear sunny afternoon to see the fountains and Petrograd. Early morning walks before tour and crowds in each city. Free time to do our own things."

Michael

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/16/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This was our 3rd tour--the 1st 2 were Turkey & the Adriatic. Compared to those tours this was relatively low-key with not as many "wow" moments. Tallin's Old Town was interesting--but not as interesting as, say, Prague. Helsinki was nice, but with no real "must see" attractions. The main event was the 4 days in St. Petersburg, which, primarily, is the by-product of Russia's two "Greats"--Peter and Catherine. Tour guides were excellent. Overall, an enjoyable trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There is probably a tendency to say the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, but, although, that was a "wow", I probably enjoyed the "Back-door" St. Petersburg tour with a local guide, concluding at St. Isaac's cathedral."

Carl

Santa Clara, CA

Tour: 08/16/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

very interesting tour, not relaxing or comfortable like western europe but fun. russia has a third world feel, don't drink the water.

John

Klamath Falls, OR

Tour: 08/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall feeling was just outstanding. As usual a Rick Steves Tour was fun, exciting and the guide was great. Our guide went out of his way to help my family on the tour. He had the knowledge to make the experience very rewarding. Helsinki was very pretty, and St. Petersburg was a crown jewel to behold. Very rooms and food was also very nice. The local guides kept us going and everything moved without any problems.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment should be moments with the ferry to Helsinki, the train ride to St. Petersburg, and the homes of the czar. Enjoyable time from start to finish."

Craig

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/16/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a great experience. The tour was well organized, and the folks on the tour were fun, interesting, and very compatible. I have taken tours in the past, and there has always been at least one clunker, and more than one person who was very dependent and needed a lot of hand-holding and direction. That was absolutely not the case on this tour. Our tour guide was friendly, knowledgeable, and very considerate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Estonia. It was a fascinating place, with an interesting history. To see their transition into independence (again) was very inspiring and humbling. We in America have a lot to learn from their strength, priorities, and stamina."

Kathie

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was an extended tour after 16 days on our Rick Steves' tour of Scandanavia. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between the countries. It was also great to have transportation and direction to the best sites to see and times to see them. Without the tour we would have missed too much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage - Winter Palace and Summer Palaces and the surprise visitors on the trip."

Christine

Nampa, ID

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed everything about this tour. We arrived two days early in Tallin so were able to enjoy the city at a slower pace and do many of the recommended pre tour suggestions. There were so many choices of things to see in each city, and I learned a lot about the history of each country and the lives of the people there now. It was worth going through the visa process to go to St. Petersburg. The buildings in all three cities were fantastic to see and the people we met were friendly.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage was wonderful and what I was wanting to see on this trip. What really "wowed" me though, was the walking tour by Marget in Tallin, when she told us about the struggles of the people under communism and the patience they had gaining their independence, and the singing revolution. Read the book "The Madonnas of Leningrad" before going to the Hermitage. Also, watch the DVD "The Singing Revolution" about Estonia. Pre-tour suggestions of books and movies in Rick's book are good."

Karen

Schaumburg, IL

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour! Loved the diversity/variety between the three cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Hermitage- a once in a lifetime experience!"

Kathy

Mercer Island, WA

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour. I went w/ my 78 yr young MaMa, the Hermitage was part of her bucket list...Tallin and Helsinki were just a means to an end. But I would say that I came away ABSOLUTELY CHARMED by my time there. I loved the Medievil archetecture and rich history of Tallin. I loved the visual impact of the old town of Tallin. The museum of the Occupation was so moving! The national of pride of the Estonians was palpable when speaking w/our city guide and the guide that we had on our City

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the singing choral festival in Helsinki. I loved the genuine enthusiam for group singing and community participation manifested there. And of course, we all sang, too!"

David

Street, MD

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great experience. These are cities I wanted to see but they were not on my top tier list. I enjoyed it very much although, they still are not on my top tier. Not the fault of the tour, however. Great group and an outstanding leader. Our guide was a jewel! One of the most enthusiastic humans I have had the pleasure of meeting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Actually, it was at the Hermitage but not with the tour. We went back on our own and I got to the Antiquities Area which I loved. The rooms themselves were just beautiful. Our tour guide did not take us to this area (understandable) but I found it on my own. Not as many people also. Some of the stops in St. Petersburg were great but the number of people hurts the experience."

Geoffrey

Kalamazoo, MI

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip gave me new insights into a part of the world I knew only a little about. These three cities (Tallinn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg) are really not much different than any other European community. I gained a new appreciation for Russian culture and daily life.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Hermitage in St. Petersburg was the highlight of the trip for me. Also, meeting and touring with Rick for a day was special and unexpected."

Greg

Laguna Niguel, CA

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The summer palace and the Hermitage Museum art collection in St. Petersburg were the WOW moments"

Judy

Boise, ID

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I so enjoyed this tour of three cities in three countries. There was so much to see and do that one could come back for another visit. I felt in the time we had, our tour did a great job of hitting the highlights of each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The old walls, the watch towers and the gabled houses in Tallinn's Old Town were amazing. Walking through the narrow cobblestone lanes while exploring Old Town gave one the feeling of going back in time. I was also taken with the history of the Estonian Song Festival and their gaining independence by a peaceful singing revolution. It was heartwarming."

James

Plano, TX

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Very interesting and educational experience. Definitely not a wine & food experience. I honestly felt like we could have had more welcome to city drinks at the hotels upon arrival. It's a nice touch. I would have also appreciated at least one dinner with wine included. It helps get the group gelling. I liked the St Pete & Tallinn parts of the trip better than Helsinki. Tallinn could have been another day. Helsinki was rather dry. The wet weather did not help. Out of your control.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hermitage & museum of occupation in Tallinn."

Denise

Graham, NC

Tour: 08/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were many highlights of this Rick Steves' tour--my 4th. A visit to the KGB museum and harpsichord concert in a historic church in Tallinn; exploring the market in Helsinki and hearing the opening of the music concert (with over 1000 voices on the steps of the Cathedral); seeing the beauty of the Hermitage (and the amazing art collection) and attending the ballet Swan Lake in the Hermitage theatre in St. Petersburg made this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although "wow" moments occurred daily, one amazing moment for me was crossing the Finland/Russia border on the train, having the Russian police check my passport and realizing that my "bucket list" item of visiting Russia was going to happen. It was all "uphill" from there!"

Patricia

Portland, OR

Tour: 07/12/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A wonderful introduction to the Baltic Sea area, we experienced three major Eastern cities and their cultures, history, people and foods. We went to all the major tourist sitesand during our free afternoons/evenings could dig deeper. Group was good size, and made up of "good travelers." Tour leader was great, hotels were very nice and in great locations. History of the area came alive for me! A wonderful experience, all in all!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had a number of "wow" moments. At the head of the list was our guide's care and concern for tour members: I had a ticket to see an opera at the Mariinsky II and learned I was the only one going. I speak/understand no Russian and was quite apprehensive about negotiating a taxi to back to the hotel. Our guide and the hotel staff coached me well -- I easily negotiated the price and made it back, to find her waiting up for me! I was quite touched!"

Janet

Bay City, TX

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Took the tour as a way to go to Russia. Was extremely relieved to leave the tour and head to Moscow on our own. The guide was wonderful. The other travelers were nice company, the hotels were fantastic (!) The food was awful. The tour served its purpose, I wouldn't go on another one, unless it was to China. When the tour ended and we went to Moscow I nearly cried when I entered our hotel room. Our usual level of RS hotel, it was a shock after the luxury hotels on the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sadly it was "wow" fish again for dinner? Really? Otherwise it was the wonderful hotel staff in St Petersburg. They were awesome. And the people on the tour, they were nice people. Everyone enjoyed each other's company. Many of them were were quite well traveled - they were impressive."

Petie

Chico, CA

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fifth Rick Steves trip and it seemed even busier than others. Our guide knew so much and made the trip so enjoyable. Local guide Peter was excellent in St. P. Enjoyed all the art, architecture and seeing differences between Estonia who is moving ahead after Communism and St. P, still with it. Appreciated history information. Hotels were very good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage in St. Petersberg and finding out we all were registered there with the police."

James

Matthews, NC

Tour: 07/08/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My wife and I have been on two previous tours which were excellent. This tour was also excellent and we look forward to taking some additional tours in the future.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The three cities that were visited on this tour were very different but very interesting. St. Petersburg has to be one of the "wow" moments of the tour with all of its gold, it's art collection in the Hermitage, and Catherine's Palace."

Nancy

Danville, CA

Tour: 06/28/13

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was totally amazing. She took wonderful care of all of us, especially in the heads up areas of ST. Petersburg, and gave us excellent advice and suggestions for our free time, etc. She arranged for special activities during our free time and was always cheerful, energetic, and charming. The family run hotels were excellent, connections on the Ferry and train fantastic, and meals were wonderful. I already miss our guide and group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We especially loved the "back door tour" of St. Petersburg given my a local Russian young man. Can't say enough about Eszter!!"

Weather

Estonia / Tallinn

Estonia Weather


Finland / Helsinki

Finland Weather


Russia / St. Petersburg

Russia Weather

Pre-Tour

We've put together some specific information on what you should know about this tour before you go at our St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Hesinki FAQ. You'll also find more general information about "Getting Ready for Your Tour" on our Tour FAQ.

Sightseeing On Your Own

If you arrive in Tallinn before your tour begins, use your Rick Steves' guidebook to get oriented. Ride the public transportation, try out a few words of Estonian (although many locals speak some English), and get over your jet lag with fresh air and exercise.

Remember that Tallinn is a small city and we will be covering a lot of the sights during our walking tour on Day 2 of the tour. Here are suggestions for sightseeing in Tallinn that we will not be doing as a group (see your guidebook for details): Tallinn City Museum, Estonian History Museum, Kumu Art Museum, Estonian Open-Air Museum.

Transportation

Most tour members arrive a day or two before the tour begins — and those who don't, wish they had. This allows you ample time to get over jet lag and make the most of the first few days of the tour.

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. We recommend talking to your travel agent about "open jaw" airline tickets (flying into and out of different cities). It's easiest to fly into Tallinn and out of St. Petersburg.

Another option (and sometimes less expensive) is to fly roundtrip into Helsinki or Tallinn. However, this option will require an additional overnight stay. If you decide to fly roundtrip to Helsinki, you can then take the two-hour ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn to start the tour. For ferry information please see the Tallink website. To return to Helsinki from St. Petersburg after the tour, you can take the train from St. Petersburg back to Helsinki.

If you fly roundtrip to Tallinn, you can take a bus from St. Petersburg to Tallinn after the tour. The bus takes up to six hours and you can buy tickets online at www.luxexpress.eu/en.

Prior to your tour departure, you will receive detailed directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as contact information for your first and last hotels in case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations.

If you need more information about additional European travel or for specific questions about your tour, contact the Tour Department at 425/608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Trip Resources

Learn more about St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Helsinki: Check out a collection of Rick's TV shows, radio interviews and articles, plus find a list of recommended books and movies.

Packing

While it is important to pack light, there is one item we'd like you to consider including when packing for this tour. In the spring or summer, you may find that the longer days affect your sleep. You may want to pack an eye shade to help with getting the darkness you need for a good night's sleep.

For ideas on what to pack, check Rick's Packing List and our Women's Packing List.