• 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!

Dates & Prices

Sorry, we're unable to access departure availability at this time. Please try again later or contact us at 425-608-4217, Monday-Saturday between 9 am and 5 pm.

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

Elizabeth

Friday Harbor, WA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We had a good and smaller than usual group which was a big plus. There was lots of history and culture which we enjoyed. It was wonderful being exposed to these new (for us) countries. Since it was our third RS Tour, we knew not to expect the slightly romanticized view of travel that I think Rick presents. I'm not sure he appreciates how hard flying coach is, esp for we who are older then he is! I do agree with him that we get a lot of value for the price of the tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first one was approaching the Tallinn airport and looking out at the gorgeous countryside."

Barbara

Denver, CO

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour was excellent, well-paced, and just-plain fun! Eszter did an outstanding job of leading and educating us, always with a sense of humor; she was well prepared at every point and anticipated our needs. The local guides were also informative, kept us moving along when we lingered too long, and added greatly to our understanding. My husband and I asked lots of questions and they responded with thoughtful answers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The biggest WOW was being in Russia and experiencing St. Petersburg - The Hermitage, Catherine's Palace, Peterhof, Kazan and St. Isaac's Churches, Peter and Paul Fortress, the Ballet at the Hermitage - they all combined to make a long-lasting memory that we'll treasure. SPB offers a wealth of rich experiences and four nights barely gives you enough time to savor them."

Mary

Pompano Beach, FL

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great trip, fabulous guide and fantastic group!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"While we certainly enjoyed Tallin and Helsinki, St. Petersburg was a unique experience.It's hard to pick just one moment...the Church of the Spilled Blood, The Hermitage, Peterhof, the ballet and discovering the city was a thrill"

Charles

Tumwater, WA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was a wonderful experience. Every day held experiences that were interesting, visually stimulating, and memorable. The three countries visited were very different from each other makig the tour a constantly changing kaleidoscope of history, architecture, and people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When the whole tour is a "wow" moment, it is difficult to choose just one moment. The Hermitage in St Petersburg has to be one of my favorite places on the tour. The history and beauty of the building, its location on the Neva River, and the fabulous art it holds makes it my most memorable moment."

Betty

Hood River, OR

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

There were many highlights and cherished moments for me on this much-anticipated trip: the contrast of the Old Town of Tallinn with Helsinki, the open air markets, the city walks, all the churches (Lutheran and Orthodox), the beautiful parks and the grand palaces. And such beautiful weather we enjoyed! Most memorable was touring the Hermitage and seeing paintings I've only seen in books, particularly the Rembrandt's and with only our tour group in the room!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was more than a sightseeing trip. The unexpected "wow" was the impact of seeing these three cities through the multi-dimensional lens of their unsettled historical backgrounds colored by the issues and events of today, and considering the prospect of their uncertain future. Eszter ably prepared us and each of the local guides added a vital facet to this powerful perspective. Our particularly interesting group continued the discussions and we shared long lists of books to read this winter."

Leandro

Kennewick, WA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

First Rick Steve's tour I have taken. I agree with Rick's disclaimer that his tours are not for everyone. The "guided" tour parts hit the expected highlights of each city and the local guides were well chosen. You do have to put some effort into research to take advantage of the "YourTime" parts of the tour. Rick's books helped out a lot with this. I feel I was able to get the most out of the vacation since I was doing what I wanted and not tied to a rigid cookie cutter tour schedule.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Watching Russian ballet of Swan Lake in the intimate setting of the Hermitage Theater in the Winter Palace of St Petersburg. The ambiance of sitting in the personal theater of Catherine the Great and watching perfection is hard to beat. I now realize why the Russians are considered the best. Eszter was able to get us tickets for a sold out show on short notice."

Peter

Florence, MA

Tour: 09/15/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eszter was fantastic! She was the key to making this our best RS trip ever. She harnessed our group energy, curiosity, and love of learning in every country. The guides at each location were very knowledgeable. Their various perceptions on current events were also insightful and stimulating.

Gale

Mequon, WI

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Etelka was a wonderful leader. She was very knowledgable, enthusiastic and a great group leader. I had a fabulous time. The group was made up of an interesting mix of people who were so much fun to travel with. We seemed to care about each other and genuinely enjoyed each other's company. Thanks!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am a quilter and have spent hours cutting up fabric and piecing it back together for beauty's sake.The Church built on Spilled Blood was absolutely breathtaking! The entire interior was covered with the most beautiful and colorful mosaic's. The little ceramic pieces they used to create their giant masterpieces was incredible!"

Elizabeth

Belgium, WI

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Etelka was a great guide. Lots of fun, but also well organized and kept our group on track. Our fellow travelers were also great. Easy to know and mix with. Hotels very nice--especially the one in St. Petersburg. Our city guides were also very good. However, in Helsinki with traffic noise (and even a marching band) it was very difficult to hear our guide. Ear phones were really needed! Thanks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our Guide In St. Petersburg who shared her opinions on changes in Russia and the impact on its population. And of Course the Hermitage, and other churches & palaces we visited in St. Petersburg. And Tallinn was beautiful. Loved our inexpensive evening concert in the old Town Hall."

Christine

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a dream fulfilled in going to Russia. Every bit of our trip was wonderful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing what a beautiful city St. Petersburg is."

Dennis

Gilbert, AZ

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was quite enjoyable and informative. It was hampered a bit by rain. The tour guide did a great job and we had a number of outstanding local guides for detailed explanations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Russian Orthodox basilicas in St Petersburg were awe inspiring."

Phillip

Issaquah, WA

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Tallinn/Helsinki/St. Petersburg tour was the perfect supplement to our Best of Scandinavia tour as it enabled us to cover the full geographic area and sphere of cultural influences. Tallinn was an unanticipatedly interesting city with its long history. Having previously been to Helsinki in 1992 and 2006 on business, we were reminded of its beauty and vibrancy as a newer European capital. St. Petersburg was exquisite as expected and well worth the hassle and expense to get Russian visas.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tie between Hermitage art in St. Petersburg, Amber Room in Catherine's Palace in Pushkin, and Klaveritrio Amael chamber music concert in Tallinn Town Hall."

Bonnie

Nashville, TN

Tour: 08/25/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

pre-trip preparation and tips from travel company excellent, well planned itinerery and great places to stay, eat. Loved our guide Etellka and a very compatible group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"probably the Hermitage, but there were many."

Gayle

Caledonia, MI

Tour: 08/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Three different Russian guides in St. Petersburg, all outstanding in their fields but very different in their feelings about Moscow. A new understanding about the difficulty of "free press"."

Theresa

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 08/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Three countries and cultures is a lot to absorb in 9 days, but Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg have much in common. It was fascinating to follow the cultural and historical threads from country to country. The three languages are another story, however ...

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1. People Our group was so compatible and gelled very quickly into a traveling "family". We all looked after each other and showed true consideration for each other. 2. Places Tallinn's Old Town was delightful with photo ops around every corner. The food was a surprise to me - I didn't know what to expect but all the meals were wonderful. 3. Things The Armory in the Kremlin holds amazing artifacts from Russia's imperial past, like the Diamond Throne. Wow!"

Kenneth

Painesville, OH

Tour: 08/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second tour so I was able to gauge the quality from one tour to the other. My expectations were met and exceeded on every level. The accommodations were consistent with RS policy, being small, friendly and in the center of our activities. In every case the hotel staffs were friendly and helpful. Transportation was consistently clean, modern and comfortable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments for me but one outstanding moment was the choral performance in Helsinki at the Lutheran Cathedral. A large number of individual choirs sang together outside, on the steps, in front of the White Church. Finlandia by Sibelius has always been a favorite of mine but I got chills hearing it performed in that venue and by so many beautiful voices. It was an unexpected addition to an impressive tour."

Linda

Marion, KY

Tour: 08/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was excellent! Just the right amount of guidance and time on your own. Guides were all well informed and easy to understand. Our primary guide was extremely knowledgeable and personable. She made the tour fun, interesting and educational. Others on the tour were all good travelers and enjoyable companions. Although I generally prefer to travel on my own, I could not have been more pleased with the Rick Steves' experience. I will definitely consider another Rick Steves' tour!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Catherine's palace and grounds in St. Petersburg was most surprising to me. I did not expect it to be that spectacular and so well restored."

Dee

Cottage Grove, WI

Tour: 08/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

All was well organized and ran on time just as expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I never really expected to visit Russia but there I was, actually in The Hermitage seeing all this stuff!"

Michael

Petaluma, CA

Tour: 08/11/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We've taken 13 RS tours. This tour gave a great overview of Estonia which had never been on my travel radar and a wonderful introduction to Russia in St. Petersburg. The city of Tallinn has a very walkable old town and our hotel was well located just inside the city walls. St. Petersburg was over-the-top opulence from the Czars with a Venice-like feel because of the canals. It's a city you could easily spend a week exploring.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My WOW moment was the political discussion I had with one of our local St. Petersburg guides. It drove home the fact that you are very much a product of your experiences and the news you are fed. He was well educated, but his views of the West and especially the situation in the Ukraine were very different from what we see in our news. In the end we agreed to disagree but it was really eye opening to meet someone whose "facts" were so different from mine."

Darlene

Baton Rouge, LA

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my second tour and it was very well organized. All hotels were quite good and I appreciated the air-conditioning as it was 90 degrees in St. P. one day. Etelka did a fantastic job and was always available to answer questions. She is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge about traveling and I really enjoyed being with her. The ferry ride to Helskini was fun and I enjoyed the train ride to St. P. All local guides were very knowledgable and also gave good restaurant suggestions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think seeing the Church on Spilled Blood in St. P. I really wanted to see the burial place of Nicholas II and his family since I had read a lot about them and I am so glad that I was able to see their final, dignified resting place. The word "[INVALID]d" was used instead of "died" on the tombstone - this spoke volumes about how the Russians have come to view this chapter in their history."

Maxwell

Atherton, CA

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enjoyed the tour a lot. Very knowledgeable guides, interesting places to visit. Only negative comment is that Helsinki is not up to the other places. We could have gone elsewhere or cut the time in Helsinki considerably.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Initially, St. Petersburg was not very appealing, largely because of the 85+ degree weather. But as it cooled down a bit, we warmed up to St. Petersburg. The Church of Spilled Blood and the Russian Museum were our favorites."

Dawn

Seattle, WA

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steve's tour and once again we had a wonderful time. My husband picked this destination. It was not my first choice, but I am so glad that I had a chance to visit this beautiful destination. We saw amazing places and art and met wonderful people. The weather was much warmer than I expected. We had beautiful warm days our entire trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is very difficult to choose one "wow" moment, but I really enjoyed Tallinn. The Old Town was so charming."

Greg

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great guides and cities and enjoyable travel companions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being in Russia."

Anne

Brookline, MA

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Never been on a tour before, never wanted to. This one was a revelation: our main guide was marvelous and fun, the local guides offered perspectives I would never have found on my own. Tour members were all pleasant, the group worked well. Once there, I saw how clever the concept was: Tallinn old, Helsinki newer than St. P, both brought under Russia as satellites for St P. Trying to grasp the impact of Russia on Estonia and Finland was fascinating. Then St. Petersburg, the climax.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose, but I have to say arriving in the bus from the train at the bridge over the Neva, seeing the wide expanse of the river, the formal but colorful façades of the buildings lining it on the other side, I was astounded. I've always wanted to see St Petersburg, but I had no idea it would be so beautiful. Then to walk along the Moyka near our hotel, the same effect on a small scale--ravishing."

Lawrence

San Jose, CA

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

WOW! The trip was great. Our tour guides (Etelka and George) were wonderful, helpful, knowledgeable, and more. Everything went very well and we had a great time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tallinn was very exciting because of the old world charm. St. Petersburg was just amazing and was a wonderful way to get to learn more about Russia."

Daniel

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 07/21/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tour began in Tallinn, Estonia - a charming medieval city. The people are friendly and the food was excellent. After 2 days we headed to Helsinki, Finland, by ferry. Helsinki is spotless. The people are the friendliest I have encountered. Meals were excellent. Lastly we took train to St. Petersburg. WOW. Incredible city with a rich incredible history. Thank you to Adelka (sp), George and our many local guides for making this trip an unforgettable experience. I HIGHLY recommend!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. I was awed by it's size."

Barbara

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 07/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. We had a great time, saw a lot, and learned a lot. There was a great balance of "tour" and free time. LOTS of walking, but this encourages folks to take more tours sooner rather than later!! Local guides were excellent and fellow travelers congenial. We expect to take another tour with Rick Steves.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed our "back door" tour in St. Petersburg with Peter. After having a little time to experience and absorb the city, it was fascinating to have the perspective of a long-time resident who gave insights into ordinary folk over the past 30 years. This helped me bridge the gap between growing up in the Cold War 50s and contemporary Russia. (BEFORE Rick Steves tour, we had attended the Estonian Song and Dance Festival with Estonian friends, which was a really unbeatable WOW moment)."

Bill

Washougal, WA

Tour: 07/07/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Dry weather, an excellent guide, interesting activities, good hotels and restaurants, and pleasant fellow tour participants made our first group tour a great experience. There was adequate free time on this itinerary, and Eszter offered plenty of good suggestions to occupy it. Time at some sites (St. Petersburg's Peter & Paul Fortress and Tallinn's Kadriorg Park) was limited, and we would have preferred to have an additional day in both Helsinki and Tallinn, but we hit most of the highlights.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were several "wow" moments for us in St. Petersburg: entering the Church on Spilled Blood to view its incredible mosaics; seeing the memorials, exhibits and sobering film illustrating the siege of Leningrad at the Siege Monument; filing past countless art masterpieces in the Winter Palace; and learning the gift-giving extravagances of the Russian nobility at the Shuvalov Palace (an optional site Eszter recommended)."

Paul

Raleigh, NC

Tour: 07/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very good introduction to the 3 cities. Fast paced but well done. The local guides were excellent. Eszter did a very good job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hearing the local guide Peter on the last day present his intimate portrayal of the culture and society in Russia."

Patricia

Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Tour: 07/07/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the entire trip was outstanding. wouldn't change a thing!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"the ballet at the marinksky theater in St Petersburg"

Ruth

Fayetteville, PA

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th Rick Steves tour, and like the others it was great. We didn't want to go to Russia on our own, but now I feel that we could travel there independently. Eszer was a wonderful guide. She was very patient with all of our questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was amazed at Catherine's Place and Christ the Savior on Spilled Blood. All of St. Petersburg is very interesting. I enjoyed The Hermitage even though it was very crowded. Our boat trip on the last evening topped it all off."

Madeleine

Dallas, TX

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our personal goal was St. Petersburg, but Tallinn Estonia was charming a great kickoff to the tour. Our group fell into easy rhythms of conversation and shared pleasures in the discoveries we made each day. A good balance of guided touring vs. free time. All the hotel stops were conveniently located with very friendly staff, and the restaurants for shared dinners were all great. We couldn't have asked for a better leader than Eszter, and the local guides were highly informative. Super!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting next to a 50-ish Korean gentleman during a folk music show in St. Petersburg. I asked him if he'd learned his English in school, and he said he'd learned by listening to American popular music. He is a DJ in Seoul, going by the name Kim Pop. We spent 10 plus minutes comparing artists and music we liked, he was always able to quote a lyric or name a band member. We both agreed that music can bring the world together and politicians should be made to attend pop music concerts regularly."

Darby

Salisbury, MD

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide, Eszter was outstanding. The hotels were all comfortable and in convenient locations. It was our first Rick Steves tour and we would do another one.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg was a beautiful city. Staying so close to the Winter Palace and the Church on Spilled Blood and walking along the canals was an unforgettable experience. We also got to see a ballet at the old Mariinski theater that was amazing."

Steven

Sun Prairie, WI

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The guide was super and the locations I saw were memorable. The hotels were fineand the food great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"You know this is a hard one because I thought everything was great. I think my favorite part of the tour was that the group was small and we all got along so very well. I couldn't have asked for better tour mates."

Ricardo

Maitland, FL

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The frescos inside the Church of Spilled Blood in St Pete."

Veronica

Prague,

Tour: 06/27/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was well organized and went smoothly. I know from previous experience that once the tour starts, I don't have to worry about details but can just enjoy and soak it all in, and such was the case with this tour as well. Local guides were excellent and Eszter was exceptional! She is personable, knowledgeable and was attuned to the "pulse" of the group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The opulence of Summer Palace in St. Petersburg... AND...by some alignment of the cosmos, the throne room was completely empty when we arrived. It was an incredible sight. Interestingly, I was unimpressed upon arrival in St. Petersburg- crowded, traffic congested, all the pre-warnings of pick pockets colored by impressions. As we explored the city, I came to really appreciate its beauty and history."

Donald

Puyallup, WA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded my expectations. This was a well organized tour with just the right amount of structured vs. free time. The guides were all top notch who went out of their way to give us the required information.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg"

Thomas

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was fanastic; from the sign-up process, advanced tour information, suggestions on visa processing, the destinations, tour guide, hotels, and included dinners. We just love Rick Staves tours and while we enjoy travelling indepentdently, using RS books when they cover the areas where we are travelling, we enjoy taking a RS tour within our independent touring. This tour was no exception. We enjoyed all of the cities we visitied with our small, friendly group.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Lots of wow's but rolling into St Petersburg on the buss from the train station and stoping in front of the Church on Spilled Blood and going inside. All that gold gleaming in the sun I knew we were in for a stunning time in St Petersburg."

Mary

Jefferson City, MO

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Small group who got along very well.Eszter was amazing and mostly very patient at, as someone I said I think, herding us cats.Saw/experienced a lot in really a short time. Good mix of tour/free times. Very well organized.Would've liked to spent more than 5 minutes in couple of churches/ less time at russian monument where it was all in Russian. Guides were incredibly knowledgable most local tours were excellent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All in St Petersburg: marveling at the glory of St Isaacs Cathedral, the incredible Amber room in Catherine's Palace, the Russian singers performing in Hermitage and on my own- the ballet Sylvia at Marinski Theater"

Patricia

University Heights, OH

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

good value. well organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hermitage tour. visit to church of spilled blood."

Kathryn

Columbus, OH

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My husband and I have used Rick Steves guide books for our European travels for 13 years; very successfully, I might add. This was our first tour and needless to say, I was curious if I would feel out-of-sync with the pace of the group plans and yearning for my own time to explore. I am happy to report that the tour exceeded my expectations and made me realize the value of having great guides at each location, and Eszter in particular. I was thankful the trip was "on" with 13 people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment came each time I saw the hotels in all 3 cities and realized that location and comfort were ideal in each city. As I woke up each morning, well rested and well fed, I couldn't wait for the day's plans to unfold (even in the rain and cold). I eagerly anticipated what we were going to do in our free time too because we were so conveniently located to what we wanted to visit or revisit. I felt that I had the best of both worlds available to me."

Kimberly

Cypress, TX

Tour: 06/16/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour experience was great! This was my 4th Rick Steve's tour and as usual, found this to be another exceptional tour. We were a small group of 13 and traveled well together. I thought Eszter did a terrific job of tending to our needs!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I would say all of St. Petersburg was a WOW! This was the reason I wanted to do this tour since I wasn't comfortable going into Russia on my own. The first wow was just getting my passport stamped on the train by the Russian officials, knowing I finally made it into Russia! The Church of Spilled Blood, the Hermitage, seeing Swan Lake at the Hermitage Theater were all WOW moments! Hard to pick just one!"

Barbara

Oakland, CA

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Great guide, great hotels. Like the overall pace with tours in the AM and most afternoons free. Most of the city guides were good. The group was terrific .

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Church of the Spilled Blood. It is overpowering, but I wish we could have seen it at a less crowded time if there is one. Second for me was the evening boat ride in St P. wonderful to see it all spread out with a gorgeous. Sky."

Victor

Oakland, CA

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well organized, with good choices of well located hotels, pleasant and knowledgeable local tour guides, presenting their information in an understandable English.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hermitage in St Petersburg, very crowded, and being well led through these masses and explaining what we were seeing via a comprehensive audio system."

Karen

Des Moines, WA

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Wonderful tour, jam packed with history, art, culture and enough free time to explore places individually. Well balanced. Informed local tour guides, with the exception of our guide for Helsinki who was not particularly helpful or interesting. All the others were delights. And our overall tour guide, Eszter was terrific in making options available and giving us ideas for other things to do.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage was my favorite "wow" as I have wanted to see it for many years. It lived up to its reputation!"

Judi

Mount Pleasant, SC

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eszter is fantastic. [INVALID]ed great restaurants, helped us with tickets, gave us a variety of items to choose from for free time activities. As usual for a R Steeves tour the group was full of interesting, on time, non complaining travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage was simply breathtaking as were the mosaics in the Church of the Spilled Blood."

Carl

Mill Valley, CA

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eszther as a tour leader was just terrific. Tallinn was very interesting as was Helsinki; the hotels were excellent. St. Petersburg, while somewhat over-whelming was also very, very good. Our hotel was very good, too. Eszther was also excellent in guiding us through the ins and outs. The sub-guides we had were also excellent. Peter was just terrific. Out group melded very well, so we are happy campers. Thank you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg; church of the split blood; Wow."

Marc

Des Moines, WA

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eszter was fantastic! She was really a wonderful guide and you couldn't have asked for a more helpful, friendly and genuine person to lead our group. The tour was well-paced with ample time for individual activities. Having only ever been an independent traveler, I was a little skeptical of a company-arranged tour. However, this was a fantastic experience and I think we were able to get the most out of each city in a short amount of time thanks to the program. Hats off to everyone involved!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is hard to pick a favorite city or place, but I guess I really did love that boat tour at the end of our stay in St. Petersburg. It was not only a good way to see the city, but a sweet end to our stay. I loved the Hermitage, and I loved our tour of Tallinn."

Marina

Washington, DC

Tour: 06/06/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The experience was great, the cities were very interesting and the tour went really smoothly. I loved the hotels and our tour guide was fabulous! Also, the group was the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favourite "wow" moment was seeing the Church on the Spilled Blood, so beautiful, and the Hermitage in St Petersburg, especially one of my favourite paintings ever, "The return of the Prodigal Son", it brought tears to my eyes."

Kathleen

Dayton, OH

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Etelka 's expertise in the Russian language and her exuberant personality made this a great trip. She smoothed our entrance into Russia at the intimidating border crossing. She recommended restaurants and optional activities for us. A highlight was traveling the St. Petersburg subway system with her instructions. And her flexibility was admirable as some people in our group preferred to have solo experiences. She kept us on track and on time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was the optional KGB Museum in Tallinn . Getting to see the equipment left behind by the KGB at the hotel Viru as the Soviet Union was unravelling and hearing the stories of the KGB's spying on the hotel guests was a highlight. We had 3 local guides in St Petersburg. Another wow moment was the realization that their views on currents events are very different from ours. They all felt strongly that the Crimea should belong to Russia. One felt that the Ukraine should, too."

Robert

Boise, ID

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was easly one of the best trips of our life and we have traveled the world extensively... most on our own. Our first Rick Steves Tour was to Turkey a couple of years ago. That trip was far to over organized and exhausting, though still a great trip. This trip was incredible: new and interesting places, great, and I mean great local guides, and lots of "afternoons and eveings on your own". And some late morning starts. We love to have a casual time.. with time to explore on or own. Our group

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The local tour guides: in Tallin, and St Petersburg: Olga, Peter and the Jana in TAllin...just incredible..the big WOW was St Petersburg.. a great sprawling incredible city..with rivers and canals and old, gorgous buildings.. the best moment: riding the Subway.. and finding our way back to the hotel..."

Charles

Kent, WA

Tour: 05/26/14

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well organized. Guide was great! She set clear expectations for the tour and the day. She threw in a few extras which enhanced the experience. Local guides were excellent, particularly in St. Petersburg. The guide in Helsinki not so good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Can't say I had a wow moment. St Petersburg and the Church of the Split Blood were certainly highlights."

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.