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

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

from $3,195 per person + air

Single Supplement $575

See Dates & Prices

Discover a formerly forbidden corner of Europe, where a blend of east and west has created a region unlike any other. On this tour, 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

To request advance notification of when a tour will be available for booking, please select ‘Notify Me’ next to the departure date and join the list. We'll send the notification email when a tour opens within a season (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region.


2021

    • May 24–Jun 1 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

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    • Jun 28–Jul 6 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

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    • Jul 12–Jul 20 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

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    • Aug 30–Sep 7 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

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    • Sep 13–Sep 21 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

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What's Included

  • A small, friendly group of 24 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 22 group sightseeing events • Tallinn walking tour • Russian Orthodox Cathedral • Museum of Occupation • Kadriorg Park • Rusalka Monument • Song Festival stage • Helsinki panoramic bus tour • "Church in the Rock" (Temppeliaukio Church) • Sibelius Monument • Seurasaari Open-Air Folk Museum • Helsinki walking tour • Suomenlinna Fortress • Lutheran Cathedral • St. Petersburg panoramic bus tour • Peter and Paul Cathedral • Church on Spilled Blood • Hermitage Museum • Peterhof Palace and gardens • Siege Museum • 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
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2021
  • 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 your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks, free-time sightseeing, and your Russian tourist visa, which is required to enter Russia. Please review our St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki FAQ page for complete details.

Group sightseeing events subject to change.

Itinerary

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.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. No bus. Sleep in Tallinn.

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.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in Tallinn.

Day 3: Over the Baltic Sea

This morning we'll take a bus outside Tallinn's walls to Peter the Great's ornate Kadriorg 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 enjoy a panoramic bus tour of the city, including a visit to 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.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Boat: 2 hours. Bus: 3 hours. Sleep in Helsinki.

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 Cathedral, the seriously Art Nouveau train station, and the pedestrian-friendly Esplanade. We'll end the tour with an excursion out to the islands where Suomenlinna Fortress guards the city. The rest of your day is free to explore more of the city. 

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. Boat: ½ hour. No bus. Sleep in Helsinki.

Day 5: All Aboard to Russia

This morning we'll catch the train to St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia, and enjoy lunch together on board before arriving in the early afternoon. We'll transfer to our bus for a rolling tour of St. Petersburg's bridge-and-canal-laced city center, stopping 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 dinner together.

Light walking: 2–4 miles throughout the day on mostly level terrain. Train: 4 hours. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in St. Petersburg.

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 four-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 catch some Russian ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre.

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in St. Petersburg.

Day 7: Peterhof Palace and WWII Leningrad

Today we'll venture out of town, where we'll tour Peterhof Palace and its stunning fountains and gardens. 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 endured a 900-day Nazi blockade from 1941–1944.

Moderate walking: 2–6 miles throughout the day with some hills and stairs. Bus: 2 hours. Sleep in St. Petersburg.

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 sample dishes from the Republic of Georgia as we share travel memories and toast new friends. Nastrovia! 

Strenuous walking: 2–8 miles throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain. No bus. Sleep in St. Petersburg.

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. St. Petersburg's airport is easy to reach by taxi, 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.) Dostveydanya!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

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 (possibly several blocks) 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 four 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

William

Innisfail, AB

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This is a well designed and delivered tour of three cities (Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg). I enjoyed the uniqueness: Tallinn medieval, Helsinki modern, St. Petersburg historic. Such a wonderful contrast! The transportation features of the ferry ride from Tallinn to Helsinki and then the train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg was a bonus. I appreciated that the time is well balance between a critical orientation tour by a local guide and "free time" with recommended options described.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments it is hard to choose.The Hermitage and the Seige Monument in St Petersburg were outstanding. The new library in Helsinki was fantastic! The quaint town square of Tallinn created a very pleasant and relaxing experience. Overall, lasting impressions: 1. The two powerful stories of the Nazi holocaust and the Soviet oppression on these central European countries will stay with me forever! 2. How despite their history these countries have survived and are thriving."

Andrea

Venice, FL

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip visited 3 amazing European cities which are closely linked in history but uniquely different. Our knowledgeable tour guides helped bring that history to light (their struggles and successes), as well as the culture and cuisine. It was a fabulous experience and I appreciate all the help navigating the cities, their sights, and the foreign languages.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking into St. Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, my jaw literally dropped as I was overwhelmed by its beautiful architecture."

Eleanor

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous! Wonderful! Awe Inspiring! Etalka was a breath of fresh air and a wonderful guide as we maneuvered through 3 countries. She made the adventure fun, interesting and we were able to get so much more out of our trip because she did all of the arranging and the "attention to detail" so we did not have to.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"See the amber room at Catherine's Palace in St. Petersburg tops the list of MANY wow moments. Rick Steve's Tours are always filled with many WOW moments."

Frederick

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Atelka wasn't out standing! Tour was good but crowds were a bit too much. If crowds continue like they were in September and October I will have to re-evaluate my travel plans for the future. Would have liked more free time in Helsinki. No interaction with any locals on this trip, is that going to be a new policy? Group dinner in Helsinki was so-so, the wine that was served, I tried both the red and white, was awful. Picked up a respiratory virus, so St. Petersburg was a bit of a wash out for me

Favorite "WOW" moment

"New Helsinki library, seeing the future."

Helen

Pacific Grove, CA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Atelka was a great guide. Very warm and personable. The local guides were also good. Accommodations were very nice, especially enjoyed lodgings in St. Petersburg. A number of us got a respiratory virus of some kind in Helsinki. Luckily I was not too sick to soldier on. I did not care for our group dinner in Helsinki. I'm sure there is another better choice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg surprised me with its beauty but I also really liked Helsinki and woul enjoy more time there."

Jason

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves' trip, in addition to it being my first trip off of the North America continent. My wife has been long familiar with the Rick Steves' travel guidebooks, and she's participated in at least 3 guided tours, so I benefitted from her sharing her wisdom about how I could prepare for the trip, and what to expect, in some ways. Therefore, how the tour was conducted rather met most of my expectations. In short, it was a very positive experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's difficult to narrow this down to a single "wow," since it was my first excursion beyond North America. While intellectually I understand that people are people, it was great to experience it first hand...that "those people" are just like "we people," they are usually good natured, they just happen to speak a different language and are subject to different community rules and expectations."

Barbara

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Well directed, excellently organized, pleasantly articulated!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Spectacular St, Petersburg! Romantic Estonia! Cordial Helsinki!"

Peggy

Reston, VA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Weather bad in St. Petersburg, and many of our group became very sick. The tour was good but not to the standard of the Eastern Europe tour I did a few years back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I really enjoyed Tallinn and walking in the steps of the scars."

Nora

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent itinerary, good group. We had one woman with a walker but she either closely kept up or eliminated some activities. Half our members got sick with bronchitis: very good instead of outstanding rating. There wasn't as much interaction between people and we sick ones were unable to do walking in inclement weather. There were 11 people sick and not" slightly". I don't know if a local doctor could have been available. We made use of the pharmacy but the MEDS given were ineffective.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tallinn was having a performance event all along their wall the day we arrived...we attended many performances and raved about the local people's considerate help in finding same."

Brian

Venice, FL

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our fourth RS Tour, so our expectations were high. We were not disappointed. Our guide, Etelka, went above and beyond to make this a memorable experience, even adjusting the schedule to compensate for weather issues and the crowd situations created by large cruise ships in the area. We wanted to learn about the complex history of Estonia, Finland and Russia, and the local guides did a great job of presenting that information in clear and concise ways.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to understand the complex history of these countries by learning from the expert local guides and our RS tour guide, Etelka."

Jacqueline

Tyler, TX

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Atalka from Hungary was wonderful. I had special dietary needs and she made sure all the meals that I received were proper and met my medical needs. She treated us with kindness and respect.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg Russia. I would like to see a tour of only St. Petersburg for 9-20 dayse"

Irwin

Somerville, MA

Tour: 09/09/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Great tour leader! The group itself was larger than our previous tour, and that made a big difference, especially in a city like St. Petersburg. It meant our trip to the Hermitage was cumbersome, Need to plan around the thousands of cruise ship travellers. The September timeframe is a poor time to travel in that part of the world--it was often rainy and cold. While weather is random, Sept in those parts is not. People got sick.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of St. Petersburg, in spite of group size, illness, terrible weather, hordes from cruise boats."

Theresa

Tonasket, WA

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

I thought some of the day tours were too rushed. It felt like we glossed over sights and did not have time to see anything in detail. In Estonia and Helsinki, there was no time to return to sights since we had little time in both places. I did like having so many meals with prearranged menu. Breaks were too few and too short.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Square in front of Hermitage"

Charles

Silverton, OR

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our initial meet and greet went very well with George providing an excellent introduction and start to the tour that continued to get better as our group bonded well. Travel, accommodations and tours were excellent. St Petersburg is impressive as well as beautiful. Tour of the Hermitage and other sites are well worth the visit. I would recommend this tour to anyone. Planning our next Rick Steves' trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"In Tallinn I got a real appreciation as to how bad it was behind the Iron Curtain. A history of being conquered and controlled by other countries, divided up by Germany and Russia, caught in the middle of WWII, slaves under the USSR with their lives completely turned upside down. I am so impressed with the tremendous strides Estonia has made since their independence."

Natalie

Kent, WA

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first RS tour. Obviously had my own "preconceptions" but truly appreciated the varied worldview from group travel as well as the the different guides. Influence has many dimensions through service, humility and smiles. What a gift to interact and listen to folks sharing what they believe, think and mean. It is into this realm of words and ideas and beliefs behind them, that I fondly recall from the trip. I don't mind my words being shared, but don't want my last name used.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Isn't "one", but a series of experiences throughout. Exploring the charming cobblestoned quaint passages in Tallin watching uniformed children carrying fresh flowers to their teachers on the first day of school, a moment of solitude in the Kamppi chapel in a busy city center, marveling at the seemingly endless possibilities of the Oodi library, sighing over the works of Rembrandt in the Hermitage, throat lump at the Siege, tasty dinners, I am being cut off due to character limitations"

Kathleen

Wake Forest, NC

Tour: 09/02/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved this tour more than I expected! Tallin was a great surprise! Would have liked another day in Helsinki!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The palaces and churches in St Petersburg were unbelievable! Can't be captioned in pictures! Must see for yourself!!!!"

Julie

Decatur, GA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My 2nd RS tour, another fantastic experience...everything I hoped for and MORE. I booked after hearing the Test Drive a Tour Guide talk by Georg at the Jan 2019 Reunion. Our guide, Etelka, is an absolute gem (more details elsewhere in eval). Itinerary was well thought out, building progressively from historic Tallinn to modern Helsinki to amazing St Petersburg. What a delight to have 4 nights in St P (and no 1-night stays anywhere). Bus time is minimal, just for day trips. Friendly tour mates!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tallin - singing together on the Song Festival grounds and marveling at the courage of ordinary Estonians during the singing revolution Helsinki - Oodi Public Library (jealous!), Kamppi Chapel of Silence St P - Having my preconceptions about Russia shattered by the warmth, welcome, openness, and optimism of the people with whom we interacted."

Deborah

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good trip. We were well cared for.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being inside the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Tallinn during a funeral and later during a church service. The Hermitage. The library in Helsinki."

Dana

La Conner, WA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Totally great. Far exceeded expectations. RS Tours is so thorough in its creation of the tours. So many delights surprised me! And my fellow travelers were exceptional people all.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the library in Helsinki was my biggest single "WOW". My understanding was that a tour of the library itself was not intended to be part of the day's tour but Etelka put it there for us when a couple of my fellow travelers asked for the time to explore it right then and there. Etelka and the local guide immediately accommodated that request and I think we were all "wowed" by what we saw. I think the library should be part of future Helsinki tours."

Donna

Delaware, OH

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick's books have helped us get through Europe many times on our own. We finally decided to take a Rick Steves tour and we were so pleased with our knowledgeable and exuberant guide, the accommodations, the schedule, and how our group really "jelled."

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Simply being in Russia. Growing up in the 60's I never thought that I'd ever be there."

John

Rockford, IL

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour. Good pace. Greatly enjoyed Etalka our leader and companionship of the other tour guests. . Dinners were reflective of ethnic cuisine.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The tunic trio that played to us at dinner in St Petersburg"

Nancy

Linn Creek, MO

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As a first-time Rick Steves' tour participant, I appreciated the time and effort the company invests in excellent organization and commitment to timeliness. The focus on offering tour members the skills to "make the most" of their trip experience was appreciated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment came from the way the tour was conducted rather than a particular venue. From the moment the group convened for the introductory session, the tone was set for a series of comfortable interactions. The "buddy system" set up an easy way to get to know other tour participants."

Robert

Woodbridge, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall trip was good. It covers the highlights of the cities we visited. The tour group was interesting and diversified. The guides, with some exceptions, were knowledgeable and we were able to understand them. Some days are too structured and too much walking. Rather than visit some sites grounds, I would prefer to go inside and see the building. Accommodations were adequate, although dragging luggage on cobblestones should be avoided whenever possible. Overall, a good experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary and Etelka and staff arranged a special room with champagne in St. Petersburg. Very special."

Ruth

Woodland, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide helped to make this one of the best of our 18 Rick Steves' tours. She is so knowledgeable, caring, entertaining, and happy that this made the trip delightful. Of the sights, meals and transportation you planned were excellent, too. The only exception was the box lunch on the train to St. Petersburg. Yuck!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide Etelka went out of her way to show me the Marekko store in Helsinki. It was near our hotel and I would have missed it without her help and caring. I have been a fan of Marimekko since the 1960's. I even purchased a dress. P"

Sharon

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had an outstanding time. Not having been on a packaged tour before, we were a bit apprehensive about whether we would have enough time to see the sights we were interested in, how the hotels might be etc. Most everything exceeded expectations: our tour guide, the smooth commutes among cities, nice hotels. The amount of free vs. group time was perfect, allowing us to gain knowledge from guided excursions, and then wander around on our own and explore.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Hermitage light up at night, on a mostly empty square, was breathtaking. Having seen beautiful photos, I didn't expect to be so amazed by the beauty and color of the building. It was amazing to stand where former Czars and Czarina's and walked in previous times."

James

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The trip was wonderful! This was our first Rick Steves tour and I must admit I was skeptical - would we like being guided in a group on such a tight schedule? But everything worked out perfectly. Even when I looked at the itinerary and thought "why aren't we spending more time here?", it actually turned out to be just the right amount of time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Nearly every site we saw elicited a wow/OMG response, so it's hard to pick just one. But I will say this: wow, our trip was well-organized. Wow, Etelka was a great guide/"den mother." And wow, all 3 cities (especially Tallinn and St Petersburg) were beautiful. Very glad we took the trip with Rick Steves!"

Floyd

Woodland, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, the tour was outstanding. Our tour guide, Etelka Berecz, was extremely helpful, energetic, knowledgeable, and experienced. I felt we were in good hands when she took us into Russian territory because she knew what the border inspectors were looking for and could speak fluent Russian having studied there as a university student. She was also full of stories about her life growing up in Budapest during the Soviet period both good and bad.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment was when we entered the Hermitage and walked up the grand staircase. It was designed to impress the visitors of the power and might of the Czars and it still had that effect on me."

Rick

Calgary, AB

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was our first tour & didn't know what to expect from it? We were a little nervous when we saw the roster with 26 Americans & the 2 lonely Canadians, but any fears we may have had were quickly dispelled! Had a great time with everyone! We loved Russia & that was the main reason for choosing this tour, Estonia turned out to be a great surprise for us! Food was good, the organized entertainment was especially good!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was seeing no Russia as it has always had a mystery about it. My expression is that I had a "dim view" of how it would look & be. Turns out it is the complete opposite! Beautiful, clean, no graffiti, good food, people were nice. At the first St Petersburg meal the pretty, young Russian lady singer picked me out to dance & several videos were taken. Several male tour members thanked me after for doing it as they did NOT want to be singled out :-)"

Sally

Woodbridge, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg"

Anthony

Kirtland, OH

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was as expected. Etelka was marvelous, the local guides were very knowledgeable and fun and the three cities were amazing. Quaint walled city of Tallin to modern bustling city of Helsinki and grand royal city of St Petersburg all provided their special history and beauty. Meals, companions, locals.....all went so well it made for a wonderful and pleasurable trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I was able to see Swan Lake performed in St Petersburg. That was a special time for me. From the venue to the performance, all was perfect and memorable."

Sue

Rockford, IL

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was fantastic from start to finish. Etelka was exceptional in her ability to insure we saw all the sights and kept to a schedule. Traveling with a group was a lot of fun as there was always interesting conversation and insight from participants. My goal had been St. Petersburg as I was a Russian history major at one time. However, Tallinn and Helsinki were great destinations too, ones I might have missed if I didn't do the tour. I enjoyed having local guides who lived in the cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The library in Helsinki blew me away! I'm so glad it was included on our walk.Also the Hermitage in St Petersburg was overwhelmingly beautiful and huge."

Douglas

Glenview, IL

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Trip was great. It was a good group of people. We were the only family in our group and our guides took some time to specifically interact with our teenagers. All details where taken care of - there were no hiccups. And this is why we decided to travel with a tour group rather than individually! I really liked that the tour had built in time where we could do our own thing. And, that there were "optional" activities like a tour of the various subway stations when we were in St. Petersburg.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting The Hermitage and Catherine's Palace. AND, seeing the downtown Palace Square in St. Petersburg. I have never seen such opulence!"

Brian

Castro Valley, CA

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour exposed me to a history largely unknown to me. I loved our visits to each of the three cities and found them all uniquely fascinating. The tour left me wanting to learn more about the history of these places and to someday return to explore them further.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I found the Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom in Estonia thoroughly engaging. I visited three times just to spend additional time reading about the Soviet occupation from the perspective of those who lived through it."

Mary

Seattle, WA

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

An amazing visit to new places in Northern Europe, especially to St. Petersburg, which had been on my "bucket list" for years. You promised a strenuous tour and this did live up to that!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Just being in Tallinn was amazing - such a beautiful place, and I really didn't know what to expect. In St. Petersburg, I really enjoyed the short concert by the monks at one of the Cathedrals. That was a wow moment. I also absolutely enjoyed our first night dinner in St. Petersburg, with vodka, stroganoff, and wonderful live music. Thank you!"

Sam

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was impressed with the level of coordination. We had almost nothing to worry about other than planning our free time. Our guide was supremely prepared and had answers to every question on process. From my perspective, execution was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Highlighting just one is very difficult because there were so many significant events. Each city has its own character and we learned so much at each location. Although not a genuine "WOW," I particularly enjoyed the walking tour on the last day through the neighborhoods. That is something other tour groups do not see...at least we did not see any other tour groups (most notably Asian). The local tour guide (Peter) was exceptionally candid and "over the top" versed in history and Russian life."

Suzy

Tucson, AZ

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and we are already looking at another Rick Steves tour for next year. Everything was so well planned and organized, we didn't have to worry about one thing. The cities, the local tours, the optional excursions were all exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is so hard to pick just one but I do have a couple. The mosaics in the Church of Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg was unbelievable. Also, I would have to say the opulence in the palaces, Peterhof, Catherine's Palace and the Hermitage was another "wow" moment."

Sherrod

Owings, MD

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves experience and we loved it. The group leaders were exceptional and all of our local guides were excellent. The group was small, mixed ages, interested and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage - that was what compelled us to take this tour and it did not disappoint. Having a local guide to help navigate was very helpful."

Susan

Southport, NC

Tour: 08/05/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We very much enjoyed our tour. It was well-organized, informative and comprehensive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially loved the St. Petersburg churches and the opulence of various palaces."

Michael

Piscataway, NJ

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I thought the tour was well paced and culturally exciting. Our tour guide added personal touches and was open for questions all the time. Overall, this was a great way to see the lesser traveled Baltic region and would travel to the area again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage in St. Petersburg."

Josef

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour met my expectations having read the itinerary and information in the Rick Steves' booklet. The tour group functioned and got along well together. Our guide was as helpful as can be-so responsive to the group with a great sense of humor-Esther is a keeper. The pacing was good with a strenuous day followed by one that was less so.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but amongst my favorites are the walking tour with Peter in St. Petersburg-he is a master at handling the pace of the group, is an expert on Russian history and his discussion of Rasputin was absolutely captivating. The Helsinki Library was another one-it was designed to bring everyone together under the roof of an architectural wonder. The helpfulness of the Hotel Rivoli Jardin staff warmed our hearts-we sent you a separate letter on this."

John

Seattle, WA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The strength of your tours are always the tour guides, both those who accompany the tour and the local guides. This was the case on this tour

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The city of Helsinki. What a wonderful city with so many things to see and do."

Jessica

Jackson, MI

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well laid-out and I enjoyed all of the local guides. The main guide, Eszter, went above and beyond to make sure everything was smooth and enjoyable. The things we saw were exactly what I would have wanted to see if I were planning the tour myself.

Bonnie

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Very well organized. Excellent Guide (Esther)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our guide!!!! Amazing! For me, she was hands down the best part of the tour. I will soon forget many of the activities. I will long remember Esther's quick wit, insightful knowledge and caring attitude."

David

Palos Verdes Estates, CA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our experience overall was very good, as is usually the case with Rick Steves tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although I did not have a "wow" moment, I was very impressed with the Helsinki library. Besides being a stunning architechtural structure, it is a unique cultural and vocational development center, that addresses social and employment issues like no facility I have seen anywhere."

John

Olympia, WA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Seamless and beautifully organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Helsinki Library."

Grace

Kendallville, IN

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It exceeded our expectations in every positive way possible!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On our last evening in St. Petersburg before-dinner during a boat ride along the waterfront when Eszter surprised us with champagne! It was one of many lovely evenings after a beautiful day!"

Bruce

Blaine, MN

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eszter was a joy to be around. She was hard-working, joyful, and very informed. Eszter went the extra mile, especially in St. Petersburg, where she helped purchased tickets for evening events that we would of had a difficult time purchasing on our own, such as the ballet and a Cossack folk event. I learned a great deal but also had a lot of fun. The other members of the tour were also great people and easy to travel with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There really wasn't one "wow" moment - there were many. Since I had not been to St. Petersburg before, that was probably the most unique experience of the trip."

Patricia

Jackson, MI

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Three very different cities, relatively close to each other. Really enjoyed the different modes of transport and the itinerary, good mix of grand palaces and open air museums and cool restaurants. And we managed some pretty decent weather in July! Very much appreciated the use of the personal audio units, so even those hard of hearing could hear every word.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to pick. The Hermitage - and getting in early, bypassing many other tour groups didn't hurt."

Kathryn

Olympia, WA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Seamless and very well organized

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Peterhof garden"

Elyse

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic guide and 2 or 3 cities. Fantastic guides within the cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing The Hermitage from our hotel"

Kathleen

Loudon, NH

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We don't consider ourselves to be "tour travelers" but have used RS books for 20 years. I was extremely happy with our tour guide, Eszter, who was very organized and helpful. The pace was occasionally challenging but do-able. Accurate and fascinating information and a great group of travelers. We were a bit disappointed that there was no emphasis on famous scientists, like Mendeleev in St. Petersburg.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When Eszter was able to secure tickets for us to the Lomonosov Museum which I had not been able to do from home and her ability to resolve problems smoothly and magically! Many other "wow" moments throughout the trip."

Albert

Redondo Beach, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I feel enriched after each Rick Steves trip. It strikes a wonderful balance between the ease of a guided tour with the flexibility of exploring on our own. The guides are the best parts. Everyone is an encyclopedia of historical and cultural knowledge. Being able to learn from the guides really makes all the difference. Special hats off to Eszter, our guide. Despite of uncontrollable events, Eszter made the whole experience smooth and seamless.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many. Perhaps one of the most unexpected moment was the subway tour in St Petersburg. This isn't part of the official itinerary, but our guide Eszter organized and led the trip during one of the free afternoons. "Opulent" is not normally a word one associates with subway stations, but it seems appropriate here. The grand scale, the detailed artwork, all juxtaposition with the older looking, but surprisingly fast trains made the excursion one of the most memorable side trips."

Angela

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sauna at Allas Seaport in Helsinki. We sat in the sauna for 15 minutes than jumped into the frigid Baltic Sea."

Peggy

San Pedro, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We started in Estonia! Such a beautiful country! Our first night was great, getting to know everyone. Our group included our grandsons in their teens, as well as another teenage young man and 2 teenage cousins and a college graduate. It was simply wonderful to have the diversity. We all had a great time. Rhe biggest change for me was the choices we were given. In our history, the we got on the bus and off we went. We are were always together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St Petersburg in all her glory. Every part of that tour was filled with WOWS!"

Barry

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

it was a very good experience overall. The guide was terrific, the transport was smooth and the hotel locations were good. It was probably the least socially connected group I have been with, but not a great problem. Maybe we were just lucky on our previous trips to connect with people that we still keep up with.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"no one moment, there were many..."

Mary

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous but strenuous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Prodical Son at the Hermitage. Public library in Oslo. Museum of Resistance in Tallinn."

Thomas

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Enlightening history, jaw-dropping museums & churches...a rewarding experience. I really enjoyed our group and the diligence of our tour guide. Contrasts between the destinations is remarkable; the variety of experiences was memorable.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Museum of Occupation is inspiring and a brilliant exhibit of the struggle of the Estonian people. The video record of peoples' experiences is haunting, gut-wrenching, and a beacon for all who seek freedom."

Michael

Bee Cave, TX

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded all expectations! Tallinn showed both charm and innovation, with a lively blend of history and perseverance. Helsinki was exciting and elegant, and filled with a welcoming variety. Especially loved the old market and market area with the bustle and interaction. St. Petersburg starred with a lifelong interest in the Hermitage/Winter Palace met, and history everywhere. Loved the energy of this city!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"TALLINN: the welcoming environment and immersive history of the old town, plus Maiasmokk for the pastries!! Park and mini-Versailles palace a lovely spot. HELSINKI: Our guide Marja and her engaging and fun approach plus the folk museum island, and the old Market. ST. PETERSBURG: touring the Hermitage/WP with almost no people inside!! Choral performance for us at Peter & Paul Cathedral; Catherine Palace itself and its restoration; Siege of Leningrad memorial and story."

Mary Lois

Bee Cave, TX

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour exceeded our expectations and was certainly one we would never have approached on our own, the Cold War and Russia hang-over from our youth, I guess. It was good to ease into the St. Petersburg part of the tour with stops in Tallinn and Helsinki.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"TALLINN Old Town tour with Margit, Peter the Great's Kadriorg Park, the Song Festival stage HELSINKI Rock Church, Sibelius Monument, local tour with Marja ST. PETERSBURG Peter & Paul Fortress, Church on Spilled Blood,Hermitage, Catherine Palace, Siege Monument, walk with local guide Peter, boat tour on last evening, Fabrege Museum (not officially on tour, but still . . . )"

Joyce

Rio Verde, AZ

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Myself, and my two travelling companions had a wonderful time. We all went to see St Petersburg and each saw it differently. My daughter loved and cherished the art. I loved seeing the buildings and the palaces. My son-in-law found the history of the three countries interesting. George was a great guide, and made it a point to mingle and get to know all of the travellers and their needs. We stayed in lovely, well situated hotels with all the amenities. All of the local tour guides did a

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage!"

Jordan

Austin, TX

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, this was one of my favorite Rick Steves tours, in probably the least accessible locations. Having the comfort of the RS experience in Russia, in particular, made the trip smoother and less stressful. The guides were fantastic, particularly Olga and Timothy in Saint Petersburg! The food was fresh and delicious, highlighting the unique flavors of the Baltic countries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The stars aligned (through careful planning and an early entry ticket) so that our group was practically alone as we toured the Hermitage with our local guide. As a Russian history nerd, being able to wander through the Winter Palace and actually EXPERIENCE the Winter Palace, not a crush of people, was an incredible experience."

Steven

Juneau, AK

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George was excellent. He was experienced and helped keep the group focused. Enjoyed visiting him.Definite keeper. Maria-Tallinn. She was knowledgable and engaging. Enjoyed personal story. Keeper. Margeet- Helsinki. Very enthusiastic and memorable. Wanted more time with her and Finland.Definite keeper. Olga-St. Pete Hermitage. She knew her subject well. Good art interpreter. Keeper. Vladamir- St. Pete /Catherine's. Too hurried, lost the group. DO NOT KEEP. Peter- St. Pete walking. Definite Keep.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Estonian singing culture, All of Helsinki, Hermitage and Peterhof. The vast diffences of opinion between Estonia/Finland versus Russia."

Richard

Mondovi, WI

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We flew to Helsinki and visited some sights not on the tour and then ferried to Tallinn and did the same. That was because we read previous reviews that said the tour was rushed. It did help to have visited some museums ahead of time and become familiar with the cities. We also did a one day private tour of an Estonian national park which was fun and not available during the tour. The tour was well organized but we were glad we had planned extra time.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The size of St Petersburg in the 1700's and its opulence. Plus it was in large part rebuilt after WWII. St. Petersburg was meant to and did rival anything in Europe during that time."

Margaret

Mondovi, WI

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I appreciate the efficiency of RS tours and feel they provide a good mix of organized activities and free time. I enjoy the small surprises planned that offer something above what I could experience on my own (special musicians, etc.) Over time, we've noticed that the tour members are less budget-minded than in the past and that is reflected in the hotels and restaurant recommendations.

Coe

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was an excellent tour. The hotels were perfectly located and just the right amount of luxury. I loved all the walking. The local guides were outstanding and the contrast of their views on the Soviet Union was striking and very interesting. George was absolutely the best! Took care of us, pampered us, gave us the right amount of information and helped reduce the stress of the entry and exit from Russian. I have already told many people what a wonderful tour it was.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The unexpected short concert of gregorian chant inside the St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral. That was awesome. And Rembrandt's Prodigal Son brought tears to my eyes after a lifetime of wanting to see that painting."

Thomas

Lakewood Ranch, FL

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 5th RS tour and it fully met our expectations. Excellent guide and congenial fellow tour members.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting St. Petersburg... from the Hermitage and Catherine's Palace to the wild cab ride back to the hotel (we were warned!) after seeing the ballet at the Mariinksy Theater. And seeing the transition from the old city to the newer high rises further out."

Pamela

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My overall experience was AWESOME! From start to finish it was excellent! It was great to have so many of the details taken care from tickets to each site, to transportation to each each city. Wonderful!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I had never been out of the US except for Canada, so landing in Helsinki was a "wow" moment. I was actually in another country!"

Benjamin

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

An incredible tour. Three unique and fun cities, wonderful food, excellent guide, outstanding sites and musuems. I want to go back and see more !

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St Petersburg as a Russian city can make one nervous- but it is just another city. It felt pretty safe and I loved exploring. St Petersburg's opulence intertwined with its tragic history is incredible to experience The gorgeous winter palace is the apogee of imperial living. Visiting the memorial and museum to the Siege of Leningrad brought tears to my eyes."

Sandra

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Ezsther, was excellent!!! Tallin was more charming than expected. Helsinki was interesting. We lucked out in St Petersburg by arriving in time for a free concert by Andrea Bocelli and being inside on a palace tour when the heavens opened with a BIG rainstorm!!! The palaces of St Petersburg are overwhelming and its easy to see why there was an uprising in 1917. The memorial to the siege of St Petersburg in WW II brings tears to your eyes!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many "wow" moments to pick out just one!! Loved the whole tour."

Elizabeth

Springboro, OH

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall I thought the tour was fantastic. There was ample time to see each city. The guides in each city were very good. We did have a guide on the last day in Saint Petersburg that I didn't care for. He seemed interested in talking only about what he was interested in and not what the group asked about. Also, the hotel in Helsinki needs to be upgraded. The others were fine but we had no blackout shades(basically just a curtain). And the showers were a mess.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Saint Petersburg is clearly the most amazing place. The biggest "wow" was when we were fortunate enough to have Andrea Bocelli singing in Palace Square! No one could plan that!"

Nancy

Morristown, NJ

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't know where to start it was that incredible a trip! Major kudos to our tour guide Esther - she was knowledgeable and just a joy to be around - by far the best tour guide I've ever had! The local guides were fantastic although the Tallin guide wasn't that good. The hotels were perfect in cleanliness and location - was just the perfect trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving at the hotel in St Petersburg to find our hotel was 2 blocks from the Square and the Hermitage...and that Andra Bocelli was giving a free concert in the square that night."

Tn

Vernon, NJ

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall experience was fantastic. Everything fell into place, ran like clockwork (even when a hitch occurred), and covered all the major sites and some not so major sites that made these cities points of interest. As trite as this may sound it was the usual Rick Steves tour (we have been on 6)with the level of excellence we have come to expect and enjoy; fun, value for money, education, and local involvement.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The two most moving points on the tour were the "Occupation Museum" in Tallin and the "Defense of Leningrad" monument in St. Petersburg. Not "wow" moments in the usual sense, they both hit you in the gut and made you appreciate what occurred in the times and issues depicted and the resilience and courage of the people involved."

John

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything went very, very well. Transportation was smooth and without apparent issues; train, ferry, and tour buses. Restaurants [INVALID]ed for group dining and recommendations for independent eating were all very good. The hotels and their staff were excellent. The group outings (walks and destinations) were all very enjoyable. Our group of 28 was a good mix of travel experiences, ages, and silliness; a good group with which to travel. Having free time for our own experiences was good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Being able to talk and interact with residents of the cities: the owner of a fabric store in Tallinn, a political science student working at a souvenir shop in StP, a waitress curious of our perception of Russia, a taxi driver who showed us a picture of his wife dressed up like a clown. Those times reminded me of the wonderful spectrum of people in the world, and helped to dispel my unconscious biases of Russia and Eastern Europe formed by years of USA media."

Kathleen

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The Tour went way beyond my expectations. I had so much to learn & experience on this my first overseas adventure. Our Tour Guide made it easy & comfortable every step of the way. Her energy and attention to detail was truly amazing right up to our departure. I appreciated her depth of knowledge regarding the history of the countries & cities & fabulous sites we saw. She also provided options according to our interests for smaller groups or just exploring. I had a marvelous experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I cannot pick one! I loved the story of Estonia's singing revolution and singing "This Land Is My Land" at the Song Festival Grounds. And walking the city wall. I loved Helsinki's Esplanade, Market Square & Old Market Hall with local items, the Folk Museum, Kamppi Chapel & Church in the Rock. The beautiful opulence of so many palaces & churches in St. Petersburg was fascinating and also overwhelming, but the Monument for the defenders of Leningrad is what truly touched my heart."

Brett

Dublin, OH

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Absolutely the way to go to Russia. The tour took care of a lot of the guess work and planning.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Standing in front of the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Very beautiful! Everything seems bigger in Russia."

Bruce

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful! Thank you! I have been a fan of Rick Steves since the first edition of Europe Through the Back Door. I have always traveled using his advise. Russia was a little intimidating to me, mostly the language. So I decided to take the "Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn& Helsinki 9 day tour. Not only was it the best of it was the best! George deserves high praise for his outstanding leadership and his absolute enthusiasm for his work. A prince of a man.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There wasn't one big wow moment but there sure were a lot special moments that made us feel valued as inquisitive people that are curious about our world and all the cultures that make it so incredible."

Joe

Fulshear, TX

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our third experience with your company and as expected, our expectations were met and/or exceeded. The leader was exceptional.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were positive and negative wow moments. The single most positive dealt with the warmth of the people of Estonia, Russia and Finland coupled with an amazing tour group of US citizens, Canadians, and a family from Alabama (tongue and cheek). The negative was to experience what you caution against can and will happen if your do not pay attention to your belongings (money belt) and or visa requirements. We had a pick-pocket and entry refusal to Russia for an incomplete visa."

Dennis

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Well organized, good pace, great team, knowledgeable guides, wonderful tour director!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Wow moment- church in the rock! Church of Spilled Blood!"

Al

Conyers, GA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was well organized, the tour leader and the "experts" did an excellent job informing us about all that we were seeing.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to limit it to one WOW. The cathedral at Fortress Peter & Paul and Peterhof gardens."

Jay

Richmond Hill, ON

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

A very enjoyable tour. The highlight was Saint Petersburg and all the things that we did there. I particularly liked the Church on Spilled Blood, the Hermitage, and the Museum of the Defense and Siege of Leningrad. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy Tallinn and Helsinki - Tallinn's old town is remarkable and the Church in the Rock in Helsinki is truly unique. My wife and I took a free afternoon in Saint Petersburg and visited Peterhof which was glorious. Included meals were great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two wow moments. First, the side trip my wife and I took to Peterhof on the first free afternoon in Saint Petersburg - we saw the fountains and the gardens, and they were spectacular. Second, celebrating Saint Petersburg Day - with locals we got to watch the performances in the square and see the fireworks over the Neva River at midnight. Another wow: seeing how far the Russian people have progressed since 2007 when I was doing business in Russia - people are now looking forward not downward."

Elizabeth

Richmond Hill, ON

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It is the character of the people and their experiences I will remember most. In Tallinn we learned about the repression of the Soviet era and the gaining of their freedom in 1991. In Helsinki our guide explained that Helsinki rates high on the happiest places to live, their high degree of education and their design prowess all of which we found exemplified in their beautiful new library. In St Petersburg I was pleased to find a much more open society than I had expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I knew before we booked our tour that St Petersburg Day would fall during our time there. I was not happy about it because I was concerned that museums would be closed and the city would be very busy. As it turned out that was my favourite day in the city. After a wonderful last day and group dinner we joined locals in the Palace Sq. to listen to some of their musical extravaganza and capped off the night watching fireworks at midnight over the Neva River with the locals. Magical!"

Margaret

The Villages, FL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was awesome

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Siege monument was especially moving. Church in the rock was also good. And, the hermitage.??????"

Nancy

Napa, CA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

the diversity - of three places in the Baltic Sea area.. The consistency of our guide and the quality of the supplemental guides - the quality and service at the hotels.. Wonderful experience. Educational too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many"

Diane

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this trip! Accommodations were outstanding and well located, Etelka was delightful and did all humanely possible to ensure we all had a wonderful time. All arrangements were perfect. I was a bit concerned about the ferry and train travel before starting this trip but they turned out to be fun and an important part of the entire experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many Wow moments on this trip but one that stands out is the view of the Grand Cascade, fountains at Peterhof. I don't believe I have ever seen gold that was so GOLD, and against the bright white of the buildings and lovely greenery and flowers the overall sight was almost unbelievable. Strolling through these fantastic gardens I could imagine what I might have been like to live in this incredible home."

Dan

Stockbridge, GA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very active, covered cities and their sites. Guide was extremely helpful in the Hermitage getting us to see the best in a massive museum.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Amber room in Catherine palace"

Mary Ann

Bainbridge Is, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Much to my surprise, this relatively short tour of 9 days managed to cover so much territory (both physically and "educationally") without feeling rushed. The stays in Tallin and Helsinki gave a generous perspective of history and contemporary life of each city, and the time spent in St. Petersburg was generously timed to allow both structure and free time to absorb some of the current city life. I especially appreciated the slower-paced ground/sea transportation between the cities!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I personally took great pleasure in finding spontaneous chances to communicate (on whatever level) with people in the areas wherever we found ourselves - though pretty rudimentary sometimes, it enlarged the richness of what I was experiencing - even if there was undoubtedly some miscommunication involved!"

Deborah

Bloomington, IL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our second Rick Steves tour and it was equally as great as our first one. Our guide, Etelka went over and above to make sure that everyone in the group was having a great time. We learned so much from her - it was very apparent that she is a teacher by trade. From the minute the tour started, it was just very relaxing and easy. We were provided an itinerary upfront that outlined each day which I really appreciated. It was a great mixture of nature and museums. The food was amazing!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg as a whole but especially the Siege Monument. I was not expecting to be moved in such a way and have a new found respect and awe at what the Russians have gone through to rebuild."

Ronald

Oshawa, ON

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tallinn and St.Petersburg exceeded expectations, but Helsinki did not meet them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Comparing Rembrandt's pregnant Saskia to Renoir's portrait of Jeanne Rammary."

Anna

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderfully organized and coordinated by our tour guide, George. I appreciated the balance of having an activity either in the morning or afternoon, and free-time. I think having a group meal the first night in a new city was great, and appreciated being able to dine independently the other nights.

Dian

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful hotels, each local guide had qualities and perspective to add layers of thought and knowledge. The tour was the perfect balance of guides and independent time. The history and current events of this area makes this tour so important. I believe the comment, travel as a political statement was brought to life through the contacts we made. I returned home with a reading list, and a fueled curiosity about the cities we were in. This is a trip that made me think, and want to know more.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's impossible to narrow it down to one. Tallin, the old the new the tenacity of that country & people. Helsinki, hip fast moving modern racing forward. St Petersburg, complexity history resilience and beauty. Can you tell, I really found purpose with this tour!"

Wayland

West Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was wonderful from the beginning. We were with a great group of people. The tour guides were very knowledgeable. We didn't waste any time. This really maximized our experience. George did a great job leading our group. He was wonderful. He maintained control without ever being controlling.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The war memorial outside St Petersburg commemorating the people of Leningrad who died saving their country and defeating the Nazis."

Paul

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very pleased with the overall quality of the tour. The "essentials" were all there: superb organization, excellent guides and hotels with wonderful sites seen in an efficient and informative manner. Travel by bus, train or ferry was pleasant.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I'm afraid there wasn't just one. Top experiences in Saint Petersburg included the Hermitage, the Church on Spilled Blood and the River Tour. I was also wowed by the ceiling of the Rock Church in Helsinki."

Maureen

West Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Exceeded expectations. Our tour leader, George, was the reason it worked so well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the river cruise did it for me because it gave me the opportunity to reflect on everything we had seen and learned in glorious St. Petersburg."

Donald

Asheville, NC

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It all started with our AWESOME tour guide George. He is the consummate guide being knowledgeable, super organized, compassionate and a nice person! He had the canny ability to know when we needed a short chocolate, vodka or champagne picker upper. Tallinn exceeded my expectations as knew nothing about that part of Europe. Thanks for proving four nights in St. Petersburg so we could absorbed as much as possible.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hermitage!!! Thanks so much for the ability to get us in about 1.5 hours before the hoards."

Joy

Asheville, NC

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George was the ultimate guide and host!!! He suggested and facilitated other experiences outside of the tour. Our local guides were wonderful - and again George was able to enrich those commentaries with his personal experience. I felt safe in Russia (I was a little bit apprehensive beforehand). I really can't praise George enough - he really anticipated our needs and made our trip so enjoyable!! Blessings to him! Our farewell champagne boat ride and Georgian meal were unforgettable!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many!! But I LOVED the food and craft markets near the Helsinki harbor. Purchased my only souvenirs there."

Patricia

Canmore, AB

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

a really excellent experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"seeing Raphael's loggia in the Hermitage without any other tourists around!"

Paul

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour. The sites were well thought out. The entire group seemed to come ready to make friends, be pleasant and participate.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Canal boat ride on the last evening in St. Petersburg, a nice way to end the tour."

Patricia

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our leader and every participant was a perfect fit! George encouraged everyone to at least try a food out of there comfort zone. I appreciated the variety in the restaurants chosen to be able to try different things! I know this can be so difficult to accommodate a large group. George was amazing to organize and keep things moving along!!! George is a wonderful guide and human being. He was considerate in every way! Thank you also Rick for your political traveling views on the world!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The boat cruise in St Petersburg! Our last night together. The weather was perfect it was so relaxing! We also had a champagne toast, which was such a lovely touch! We all had such a great time.Then we went to dinner which was amazing too! There is one more wow, when we went to the Tallin song grounds in Estonia where singing freed the people of Estonia. We all held hands in a circle and sang a Hungarian folk song. Oh my goodness!! Brings tears to my eyes now! Such a moving experience!"

Mary

International Falls, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Destinations and sites at each destination--wonderful. Choice of lodging-- perfect. George our guide as well as local guides -- marvelous. Food -- yum. Weather-- pleasant surprise.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not sure that I could pick one. I enjoyed it all."

Melanie

Oshawa, ON

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our 4th Rick's tour and it did not disappoint.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"learning about St Petersburg's history, politics, customs."

Susan

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

How fun experiencing the sun that never set! Although our country is not perfect, we gained a new appreciation for our democratic way of life after seeing Russia. We'll never take things for granted again. Everyone wants the same thing: a safe place to raise their families, to have a rewarding job, and to enjoy life. We have alot in common! Our fellow tour members are hidden treasures. They were respectful, friendly, and knowledgeable. It was delightful to share this experience together.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage Museum didn't disappoint! I''ve never seen so much gold as the Catherine Palace with its beautiful Amber Room. The gravity-fed fountains of Peterhof were truly amazing! We totally enjoyed Russian folk group singing traditional songs at dinner. The entire trip was a series of "wow" moments. We fell in love with charming Tallinn, cute walled medieval city. Helsinki was clean and efficient. Russia had an oppressive governmental tone, but their people were kind and helpful."

Peggy

Bow Mar, CO

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Marinsky ballet. Amber room"

David

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was very informative. We learned about a part of the world that I did not know much about

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a wow moment"

Thomas

Birchwood, WI

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Very educational. Great venues for experiencing cultures, history, and food. George was exceptional as were the local guides. I particularly liked the ear buds for enjoying the tours without interruption.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All of St Petersburg. Truly the gem of the trip. Great palaces, art, everything! I would love to go back to visit again."

When To Go & Weather

Any time between May and September is a good time to take a Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki tour. However, the summer months, while the most crowded, offer the best weather and long days. The months of May and September are best for combining minimal crowds and mild weather.

Estonia / Tallinn

Estonia Weather


Finland / Helsinki

Finland Weather


Russia / St. Petersburg

Russia Weather

Hotels & Flights

Visa Required

If you are a US or Canadian citizen, you need a tourist visa to enter Russia. Please see our St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki FAQ for more details. If you are a citizen from any other country, please check with your local Russian Consulate to verify whether you need a visa and how to obtain one.

Tour Hotels

In case you wish to book pre- or post-tour hotel accommodations, the contact information for the tour's first and last hotels is included in your tour confirmation email as well as in the Itinerary section of your tour account. One month prior to the tour departure, you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour in the Documents section of your tour account.

Flights

Our tours don't include airfare, so your flight arrangements and transfers are completely up to you.

Most tour members arrange to fly into Tallinn (TLL) and out of St. Petersburg (LED) — choose "multicity" on flight-booking websites. Booking round-trip to one city will require a connecting flight, train trip, or additional overnight stay in Europe.

We suggest arriving a day or two before your tour begins to allow ample time to get over jet lag and be well-rested for the first few days of your tour. For more information about transportation options for getting to and from your tour, see your Rick Steves Snapshot: St. Petersburg, Helsinki & Tallinn guidebook.

If you fly round-trip to Helsinki, you will need to take the two-hour ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn to start the tour. For ferry information, see the Tallink website. To return to Helsinki from St. Petersburg after the tour, you can take the train from St. Petersburg.

If you fly round-trip 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.