• 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
  • Catherine Palace, Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo), Russia
    Catherine Palace in Pushkin, Russia

Tour Questions? See our FAQ | Call 425-608-4217

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

from $3,195 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

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

2019

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

    Filling Fast
    • Jun 24–Jul 2 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

    Filling Fast
    • Sep 2–Sep 10 (Mo–Tu)
    • $3,195 + Air

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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 21 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 • Lutheran Cathedral • St. Petersburg panoramic bus tour • Peter and Paul Cathedral • Church on Spilled Blood • Hermitage Museum • Catherine Palace • 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
  • 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 2019
  • 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. And see our Tour Conditions for important details regarding everything else 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 of 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 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 Helsinki, 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. Sleep in Helsinki (2 nights). Boat: 2 hours. Bus: 3 hours. Walking: moderate.

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. 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, 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. Sleep in St. Petersburg (4 nights). Train: 4 hours. Bus: 2 hours. 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 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, take an excursion out to Peterhof by hydrofoil to view the palace's spectacular fountains, or catch some Russian ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Catherine Palace and WWII Leningrad

Today we'll venture out to the town of Pushkin where we'll tour Catherine 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 hours. 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 sample dishes from the Republic of Georgia as we share travel memories and toast new friends. Nastrovia! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

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

Richard

North Newton, KS

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably the music and an organ concert and a violin-organ rehearsal in Tallin churches, two men's groups in St. Petersburg, and our taxi driver singing to us while driving us to the St. Petersburg airport."

Barbara

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Really enjoyed the members of the group and George, our guide. Loved Tallinn-- the old town area, KGB museum, Museum of Occupation, singing together at Song Festival Stage. Highlights in Helsinki were Sibelius monument and Lutheran Church in the Rock. Did not enjoy open air folk museum. St. Petersburg sights were amazing. Favorites were Peterhof, Siege Monument and Amber Room at Catherine's Palace. Difficult to enjoy Hermitage with all the crowds. Loved learning Romanov history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The a cappella quintet singing to us at the Church of Spilled Blood and another at the chapel in Catherine Park. I was very moved at the Siege Monument in St. Petersburg. I had just finished reading the "Madonnas of Leningrad" and it was very meaningful."

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."

Nancy

Grand Rapids, MN

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was new territory for me, having never traveled to these areas. Tallinn was an unexpected delight! The Old Town is totally charming and full of wonderful surprises at every turn. Helsinki was probably my least favorite, but so happy to have experienced it. Taking a train into Russia full of border guards and customs officers was an experience. Just being in the big, gorgeous city of St. Petersburg was memorable. It was a little disconcerting to have to carry "papers" on us at all times

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Siege Museum in St. Petersburg was the "wow" moment for me. It's location in the middle of a busy Russian street (kind of like the middle of a roundabout) hit me first. The beautiful sculptures of the workers who rose in battle against the Germans beginning in 1941. The museum was small, but informative - a real tribute to the people of St. Petersburg who lost a million people over the course of almost 900 days."

Denis

Stittsville, ON

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It more than met expectations. My understanding of the history, geography and politics of each country was greatly enhanced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think that our visit to the Leningrad Siege Memorial was the most moving, and together with the information provided by the guide (Timofey), it made that whole tragic part of WW II so much clearer. Also, I found the fountaòins of the Peterhof amazing."

Peter

Miami, FL

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour and hopefully first of many. The guides were very knowledgeable and fellow tour group members were easy to get along with. Hotels were comfortable, helpful and in great central locations. The fact that the weather was perfect also helped.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It has to be the Hermitage in St Petersburg. Peterhof is a close second."

David

Reading, MA

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

A very smooth tour in a tricky part of the world. I wouldn't want to try to do it myself.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As with most of the other group members it has to be the Hermitage - a major bucket list item. That being said I really enjoyed the Helsinki boat trip to Suomenlinna Island. It was a great walk, a great view, and great beer."

Erna

North Newton, KS

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great tour. The tour leaders were all great in helping us explore three wonderful cities. The local tour leaders were so knowledgeable and had amazing English language skills. What makes Rick Steves tours especially wonderful are the fellow travelers. They are special people who are interested in learning and adventurous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Siege Monument. It was very emotional learning about the 900 days St Petersburg people suffered during World War II. It showed the courage of the defenders of the city."

Margaret

Franklin, TN

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Tallinn, Helsinki & St. Petersburg far exceeded my expectations. We learned so much more about the history, culture, economics, etc. than we ever would have had we gone on our own. Even though there are many cruises that go to these same cities, it was much better to travel by ferry and train between the cities and to have the freedom to explore on our own, especially in St. Petersburg.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Not one "wow" moment, nor even necessarily one per city. St. Petersburg is so far over the top in the palace architecture and opulence, Tallinn was so much more beautiful, and Helsinki so much more interesting that I had expected. I had not planned on going to the Faberge Museum in St. Petersburg, but we had the time and went. That was a "wow" moment! So glad we went."

Beverly

Stittsville, ON

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steves tour. I was very impressed with the attention to detail in the organisation of the tour.The balance between tours and free time was good. The tours were all excellent.Our fellow travellers were friendly,caring ,interesting and fun to be with,and our leader was first class. All in all the tour was the best one we've done and we look forward to our next Rick Steves trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The mini concert by the monks at the St.Peter and Paul Cathedral was amazing."

Constance

League City, TX

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Hard to limit to 500. I have wanted to go to Hermitage, didn't want to go by myself. Did homework on tours & fortunately chose RS. All 3 cities offered more than I could have dreamed. The other members were so friendly & kind, I felt really touched & understand now why most of them have been on several RS tours & I hope to go on more too. It was an education, plunge into history, art, architecture, gorgeous foods. I liked the structure of the times together & that we had free time too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have tried to come up with ONE WOW Moment. There were so many in all 3 cities, I really cannot limit the moments to one. I thrilled to art, architecture, history lessons, gorgeous food, great walks, a canal boat ride and being with such kind and friendly people. I would say that the entire tour was a WOW moment. Thank you very much."

Pamela

Hector, MN

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Guides were professional and knowledgeable. Local guides in each city kept it interesting and fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tallinn, Estonia was the hidden gem of the tour. A beautiful city."

Therese

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and clearly not my last. All was very well organized, comprehensive but still lots of time to explore on our own. This was a great mix of structure and flexibility. We really enjoyed the other like minded travelers and made some special bonds. I felt that hotels were more than adequate, the staff was accommodating and the atmosphere very pleasant. As things were so well organized and all went off without a glitch, the travel experience was effortless.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved Tallin ...the walled city! The local guides were all responsive and informative. It was very special to be able to concentrate on the full experience because things were so well managed. Was wowed by the incredible history of that region and really motivated to study more about Soviet occupation and emancipation. Opened my eyes to a whole new culture and experience!"

Richard

Celina, TX

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Survey is from Richard and Carole. On a scale of 1-10 we'd rate the tour as an 11. It exceeded our expectations and provided some outstanding memories. The people in the group were very compatible and added a lot to our experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Many moments were "wow." Visit to the Seige Museum was quiet, thoughtful, and heart-breaking, Hermitage and Peterhof - opulence was staggering Russian Folk Show at the Nikolaevsky Palace (on our own) - very enjoyable!"

Elizabeth

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Learning the history, the culture and a bit about each language was great. Our tour guide gave us information we couldn't have gotten elsewhere. And some of the city-specific tour guides were magnificent.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Getting into the Hermitage before the crowds descended on the place and having a magnificent guide to introduce us to the highlights. Fastest 4 hours I have ever spent."

Mary

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful way to experience 3 countries and learn as you go.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage in St Petersburg, as well as the incredible scenery of Palaces and waterways throughout St Petersburg."

Richard

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George was a terrific host. The group was pleasant and all of about my age.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Most of the local guides were terrific especially the ones in St. Petersburg."

Stephanie

Elk River, MN

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very, very pleased with my tour. Actually, it was fabulous. Our group was a lot of fun also and our guide Etelka was fantastic. She was very knowledgeable and full of good information for free time exploration. It was my first Rick Steves tour and it will not be my last.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite "wow" moment from my tour was seeing The Hermitage and getting in one hour before it opened to the public. I never thought I would see such beautiful paintings by the Masters (Rembrandt, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, etc.), lovely painted walls, sculptures and the Peacock Clock."

Thomas

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was fantastic! I primarily chose this tour because of St. Petersburg (which was incredible), but Helsinki and Tallinn were also great. The tour guides and the tour members were also great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage in St. Petersburg was absolutely amazing, with Rembrandt, da Vinci, and a room full of Monet's paintings. The entire city was amazing and beautiful. I was also able to catch Swan Lake at the Mariinksy Theatre, on the advice of Rick Steves. That was fantastic. Peterhof was great; the Catherine Palace was great. Such an abundance of great things to see."

Ronald

Alma, AR

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was our 9th tour and it met our expectations. Our fellow group members were enjoyable and made the trip all the better. Our guide Etelka was always enthusiastic and well organized. We were so fortunate to not have cruise ships in town on the day of the Hermitage tour. With the early entry pass we were virtually alone except for one other small group for over an hour. I believe we experienced much more of the palace based on the comments of our guide. Very lucky for us!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Church on Spilled Blood. It is impossible to adequately describe the beauty of the entire interior of the church covered in intricate mosaics. It must be seen with one's own eyes."

James

Mason Neck, VA

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tallinn and Helsinki were very interesting and well worth visiting. St. Petersburg is in another league and rivals the major cities in Europe for its history, architecture, and art. It is a "must visit". The people in all three cities (especially Tallinn and Helsinki) were warm, welcoming, proud of their city and country and eager to show them off.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage - There were no crowds, in fact there was hardly anyone else in the entire museum. Unbelievable experience."

Peggy

Arlington, VA

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The tour was well-planned; my goals to experience Tallinn and Helsinki for the first time and to re-visit St. Petersburg in a relatively short amount of time were achieved. Although I was prepared for the walking, I realized just a couple days in, that I needed TWO really good pair of walking shoes; I only had one good and one "adequate." Oh – and flip flops are pretty much useless unless they are substantial and made for such treks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I visited St. Petersburg 18 years ago and could not believe the jewel of a city it has turned into. I remember our hotel then was dark and colorless and we even had a female guard on our floor who, I assumed, was seeing what we Americans were up to. The food was terrible and there really were no restaurants to choose from. Now, the city is beautiful, the folks there helpful and the food was terrific everywhere."

Colette

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We really enjoyed the tour. Eszter, our tour guide was excellent, full on helpful information and energetic and enthusiastic about the whole experience. The accommodations were clean, comfortable and centrally located for our group and personal touring experience. The individual guides were competent, easy to understand, and very informative. For the most part, they were receptive to our questions. The meals were good, with one exception.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg! Truly a beautiful city! I have done student tours of Paris (as a French teacher), and have always happily stated that Paris is the most beautiful city, but St. Petersburg is equal in beauty, history and cultural richness to Paris!"

Bruce

Bend, OR

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time on our Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and Helsinki tour. The leadership and personal touch that Eszter and Erin brought to our tour made traveling informative, fun, and safe. We loved getting to know all of our fellow tour members not just on our shared interest in traveling but, also we found some true friends as well. We really appreciated all of them details that went into planning our tour, from the sightseeing, to the accommodations, to the great meals.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the most "Wow" moment for me was during our tour of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. I was expecting a lot and my viewing of the art and restored Winter Palace exceeded my expectations."

Cole

Cody, WY

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It's been almost 2 decades since I've taken a vacation, and this was an excellent one with which to get back into the swing of things! The guides were good, the group was good, the tour was good, and the flavor of the three different countries provided a wonderful contrast. I'm a relatively solitary person, and so had questions whether I'd be comfortable with the tour experience, but those questions resolved early and easily. I'd recommend this tour, without reservation or hesitation!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite wow moment was actually a person--Eszter. I was so impressed with her skill at managing people, her enthusiasm and preparedness, and her attention to little things like treats to keep up peoples' energy, "theme" meals, free-day activity suggestions, etc. I never had any question that Eszter was willing to go the extra mile to ensure that I had the pure trip experience and could avoid the details and mess of it."

Maryann

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We didn't know what to expect from each of these cities which all proved to be delightful experiences. Each was unique and charming. This was our 6th Rick Steves tour and like the others, we had a great time traveling with our guide and our group. This was the biggest group we've experienced (28) and yet with our guide's, enthusiasm, organizational skills and personal approach to the experiences, the group felt much smaller.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were in Tallinn the evening of the World Cup finals. After France won the title, a group of fans departing a bar in old town paraded through the square carrying the French flag and singing the national anthem. They were followed by a small group of young folks that broke into the Macarena to the beat of some musicians entertaining the sidewalk restaurant crowd. What fun on a beautiful, sunlet evening (after 9pm)!"

Carrie

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was great but Eszter was amazing!! She is knowledgeable, funny, sincere and really invested in making sure that the tour is enjoyable for everyone. Not only did she make it a great experience, she went out of her way for me personally and I can't thank her enough. Her recommendations for food, drinks, shopping, all of it were spot on! I am now looking at the Budapest tour just so I can take the next one that she guides. Great job Eszter!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Arriving in St Petersburg and seeing the grand size of everything - especially the Hermitage. Even from the outside, it is impressive!"

Rich

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent tour guide and assistant Lots of great places to visit well organized lots of free time mixed with scheduled activities outstanding food and good BEER (all local for me)

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Visiting the Winter Palace in St Petersburg Visiting the Fabrage Museum in St Petersburg"

Rosemarie

Nyack, NY

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The itinerary was just right. We seem to have hit all the highlights plus some lesser-known sights as a group and had plenty of time to explore on our own. (Eszter's suggestions helped to guide our free-time wanderings). The central location of the hotels made it easy to step out and look around while taking an early morning or after dinner walk. The excursions that took us out of town in each city were also nice, and allowed me to see things I'm sure I would have missed had I been on my own.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hard to choose just one! The quaint charm of Tallinn (and the amazing food!) was the biggest surprise for me."

James

Mill Valley, CA

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Enjoyed the tour leader, fellow travelers and our time in Tallinn and Helsinki. The accommodation in St Petersburg was excellent, but we felt that the amount of time allocated for this city was just too short, including the amount of time spent in important sites (especially the Hermitage) was too short, and there were no opportunities to revisit these sites.

Tim

Lithia, FL

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Really enjoyed the various cities and stops on our tour. Tallinn, Helsinki, Saint Petersburg were all extremely interesting places to visit. One of the better Rick Steve's tours.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I loved Saint Petersburg, such an amazing city with so much beauty and history."

Andrew

Irondale, AL

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour. This is an area that being part of tour group really helped me learn the culture much quicker. Eszter did a great job of helping us navigate these three very different cities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We were in St. Petersburg during the World Cup. It was amazing to see all the travelers from all over the world together having a great time. That was a once in a lifetime experience."

Mary

Washougal, WA

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I can't imagine that anyone could do a better job in any way than George. I can't give him enough praise. I could have used another couple days in St. Petersburg, especially after the last guide took us around and showed us some places to visit, but we didn't really have time. I had difficultly opening the door to exit my room in Helsinki. I felt in an emergency, I would never have been able to get out. Also it did not have an in room safe. All of the room were very nice. to

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many in St. Petersburg. Every day was a WOW MONENT."

Ellen

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Each day was beautifully set up, and I enjoyed each one of the planned activities. George was a wonderful guide, it seemed effortless but i know he waas working hard for us behind the scenes. He also took additional time to set up activities for us on the free time. E.G. ballet, tour to fort in Helsinki and trip to Peterhof.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hard to say."

Althea

Avon, CO

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I had a wonderful time-just ended too soon! George was an organized and knowledgeable guide who managed to keep us together and on track. There was enough flexibility so everyone could be happy, but also the direction to determine what one truly wanted to do with one's time. There were enough optional events to keep everyone satisfied.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although I thoroughly enjoyed both Tallinn and Helsinki St Petersburg is an incredible city. For a "Wow" moment I think Peterhof would have to be it for me. The fountains and gardens were simply overwhelming. There were a number of other peak moments in St Petersburg. Being there at the opening of the World Cup and Russia Day added to the excitement of the city."

Gary

Marriottsville, MD

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour to new places for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Peterhof Palace grounds with many gravity flow fountains near Saint Petersburg."

Mary

Minnetonka, MN

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The transportation was great - enjoyed the ferry and then train to St Petersburg. Our guide was wonderful........personable, organized, fun and always there for us. We really enjoyed St Petersburg and the four city guides we had. Although the people were not friendly in the American sense of the word, George had prepared us for this. 9 days seems appropriate for this trip - it was our fourth Rick Steves Tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The General Assembly building by the Hermitage that holds all the "modern" impressionists art............who knew that Russia had so many wonderful paintings from the impressionist period."

Kristin

Aurora, CO

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This trip was an amazing experience!!!!! George was wonderful, so prepared, full of insight and made sure everyone on the trip was happy, safe and well prepared for our journey !!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were so many "wow" moments throughout the trip. I love how "local" guides were used in each city, so we could get a a feel of what life was like from different perspectives. Listening to these amazing voices, was the biggest "wow" moment for me."

Susan

Redmond, OR

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This tour met every expectation. Each city offered something very different and very interesting to experience. My daughter and I chose this tour as the length coordinated with a busy family summer schedule for her and met my 'bucket list' desire to see St. Petersburg. Our travel companions were all fun and enjoyable. I would welcome any of them as my neighbor. The accommodations were spot on. Definitely need to be ready to walk and stay on your feet.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite was the Amber Room at Catherine's Palace. Truly amazing. Climbing the various old towers in Tallinn was not something one gets to do every day."

Delette

Canby, OR

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, George, was fabulous. He was organized, knowledgeable about our cities and their histories, caring about our personal needs and funny! Every part of the tour was well thought out. The local tour guides were great, too. We especially appreciated the assistance with the Russian visas. Rick Steves' tours are the best!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"How can one choose?! The boat ride in St. Petersburg was at the end of a long day of touring filled with lots of historical information and tired feet from the cobblestone streets! The bubbly George served was festive, the weather was perfect and our new tour friends made for an amazing evening. It was "wow!" we are in St. Petersburg!! This is really happening!"

Jean

Priest River, ID

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

It was a great trip. Our guide Eszter was great-very enthusiastic and helpful. She went out of her way to make the trip enjoyable. It was wonderful to have local guides which enhanced the traveling experience. Being able to line up early and get into the Hermitage was a bonus. With so many things to do and see,it was nice to have planned excursions in order to get the most out of the time in the cities where we were. We also lucked out with having nice,sunny weather.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The relationship of Estonia,Finland and Russia was intriguing. Seeing Tallinn as an established medieval city ,a prosperous port absorbed by Russia and then freeing itself and go on to be such a tech-savvy place was incredible. Helsinki-Finland- a land of small villages taken over by Sweden but becoming a well-planned city developed by Russia;the similarities with the city of St. Petersburg;Estonia and Finland with similar languages but Finland still with Swedish on everything;amazing!"

Elisabeth

Alamo, CA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Interesting and informative and well paced.

Dorothy

Aurora, IL

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always the tour was great! The tour buddies were as expected--easy going and friendly. Tallin was our favorite--hands down. What a sleeper--and my WOW moment!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tallin"

Sandra

Albany, CA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fantastic!! Only wish it could have been longer, especially St. Petersburg. Esther was an excellent guide and made every effort to accommodate us. She was most informative. We enjoyed the trip and our fellow travelers. Also, the accommodations were most comfortable and the hosts very gracious.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walk through St. Petersburg and not having to wait in line at the Hermitage. Also, Saturday afternoon at Peter the great's summer palace."

Gayle

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Yahoo it was wonderful!! Our Guide Esther was a delight - knowledgeable, enthusiastic and ever willing to answer questions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Esther took us over to an island out of Helsinki and "let us roam free." The lilacs were in bloom and it was peaceful - that was nice, but my Favorite part of the trip was walking in St. Petersburg! Such incredible history and happenings took place there! The boat ride on the Neva River was special too. Ester made every day an adventure!"

John

Priest River, ID

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was perfect.5 stars as to every aspect except the dinner in Helsinki which was 4 stars.Esther was a superb guide in every respect-great sense of humor,energetic,and great at adult supervision of our group.Ditto with the local guides,hotels,and optional side trips. I was impressed with each of the hotels with regard to staff,cleanliness,great showers(very important with the unseasonably warm weather)comfortable beds and-each day-excellent breakfast layouts.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"a tie between the optional KGB tour in Talinn and and Esther's optional St Petersburg subway tour.either or both should be part of the scheduled tour."

Kristi

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Eszther and the local guides knowledge of the cities, culture, and history was outstanding. We liked their personal stories. Pace of the tour left time for independent sight seeing. Hotels were centrally located which was handy. Local hotel staff very helpful.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We had not anticipated the elegance of St. Petersburg. We were charmed by the canals, the Hermitage Museum, the summer palace, and Peterhof. The stop at Siege of Petersburg was very worthwhile."

Catherine

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't really have a favorite "wow" moment on this tour. But I did enjoy Tallinn and Helsinki and St. Petersburg. I'm glad that I toured this region."

Joan

Harbor City, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an outstanding tour. I truly enjoyed the medieval town of Tallinn. I am glad this City was included in the tour as I probably would have overlooked this gem. Helsinki was delightful and was well layered out - easy to tour the sites. St. Petersburg was magnificent - an art lovers delight. I was pleasantly surprised that the Orthodox Churches were being restored. We were pleasantly surprised to be able to enjoy the City's anniversary celebration -great music.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Touring the lovely medieval sites in Tallinn, the art was magnificent. But the boat ride was spectacular - seeing the palaces jutting to the river banks. The war memorial commemorating the siege of Leningrad was especially touching. The heroism and sacrifice of the Russians was amazing,"

Robert

Berea, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I felt privileged to get such an education in such a short period of time. Exposure to many truly significant sites and a new appreciation for the richness of the Baltic area and countries.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sometimes ostentatious, ornate, and gold-covered to the point of absurdity, yet St. Petersburg is an architectural gem that even Walt Disney couldn't have dreamed up."

Ann

Lafayette, LA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

With Rick Steves as my European travel expert since acquiring his Rick Steves' Paris 2000, no doubt this RS tour would be fantastic! Vivacious and friendly Etelka, our guide, worked tirelessly to lead our flawless journey. Our expert city guides provided depth of knowledge and insight. Great hotels with such convenient locations. Extremely well planned itinerary. Friendly and inclusive fellow travelers.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son, the Hermitage. The mosaics of Church on Spilled Blood. City Day celebration in beautiful St. Petersburg's Palace Square. What a stunning night with a huge international crowd enjoying celebrated stars of Russian opera. Incidentally, our hotel was just a quick walk to Palace Square. But, more than a "wow" moment, an affirmation that a smile and exchange of pleasantries will transcend any cultural or language barrier."

Coralie

Ashland, OR

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

have never taken an organized tour before but had heard good reports from a friend and felt that this area of the world that we had never visited would be better done with a tour.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Old town Tallinn was a real highlight. The late sunsets and early sun rises were more surprising than we had imagines."

Susan

White Rock, BC

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I don't think it could have been better. We did luck out with the weather which was unusually warm and dry at the time we were in all three locations. Our guide Etelka was wonderful. Her energy and enthusiasm is "infectious." She had everything well planned in advance for us all. The soccer world cup preparations were in full swing in St Petersburg and the celebrations for St. Petersburg's 315th birthday were amazing with world class opera singers performing for free outside The Hermitage.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the 315th birthday celebrations were the wow (which was fortunate timing) but all other aspects of the tour were amazing."

Carol

Friendswood, TX

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Overall it was a good trip. I expected more special, back-door moments. The Ireland trip last year set the bar very high. This was more of an"ehh" trip. We don't spend enough time in the Baltics to call it a Baltic trip. The whole point was to go to Russia. Add the other Baltic countries or make two different trips 1. Baltics and 2 Russia. As it was, we chose to tour the Baltics on our own for a week.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Staying in the Hermitage for the full day and getting lost in the beauty of the exhibits. We also had a blast working with the locals in the Hermitage who only spoke Russian trying to obtain directions to our favorite artists. Everyone was smiling."

Laura

Berea, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Pace was just right, the places we saw were well-chosen. It was good to tour with our group, or guide, and the guides chosen for local places.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Yes, there was a lot of gold, but what I liked the best was seeing parents taking their children to the park (and elsewhere). It was clear that, as here, children are valued and enjoyed. It was a beautiful common ground to share with people I don't know and whose language I cannot understand."

Marshall

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

It was better than expected, but still a "tour", which I still do not find attractive.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think it was hanging with Eszter, who had such a great sense of humor."

Brenda

Keller, TX

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful. Enjoyed the tour guide and fellow travelers. Just the right amount of free time. Could have never packed all the activities into an independent trip.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Hermitage and subway in St Petersburg, Loved how laid back Tallinn was, good starting point for tour."

Pamela

Oconomowoc, WI

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We were very fortunate to have Eszter as our guide. She was extremely knowledgeable about the Baltic area and had energy and enthusiasm that never quit. Our local guides were also extremely knowledgeable and had excellent English skills. We had been apprehensive about traveling to Russia, but St. Petersburg was the high point of our Baltic tour. Seeing the palaces and experiencing the art, ballet and culture of Czarist Russian was an unforgettable experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Attending the ballet at the Mariinsky Theater"

Melinda

Waxhaw, NC

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We saw innumerable amazing & breath-taking sights in all the palaces & churches we visited, just what I was hoping to see. The pace seemed fast for me, but it was probably due to age; I should have done this trip 15 yrs. ago.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"At the Katherine Palace, I looked up to see the walls & ceiling covered with fabulous designs mostly in gold. Just had to say "Wow!". Had never seen anything like that in person, only in pictures in books & there's just no comparison. Seeing the Before & After pictures of what the palace looked like after the Nazi's bombing & now was really amazing. What dedication it took the artisans! And the fabulous grounds & beautiful fountains at Peterhof. Gorgeous, very impressive & photogenic."

Dave

Holland, MI

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our tour guide, Eszter, did a fantastic job. Her positive, upbeat personality and her constant smile made everyone in our group feel a part of our adventure together. She took care of details before the rest of us had even thought of those concerns. This was our first Rick Steves' Tour, but it definitely won't be our last!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"We looked forward to our visit to the Hermitage and our early arranged entry and tour was fantastic!"

Carol

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time. Would have wished for one more day in Helsinki. Did not feel we got much of a chance to explore the city and it seemed to have a lot to offer. We thought the war memorial in St. Petersburg was a waste of time. It did not provide any real history and everything was in Russian. It really is just a memorial and doesn't offer any education. Big disappointment. Add a subway tour instead!

Nancy

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Loved seeing three different cities in the Baltic region - each very different. The guides - Etelka and all six of the local city guides - were wonderful: engaging, well informed, interesting individuals who brought the cities to life. All of the hotels were comfortable and very central to the sites we were visiting. The tour was well paced and accurately described as moderate/strenuous. We did LOTS of walking!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"As a child of the Cold War, it was exciting just crossing the Finnish border into Russia and seeing St.Petersburg, a city I have read so much about."

Wendimarie

Houston, TX

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed Etelka and our local guides in each of the cities. The historical informtion and geographical importance of the region was enlightening and aids in a better understanding of today's geopolitical environment. We loved the art, architecture, and people. We enjoyed the Russian alphabet lesson on the train. It was very helpful in St. Petersburg. A great group of people on the tour and everyone was punctual.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"See above."

Faye

Kiel, WI

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As always Rick Steve's tours are fabulous! I am seventy years old and have done five tours with Rick Steve's expert guides. I have never been worried about traveling alone on these tours. As a traveler, I have always felt comfortable with the information shared with us to venture off on my own. This last tour was especially challenging being as we were in St. Petersburg, Russia. No worries for me. It was a beautiful, clean, safe city to explore. Everyone was given a very precise orientation.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"All the tour guides were excellent and explained all the history of each country in a meaningful way. Each destination was superb! I particularly liked the bike tour in Estonia. It was lovely and very educational. Again, age doesn't matter; don't miss out, attempt new things! The guide never left anyone behind! Estonian's are very considerate and friendly."

Ramona

Breaux Bridge, LA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful! Each country visited was unique!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Too many to mention. However, Estonia's "Old Town", the historic Town Hall Square, merchant houses, the "Upper Town, The onion domed Russian Cathedral, Parliament Building and the Museum of Occupation. Helsinki was truly a remarkable city with its Neoclassical and Art Nouveau Streets. St. Petersburg Russia was absolutely an eye opener, The Hermitage, Catherine's Palace, and the Museum of Defense & Seige of Leningrad and Monument to the Heroic Defenders, Nevsky Prospect and so much more!"

Faye

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Etelka made the trip. Her never-ending smile,and her grace and energy contributed to our all feeling welcome. I celebrated a special birthday on the tour, and I enjoyed the special recognition from Etelka and the Hotel Pushka Inn.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Sitting in the Chapel of Silence in Helsinki. The tour included magnificent churches in all 3 countries, but this chapel was the most spiritual and restful."

David

Portland, OR

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was a fabulous tour with a very fun and energetic guide, Etelka. All of the local guides were extremely knowledgeable and added so much interesting history to the tour. One option in Tallinn that I would recommend skipping is the KGB Museum. It really was nothing more than a visit to the hotel where the KGB once operated. I would also recommend extending your trip to include Moscow. It is a fabulous city and we enjoyed the high-speed Sapsan train ride there from St. Petersburg.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the top of the tallest building in Tallinn to enjoy a drink as the sun set on a beautiful evening. We watched the ferry plying its way between Tallinn and Helsinki across the Gulf of Finland to the north and the landscape to the east toward eastern Estonia and Russia. Awesome!"

Laura

Oakland, CA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour very much but suggest the last tour date be a lighter schedule as people are tired

Kitty

New York, NY

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Terrific introduction to Tallin, Helsinki, & St. Petersburg. Our guide, Etalka, was very knowledgeable & helpful. All details were covered in perfectly organized fashion (like all RS tours that I have attended). The tour time flew by and I would recommend this trip to anyone who inquires. One caveat: the Russian Visa process is expensive & time-consuming. Not the fault of Rick Steves.The agency used to facilitate this required process is excellent. Still, a demanding pre-trip committment.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The exploding purse in the KGB Spy Museum... Actually, I would not recommend this "museum" tour. It's contrived & an old space that should be rehabbed into an upscale terraced cocktail lounge. Felt like I walked into a deceased relative's living quarters. But, the Hermitage is another story. Outstanding!! Definitely the trip highlight for me. I could've spent all day there, though the crowds started to become prohibitive by early afternoon."

Shayne

Chicago, IL

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

One of the best tours I've ever taken. Etelka was the perfect guide. Warm and friendly without being overbearing. She was very knowledgeable about each country we visited and so enthusiastic about all things Russian you couldn't help be excited!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Crossing the border from Finland to Russia! Having grown up in the Cold War era I'd always wondered about life behind the Iron Curtain and was not disappointed. Russia is a huge country and we only saw a very tiny portion, but that has peeked my interest and I now want to see more."

Katie

Kingston, WA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved this tour! Our group had a delightful, upbeat guide with Etelka, who spoke fluent English and Russian. She introduced us to four additional guides while we were in Russia, who were all equally well-informed of their particular subject matters. Our hotels in Tallin and St. Petersburg were outstanding. I would highly recommend this trip!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Loved the Hermitage and the beautiful architecture overall of St. Petersburg. Like one of the guide's said "St. Petersburg is one big, museum!" He is right."

Christine

Victoria, BC

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I totally enjoyed the different experiences in each of the cities we visited. Helsinki was the surprise! I thought it would just be another modern city BUT I was really wrong. A wonderful upbeat city, and such interesting places we visited.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I have really thought about this "wow" moment- was it in Tallinn when I realized that people my age, and younger, had right in this area demanded democracy- or was it when I finally saw the Hermitage, which has been a lifelong dream! NOPE My actual real "wow" moment was when I walked into "the Church in the Rock" in Helsinki This "Church in the Rock" was architectually and atmospherically special!"

Roger

Kingston, WA

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first time being on a group tour. It is a different way to travel for sure. You are automatically associated with quite a large number of people (27) who you have never met and with whom you have a close relationship over the course of the trip. Having said that, overall, my wife and I found most of the people interesting, enthusiastic, and good sports getting along with everyone. The best part of the trip we're the terrific and well-informed guides!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Without a doubt it was visiting Russia and being able to experience the treasure of St. Petersburg!"

Alice

Harvest, AL

Tour: 09/04/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Each of the three cities in the tour - Tallinn, Helsinki, and St. Petersburg were very interesting and different. Our tour group size was larger than past Rick Steves tours we took, but it was a good group that got along quite well. Our tour guide - Etelka - did a great job.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg - amazing from the outside, but the mosaics on the inside just blew me away!"

Sean

Chicago, IL

Tour: 07/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first group tour. Enjoyed sharing the experience with others more than I anticipated. George and Kevin were both great.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Realizing how cosmopolitan and large Saint Petersburg is. I did not expect the city to have that much to offer."

Ronald

Norwood, NY

Tour: 07/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My fourth Rick Steves tour -- and ready for the fifth one! As usual, a pleasant and eclectic banquet of places, persons, and things. Good traveling companions. Superior tour guide and local guides. Great food. Clean and centrally-located hotels, with friendly staffs, great breakfasts, quiet, and the opposite of hotels that tower over you.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My "wow" moment: arriving by high-speed train from Finland and walking out the "Finland Station" at St. Petersburg - into Russia. As an undergrad eons ago, I took several Russian/Soviet history, politics, geography, literature, and other courses [INVALID] and read "To the Finland Station" [INVALID] of Lenin's "strange" trip from Switzerland to Russia and the ensuing events of 1917. "To the Finland Station" is a cry no longer heard in Russia;it's sad that the country suffered so severely between 1917 and 1989."

Colleen

Fort Myers, FL

Tour: 07/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George and Kevin were very helpful and the local guides were knowledgeable and very interesting. The other tour participants were great. All in all, a wonderful trip!!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"On our own, watching pilgrims waiting 7 hours in line in the rain at Alexander Nevsky monastery to see the bones of St Nicholas and talking with two such " pilgrims' the next day."

Sue

Elk Mound, WI

Tour: 07/17/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

George was FANTASTIC! This was our 5th RS tour, and we have loved all our guides, but I can honestly say HE WAS THE BEST! I believe I learned more about other cultures and myself on this trip. Kevin was on our tour as well, and he did a fantastic job making it easy and fun for everyone. It was the most demanding tour physically...partly due to no bus time, and the amount of city time. The accommodations were perfect as usual. The people on the trip were fantastic, as always. No problems!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Physically it was The Church of the Spilled Blood. Culturally it was the Russian border patrol boarding our train as we left Finland. Personally, it was when I asked for additional ice in Moscow and the waitress turned to me and said, NO. Moscow should definitely be included in this trip! It was the perfect ending piece to everything we had learned starting in Tallinn"

Jeanne

Center Lovell, ME

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Three distinctively different cities made for a great trip. I came home with research to do to understand what I had seen. Tallinn was a delightful surprise with so much intimacy and charm. Helsinki had the buzz. St. Petersburg was majestic and complicated. Our tour group had more veteran travelers than I have ever met before. Many had spent years of independent adventures in addition to 5 or 6 Rick tours. Everyone was inquisitive and took full advantage of the experienced guides.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Catherine's summer palace with its opulent interior spaces was breathtaking. The quality of the restoration, where it has occurred, just made the contrast to the derelict palaces all the more striking throughout the city."

Gregory

Prescott, AZ

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed having part of the tour structured and part unstructured. Eszter always had alternative suggestions for our optional time and could manage to give us tips on our adventures if she was going in a different direction with other people. We were able to have some sense of independence, still have enough guidance to not get in too much trouble.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I am not a fan of "single best" hits. I feel like it diminishes the rest. This trip has great variety of cultures and histories that blend and contrast. The history of the region portrays the conflicts from Peter the Great times to WW2 and beyond. You could really miss a lot by ignoring the past. Thanks for making sure we saw things that would become more important to us when we returned to our libraries."

Sherry

Cedar Rapids, IA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

Curious about Tallinn and Helsinki and traveling to each city. Surprised St Petersburg is a cosmopolitan city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Catherine I palace especially the Amber Room. Architecture of Churches: Church on the Rock, Spilled blood and Cathedral Peter and Paul."

John

Cedar Rapids, IA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

St. Petersburg outweighs the other two cities given its history and the extensive number of places to visit. Tallinn and Helsinki were 'too many old buildings that began to blend together'. After a while, seeing essentially the same style of church or palace got old.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Amber room at Catherine's Palace was my 'Wow' moment. The second two would be the combination of the Church of Peter and Paul plus the Spilled Blood Cathedral. On our own we did the Faberge Museum and it deserves formal inclusion."

Lisa

Winter Park, FL

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Another wonderful surprise. Visited some places I had no real interest in, but know we will have a blast because if Rick Stece'smdormula- the other tourists, the main guide, the local guide and the mix of activities.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Leningrad monument to the people who were trapped in what is now St. Petersburg. The statues of worker and the poignant music were otherworldly."

Thomas

Newberry, FL

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Esther as the tour guide was all over every need with attention and enthusiasm. Always smiling and always helpful as well as a wealth of knowledge. She made the difference and reflected the Rick Steves philosophy of value and camaraderie from the start to the finish. first trip for us will not be the last. We have traveled for decades with another couple and our best friends and although apprehensive of the herd mentality all agree that this was special. Great local guides and memorable experien

Cynthia

Plainview, NY

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The RS itinerary was well thought out. All ran smoothly and maximized our time in each city.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The extraordinary opulence of the Hermitage."

Janis

Indio, CA

Tour: 06/26/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our guide was outstanding! She went out of her way to make our trip memorable, arranging tickets, meals, and watching out for our safety.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Saint Petersburg was a wow!"

Bill

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Overall the tour was good. It was the 3rd Rick Steves trip I've been on in Europe.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Experiencing the Rock Cathedral in Helsinki was a "wow"!"

Midge

Fort Worth, TX

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Overall, this was one of the top tours I have taken, and I have traveled to 43 countries, so I know a great tour when I take one!! The people at the Pushka Hotel were very accommodating and helpful. I would stay there again.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were just too many of these moments to select just one."

Kenneth

Louisville, KY

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We knew than the destination would be great but challenging for some who did not speak the language. George and the local guides did a fantastic job in making our language limitation not a limitation to seeing/enjoying all the locations visited. GREAT TRIP.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Singing in Estonia. After returning home I saw a video of Freddie Murcury singing The same song in Butapest."

Theresa

Seattle, WA

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our 5th Rick Steve's Tour. As usual, the other participants were friendly and fun to tour with. Even though it rained half of the days of our tour, we did everything as scheduled. Although we had lots of rain, it wasn't cold, and I actually prefer some rainy days to having hot weather. The visits to Tallin and Helsinki were fine but the jewel of the trip was to St. Petersburg. Our 4 days there were packed with interesting experiences.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Summer Palace. I've never been to Versailles, but I imagine it would compare favorably."

Florence

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Wonderful tour! I would never have gone to these cities if not on this tour. What an education about a part of the world I didn't know that much about. I feel more connected to the people there I think partly because our guides loved their city/country and it's people and passed that on to us. It also was just a fun trip - great people, excellent food, wonderful sites. I could have easily spent another day in Tallinn and Helsinki and a week in St Petersburg.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage! From the first amazing moment of walking in to the originals that I'd only seen pictures of. I especially liked Rembrandt's The Prodigal Son."

Sandra

Renton, WA

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A Sibelius concert in Finland which I stumbled across on my own! To hear Sibelius played by Finnish musicians in Finland was very special. The other "wow" was was "Church in the Rock.""

Jackson

Spring, TX

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The highlight for me was Russia. I have been studying the language and enjoyed trying it out. I also liked Helsinki better than I expected. What a bustling, exciting city! I enjoyed our walking tours with the local guides, and I think we spent the right amount of time in the museums - long enough to see them, but not long enough to get bored. My main criticism is that the pace was too slow. I previously went on Rick Steves' Best of Europe in 21 Days, and it felt like we did more each day.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite site that we visited was Peterhof. It was actually an optional part of the tour, but I had such a great time walking through the palace gardens. However, the absolute best part wasn't a major attraction at all, but our walking tour of St. Petersburg with our local guide, Peter. He gave us the most realistic and honest view of Russia, both the good and the bad. I enjoyed his story about trying to get his driver's license without paying a bribe!"

Neil

Lebanon, TN

Tour: 06/05/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The overall tour experience was wonderful. At our meeting the first night of the tour we met other members of the tour and our guide and received an overview of the upcoming tour. We knew at that time where we would be each day and what activities were scheduled which was very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the "church on spilled blood" in St. Petersburg, and realizing that the frescoes are all done in mosaic, that and so many more sites in all three Countries that we visited. The expert guides and the information that we received from them gave us such an insight into the history in each Country."

Susan

Lynden, WA

Tour: 05/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful trip. Both my husband and I felt this was one of the most informative trips that we have ever taken. Everything went very smoothly from start to finish and the members of our tour were great - lots of fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Although there were many wow moments related to beautiful architecture and art, etc. perhaps the most memorable moment was when our local guide in Estonia spoke about the importance of NATO to them. As Americans we aren't really touched by NATO but it is very important to security of these small countries."

Pam

Jewett, TX

Tour: 05/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

As usual, this was a great RS tour. Eszter, our guide, was informative, fun and resourceful. I very much enjoyed having Mary from the home office along to assist. Visiting these countries was such an amazing cultural experience. Part of the fun is interacting with fellow travelers. These tour members were all seasoned travelers so there were opportunities to hear of their other travel destinations, too.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first realization that I was actually in Russia caught me with a "wow." That happened as we entered St Petersburg, and a city bus passed our bus with advertisements on it that I could not decipher at all. Of course, the sights were amazing--the grandeur of The Hermitage and Peterhof, in particular."

Jeanne

Madison, WI

Tour: 05/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Words are inadequate to express my overall positive experience. Although my friends and I have used Rick Steves books as guides for previous travel, this was our first experience with an actual tour. It was great from start to finish - very well organized and efficient. The local guides, hotels, restaurants for group dinners were excellent. How fascinating to see this part of the world. Description of each day's activity level was accurate. It is NOT overstated.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Metro in St. Petersburg! Don't miss the chance to see this amazing site. Our guide offered to take whomever was interested on a subway ride to see various stops during our free time. I'm so very glad I went. Almost more jaw dropping than the opulence of the churches and palaces."

Jane

Madison, WI

Tour: 05/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I have previously traveled in Europe with friends and we have devised and organized our own travel plans. This tour is my first one organized by someone else. It was a joy from beginning to end. The selections you made for hotels and restaurants were superb, convenient and locally authentic. The itinerary met most of my wish list sights and a local guide with each tour event was an added bonus.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Certainly the Hermitage and Catherine's Palace did not disappoint on the glitz and opulence scale, but the visit to the Siege Monument has also remained clearly in my mind. It was a very moving look at the horrors of World War Two in Leningrad. The exhibits and very brief film were haunting. Where I cannot say this was a wow moment, is a very different part of SP's history that should not be forgotten. The Museum was tastefully appointed and the statuary at the entrance was very poignant."

Pat

Sunnyside, WA

Tour: 05/29/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time and would recommend this tour (and any other Rick Steve's tour) to everyone.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"OMG! There were so many "wows". The whole trip was just so exciting. I was thrilled to visit Estonia and Finland as well as St. Petersburg. Both Tallin and Helsinki were interesting and fun. The Hermitage was almost overwhelming, but wonderful - the rooms were beyond belief and the art was - well - what can I say? Peterhof was amazing. I was definitely wowed by all the gold. I think learning that Peter the Great had central heating and indoor plumbing was pretty amazing."

Martin

Elk Grove, CA

Tour: 05/29/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This tour is focused on St Petersburg, and justifiably so. It does an excellent job of providing an overview of that city and the complex society in which it exists. Nevertheless, I feel that it slides through Tallinn and Helsinki a bit too quickly. Both are fascinating cities and both exist in separate, complex cultures.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Two: The tour of selected metro stations in St Petersburg; and, of course, Le Hermitage. Note that the former was not formally on the tour, but was added by Eszter in response to popular demand. We raced through the latter in half a day; enough time for a single day, to be sure, but a return visit could have easily been justified."

William

Irvine, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

We enjoyed this tour very much.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the rehearsal of the St. Petersburg City celebration at the Hermitage Plaza on Saturday 27 May."

Phyllis

St Louis, MO

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first Rick Steve's tour, and we will do it again and recommend it to others. We have made many trips to Europe on our own, using a Rick Steve's book for research. The difference with a tour is fewer decisions to make, better meal choices, fun people to travel with, and the chance to pick the brain of o ur tour guide and local guides to learn more about the culture and lifestyle.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I didn't expect the canals and the number of huge "palaces" which went on for block after block."

Anne-marie

Denver, CO

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I loved the trip. St. Petersburg was truly incredible and not at all like I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Summer Palace outside Pushkin was my wow moment. Like a little Versailles."

Hannelore

Grand Terrace, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first RS tour, and I was very impressed with the flawless organization. The tour guide went out of her way to make sure everyone was taken care of, and the local guides were very knowledgeable. Accommodations were of a high standard and very conveniently located

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Probably Peterhof was the most awe-inspiring place, and after viewing the post-war photographs, I was most impressed by the tremendous effort that was put into restoration, true to its original state."

Meg

Western Springs, IL

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was our first tour, so didn't know what to expect. I was very pleased with the tour including the hotels and forms of transport while on the tour, but very impressed and pleased with our guide Etelka, who really made the tour for us. Also, both the size of the group and the individuals themselves made it such a pleasant, informative and overall terrific experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Have to choose just 1??? Loved the public sauna along the Baltic in Helsinki and the ballet at the Marinski Theatre in St. Petersburg, but probably the town of Tallinn, Estonia more than exceeded any expectations. Loved the walkability, people we met, and especially all the history. I would not have gone to Tallinn except for this tour and so glad that I did."

Richard

Charlottesville, VA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Loved Estonia. Hotel and people and food very, very good. Helsinki was pretty boring. The place we went on the island with houses was almost closed by the time we arrived. No one to show us anything and pretty much a waste of time. Restaurant we went as a group was fair to poor...too hard to buy a glass of wine and no selection. Saint Petersburg was great. We had good local guides and saw amazing things. This is what I went for and I was very happy about what I saw and experienced.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage..."

Kathy

Charlottesville, VA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tour was great, participants were easy going, interesting, and exactly what you would expect of a Rick Steve's group. Local guides, especially Margit in Tallinn, and Timofea and Peter in St. Petersburg were outstanding. Lots of walking on this trip, and my bad for just bringing hiking shoes and not running shoes (for an additional few days of hiking unrelated to this trip).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"This was not part of the tour, but on a tour day in Helsinki, which happened to be a holiday and everything was closed, there was a state funeral for ex-president Mauno Koivisto with some public seats. A tour participant and I stood in line (the only way to get into Nicholas Cathedral) and amazingly got in, and heard lovely choirs, orchestras, solos, most playing Sibelius, and practiced saying the Lords Prayer and singing Nearer my God to Thee in Finnish. Eulogy by the President of Finland."

Lu Anne

Atlanta, GA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was a Russian major at Georgetown University and studied at Leningrad State University in 1970. I have been anticipating returning ever since, a true "bucket list" dream. I was fortunate to have my daughter accompany me on the trip. We have previously made numerous RS trips together as a family. It was wonderful to get back.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Re-entering Leningrad which is of course now St. Petersburg and seeing buildings painted in pastel colors, gilding back on statues, fountains operating, churches cleaned up and open, flowers in the parks and in window boxes, cars other than Ladas on the streets, thriving businesses and shops, and no lines for shoes or bread or beets! It was as if a magic wand had passed over the city brightening and restoring its beauty."

Melody

Grand Terrace, CA

Tour: 05/22/17

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The fountains and the park at Peterhof were spectacular. I loved walking around in the huge park."

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.

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 your online customer account. About one month prior to the tour departure, in your customer account you'll find the directions to your first tour hotel and a complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Flights

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

Most tour members arrange to fly into Tallinn and out of St. Petersburg ("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.