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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

2022

What's Included

You'll get at least 22 group sightseeing events — at no extra cost!

Here's what you'll see and do on our St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki tour:

  • 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

Plus you'll get all this, too.

  • 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 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 (when available) 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 2022
  • 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

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."

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."

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

Sally

Woodbridge, CA

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg"

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 :-)"

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!"

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."

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"

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."

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"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.

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."

Kathryn

Olympia, WA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Seamless and very well organized

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Peterhof garden"

John

Olympia, WA

Tour: 07/15/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Seamless and beautifully organized.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Helsinki Library."

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."

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!"

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."

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.