• 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 $3,095 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

2018

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 I 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
  • Rick Steves Travel Store credit to use toward guidebooks for your trip
  • 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 2018
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer, or cancel/interrupt your tour

Fine print: You are responsible for the cost of your drinks, 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 (Catherine) Park and equally Russian Rusalka Monument. We'll also visit the famous Song Festival stage where Estonia's peaceful "singing revolution" began back in 1987. Then we'll hop aboard a streamlined ferry to cross the Gulf of Finland. In a couple of hours we'll arrive in Helsinki — one of Europe's wealthiest, fastest-growing cities. Upon arrival we'll 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's Palace and WWII Leningrad

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

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."

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."

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!"

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!"

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!"

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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

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."

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."

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"

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."

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."

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

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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.""

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."

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"!"

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

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."

Robert

Seattle, WA

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I haven't done a Rick Steves tour in years. I'm happy to see that the experience and quality are as I remember. This was another great tour. It was a little bit on the larger size with 29 travelers, but we made up for it by having a great group of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Peterhoff and Catherine Palaces in Saint Petersburg are grand showcases."

Claire

Port Orchard, WA

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I enjoyed the trip. It was well organized and had a variety of interesting places on the itinerary. I learned a lot about each of the places that we visited. The group size (30) was larger than I expected and I think it would have been better to have a smaller number of people.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many "wow" moments of art and architecture on the tour including the Hermitage, Summer Palace and Church of the Rock as a few examples. However the biggest "wow" for me was learning about the Singing Revolution in Estonia and the courage and patriotism of the Estonian people as they ended Soviet occupation."

Jane

Port Orchard, WA

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I cannot give high enough praise to our guides, especially Esther. I thought that the number of people in the group was too many. It would have been easier and better with fewer., the accommodations were very nice, nicer than I expected.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The hermitage!"

Mike

Laie, HI

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

By its very nature, tour involved a lot of activities and short stays. So, although, in general, almost all the activities were interesting (and many outstanding), I got pretty tired especially by the last day or so. In general, the guides were very good to outstanding and made the trip well worthwhile. In general, other tour participants were very interesting and friendly. So, I got a lot out of those interactions.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Going to the opera in S t Petersburg. Also, the energy and sites in Tallinn."

Anne

Crozet, VA

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I really enjoyed the ease of getting to St. Petersburg and the assistance provided both before and during the tour to meet entry requirements. Tallinn was an undiscovered gem! Such a lovely little city! As always, your tour guide Eszter put everyone at ease quickly and shepherded us through the logistics of traveling by ferry and train and undergoing multiple security checks. She did all of that with a lovely smile, a wonderful sense of humore, and a cheerful "can do" attitude. Superb!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The whole trip was delightful! I guess I will say that number one is the utter awesomeness of the Hermitage! Number two might be seeing Swan Lake at the Hermitage Theater (an add-on, not a scheduled part of the tour.) The sheer extravaganze of the golden statues and fountains at Peterhof defies description. The boat ride on the Neva was pretty awesome as well. While it seems that all the "wow" moments were in Russia, medieval Tallinn wins my vote for the most charming place to be on this tour."

DeeAnne

Fairmont, MN

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I was very pleased with the tour. Our guide was able to rearrange days and times of events when at the last minute she discovered a pre-arranged trip was not available. We may have missed Petershof had it not been for her extra work. I learned so much about the history of each place we visited which brought much more meaning to the reason I was there. The rating guide for the difficulty of the tour is truthful and not to be taken lightly. I was exhausted each day but was fairly warned!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"When I discovered the incredibly tiny tiles that made up the mosaics in "The Church of the Spilled Blood" I know I said "unbelievable" out loud which probably translates into "Wow"."

Terry

Port Orchard, WA

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

THE ENTIRE TOUR WAS WONDERFUL. I REALLY DID NOT KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT. TALLINN OLD TOWN WAS FANTASTIC. COULD EASILY SPEND A WEEK THERE. HELSINKI WAS QUITE A CONTRAST WITH ITS MODERN STRUCTURES. ST PETERSBURG WAS EVEN MORE GRAND THAN I WOULD HAVE EVER EXPECTED. THE PEOPLE IN OUR GROUP SEEMED TO ALL ENJOY EVERY PART OF THE TOUR. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO COMPLAINING OR NEGATIVE COMMENTS. A LOT MORE WALKING THAN I THOUGHT, BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY WAY TO SEE AS MUCH AS WE DID.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"ST PETERSBURG!!!!!! I COULD NOT EVEN IMAGINE THE SPLENDOR, MAGNIFICENCE OR OPULENCE OF THE CITY.. A TRUE SHOWPLACE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE. BUT, IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE HOW THE NOBILITY COULD SPEND SO MUCH MONEY ON PALACES, STATUES, CHURCHES, AND STRUCTURES WHEN THE POPULACE WAS SO POOR. PHOTOS CANNOT CONVEY WHAT YOU REALLY SEE IN PERSON!! THE SPLENDOR OF THE HERMITAGE WITH ITS VAST ART COLLECTIONS IS UNBELIEVABLE. WE SAW ONLY A FRACTION OF WHAT IS THERE. WHAT A CITY!!!!"

Glenn

Kailua, HI

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Our trip leader was terrific! Eszter is very knowledgeable. My only complaint is that the tour is listed for 9 days, when it is really only 7.5 days. We meet at 5 pm for the first day and everyone is gone on the 9th day. It should be longer. We seemed to be rushing a lot. I'm not sure I'd go back to Russia. The local guides were great, but the thought of being pick-pocketed and mugged was not appealing, though I understand the legalistics of warning everyone, but not fun.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I liked Finland a lot, and I liked Tallinn. Actually my "wow" moment was before the tour when I met with my cousins in Ylivieska, Finland prior to the tour."

Ginny

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 09/05/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Though we've traveled a lot on our own, this was our first Tour With Others. The Rick Steves tour to Tallin, Helsinki and St. Petersburg turned out to be a fine choice. We especially enjoyed meeting the other participants, sharing the experience, and having a wonderfully competent guide to show the way!

Janet

Broomfield, CO

Tour: 08/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

What a well-designed trip! The 3 cities were so different that it kept me excited and interested. Lots of variety of activities; just right amount of free time; mornings inside, then outdoors. Great scenery. Guide (Etelka) was terrific, as I have come to know about RS's tours. Local guides very well qualified and interesting.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Quartet singing at Catherine the Greats out building; view of the Church of Spilled Blood at dusk. Beautiful!"

Susan

Oakland, CA

Tour: 08/08/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Tallinn was crowded with tourists (I guess from cruise ships) while we were there, a disappointment. But it was still very worth seeing. Helsinki was delightful and I particularly enjoyed dipping into their modern design tradition. The Hermitage in St. Petersburg was also overrun with tourists, so the experience there was pretty compromised. The other sights were more accessible thank goodness. Russian culture and history were more of a challenge for me, but I'm glad to have experienced them.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Realizing the scale of Peter the Great's ambition and his ability to act on it. Whoa!"

William

Alameda, CA

Tour: 08/08/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I signed up for the tour because of St. Petersburg, but I really liked Tallinn and Helsinki too. Our guide was very enthusiastic and helpful. Seeing where the singing revolution took place in Estonia was cool

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing the Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, both outside and inside."

Kathi

Dallas, TX

Tour: 08/08/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Truly enjoyed the uniqueness of each location. Very different historical pasts and futures, different mindsets, different climates, and different global outlooks.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many....of course. I loved the forest tour in Helsinki and the ferry ride. I am a huge fan of open markets, so all those were fantastic. And you can't beat the Church of Spilled Blood or the Hermitage"

Bonnie

San Francisco, CA

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Rick Steves tours are fun, informative and educational. The tour covers many areas of history, art, culture and architecture. It is also an excellent introduction to three countries and to meet people from other parts of the U.S. I lost five pounds from all the walking.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The extreme contrast between the excessive gilt and lavishness of the palaces and churches to the severe suffering and deaths from the Siege of Leningrad. Freedom is precious and not to be taken lightly. I enjoyed all the different modes of transportation: a ferry shuttle to Helsinki, the train ride to St. Petersburg, the hydrofoil to Peterhof and the canal boat ride to the farewell dinner."

Steve

Ontario, CA

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a great time on this tour. George and all the local guides did a great job and all are very knowledgeable about their respective cities (George with his overall knowledge). We enjoyed meeting new friends (along with traveling with our good friends), and while some were new to the Rick Steves tours, all had good comments about how things were done. I highly recommend this tour, even though short, so full of history, art, architecture and great food!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"So many, hard to have a favorite. St. Petersburg - Hermitage and General Staff building with all of the art / Peterhof with the beautiful grounds (we only did the gardens), oh, and walking along the river with a Soviet nuclear sub anchored across from the Hermitage! Tallinn - love the old town, enjoyed climbing the steps of St. Olaf's church for a great view of the city."

Sandi

Ontario, CA

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Thoroughly enjoyed this tour and the glimpse we had into the history and culture of three different countries. We loved the medieval charm of Talinn and the breathtaking grandeur of St. Petersburg the most.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The first glimpse of the Church on Spilled Blood was a wow moment for me. It embodied the grandeur of St. Petersburg and when we turned the corner and had a view of it, it filled us with amazement that we were actually in Russia!"

Patricia

Highland Park, IL

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my first Rick Steves tour and I was very pleased. It was a great experience. There was a nice mix of activities and things went at a good pace. The tour group worked well together. All the logistical elements when smoothly, even the additional days we added on at the end of the tour. The in-country guides each had their own presence and provided interesting lenses through which to understand their country.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The most powerful experience of the tour was the Leningrad Siege Museum. It was well-done, combined memorial elements with information about the past,and created an entry into a different place, time, and condition."

Bonnie

Menasha, WI

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

This was my first tour with Rick Steves'. I will probably take another tour with this organization. However, the pace was slower than I would have liked. I understand the group can only move as fast as the slowest person, but personally it was a bit slow for me. The locations of all three hotels was phenomenal! This was the very best aspect for me!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"My favorite moment was listening to Peter in St. Petersburg! He was absolutely amazing!!! I could've, wish I would've, spent an entire day with him."

Mario

Broomfield, CO

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour planning and attention to detail was excellent. There was nothing I could have added to enhance the experience. The guide, George, was on top of everything, kept a positive and often humorous attitude, and was very approachable for questions. Overall this tour exceeded my expectations.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many but St. Petersburg is such a stunning city that almost everywhere you looked was an attention-getter. I guess the sight of The Church of the Spilled Blood and the Amber Room at Catherine's Palace will remain with me for some time."

Kenneth

Menasha, WI

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

The location and quality of the hotels was first. Our tour director and ease of getting around was also very nice.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Our last tour neighborhood tour in St. Petersburg, the quality of the local tour guide and insights into living in Russia today."

Carol

Kent, WA

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We had a wonderful time in all three cities. The locations we visited were fascinating and the pacing was perfect. I enjoyed learning about an area of the world so rich in history.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The spectacular city of St. Petersburg! (My husband and I especially enjoyed our early morning walks around the city, before the crowds arrived.) Another "wow" moment was spending an afternoon at Peterhof and seeing all of the beautiful fountains. I also enjoyed sharing this experience with thousands of Russian families... what a great place to "people-watch"!"

Eric

Highland Park, IL

Tour: 07/18/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Excellent. Tour guide George was very good, as were the local guides. The sites, the weather, hotels, food were wonderful. Thanks for a great experience.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Walking down the Esplanade in Helsinki in the evening. Siege of Leningrad site was also memorable."

Jenny

Palo Alto, CA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Our main guide, Etalka, was WONDERFUL: informative, thoughtful, caring. Our local guides were also excellent; each was an expert on his/her particular place, and the history of that locale. The group was congenial, and the places we visited were well-chosen.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg."

Thomas

Alexandria, VA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

I enjoyed the tour and would advise anyone with an interest in the area to take it.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I can't say that there was a "wow" moment that compared to those in Greece or Turkey. But, I thought the Church on the Spilled Blood was amazing and The Hermitage was stunning (despite the crowds)."

Cynthia

Columbus, OH

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was one of my best Rick Steves' tours ever. What made it outstanding was from the basics up, meaning that the hotel locations were excellent, the city guides were fabulous, and Etelka was outstanding. As much as I prepared in advance for this trip by reading the Rick Steves' guidebook, I was unprepared for my St. Petersburg experience, meaning that you can look at a picture of Church on Spilled Blood, but to see it in person is jaw-dropping.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It is difficult to chose which moment was the "wow" moment because every day had that moment, especially in St. Petersburg. How can you chose from the Hermitage, Peterhof, the Amber Room at Catherine's Palace, Church on Spilled Blood or the Siege Memorial."

Deborah

Lacey, WA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We are not "tour people," but decided to join this tour because it seemed navigating the various sights in St Petersburg would be too much of a challenge on our own, and we'd heard good things from friends about this tour. Overall, we enjoyed it very much. We liked all our fellow tour participants, and Etelka was outstanding -- I'm sure she worked nonstop to make everything go smoothly, while keeping up friendliness, information, and good spirits.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"A sort of personal one: my main motivation in coming to St Petersburg was to try to find locations associated with my great-great-grandparents who met here while he was supervising a major engineering project. The guide on our last day, Peter, was able to find the location of the factory, which I'd been unable to locate: a thrill."

James

Lacey, WA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I learned a lot about the politics and national relationships between the three countries we visited, also the architecture. We were extremely well cared for by our travelling companion Idelko, who was amazing. Our group was compatible and we all got along well.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I think the Siege of Leningrad where I could imagine the capacity for suffering of the Russian people."

Jeff

Broken Arrow, OK

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Excellent tour, the guides we well informed and personable. Hotels were very nice and in great locations

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The St petersburg walk with Peter was fantastic. A great insight into russian life"

Angela

Sacramento, CA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

The tour was educational, interesting and fun. There were 22 of us, as well as our wonderful guide, Etelka. She was responsible to, and, for all of us, as well as a lot of fun. I liked her buddy system to keep tract of each other. A true free spirit, and I was impressed that she spoke English and Russian, as well as her native Hungarian. I also liked that we had local guides to show us around in each country. they were all knowledgeable, being natives, as well as interesting. Great time!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"I especially liked our first dinner in St. Petersburg. There was entertainment and dancing, and Hal and I got up and danced. Later, Etelka jointed in. Good food and music and dance. One of the guys got up and performed on demand."

Hal

Carmichael, CA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Had a great time. All of the cities were interesting, and I have a deeper feeling for the people in Tallin, Helsinki and St. Petersberg. The tour also broadened my sense of history, how people have lived, and what people have lived through.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's hard to pick one moment because so much was of interest. Our first dinner in St. Petersberg was quite good and the local musicians and singer made it great fun."

Lori

Kirkland, WA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Driving on the bus into St. Petersburg for the first time. It was so much bigger and more beautiful than I had imagined."

Ellen

Vancouver, WA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

I appreciated that the tour included both wonderfully led group tours with local guides as well as time on our own. I enjoyed all of the places we were taken to and the suggestions that we were given of places to see and things to consider doing on our own. I felt the hotels we stayed at were perfect (places I'd stay at in the future if I ever go back on my own).

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Honestly, there were many things I loved about the tour. There was a lot of knowledge shared that I truly appreciated. I also enjoyed all of the people I was on the tour with."

Catherine

Columbus, OH

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was my 12th RS tour. Obviously I am a fan. It's always a wonderful treat to visit countries for the first time - and I got 3 firsts in one trip. This trip met the high standards that RS sets for his tours - exceptional guides, both Etelka and our local guides, an interesting group of fellow travelers, and a wonderful combination of planned activities and down time for personal exploration. The only somewhat downside was having to share the sites with large crowds.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It's always hard to come up with one "wow" moment. I'm going to give you 3 favorites, one from each country. Tallinn - learning that native Estonians living on the land could not own real estate until the 1920's!! Helsinki - enjoying the wonderful Finnish architecture on our walking tour, Saarinen's railroad station, in particular. And a free afternoon in the Design Museum. St. Petersberg - sharing Peterhof's beautiful fountains and gardens with Russian families."

Christine

Bainbridge Island, WA

Tour: 06/27/16

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

This tour was very interesting but not exactly relaxing. I think extending the time by two days, and giving the extra time to St. P. would really help. St. P just has too much to offer to only give it 4 days. We sometimes spent 30 minutes walking to a cathedral and only had 10 minutes inside. If its not possible to extend the total time, I'd suggest dropping Helsinki and giving the time to St. P.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The optional folk dance performance was great. Also the folk music performance the second evening after dinner was delightful."

David

Belmont, NH

Tour: 05/23/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Have been waiting to take this tour for years, the price and timing worked out for us and it was our time to go. Once again another outstanding tour which we've come to expect with R.S. It was our 7th ETBD tour and it was good to have Etelka once again as our escort and of course she didn't disappoint us only continue to amaze us with her knowledge and wonderful personality. She reminds me of the Energizer Bunny, and the other tour members were just as excited about her.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The night we arrived in Saint Petersburg they were having a free concert in Palace Square to celebrate the 313th birthday of Saint Petersburg/Leningrad. The stage was set up on the main entrance to the palace,what a backdrop. We bumped into Etelka and began to work our way to the front. They had a large orchestra, tenors and opera stars singing all the favorites along with dancers from the Marinsky. Who would of thought I'd ever be singing happy birthday,elbow to elbow with thousands of Russians"

Catherine

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 05/23/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

We have very much enjoyed our previous trips with Rick Steves Tours to Eastern Europe and Turkey and the knowledge we have gained about the two world wars and how these parts of the world were affected by them. This trip to the Balkans brought us further insites of these historical events and their effect on the Europe. We also enjoyed connecting more dots concerning the more ancient histories of this part of the world. We also enjoyed the architecture of these old European societies.

Favorite "WOW" moment

"1.) the young peoples' concert in the Church In The Rock in Helsinki. 2.) The Kirov Ballet performing "Mid-summer's Night's Dream" in the Marinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. 3.) The Bolshoi Ballet performing "Ivan The Terrible" in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow."

Mary

Durango, CO

Tour: 05/23/16

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

My first tour! I was very pleased with the itinerary, group, dynamics, information. Especially enjoyed the local guides in each city. Loved not having to worry about whether I had booked the right hotel, or what the hours were for sites, or of a how to find a museum. Great group interaction, but also appreciated the free time to explore/dine on our own. Just the right amount of structure - it still felt like an adventure but without the nail-biting parts!

Favorite "WOW" moment

"St. Petersburg. I am a fan of Tsarist Russia so loved having history come alive when first seeing the Winter Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, so many other sites."

Weather

Estonia / Tallinn

Estonia Weather


Finland / Helsinki

Finland Weather


Russia / St. Petersburg

Russia Weather

Pre-Tour Planning

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

Trip Resources

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

Visa Required Before You Go

If you are a US or Canadian citizen you need a tourist visa to enter Russia. About three months prior to your tour departure, we will email important information explaining how to obtain your visa. It usually takes 7–21 business days for the entire process to be completed and the current price (subject to change) is about $300 USD. Please note that you cannot apply for your Russian visa earlier than 90 days prior to the date you enter Russia. Holders of passports from any country other than the US are responsible for obtaining all necessary travel documents prior to joining the tour. 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. About one month prior to the tour departure, we'll email you directions on how to get from the airport to your first tour hotel, as well as the complete list of hotels where we'll be staying while on tour.

Transportation

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

There is more than one way to get to and from your tour. 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, ferry ride, or additional overnight stay.

If you decide to fly round-trip to Helsinki, you can then 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.

If you wish to visit Moscow after the tour, see our advice for that in our St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki FAQ.

If you have additional European travel or tour questions, contact the Tour Department at 425-608-4217 or email tour@ricksteves.com.

Sightseeing on Your Own

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

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

If you wish to see a ballet performance in St. Petersburg, please see the information on that in our St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki FAQ.

Packing

In the spring and summer, you may find that the longer days affect your sleep. We recommend that you bring a sleep mask and earplugs for easier sleeping.

For more advice on what (and what not!) to pack, see Rick's packing tips.

Special packing note: We use an audioguide system for many of our sightseeing and museum tours. If you wear a hearing aid, we strongly recommend bringing headphones that go over your ears to allow you to fully enjoy these tours.