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

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

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

from $3,195 per person + air

Optional Single Supplement $575

See Tour Dates

Discover a formerly forbidden corner of Europe, where a blend of east and west has created a region unlike any other. Your Rick Steves guide will get you started with the cozy squares and inspiring independence of Estonia's capital of Tallinn. Then you'll travel by ferry across the Gulf of Finland to the Art Nouveau ambience and high-tech prosperity of Helsinki. From there, it's a mere train ride to the elegant, treasure-packed city of St. Petersburg and its magnificent Hermitage. Join us for the Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki in 9 Days!

Dates & Prices

2020

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 • Suomenlinna Fortress • Lutheran Cathedral • St. Petersburg panoramic bus tour • Peter and Paul Cathedral • Church on Spilled Blood • Hermitage Museum • Catherine Palace • Siege Museum • Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad • St. Isaac's Cathedral • St. Petersburg walking tour…and more
  • All group transportation from Tallinn to St. Petersburg
  • 8 nights' accommodations in memorable, centrally located hotels
  • All breakfasts and half your dinners
  • All tips for guides and driver
  • A tour kit including a guidebook (or books) and a moneybelt
  • Guaranteed tour price, locked in the moment you make your deposit
  • Optional single supplements — this tour has a limited number of private rooms for solo travelers for an additional fee
  • Tour alum discount of $50 for each tour you've taken prior to 2020
  • 50% discount on a consulting appointment with our in-house experts to assist with your pre- or post-tour travel plans
  • Flexibility should you need to transfer or cancel your tour

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

Itinerary

Daily Activity Key
  • Light = 2–4 miles of mostly level walking throughout the day.
  • Moderate = 2–6 miles walking throughout the day with some hills and stairs.
  • Strenuous = 2–8 miles of walking throughout the day with lots of hills, stairs, and uneven terrain.

Day 1: Welcome to Tallinn

Our hotel is in the charming Old Town of Estonia's capital city, just a short walk from the historic Town Hall Square (Raekoja plats). We'll meet at the hotel at 5 p.m. for a "Welcome to Tallinn" get-together, a short orientation, and dinner. Sleep in Tallinn (2 nights). No bus. Walking: light.

Day 2: Historic Tallinn

Our morning begins with a walking tour of Tallinn's Old Town — a marvelous mix of Swedish and Germanic influences from the Reformation and Middle Ages. Starting with the Old Town's narrow streets and whimsically decorated merchant houses, we'll walk up Toompea Hill to the Upper Town. There we'll learn about the Estonians' struggle for independence as we see the onion-domed Russian Cathedral, Parliament Building, and the fascinating Museum of Occupation. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore Tallinn's inviting streets, squares, cafés, shops, and museums. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 3: Over the Baltic Sea

This morning we'll take a bus outside Tallinn's walls to Peter the Great's ornate Kadriorg Park and equally Russian Rusalka Monument. We'll also visit the famous Song Festival stage where Estonia's peaceful "singing revolution" began back in 1987. Then we'll hop aboard a streamlined ferry to cross the Gulf of Finland. In a couple of hours we'll arrive in Helsinki — one of Europe's wealthiest, fastest-growing cities. Upon arrival we'll enjoy a panoramic bus tour of Helsinki, including a visit to the imaginative Sibelius Monument, the wonderfully furnished Seurasaari Open-Air Folk Museum, and the awe-inspiring "Church in the Rock." After an orientation to this surprisingly young capital, we'll end our day with dinner together. Sleep in Helsinki (2 nights). Boat: 2 hours. Bus: 3 hours. Walking: moderate.

Day 4: Helsinki's Old Town

We'll begin our day with a walking tour of Helsinki's relatively young (mid-1800s) "Old Town" — a tidy tangle of Neoclassical and Art Nouveau streets. Starting on the busy Market Square, we'll see the unusually Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, the contrastingly stark Lutheran Cathedral, the seriously Art Nouveau train station and the pedestrian-friendly Esplanade. 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. Boat: ½ hour. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 5: All Aboard to Russia

This morning we'll catch the train to St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Russia, and enjoy lunch together on board before arriving in the early afternoon. We'll transfer to our bus for a rolling tour of St. Petersburg's bridge-and-canal-laced city center, stopping to visit the city's birthplace and resting place of the tsars: the golden-steepled Peter and Paul Cathedral. We'll end our tour at the colorfully ornate, mosaic-filled Church on Spilled Blood, built on the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated in 1881. Then we'll get settled in our centrally located hotel and enjoy dinner together. Sleep in St. Petersburg (4 nights). Train: 4 hours. Bus: 2 hours. Walking: light.

Day 6: The Hermitage

We'll spend the morning at the Tsars' Winter Palace, known today as one of the world's premier museums — the Hermitage. With over 2.5 million items on display, our four-hour guided tour will focus on the opulent rooms of the palace and the museum's must-see masterpieces by Leonardo, Rembrandt, Picasso, Chagall, and others. Your afternoon is free to relax, continue sightseeing on your own through the palace/museum's six buildings, take an excursion out to Peterhof by hydrofoil to view the palace's spectacular fountains, or catch some Russian ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre. No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 7: Catherine Palace and WWII Leningrad

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

Day 8: St. Petersburg's Sights

On a walking tour this morning, our local guide will help us gain a vivid understanding of Peter the Great's love for the town he created. We'll explore more of the remarkable buildings, streets, and old ethnic neighborhoods that make St. Petersburg unique, ending at the impressively domed St. Isaac's Cathedral. You'll have the remainder of the day free to wander along Nevsky Prospect (the Champs-Elysées of St. Petersburg) and the picturesque canals, or see more masterpieces at the Russian Museum. For our final dinner together, we'll sample dishes from the Republic of Georgia as we share travel memories and toast new friends. Nastrovia! No bus. Walking: strenuous.

Day 9: Tour Over After Breakfast

Breakfast is provided, but there are no group activities today. St. Petersburg's airport is easy to reach by taxi, while others may choose to continue along the Volga to Moscow. (Be sure to finalize your visa to match your full Russian itinerary, including any post-tour travels in Russia.) Dostveydanya!

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

Physical Demands

Our tours are physically active! It's an essential part of the Rick Steves tour experience. On our Best of St. Petersburg, Tallinn & Helsinki in 9 Days tour — among other things — you'll need to happily…

  1. Carry/roll your luggage over uneven pavement (possibly several blocks ) and up stairways to reach your hotel, then up several flights of stairs to reach your room.
  2. Be on your feet, walking, and standing for up to four hours, indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions.
  3. Sleep with street noise and no (or weak) air conditioning.
  4. After orientation and transportation lessons, be able to navigate towns and cities on your own.

Reviews

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."

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."

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."

Sharon

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Lake Oswego, OR

Tour: 08/26/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

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 :-)"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

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."

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."

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."

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."

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!"

Thomas

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Angela

Portland, OR

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Good.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Albert

Redondo Beach, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elyse

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Seeing The Hermitage from our hotel"

Kathleen

Loudon, NH

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peggy

San Pedro, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Saint Louis, MO

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Fabulous but strenuous.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barry

Los Angeles, CA

Tour: 06/24/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margaret

Mondovi, WI

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Mary Lois

Bee Cave, TX

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Michael

Bee Cave, TX

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Coe

Port Townsend, WA

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Mondovi, WI

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Steven

Juneau, AK

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jordan

Austin, TX

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joyce

Rio Verde, AZ

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"The Hermitage!"

Thomas

Lakewood Ranch, FL

Tour: 06/17/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kathleen

Bremerton, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

John

Eugene, OR

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tn

Vernon, NJ

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Morristown, NJ

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elizabeth

Springboro, OH

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sandra

Tacoma, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Benjamin

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Pamela

Silverdale, WA

Tour: 06/03/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joe

Fulshear, TX

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bruce

Anacortes, WA

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Brett

Dublin, OH

Tour: 05/27/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elizabeth

Richmond Hill, ON

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dennis

Wheaton, IL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Deborah

Bloomington, IL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Napa, CA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"There were many"

Diane

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dan

Stockbridge, GA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Amber room in Catherine palace"

Mary Ann

Bainbridge Is, WA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margaret

The Villages, FL

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Everything was awesome

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Al

Conyers, GA

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Jay

Richmond Hill, ON

Tour: 05/20/19

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Patricia

Canmore, AB

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

a really excellent experience!

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Wayland

West Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dian

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Anna

Minneapolis, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Melanie

Oshawa, ON

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ronald

Oshawa, ON

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peggy

Bow Mar, CO

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

This was an amazing trip

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Marinsky ballet. Amber room"

Mary

International Falls, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Patricia

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Paul

Woodinville, WA

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joy

Asheville, NC

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Donald

Asheville, NC

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Maureen

West Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Paul

Saint Paul, MN

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"It was all a wow moment"

Susan

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/13/19

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

David

Reading, MA

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Erna

North Newton, KS

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Nancy

Grand Rapids, MN

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Beverly

Stittsville, ON

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Birchwood, WI

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Denis

Stittsville, ON

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peter

Miami, FL

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Margaret

Franklin, TN

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Barbara

Woodbury, MN

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

North Newton, KS

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Constance

League City, TX

Tour: 09/03/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Celina, TX

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Therese

San Diego, CA

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Pamela

Hector, MN

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Richard

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elizabeth

Portland, OR

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Fallbrook, CA

Tour: 08/20/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ronald

Alma, AR

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Mason Neck, VA

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Thomas

Phoenix, AZ

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Stephanie

Elk River, MN

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Peggy

Arlington, VA

Tour: 08/06/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rich

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carrie

Chandler, AZ

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Maryann

Ellicott City, MD

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Cole

Cody, WY

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Bruce

Bend, OR

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Colette

Tallahassee, FL

Tour: 07/16/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Rosemarie

Nyack, NY

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Andrew

Irondale, AL

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Tim

Lithia, FL

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

James

Mill Valley, CA

Tour: 06/25/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

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

Althea

Avon, CO

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gary

Marriottsville, MD

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Great tour to new places for me.

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Minnetonka, MN

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kristin

Aurora, CO

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

Redmond, OR

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Mary

Washougal, WA

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Delette

Canby, OR

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Ellen

Pittsburgh, PA

Tour: 06/04/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"hard to say."

John

Priest River, ID

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Sandra

Albany, CA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Elisabeth

Alamo, CA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

Interesting and informative and well paced.

Jean

Priest River, ID

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Catherine

Kingwood, TX

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Kristi

Bellevue, WA

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Gayle

Anchorage, AK

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dorothy

Aurora, IL

Tour: 05/28/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Tallin"

Ann

Lafayette, LA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Carol

Friendswood, TX

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 3 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Susan

White Rock, BC

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Coralie

Ashland, OR

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Laura

Berea, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Robert

Berea, OH

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Joan

Harbor City, CA

Tour: 05/21/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Melinda

Waxhaw, NC

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Pamela

Oconomowoc, WI

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

"Attending the ballet at the Mariinsky Theater"

Carol

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

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."

Marshall

Portland, OR

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 4 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

Dave

Holland, MI

Tour: 05/14/18

Overall rating: rating 5 of 5

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

Favorite "WOW" moment

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

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!"

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!"

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."

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!"

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 online customer 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 customer 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.