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helsinki to st petersberg and back via tallinn

whatyadoinsucka

Holds PhD in Packing
 
Posts: 293
Joined: March 24th, 2007

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Tags: russia, st petersberg, helsinki, estonia, finland
  • Added on: November 24th, 2009
hello all

i've seen easyjet are doing very cheap flights to helsinki. £70 from the uk.
so i'm thinking is it worth having a few days in helsinki and then travelling to st petersberg by train (60 euro's) having 2 or 3 nights there and then getting the bus or train or ferry to tallin for a day or too with a ferry back to helsinki to fly home

i've been to tallinn before and loved the old town and 'hell hunt' bar, and would love to take my girlfriend there.

questions.

is st petersberg easy to get to, customs / visas what kind of hassle, how much is a uk citizen visa to russia, are the locals friendly, is it safe to walk around, and easy to get by with virtually no spoken russian, what kind of prices am i looking at for an ok hotel, ok food, but nothing fancy

has anyone done this trip did they enjoy it.. was it easy I've travelled alot in the past europe, south america, asia, morocco, eastern europe belgrade, montenegro, latvia, estonia, cheq rep etc and always enjoyed

cheers in advance

spaceone

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Thorn Tree Refugee
 
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Joined: October 27th, 2009

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  • Added on: November 24th, 2009
We did this trip 2 years ago in October and the weather was great. The train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg is just as easy as travelling anywhere in Europe where you have border crossing. When you cross into Russia the customs come on board and stamp your passport, a little later a money changer comes by and you can change some money, as you would need this if you want to buy something from the restaurant car and also for your train/taxi ride to the hotel. (it was about US$20 - since this was our first time in Russia and it was already dark we did not want to use the public transport). We stayed at a hostel close to Nevisky, so you can walk to the subway stations and just about anywhere else like The Hermitage, St Peters etc. For places outside like Catherine's Palace the subway is easy to travel on, the buses are easy and people are helpful. We took the bus back to Tallin, this again was easy as we had to take the subway to where the bus left from. The subway is easy to navigate, after a day you tend to recognize what a Russian word means in print. People were friendly.

Way to Russia can help you with visas etc. and a good site for lots of other info. Also check Seat 61 for train. Make sure you know the train schedule as to exact date and time you will cross the border and the same coming back on the bus. At the border you have to get off the bus, take your bag with you. Some not so good things you have to put up with. To get a visa you have to get an invitation letter, the hostel will provide this for a cost. When you arrive you have to get an exit which they check for when you leave Russia, this your hostel will tell you where to go. We did this the day after we arrive as you have to go in the morning to drop it off and pick it up in the evening. This is all well worth going to St. Petersburg as I think it is a really beautiful city, just make sure you allow lots of time for site seeing.

busman7

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Began Gap Year Trip Six Years Ago
 
Posts: 2026
Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: El Salvador

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  • Added on: November 25th, 2009
I used Real Russia for my train tickets & letter of invitation as they have an office in London where you can pick up tickets. Hotels are pricey but hostels cheap.

St Petersburg is clean & safe with the subway & trams easy to use, my cab driver when I got in late & didn't want to try public transit at midnight wanted payment in Euros.

Allow a minimum of 3 days & make sure to take a canal tour as it is as good Amsterdam.
"Being normal? Ugh. I can't imagine how awful that must be" unknown




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