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queen_disa Jul 14th, 2011 02:38 PM

anyone done Stockholm/Helsinki/St Petersburg?
Has anyone done these three cities in the one trip? I think it would be awesome to visit those places. I have never been to either Scandinavia or Russia, and would love to go! I would be going from London.

Gwendolynn Jul 14th, 2011 03:09 PM

A long time ago we did this trip. Took overnite ferry to Helsinki from Stockholm.. flew from Helsinki to St Petersburg. I didn't find Helsinki nearly as interesting as the other two.
I think you can also take a train from Helsinki to St. P.

DebitNM Jul 14th, 2011 04:23 PM

We were in Stockholm this past April. We really enjoyed ourselves and there was lots to see and do.

nytraveler Jul 14th, 2011 05:55 PM

Have been to all 3 but not on the same trip. Helsinki was somewhat disappointing - but I think most cities would be in comparison with the other two. And the time of year you go makes a big difference. Winters are long and hard - you definitely want to do this in summer.

Stockholm is a fascinating city - esp at midsummer - but definitely bring lots of cash - nothing is cheap. St pet is even more fascinating - and although there are things to be had at bargains we found that to have hotels and restaurants that we enjoyed we needed to spend a significant amount. But seeing the history, visiting the palaces and churches - was incredible.

nytraveler Jul 14th, 2011 05:57 PM

Sorry - cat hit post.'

We did Stockholm in August once - when hotel price are lowest - few business travelers and most locals on vacation in Spain or the countryside. We got a fantastic deal on the Grand Hotel - which has views to die for.

fmpden Jul 14th, 2011 07:27 PM

You know that you need a visa for Russia and it is expensive..

kja Jul 14th, 2011 07:33 PM

Been to all 3, loved all 3!

Unless you have particular interests that dictate otherwise, you'll probably want to spend the least time in Helsinki and the most in St. Petersburg. As nytraveler says, summer is far better than winter for these locations and all three are expensive, but IMO, worth visiting.

queen_disa Jul 15th, 2011 02:14 AM

Thanks everyone, for your ideas. I might give Helsinki a miss, based on your replies. Budgeting isn't such an issue for this trip, I'm thankful to say: obviously I don't want to throw money away, but I am not on a tight budget. So visas and such aren't an issue.

fmpden Jul 15th, 2011 07:04 AM

A Russian visa can be a big issue. Start working in it now.

DebitNM Jul 15th, 2011 07:11 AM

I meant to add that we did Copenhagen, Oslo, the fjord of western Norway along with Gothenburg and Stockholm. It was an amazing trip.

queen_disa Jul 15th, 2011 07:46 AM

I believe that the rules now state that if you visit Russia for under 7 working days, you no longer need to register your Visa, which makes life a lot easier.

Odin Jul 15th, 2011 08:07 AM

Why does it make life easier? All you do is give your passport and Russian visa to the hotel to register and then they give it back once they've registered it. I can understand it could be cheaper, if the hotel charges for the registration.

I think Helsinki is an interesting contrast to Stockholm & St Pete and travelling only from London makes it easy. Also you can take a ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki which is really nice.

queen_disa Jul 15th, 2011 08:21 AM

Ah, I didn't realise that the hotel would take care of it. I looked at a website which made it all look more complicated than that, it said something about 'sponosring' (even for a tourist Visa). I don't think the Visa itself is more than around &100-£150. I'm not planning to go until summer '12 anyway, so there's no rush.

I would definitely like a ferry trip , that sounds grand!

spaarne Jul 15th, 2011 03:23 PM

I've made the ferry trip between Stockholm and Helsinki a few times. The Silja Symphony and her twin sister Silja Serenade are magnificent. The overnight ferry will be one of the highlights of your trip. Stockholm is definitely better than Helsinki. I haven't been to St. Pete because of the visa issue. The Russians are still paranoid.

GeoffHamer Jul 15th, 2011 04:22 PM

St Peter Line has ships from Stockholm and Helsinki to St Petersburg. The visa rules have been relaxed for visits to St Petersburg of up 72 hours. It seems you have to book a sightseeing programme in advance.

Ryan Jul 15th, 2011 04:40 PM

I did all three as part of a 12 night Baltic Cruise. I might suggest you look into adding Tallinn, Estonia onto any planned itinerary.

If going to St Petersburg, a guide is a must. We used DenRus, others prefer Alla or Red October. All are similar, for us it came down to who was most able to tailor our itinerary in the timeframe we had.

If wanting to get a taste of the region, a cruise is a great way to go. We are not big cruise fans but we thought Celebrity was outstanding.

kja Jul 15th, 2011 04:42 PM

I agree with Odin - Helsinki is an interesting contrast to Stockholm and St Petersburg. If you have time to visit all 3, it is well worth a day or two.

nytraveler Jul 15th, 2011 05:29 PM

I would not do a guided tour of St Pet - unless you are off a cruis ship and have only parts of 1 or 2 days. We did independently (the second time - the first time a tour was the only choice) and it;s much more fun to explore on your own. Just make sure you hotel has a central location so you can walk to a lot. And decide to take taxis, which are cheap. (public transit is cheap and fairly easy but tends to be very crowded - if I want to be sardined to death I'll stick to the Broadway local - where at least people have dry cleaners.)

Odin Jul 16th, 2011 12:08 AM

>>it said something about 'sponosring' (even for a tourist Visa). <<

I think you may be confusing the actual visa application vs the registration of the visa once you arrive in Russia. The quote from the website was most likely a reference to the documents that you need to support your visa application, yes even for a tourist visa. The hotel can supply this.

A guided tour of St Pete is not necessary at all, as others have said as long as your hotel is around Nevsky Prospect vicinity you can walk.

queen_disa Jul 16th, 2011 04:47 AM

I think you may be confusing the actual visa application vs the registration of the visa once you arrive in Russia. The quote from the website was most likely a reference to the documents that you need to support your visa application, yes even for a tourist visa. The hotel can supply this.

Ah, I get in now. Thank you! So does that mean that when you book the hotel, you have to ask them to do this? I guess you have to book the hotel far in advance. What a carry on! I wonder what the Russians will do for the 2018 World Cup. I bet anything they'll have to modify their rules further, it seems crazy to need a visa for such a short trip.

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