Baltics + St. Petersburg, 3 wks, how?

Apr 26th, 2007, 10:00 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 22
Baltics + St. Petersburg, 3 wks, how?

hi, we are planning a 3 wk trip, starting Berlin, along the Baltics to St. Petersburg, this summer. If you have been there or live in the region, we would love to get your advice on the following:

1. Travel Route, via what transportation?

2. Highlights along the Baltics, must see and experience? (we are in our 30s, enjoy nature, culture, dine, wein)

3. Any festivals, concerts: July 26-Aug 20?

5. any possibilities to arrange for a local homestay? how?

4. We can take a car with us fr Berlin, does it make sense to do so for this route? if so, what transportation to take (Ferry one way, drive the other)?

Thank you.
LGGB is offline  
Apr 26th, 2007, 10:08 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 895
Have you considered a cruise? There are lots of good deals about and the price includes transportation, accommodation, food and often drinks. You just pay for what trips you take at ports and have no hassle with travelling, luggage, etc. You can have a week in a city at the start or end of your cruise also.
kaneda is offline  
May 11th, 2007, 07:12 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 309
I was there last March and April, although I did your trip in reverse. Flew into St. Petersburg and bussed through Estonia, ending in Latvia. My favorite towns were Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia. Both ancient and modern at the same time. Jurmala (Oceanside) outside Riga is lovely too. St. Petersburg was pretty dirty and depressing in comparison to the Baltic towns, but a lot of that had to do with the fact that it was winter, and everything was covered with road salt and snow that was black from road dirt. Have a great trip!
Dottee is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 04:17 AM
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Posts: 367
I have done a similar trip, but with an organized tour. We started out in St. Petersburg, went through the Baltics and ended in Moscow. Transportation was a bus from St. Petersburg through Minsk, then overnight train to Moscow. Our trip was 3 weeks. Here was our itinerary:

1 - Depart St. Petersburg on overnight flight
2 - Arrive St. Petersburg
3 - St. Petersburg
4 - St. Petersburg
5 - St. Petersburg
6 - Depart St. Petersburg to Tallin
7 - Tallin
8 - Depart Tallin to Riga
9 - Riga
10- Riga
11 - Riga to Jurmala
12 - Jurmala
13 - Jurmala to Vilnius
14 - Vilnius
15 - Vilnius to Minsk
16 - Minsk
17 - Minsk by overnight train to Moscow
18 - Arrive Moscow
19 - Moscow
20 - Moscow
21 - Depart Moscow

Sorry, doesn't answer the transportation part of the question when doing this on your own. Without doing any research myself (not even a map), I would think that you would need to take a train from Berlin to your first Baltic stop and then perhaps use a rental car from there.

If you haven't seen Moscow, then I would add it to the list if you can fit it in. If you were to do my itinerary in reverse and needed to remove one of those stops in order to see Moscow, I'd remove Minsk over all others. To me, Minsk didn't offer much that we didn't already see elsewhere. And I remember it as kind of a gray city - bland and boring.
mrkindallas is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 10:00 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 89
For info on homestays try http://www.homestayweb.com or
http://eeuroperussiatravel.suite101.com
http://www.waytorussia.net (also good on help with visa questions)

Russia requires visa registration, if with a organized tour it is usually done for you. If staying at a hotel on your own, the hotel will ask for your
passport and do it for you. If your staying in other than a hotel be sure to ask about visa registration. The Russian government agency OVIR, can be difficult to deal with by yourself. The last time they had my passport for 3 days.

Renting a car, if your planning on taking the car from one country to another check with the rental agency and be sure to tell them which countries, some will allow within the EU but not outside, its company specific. They also charge a fee for one-way (one country to another) rentals.

To travel in Russia by car or motorcycle you need (according to the Russian authorities):
your personal passport with valid Russian visa, original;
your driving licence, original, and an international driving permit - DP 1949 (in UK you can get it at selected Post Office branches for £5 in just 5 minutes) or by post through The Automible Association (AA); (in the USA, AAA for about $15). The IDP must be issued in the same country that issued your driving license.
the registration document on your car (a document that proves you are the owner of the car with all the information about the owner and registration - called "techpassport" or auto-passport in Russian), original;
third-party insurance valid in Russia (can be purchased at petrol stations just before the border or if you want to save money and time at the local office or affilliate of a Russian insurance company (such as Ingosstrakh, Rosno, etc.), for example, in Latvia it can be bought at most Parex Bank branches).
The standard price is about $40 for cars and $80 for campers and caravans.

None of these documents should be translated in Russian (except for your visa, insurance, and International driving permit that will be in Russian, anyway). Your visa does not need to have the information about your car, but it's recommended, so when you apply for your visa support, submit your car details as well.



Stormin280 is offline  
May 12th, 2007, 10:34 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 89
I would vote train, here is some info:
Almost all trains that go from Western and Eastern Europe, go through Warsaw, Poland.

For example, if your destination is St. Petersburg, you should take a train to Warsaw, then take a train from Warsaw to Kaunas, then take a train from Kaunas to Vilnius, and then take a train from Vilnius to St. Petersburg, the total price will be around $75 one way. If you take a direct train Warsaw - St. Petersburg, you'll go through Belorussia, it'll cost around $85 one way and you'll need a transit visa (+$30 at least).

The Route: GERMANY (Berlin) - POLAND (Warsaw) - LITHUANIA (Kaisiadorys) - LATVIA (Riga) - RUSSIA (Moscow or St. Petersburg)
Price: around 100 to 250 EUR one way 2nd class.
Total travel time (with changes): around 42-44 hours.
3 train changes.

Would not recommend less than 2nd class on any long haul trains.

Try these links for train info:
http://www.timetable.tsi.ru
http://www.trainline.ru
Stormin280 is offline  
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