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Starting Intinerary - Moscow-St. Petersburg-Helsinki-Stockholm

Starting Intinerary - Moscow-St. Petersburg-Helsinki-Stockholm

Old Apr 11th, 2002, 01:41 PM
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Starting Intinerary - Moscow-St. Petersburg-Helsinki-Stockholm

I'm just starting to plan a two-week vacation for 2003 and have sketched out the "dream" itinerary: fly into Moscow, then visit St. Petersburg, train to Helsinki, then cruise to Stockholm.

Right now, the plan is a minimum of 3 nights in each city with 2 nights to see smaller towns or to add to one of the 4 cities. I also planned one night for an overnight ferry to Stockholm and possibly a night train Moscow-St. Petersburg. I have two full weeks (15 nights maximum) and just want to check with experienced travelers to see if I'm trying to do/see too much. As plans progress, the itinerary will continue to be fine-tuned, but any preliminary advice is very appreciated.

I've also been contemplating a river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg, but only have located companies that mandate their add-ons in the 2 cities. Does anyone have experience of a cruise that only includes the river/villages portion?

Thank you for any assistance.
Old Apr 11th, 2002, 06:56 PM
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Hi Heather! All done planning the Turkey/Greece trip already?

If you haven't been over to Estonia, you might think about adding a day in Tallinn, it's one of the cities we hit on a cruise last year that we didn't have nearly enough time in. It looks like it's a short ferry ride (1 1/2 hours if I'm reading the timetables correctly) from Helsinki.

Out of the four cities you mention, I would probably allocate the least amount of time to Helsinki. We were there for a day and saw everything we wanted to see with the exception of Porvoo which is outside of Helsinki.

I think you can get a good feel for St. Petersburg in three full days. You might consider a guide for a day-in one day we saw St. Isaacs, Peterhof, Church of the Spilled Blood, Yusopov Palace and Strelna along with lunch with a Russian family and never really felt rushed although we would have liked to spend more time on the grounds at Peterhof. The guides sometimes have access to places or rooms that you don't on your own. And they can bypass lines-the one at the Hermitage was about 45 mintues and we saw pretty long lines at the other places as well.
Old Apr 11th, 2002, 07:14 PM
Marc David Miller
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There are some companies that have the Moscow-St Petersburg cruise without the city portions, but they generally cater to Russians--try www.bel.ru

Old Apr 12th, 2002, 07:25 AM
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Kris & Marc, thank you for your feedback. I'm going to check on the cruise site now.

Kris, I was going to email you, as I thought that this plan would hit many (most?) of the place you've been. Yep, my plans for Greece & Turkey in the Fall are pretty set other than changes that I might make once I'm there (staying longer in one place, ferry not running, etc.). I just thought that, given St. Petersburg's 300th celebration is around the time we're planning out visit next year, a year out probably isn't too much for planning (and to start saving $$$).

I was tossing around the idea of Tallinn, so will take your advice. From the great online brocures [http://www.hel.fi/tourism/html/engli...et/index.html], Helsinki looks very interesting. But 3 nights is too much?

I hope your plans are going well, too, Kris! I've been following along on your posts as your trip's progressing ... sounds fun.
Old Apr 12th, 2002, 09:26 AM
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You're so far ahead of me Heather. I haven't even finalized the destination for the fall trip. I've got most of Turkey nailed down but I'm hesitant to purchase the intercountry airfare until I'm sure of the details.

Hopefully you can find someone who really enjoyed Helsinki to give you a different perspective but I think 3 days would be too much for me. I think we hit all of the "must-sees" in one day. Maybe one day to explore Helsinki, one day for Porvoo?

You might allocate a little more time to Russia, if only for a cushion. Maybe someone else can help you with the reliability of transportation within the country, it was pretty bad on our first trip in 1989 but it probably has changed. We took a night train on our first visit and my husband still talks about how wonderfully romantic it was (what is it with men and trains?)

I think you will enjoy a day in Tallinn. We only had a 1/2 day and didn't really have much time to explore as we were having fun at the antique stores. There was a lot of old Soviet items-military pins, Lenin memorabilia, etc. that we enjoyed looking through.

Let me know if you have anything else I can help with.
Old Apr 12th, 2002, 11:22 AM
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Kris, thank you so much. This is really helpful information to keep in mind as I pore through the options. I remember some of your advice from our conversation, and appreciate the "nudges" in the right direction. And, using your comments, I'm going with my initial thoughts, which were to add some of the "spare" days to Russia.

Thanks, again!

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