Saint Petersburg/Finland/Estonia

Old Nov 17th, 2019, 10:54 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,087
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Saint Petersburg/Finland/Estonia

Hi, I'm looking into planning a trip for late May/ early June to St. Petersburg/Finland/Estonia. I'm waiting on the date of an event I need to plan around before I officially decide on dates, but the plan is to be in Saint Petersburg May 29-30th. It will be me and my 8 year old son. Perhaps my sister if she ever finds her passport. I am debating accommodations. Hotel/ airbnb? hostel? what areas of Saint Petersburg should we stay in? I don't mind staying out a bit and using public transportation but is that crazy? My 8 year old does not like to walk long distances even though he has more energy than anyone I know.

Then at some point we will go to Helsinki, and take the ferry to Tallin. I'd like to spend a few days at the beach/ lake/ on some type of water. Should I look in Finland or Estonia? Any cute towns that are relatively easy to get to?

Thanks!
williamscb13 is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2019, 11:48 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,968
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Somewhere close to Nevsky Prospect is a good area to stay, convenient to getting to the major sites. St Petersburg is a great city for walking, especially at the time of year you are going. You might save some money by staying out on Vasilievsky island, I've stayed at the Pribaltiskaya Hotel, it was fine.
Odin is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2019, 01:15 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 841
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Tallinn is by far and wide the cutest town in this region.
BDKR is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2019, 02:21 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,339
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We stayed in a youth hostel on the Nevsky Prospekt away from the downtown area. Only dorm rooms, my wife stayed with the girls and I with the boys. That was in 1995 when anything between hostel and high priced hotels was difficult to find if it even existed. Our visas were dependent on an identifiable accommodation, so I do not know how Airbnb would work. We used the metro to go downtown. From there we took the overnight train to Tallin and spent a day there before taking the ferry to Helsinki to catch a plane to Paris.

https://flic.kr/s/aHsjoVpwXX
Michael is offline  
Old Nov 17th, 2019, 02:30 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 841
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You may find this site useful for taking the train from Piter to Helsinki: https://rail.cc/en/blog/saint-peters...lsinki-allegro
BDKR is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 04:59 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 71
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No shortage of cheaper hotels/apart-hotels; no need to stay farther out than the Central district (unless you want to).
As a family of four we paid in the range of $60 to $100 a night this past summer (an okay and very centrally located 3* hotel and an apart-hotel two steps away from Nevsky, both booked via booking.com).
As long as you're within a walking distance from the metro, you're fine. Public transit system is very efficient there.

No visa-related problems as far as Airbnb goes - just get an online invite (priglasheniye/turistichesky voucher), like most everyone else.

Zelenogorsk (a town halfway between Spb and Vyborg), about an hour drive away, is a bit rundown, but charming resort-like area to get your seaside fix (even though the Baltics in May is rather far removed from the concept of beach vacation, in my opinion)

napoxoguk is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 06:57 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,554
Received 4 Likes on 4 Posts
You'll find that at that end of the Baltic there is no tide, just waves, so the beach is exactly where it is and stays there, a slightly odd experience for those who are used to living on a tidal sea. That whole area is also pretty flat so plenty of bogs, moors, little lakes (midges) and in some parts sauna.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 07:01 AM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,087
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by napoxoguk View Post


Zelenogorsk (a town halfway between Spb and Vyborg), about an hour drive away, is a bit rundown, but charming resort-like area to get your seaside fix (even though the Baltics in May is rather far removed from the concept of beach vacation, in my opinion)
Thanks for all the info. and I know Baltics in May is not the warmest, but my son will be happy to play in the sand for hours. We went to Northern California last fall and he was in and out of the freezing cold water and all the surfers had on wet suits and I had on a fleece sitting on the beach.

So we'll do a mix of activities to appeal to all of us and if it means sitting on a cold beach for a couple of hours, I'll do it.

Last edited by williamscb13; Nov 18th, 2019 at 07:27 AM.
williamscb13 is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 08:12 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 71
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
..it was in 1995 ...

https://flic.kr/s/aHsjoVpwXX
Wow, Michael - thank you so much for those photos! Very cool.
napoxoguk is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 09:02 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 71
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by williamscb13 View Post

...and if it means sitting on a cold beach for a couple of hours, I'll do it.
The shoreline at Peterhof will fit the bill Also, there's an area in front of the Peter and Paul fortress that the locals somewhat misleadingly refer to as "the beach".
napoxoguk is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 12:20 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,339
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There is a beach:

Michael is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 02:28 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 71
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, that's the one I was talking about
Compared to 1995, you'll probably find a little fewer Speedos and bleached denim outfits, bit out hasn't changed much otherwise.
napoxoguk is offline  
Old Nov 18th, 2019, 08:43 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,339
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BDKR View Post
Tallinn is by far and wide the cutest town in this region.
When wandering around the town, don't forget to look up.

Michael is offline  
Old Nov 19th, 2019, 03:37 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,071
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know what the weather will be like in late May, but while in Helsinki, you might want to visit Suomenlinna Island. If you buy a day ticket for traveling around Helsinki itself, this will also cover the ferry to Suomenlinna.
https://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/
https://www.hsl.fi/en/tickets/day-tickets

You might also enjoy walking around the nearby island of Vallisaari.
https://www.myhelsinki.fi/en/see-and...aari-and-lonna

Many visitors also make day trips to Porvoo (I ran short on time for this). You can get there by boat or bus.
https://www.visitfinland.com/article/summertown-porvoo/

In Helsinki itself, you'll probably want to see Market Square (Kauppatori) and Old Market Hall (this is also where the ferries leave for Sumomenlinna and Vallisaari), Uspensky Cathedral, Senate Square with Helsinki Cathedral, and Esplanadi Park (there are some nice shops across from the park). These are all within walking distance of one another. If you'd like to see Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church), you'll have to hop on a tram. Helsinki also has nice museums (not sure if your 8-year-old will enjoy them). He might enjoy the Sky Wheel, which is on the waterfront near Market Square.
https://www.stromma.com/en-fi/helsin...heel-helsinki/
Diamantina is offline  
Old Nov 19th, 2019, 05:24 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 126
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh my, what a wonderful trip... we always go there by cruise. Unfortunately, that means not so much time to spend in the cities. I loved Tallin, such a charming place and I am sure that on a beautiful spring day it would even look magical. Just go there and get lost in the small cobblestone streets. We had a local guide talking about the city, That really made Tallinn come alive for us. St Petersburg is a whole other level. So much to see! Maybe your son would love to paint his own nesting dolls? When we were putting the private tour together, Katharina from Anastasia travel, made the suggestion to go and see the Faberge museum. Just WOW...
Our next Baltic tour is in de planning stages, would love to hear your Finland experience if you are able to go there!
JessicaBr is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2019, 07:54 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 48
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
May/June is a great time to travel to the Baltic, especially St.Petersburg since it's not yet crowded from all the cruise ship passengers. The best area to stay would be somewhere on Nevsky Prospekt, since everything is either walking distance or not a long train/subway/bus rides to the main attractions.
Beaches, as previous posters mentioned, may not be the best idea for the weather, and we never visited any, but we had a boat canal tour with Anastasia Travel and that was a lot of fun. For your son, going on the hydrofoil or painting Matryoshka dolls may turn out to be an interesting activity.
I would definitely visit Tallinn if I were you, especially the Old Town. Helsinki seemed like a very nice city, we were able to get on the HOHO buses and see most of the city highlights.
Bring warm clothes and rain jackets, just in case.
katepcoss is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2019, 12:10 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,087
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Anyone have any opinion as to whether it is easier to make Helsinki home base and fly in and out of there? or do an open loop fly into Tallin, ferry to Helsinki, then Saint Petersburg?

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll check out the areas outside of Helsinki. And yes, the hydrofoil trip is definitely on the list, along with possibly painting the Matryoshka dolls and probably a night tour of raising the bridges.
williamscb13 is offline  
Old Nov 20th, 2019, 03:43 PM
  #18  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 23,014
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'd be looking for open jaw -- into one location and out of another.
And I certainly wouldn't use Helsinki as a home base for Saint Petersburg -- I felt rushed there with only 5 full days!
kja is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2019, 06:24 AM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,087
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kja View Post
I'd be looking for open jaw -- into one location and out of another.
And I certainly wouldn't use Helsinki as a home base for Saint Petersburg -- I felt rushed there with only 5 full days!
I did not mean that we would stay in Helsinki and do a day trip or even an overnight to Saint Petersburg. I'm just debating logistics of flying into one airport and doing a huge circle or open jaw. I really just need to play around with flights and dates.
williamscb13 is offline  
Old Nov 21st, 2019, 07:38 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,339
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Acircle makes as muchsense as open jaw; it depends on convenience and/or cost if the latter is an issue for you. Cost would include a stay in Helsinki on both ends of the trip.
Michael is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information