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I did not see this kind of topic here, perhaps those of you who are coming to Finland and other Baltic States want to get some advise in advance. If you need any info you can send a private message to me or ask here. Please don't wait a prompt reply. If you are in a hurry please contact your local travel agency, booking central or air plane company in order to get answers fast. I can give you here some tips how to see more and save some euros during your visit in "The Baltic Quattro". |
Here is my first tip. If you are planning to spend more than three days for your trip, please consider the possibility to visit these four cities at least: Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn and Riga. All those cities are very quickly reached from Helsinki. Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga are all European Union cities. One visa for EU is enough. And then the big news: From Helsinki it is possible to take Ferry to St Petersburg, Russia without Visa. I'm not sure whether this is valid for non EU-citizens as well. The new ferry line St Petersburg- Helsinki was opened in last May. There is also a high speed train connection from Helsinki to St Petersburg starting from 12.12.2010.
Other towns mentioned above are Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. There is a huge number of ferries cruising between Helsinki and Tallinn every day. For the fastest of the ferries it will take 2 hours to reach Tallinn from Helsinki. There is very good and regular bus traffic between Riga and Tallinn. Also there is a regular bus Traffic between St Petersburg and Tallinn. Not long time ago it was possible to take a night bus from Tallinn to Riga and vice verse. That is very practical since using the night buses you will "save" two days.
Architecture of Helsinki is mainly from the period of Russian era.* Tallinn has an old and nice medieval part. (Old Tallinn). Riga has similarly very nice old town district.
*) Finland was under Swedish rule about 600 years. Finland became independent 1917. The path to Finland's independence started when Russian army beat Swedish army in Poltava 1709. It was the starting point of the collapse of the Swedish empire. Sweden lost rapidly the areas it ruled in the area currently known as the Baltic States and Finland. The old Estonian town Tallinn has had many rulers. Danish, German, Swedish and Russian. From the traveler's point of view this is very interesting. The signs of the old rulers are still today visible in Tallinn.
What I was trying to explain above is that it is very easy to see many cities in a few days only. The new rapid train connection from Helsinki to St Petersburg should take three hours only. The fastest ferry trip to Tallinn from Helsinki takes 2 hours only. Naturally by plane it's more fast. The old town of Tallinn is very compact and most of it can be seen in a day!
St Petersburg is a vast town and to explore all the museums of it and all sight seeings, you should have a week at least. But spending a day there gives an idea how this city looks like and you will become a familiar with the atmosphere. And if you did like the Venedig of the North, you can come back and stay more days in St Petersburg later. Helsinki is a pretty small town and in a day or two the most important places have been seen. However, the most beautiful area of Finland is the lake area of the Eastern Finland and the Northern Part of Finland, Lapland. You may need a week or more to explore the lake area and Lapland. Lapland is for skiing during the winter time and the best time to visit the lake area is during summers.
BTW, those of you who has been in Finland, St Petersburg and the Baltic States can you share your best tips here: How to get there from China..., I don't know much how to get from Moscow to China by train. I do know there is regular train traffic from Helsinki to St Petersburg and Moscow. But what about if I want to travel from Moscow to China? (and of course, from China to Moscow) The trans-Siberian train can take me to Vladivostok but that will take two weeks ... What is the fastest way by train from Moscow to China? I believe sharing this kind of information helps travelers to find alternative ways of traveling to China as well. Direct flights are pretty boring. Of course, the distances are huge so some times flying is the only option.
[ Last edited by finland_veoh at 2010-10-31 05:26 PM ]