Helsinki to St. Petersburg
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 1, 2012 1:55 AM Last Post By: johnthefinn
May 7, 2012 2:23 PM
May 8, 2012 4:48 AM
1There's only one option - http://stpeterline.com/en/OnBoard/News.aspx The website will answer all your questions.
The big advantage of going by ferry is that you don't need a visa for a short stay.
May 8, 2012 10:55 PM
2One thing to bear in mind is that while you don't need a visa, the rules are you have to join a tour of licensed Russian tour operator. These tours cost fortunes. But the St.Peter line has a trick - you pay 25€ for the shuttle bus from the port to the city, and that counts as "purchasing services from licensed operator". While 25€ might seem like a rip-off for a short ride like that, you're actually saving lots of money by doing that and not having to pay for the real tour.
May 15, 2012 10:51 AM
3I have done both the ferry and the allegro train to St.petersburg. The train wins -hands down. The ship is old with stinky cabins and the border control was simply shocking in St petersburg. Russians dont tend to queue and for some reasons every single russian passport is checked though tehty are coming back home...! Whereas on the train the authorities move from wagon to wagon with a little passport checking device -all this while the train is moving! So no need to stand at the border anymore!!
I will never ever catch a ferry there, only if im forced to.
Also the port is a bit out of town so you will need that visa free mini bus. There train takes you directly to the finlandskiy station with a metro station with great connections everywhere.
www.vr.fi/eng is the train website.
May 20, 2012 9:50 AM
May 20, 2012 6:38 PM
May 24, 2012 2:21 PM
Oct 31, 2012 9:50 PM
Nov 1, 2012 1:55 AM
8Unchanged. You need a visa for any other than the ferry option. Getting a visa is a pain, at least the first time. Either take the ferry or be prepared to devote time and effort - you cannot simply hop across the border as in Western Europe. If bureaucracy puts you off, consider going to Tallinn instead - no visa problems (Schengen zone), short ferry ride from Helsinki, beautiful medieval Old Town.
When an Australian friend of mine visited Finland last year, he had a hankering for Russia but was turned off by the red tape and expense of the visa. I took him to Tallinn and we hopped on a train to Narva, in Estonia but right on the border with Russia. Narva is mostly populated by Russians and from the cute castle you can easily see its opposite number glowering at it from the Russian side. He was well pleased with his visa-free 'trip to Russia'.
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