8 nights starting from
A wonderful tour that allows four nights to explore Russia’s jewel in the crown, St Petersburg, a treasure trove of art and architecture. Time is also spent in Estonia’s atmospheric capital, Tallinn and vibrant Helsinki in Finland. This all adds up to a truly individual tour that offers a series of contrasts.
|26 - September - 2020||£ 1879.00||Travel Info Book Now||booking-journey/#/start/STP/26 September 2020/|
Departing: 26th September 2020 at 09:05
Returning: 04th October 2020 at 17:35
Day 1: Fly from London Gatwick to Helsinki.
On arrival in Helsinki, transfer by coach to the hotel for two-night stay on bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2: Morning guided walking tour in Helsinki and an afternoon tour of Suomenlinna Fortress.
Helsinki, Finland’s capital, World Capital of Design in 2012 and site of the 1952 Olympics is a fascinating mixture of old and new with classical buildings, some striking modern architecture including several by acclaimed architect, Alvar Aalto, pioneer of architectural functionalism, as well as some outstanding churches and museums. This afternoon we have a guided tour to Suomenlinna Fortress, added in 1991 to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a unique monument of military architecture. Dating from 1747, it has served in the defence of three realms: Sweden, Russia and Finland, reflecting Finland’s tumultuous history.
Day 3: Train to St Petersburg, introductory guided tour and canal cruise.
Transfer by foot just across the street to the railway station for the Allegro fast train for St Petersburg. Transfer to your hotel with an introductory en-route city tour before check-in for four-night stay. Founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, St Petersburg was the imperial capital for two centuries, and it remains the country’s cultural centre, with a wealth of artistic and cultural treasures. It is home to the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre hosting opera and ballet and was the setting for Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (there is a museum dedicated to the writer) – all elements to be explored and enjoyed over the coming three days. This evening enjoy a relaxing cruise along the canals of St Petersburg.
Day 4: Full day city tour with visits to the world-famous Hermitage and Peter and Paul Fortress.
The Hermitage was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and opened to the public in 1852. Its collection is widely regarded as one of the world’s best with a plethora of masterpieces, housed in a collection of neo-classical buildings along the Palace Embankment. The Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of the city founded by Peter the Great in 1703 and built as a star fortress. In the early 1920s, it was still used as a prison and execution ground by the Bolshevik government.
Day 5: Full day tour to Pushkin Palace and Peterhof.
First of all to Catherine the Great’s elaborate and impressive Palace and Park at Pushkin, dating from the mid-18th century. The afternoon takes us to Peterhof, a series of palaces and gardens laid out in the early 18th century at the order of Peter the Great and including the famous Grand Cascade fountains. It is sometimes referred to as the “Russian Versailles” and is a potent reminder of the Tsar’s excesses.
Day 6: Full day tour to Yusupov Palace and St Isaac Cathedral
Our last day exploring this gracious city takes us first to Yusupov Palace, dating from 1770, but most famous as the site of the murder of Rasputin on 17 December 1916. Our final visit will be to St Isaac’s Cathedral.
Day 7: Transfer to Tallinn by coach.
Transfer to Tallinn by coach with en-route stops in Narva and Lahemaa National Park with arrival in the evening.
Day 8: Morning guided walking tour in Tallinn with the afternoon free for your own exploration.
Estonia’s capital, Tallinn is a city on the rise. A delightful mix of the medieval and the modern, the old town is World Heritage designated – a warren of cobbled streets overlooked by 14th century churches and beautiful buildings. At the same time new and exciting galleries of local artists, boutiques, bars and restaurants are flourishing within the old city walls sitting side by side with traditional artisans. This is the perfect city to stroll the streets and soak up the ambiance – you’ll also have plenty of excellent options for eating out in the evenings.
Day 9: Morning free in Tallinn until transfer to the airport for flight to London Gatwick.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 30 passengers.
Original Sokos Hotel, Helsinki
Four-star hotel located in the heart of the city just a few steps from the Esplanadi market square and central railway station. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and sauna. Rooms all have private bathroom with bath/shower, TV, telephone, wi-fi, minibar and hairdryer.
Original Sokos Hotel Website
Ambassador Hotel, St Petersburg
This four-star hotel is located near the Fontanka River Embankment in a very central location. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and Health and Beauty centre with swimming pool. Rooms all have private bathroom with bath/shower, TV, telephone, wi-fi, minibar and hairdryer.
Hestia Ilmarine, Tallinn
The four-star Hestia Ilmarine Hotel is located near the historical UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, in the cultural seaside region of Tallinn. The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, sauna & relaxation area and comfortable bedrooms with private bath/shower, TV, telephone, hairdryer and safety-deposit box.
Hestia Ilmarine Hotel Website
This tour uses very well appointed four-star hotels in convenient city centre locations, offering a very high standard of comfort and facilities. Alternative hotels of a similar standard may be utilised on occasion.
As noted above, we felt that overall this tour was excellent and lived up to our expectations. The sandwiching of St P between Helsinki and Tallinn gave a chance to put some of the Russian history into context, whether Suomenlinna fortress in Helsinki or the plans of Peter the Great for Tallinn, along with the more recent pressure of the Soviets on both countries. The St Petersburg days were very packed and Ada the guide was formidable when it came to pushing through the enormous crowds at the various sights as well as being fluent in the history and facts needed for each place we visited. We felt that the visit to the Peter and Paul Fortress spent too long looking at stone graves and hearing intricate history of past members of the imperial family in the cathedral. Perhaps mention of the horrible prison or some of the other sights in the Fortress could be included. The palaces outside the city were magnificent as of course was the Hermitage, so it was good to see inside a 'normal' rich person's palace at the Yusopov palace even if the link to Rasputin and his murder was rather overdone. After the visit to the main Hermitage rooms with Ada , we enjoyed separately visiting the General Staff Building with its magnificent collection of impressionist and modern works, as well as our separate visit to the Russian Museum. We did manage to fit in these two visits as well as walking around but somehow fitting in a little more 'free' time in St Petersburg would have been good. Tallinn and Estonia were a good contrast to St P, helped of course by the enthusiasm of Riina who gave an excellent potted history of Estonia on the coach on the way to Tallinn, and during the walking tour of the city. The time we had there was a good recovery time from the intensity of Russia. The hotels were all good, the St P one being particularly good. The rooms were comfortable and clean and when we asked for a blinking light to be fixed in Helsinki, someone came almost immediately to fix it. The Tallinn hotel had a rather worrying splintering round the door, giving the impression that the room had been broken into at some time, but not when we were there. Breakfasts were excellent in all hotels. We enjoyed the company of all our travellers and the group size was about right. Riina was excellent as overall manager, Ada was excellent in St Petersburg as was the lady in Helsinki whose name we regret we didn't note. You may like to change your emergency details for these tours in that the British Consulate in St P was closed in June and anything urgent would have had to be referred to Moscow. For reading background, Sofi Oksanen's novels, recommended by Riina, give graphic background to Estonia's 20th century.
Review by Eccles who travelled 30-September-2018
1. Arriving in Helsinki on a Sunday was not a good start to the trip: many eating places are closed on Sunday evenings, and most of the museums and places of interest are closed on Mondays (our only full day there). 2. There were too many visits to palaces dripping in gold in St. Petersburg. 3. Making the visit to the Hermitage on the first Thursday of the month (when it's free for everyone) meant an incredibly crowded and hurried tour. I'd rather have paid a little more, in order to have a pleasanter experience. 4. Scheduling the trip to Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo (lots of time on a bus) on the day before we were due to spend much of the day on a bus for the transfer to Tallinn meant that neither day was enjoyable - especially the wait to go through the border to Estonia! 5. The tour manager and local guides provided much better maps than those you supplied with our information pack. 6. Although it was a large group, everyone seemed to mix well and look out for each other.
Review by Hackett who travelled 30-September-2018
Hugely enjoyable tour, but I would have liked longer to explore the Hermitage (a week, say??!). The only aspect I was not sure about was the trip out to the island fort at Helsinki. The weather was beautiful that day, but had it been raining (as on some of the other days) it might have been grim. It was unfortunate that galleries and museums were closed that day in Helsinki as that would have been a better option. Our tour manager, Riine, was delightful and knowledgeable, as was Ada, our Russian guide.
Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2018
Great holiday to places I had wanted to visit for a long time. Tour guides were both excellent. Only comment I would like to make was that the free time we had in Helsinki was on a monday, when the museums and the orthodox church were closed, which was a disappointment. It would be good to avoid Mondays there if possible in future tours
Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2018
Not enough time in St Petersburg or Helsinki. The trip to Tallinn could have been sacrificed for an additional free day in St. P. as most of the group had other things they wanted to see/do there and there was not enough time. The bus journey to Tallinn was too long with little to see, and wasted a day. The local tour guide, Ada, in St Petersburg was wonderful, a tour de force in facilitating access to sights and giving information both about the tour and life in Russia.
Review by Taylor who travelled 30-September-2018
Difficult to overpraise Riina Altpere, the Tour Manager. Local guides good too, though sometimes you need time to look as well as listen! Peterhof visit was problematic, because there were too many large tour groups trying to shuffle round in their overshoes at the same time: not your fault, but worth thinking about. Could have done with more free time in St Petersburg. Otherwise, excellent.
Review by Anonymous who travelled 30-September-2018
Very enjoyable trip with very knowledgeable and attentive guides. We would be happy to consider another of your trips. Thank you.
Review by Johnson who travelled 30-September-2018
Tour Manager, Steve, was very informative and ensured all arrangements worked smoothly.Excellent local guides in the cities we visited. Would recommend this holiday to friends and family.
Review by who travelled 16-August-2017
Review by who travelled 16-August-2017
A smoothly organised holiday. We felt looked after and safe whilst appreciating the opportunity to explore for ourselves. The tours of the palaces in St Petersburg were interesting but we would have liked to have had some focus on the October Revolution and the seige of Leningrad - important aspects of the St Petersburg experience.
Review by Burton who travelled 16-August-2017
Only comment on a very enjoyable tour, is that flying back from Tallin, instead of returning to Helsinki, might have been preferable because people were somewhat tired by that point. On the other hand I would have missed the Marimekko shops......!
Review by Prof Peter Woodward who travelled 14-September-2016
Travel was excellent until a long delay on the return flight from Helsinki. Sightseeing tour guides were excellent in Russia and Estonia, so-so in Helsinki. A frustration at times was the fact that there were a couple of people who clearly weren't up to much walking or spending a lot of time on their feet, which slowed down the whole group. It's our personal responsibility to research this but perhaps more could be done by you to highlight the level of activity on tours.
Review by Mrs Sarah Dawkins who travelled 14-September-2016
Steve was an excellent tour manager, and the guides in St Petersburg and Tallinn were really top class. The guide in Helsinki, however, was not - boring and bumbling! It was not Travel Editions1 fault that our flight home was so delayed
Review by Mr Michael Mitchell who travelled 14-September-2016
Travel was good overall but a technical fault which delayed our homeward flight from Helsinki was not welcome! Hotel PK Ilmarine in Tallinn was poorer than hotels in Helsinki and St Petersburg - smaller rooms and poor breakfast. Our guide in St Petersburg, Antonia (?) was outstanding!
Review by Mr Ivan Flack who travelled 14-September-2016
We enjoyed our trip but the difficulties we encountered were not necessarily your organisation but the country itself.When we booked we assumed that we could cope with the walking but John dad a lot of trouble with his leg and could not cope with the lack of chairs to sit on to rest en route.The Russian attitude was most uncaring.
Review by Mr John Cope who travelled 14-September-2016
Review by Mr John Miller who travelled 14-September-2016
Scored flight/train/ferry as only satisfactory, had a four hour and half delay on home bound flight. Also on your future information you need to state that BA European flights only offer a drink and a savoury item rather than food. Scored accommodation satisfactory as our Hotel Room in Tallin was poor. Old beds and linen, including a pillow with a blood stain. Shabby furniture, drink rings on cabinets, stained carpet, loose shower fitting.
Review by Mrs Ruth Selo who travelled 14-September-2016
Hotel room in Tallin was more style than substance. Very limited storage space and coffee machine that needed an engineering degree to work. A kettle would have been much more practical!
Review by Mrs Pamela Dowbekin who travelled 17-August-2016
only problem with our flight was due to BA departing late from Manchester to London, hence our luggage did not arrive with us in Helsinki - but was delivered to our hotel several hours later, fortunately. Steve Hartnell, our tour manager was always very helpful and easily available for queries. He was very understanding to those with slight mobility problems (not us!) and the pace of the tours was always appropriate to the group. The hotels were all fine. They were of the international type, and comfortable, with easy walking access to the more quaint area of the cities. Please do keep us on your mailing list!
Review by Mrs Susan Hilton who travelled 17-August-2016
Review by Mrs Leslie Batchelor who travelled 17-August-2016
This was an excellent tour - made especially so by the superb tour manager, with whom we would want to travel again. The food in all the hotels was first class, although the bedrooms sometimes left something to be desired. Your help and understanding of our personal difficulties before the tour were very much appreciated.
Review by Mr Michael Stammers who travelled 17-August-2016
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