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Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

I'm planning a long trip through Russia, Helsinki and the Baltics and I am trying to allocate days. I would appreciate feedback on my tentative plans! Would add/subtract days to anything? Or anywhere I cut a day as I am a few days over my target.

(Note my primary interest in Russia. The trip will jump off a conference in Moscow, but this is why I've allocated so much time to Saint Petersburg)

Saint Petersburg: 6 days

Helsinki: 4 days (counting day trip to Porvoo)

Tallinn: 3 days

Kuressaare and Parnu: 3 days

Riga: 5 days (counting day trips to Jurmala, Sigulda, Rundale Palace)

Vilnius: 4 days

Trip will be in July/August. Advice much appreciated!

17 replies to this topic
Cape Town
Level Contributor
698 posts
67 reviews
1. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

I would say you don't need 4 days for Vilnius. But you can do some day trips from there, eg. to Trakai (a must-see) and I suggest trying to fit in the Curonian Spit if you can. Maybe cut a day or two from Riga and do something like this:

Pärnu - Riga - Klaipeda - Nida (Curonian Spit) - Klaipeda - Hill of Crosses (near Šiauliai) - Vilnius - Trakai.

I toured the Baltic states a few years ago on my own (public transport only) ... full story with pics is here and may give you some ideas: www.paulkilfoil.co.za/2014.aspx

Level Contributor
193 posts
1 review
2. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

If you go to Klaipeda I suggest to visit Liepāja. It has very nice wooden architecture and it's own spirit + if the weather is nice the beach is much wider, nicer and most important - emptier than in Palanga. Maybe you shouldf hire a car for 2 days off in Russia and see the Golden Ring towns, at least few of them.

Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

Paul, thank you for your advice and for linking your blog! It is super helpful and I definitely will make a few changes based on your suggestions!

Cape Town
Level Contributor
698 posts
67 reviews
4. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

Laura : You're welcome ... have a great time in the Baltics. Unlike Russia, the distances are small so you can cover a lot of ground quickly.

Vilnius, Lithuania
Destination Expert
for Lithuania, Vilnius
Level Contributor
3,512 posts
298 reviews
5. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

a lot depends on your travel mode, if you plan to rent a car, what would be advisable in order to save time and make you able to get to more remote places, or relay only on public transport.

It seems too long for Helsinki.

Rundale Palace is not far from Lithuanian border and Hill of Crosses would be logical to go after.

4 days would be too short for Lithuania if you plan to go Hill of crosses- Curonian Spit - Vilnius.

Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
13,351 posts
1 review
6. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

I’m planning almost the same trip in the same season, but with Minsk instead of St Petersburg. With a total of abou 15 days, currently I’m planning this:

Sat 4: arrive TLL 1035, bus TLL-Tartu (1135-1400?), Tartu

Sun 5: Tartu

Mon 6: Tartu, evening Tartu-Tallinn (train 1833-2034? bus 1900-2130?)

Tue 7: Tallinn

Wed 8: Tallinn

Thu 9: Tallinn, overnight bus Tallinn-Vilnius (2230-0655?)

Fri 10: Trakai & Paneriai (daytrip from Vilnius) (train Vilnius-Trakai 0740-0813?)

Sat 11: Vilnius, evening train Vilnius-Kaunas (1730-1837?)

Sun 12: Kaunas, evening bus Kaunas-Siauliai (1840-2125?)

Mon 13: Hill of Crosses, bus Siauliai-Klaipeda, ferry Klaipeda-Nida (1530-1735)

Tue 14: Curonian Spit, ferry Nida-Klaipeda (1230-1435), afternoon Klaipeda-Vilnius (bus 1515-1915? train 1605-2017?)

Wed 15: Vilnius, VNO-MSQ (1840-1915)

Thu 16: Minsk

Fri 17: Minsk, MSQ-RIX (1635-1735)

Sat 18: Riga, RIX-HEL (1745-1855)

Sun 19: Helsinki, depart HEL at 1720

If I decide to skip Minsk, then I could include Karosta prison and Ventspils. In any case I seem to have a lack of time in Riga and Helsinki, but it can’t be helped. OP, I hope my plans give you some starting ideas. And if anyone would like to help me with deciding between Minsk and Karosta prison+Ventspils, that would be greatly appreciated!

Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
13,351 posts
1 review
7. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

P.S. SABackpacker I read your Baltic trip report (and was “seduced” enough to read a few others as well) - thank you for such great information! :)

Vilnius, Lithuania
Destination Expert
for Lithuania, Vilnius
Level Contributor
3,512 posts
298 reviews
8. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

@Ellyse

i would save a time and only use a ferry Klaipeda-Nida or Nida-Klaipeda once,a bus is twice faster. If you use it to Nida, then the next day after sightseeing in Nida, take a bus to Dead dunes for a walk, when catch another bus to Juodkrante, go to Witches hill, and continue to Klaipeda afterwards. And if weather is nice, i would not be in rush, opting for later bus to Vilnius from Klaipeda with last one departing around 7pm.

Cape Town
Level Contributor
698 posts
67 reviews
9. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

Ellyse : Thank you for the kind words, and glad you enjoyed my blogs. I see you're from Shangai - that was a city I'd like to have visited when I was in China but we simply couldn't fit it in - next time!

10. Re: Trip through Russia, Helsinki, and Baltics - how much time?

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