One of the most popular and widely traveled routes between Finland and Russia is Helsinki to St. Petersburg. Travel from the shores of the Gulf of Finland in Helsinki into the chic Russian capital city that has history spanning back into the Dark Ages. Ancient architecture, rich foods and more than 600 bridges await you in St. Petersburg, a city built on more than 100 small islands.
Things You'll Need
- Computer with Internet access for making reservations
Book Your Train Travel
Use the RailEurope Web site (see link below) or phone number, (888) 382-RAIL, to book your tickets.
Choose between first class or second class travel tickets for both child and adult passengers.
Keep in mind that train travel rates for children ages 2 to 15 are usually about 25 to 50 percent off adult fares. Children under 2 ride for free.
Take the Sibelius train from Helsinki to and from St. Petersburg. You can also continue on to Moscow, but you will likely have to book a separate ticket and board a different train.
Be sure to make reservations on the Sibelius train, as they are required. You must secure your seats no later than 48 hours before you plan to leave Helsinki.
Get Ready to Depart
Bring your passport with you everywhere, including on the train. You may need it to apply for a visa for entry into Russia while on board.
Purchase separate travel insurance if you desire. The Rail Protection Plan from Rail Europe does not cover the St. Petersburg trip.
Plan your days before arriving in St. Petersburg. There are many groups that arrange tours of local cathedrals, museums and historical areas for reasonable prices.
Tips & Warnings
- Using a ScanRail pass, you can easily book an add-on to St. Petersburg on your list of Northern European destinations.
- If taking the opposite route, the Repin train from Russia will get you from St. Petersburg to Helsinki and back.
- Exchange your train voucher from your online purchase for your hard copy tickets. This can be done at the Helsinki main train station and must be completed 24 hours before you are scheduled to leave.
- The trip from Helsinki to St. Petersburg is only about 5.5 hours, so you can travel early in the morning and still have most of the day to explore the city.
- Avoid traveling between early June and early September on this route if possible. This is considered peak travel time here and ticket prices raise exponentially during this time.