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Helsinki -> St Petersburg, then to Moscow?

Helsinki -> St Petersburg, then to Moscow?

Old Apr 6, 17, 1:53 am
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Helsinki -> St Petersburg, then to Moscow?

Have an upcoming trip planned to Helsinki, which I will probably extend, to try to visit Russia. Planning to take ferry to St Petersburg to take advantage of the 72 hour visa-free policy, but I see that there's a 4 hour train to from St Petersburg to Moscow. Apart from the fact that I'm only "supposed" to visit St Petersburg, what are the pitfalls of trying to take this train to Moscow for the day? Will the conductor try to check for some kind of Russian visa, etc.?
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Old Apr 9, 17, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by DoctorORD View Post
Have an upcoming trip planned to Helsinki, which I will probably extend, to try to visit Russia. Planning to take ferry to St Petersburg to take advantage of the 72 hour visa-free policy, but I see that there's a 4 hour train to from St Petersburg to Moscow. Apart from the fact that I'm only "supposed" to visit St Petersburg, what are the pitfalls of trying to take this train to Moscow for the day? Will the conductor try to check for some kind of Russian visa, etc.?
The conductor will not check, but you will have problems when you try to check in at a hotel in Moscow. If going on a day trip you will *in theory* be fine, but again you will have problems in case of random spot checks by the police.
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Old Apr 9, 17, 5:33 pm
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Last year I rode the "Bullet Train" from St Petersburg to Moscow and back the same day. Vaguely, I remember the round trip as being around 20 hours (with sightseeing). Obviously, the trip was very exhausting! While the train did make a couple of local stops, it was nice, but not high class as in Japan or Western Europe. I think you need to verify the transit time between St Petersburg and Moscow.
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Old Apr 10, 17, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by DoctorORD View Post
Have an upcoming trip planned to Helsinki, which I will probably extend, to try to visit Russia. Planning to take ferry to St Petersburg to take advantage of the 72 hour visa-free policy, but I see that there's a 4 hour train to from St Petersburg to Moscow. Apart from the fact that I'm only "supposed" to visit St Petersburg, what are the pitfalls of trying to take this train to Moscow for the day? Will the conductor try to check for some kind of Russian visa, etc.?
This, from the official St Petersburg website.

The 72-hour exemption for cruise ship passengers does not mean that visitors have three days free in St. Petersburg. Not only will you have to sleep on the ship (not a problem for most cruise passengers), you will also have to be accompanied at all times on shore by a licensed tour guide. In other words, from the moment you leave the ship in the morning to the moment you step back on board in the evening, you will have to follow a pre-arranged schedule and will not have the opportunity to explore the city under your own steam.
I don't know how strictly those rules are enforced but it sounds like you may have a hard time splitting away from the group. Overall, I think this is much more hassle than it's worth to be honest. If you really want to visit Moscow, I would get a visa.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 10:29 am
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Originally Posted by RabbitIYH View Post
I don't know how strictly those rules are enforced but it sounds like you may have a hard time splitting away from the group. Overall, I think this is much more hassle than it's worth to be honest. If you really want to visit Moscow, I would get a visa.
St Peter Line has managed to bend the rules a little for their cruises from Helsinki for few years now. Essentially their organized "tour" is a shuttle bus ride from port to city and back and the rest is free time exploring the city. I seem to remember hearing somewhere that it is limited to the city and even Peterhof Palace is off limits. St Peter Line website does not indicate any such restriction though.

https://stpeterline.com/visa-free-rule

In my experience sometimes interpretations of regulations in Russia can sometimes change with very short notice but that St Peter Line business has been running for several years now. But I would not bend the rules any further and for anyone wanting to visit Moscow I'd recommend getting a visa and traveling more comfortably by reasonably fast Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg as well. There is also a direct night train Tolstoi between Helsinki
and Moscow.
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Old Apr 11, 17, 10:45 am
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Originally Posted by Kallio View Post
St Peter Line has managed to bend the rules a little for their cruises from Helsinki for few years now. Essentially their organized "tour" is a shuttle bus ride from port to city and back and the rest is free time exploring the city. I seem to remember hearing somewhere that it is limited to the city and even Peterhof Palace is off limits. St Peter Line website does not indicate any such restriction though.

https://stpeterline.com/visa-free-rule

In my experience sometimes interpretations of regulations in Russia can sometimes change with very short notice but that St Peter Line business has been running for several years now. But I would not bend the rules any further and for anyone wanting to visit Moscow I'd recommend getting a visa and traveling more comfortably by reasonably fast Allegro train from Helsinki to St Petersburg as well. There is also a direct night train Tolstoi between Helsinki
and Moscow.
....or use Allegro+Sapsan. The journey between Moscowsky railway station and Finlandsky is very easy: 2 stops on the metro (Contactless CC is accepted,so no need to purchase "the tokens" ,or 10 min+3$ uber ride.
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Old Apr 12, 17, 1:48 pm
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A visa-free passenger may leave the ship for 3 nights, but he/she will have to present a paid hotel confirmation to a border guard. Then, during the hotel check-in, a hotel staff will register the guest with the appropriate authorities. These are pretty much all the conditions that have to be met if one wants to stay outside of a ship for 3 nights.

I don't know how the check-in process works for Russian Airbnb, but I think it can be used as a loophole to visit Moscow for one night without being discovered by the authorities. Last time I heard, Moscow police reduced their "random" spot checks on the streets and at subway stations (especially for white foreigners), so this should not be a problem either.
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