Helsinki, Finland

Modern, compact, and very green, Helsinki is the closest European capital to Russia and a nice place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of St. Pete. Numerous parks and gardens, a modern and efficient public transport system, and stunning architecture make Helsinki a very comfortable city both to live in and to visit.

For a true change of pace, consider a deeper dive into Finnish lifestyle to learn more about forestry, chocolate and a Finland's contribution to the gaming industry.

Pskov, Russia

Game of Thrones got you going with their castles? Pskov, an ancient Russian stronghold, boasts a real 13-century castle (and the nearby Izborsk castle dates back to the 7th century). Hop on a high-speed train and breathe in the air of knights and glory.

Novgorod, Russia

Even older than Pskov, Novgorod also has an impressive castle overlooking Lake Ilmen and an even more impressive variety of beautiful Russian orthodox churches. It’s a great place to check out traditional wooden architecture and try the local spice-and-honey drink zbiten.

Tallinn, Estonia

Get a taste of Europe without going too far: an Old Town complete with ancient fortress walls and gates, Northern European gingerbread houses, red shingled roofs and medieval streetscapes meet bustling culture and top-notch museums. Tallinn is an absolute treat.  

Riga, Latvia

One of the most well-preserved old towns in Europe, Riga is full of architectural gems and is often referred to as the capital of Art Nouveau. Spend a fun day exploring medieval Old Town and museums and take in the nightlife in the bustling Livu square.  

Or you can just stay home and volunteer to help friends with spring cleaning!