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The Estonian city of Tallinn is located on the northern coast of the country, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. It is around 80 km to the south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm in Sweden and west of St Petersburg in Russia. The old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city as a whole was a European City of Culture in 2011, along with Turku in Finland. The city is Estonia's financial and business hub and benefits from liberal economic policy and has a highly diversified economy although its main strengths are in IT, tourism and logistics.
Tallinn's port offers ferry crossing to Finland and Sweden. The ferry terminals at the port deal with around 6 million passengers each year and has good facilities including shops, a coffee shop and departure lounges. In addition to dealing with passenger ferries, the port also caters for cruise ships and high speed ferries during the summer months. There are daily sailings between Tallinn and Stockholm and Helsinki and two sailings a week to St Petersburg in Russia.
The Russian city of St Petersburg is often referred to by its residents as simply 'Piter' and was formerly named Leningrad. The city has definitely had an interesting past with over 300 years of history, with more than 200 of it as the capital city of the entire Russian Empire. Today, St Petersburg is an amazing city to visit and more than lives up to the vision of Tsar Peter the Great which founded the city in the 1700's. Winding their way through the city is the Neva River and a number of canals, along which you can see grand palaces and a number of other important buildings that date back to the 18th century. St. Petersburg is where Russian ballet was founded and has also been the home of many acclaimed composers, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Many of the best sights in St. Petersburg are to be found around the actual city centre and its main road, the Nevsky Prospekt. If you take a stroll around Palace Square, known locally as the Dvortsovaya Ploshchad, you will see the lovely architecture of the Winter Palace, or alternatively take a cruise on one of the city's canals on a water bus, stopping of at the Mikhaylovsky Gardens en route.
Note: Ferry passengers are allowed stay in Russia for 72 hours without visa as long as they booked their excursion through officially licensed ferry companies.