There’s nothing like being whisked across Europe in a high-speed train. It’s simply the most stylish way to travel, and leaves you invigorated and refreshed when the doors open onto your destination. Allegro trains, from Helsinki to St Petersburg, are the only international speed trains operating to Russia, and a fantastic way to arrive.
The Allegro speed train will carry you from the heart of trendy Helsinki to the imperial splendour of St Petersburg in 3 hours and 30 minutes. This gives you enough time for you to enjoy a meal, make progress with your book, and enjoy watching the scenery flash by your window. The Allegro is clean and modern – it was launched in 2010, making it one of the newest speed trains operating anywhere in the world. Comfort of travel is assured.
There are two Allegro trains a day in winter, and four in summer. New timetables are published every few months. Generally, however, there is always a train at around 10am and another at 3pm from Helsinki, and from 7am to 3pm from St. Petersburg. All trains stop at Vyborg, which is considered one of the scenic highlights of the journey.
Both first and second class carriage is available. Second class tickets cost from E74, and first class tickets cost from E100, with fares being revised every season. It is easy to buy tickets too. Rather than having to buy tickets from the train station when you arrive, you can book e-tickets up to two months in advance. This option means that you can book the rest of your holiday without worrying about whether or not you’ll find a seat on the train, and means you can make the most of Helsinki or tours to St Petersburg without having to make an extra trip to the ticket office.
The Allegro is just as fast as flying between Helsinki and St. Petersburg, if you include the time spent travelling to and from airports, check-in and the waiting around that comes with air travel. The coach is cheaper, but is considerably less comfortable and much slower.
For families, the Allegro is light years ahead of the alternatives. Children travel at a reduced cost and there is an on-board play area for them to enjoy so you can relax – which makes the Allegro infinitely more enjoyable than going by air or by road.
If you are considering a long haul train journey or inter-railing from Western Europe to St Petersburg and Moscow, then going via Helsinki has the advantage that you don’t need to pass through Belarus. The Belorussian visa system is notoriously difficult to negotiate. Helsinki is a much easier option.
You can also travel to Moscow from Helsinki on high speed trains. This takes about 11 hours in total, and costs around E150 per person in a two-berth sleeper compartment.
The Allegro looks destined to become one of Europe’s classic travel experiences. Get on board soon, and you’ll be able to tell your friends about travelling on one of the most exciting new routes in the world!
By Natalia Rogachyova on Google+
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