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Real Russian Experiences – Travel Inspiration & Ideas for the 2018 World Cup



Welcome to the Russian Experiences page of Real Russia 2018 World Cup Information Hub, where you will find ideas on what to see and do in the host cities for the 2018 World Cup in Russia!



Moscow

With over 11 million inhabitants Moscow is the second largest city in Europe, after Istanbul. While many of the city’s most famous sights are centrally located near the Moskva River, the excellent public transport in the city makes getting anywhere in Moscow very simple.

Moscow at the 2018 World Cup

Moscow will play host to the World Cup at both the revamped 81,000-seater Luznhiki Stadium, and the Spartak Stadium. In addition, Moscow will likely act as a hub for all fans travelling to the other host cities, so will surely prove to be a melting pot of football fans!

Getting to Moscow and Getting Around in Moscow

Airports

  • Sheremetyevo International Airport
  • Domodedovo International Airport
  • Vnukovo International Airport

Airport transfer

The quick and relatively cheap Aeroexpress trains are ideal, and are free for World Cup spectators who present valid match tickets for at least one match in Moscow, alongside their Fan ID.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public transport

The Moscow Metro covers much of the city and is an extremely efficient mode of transport. It is quick, easy and cheap. During rush-hour, trains arrive every 30 seconds at the main line stations. Buses, trolleybuses, trams and marshrutkas (minibuses that follow a pre-defined route) provide alternatives to the Metro.

Trains
Moscow is well-connected to many Eastern European and major Russian cities. It has good connections to all the host cities, and travel will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets to matches in the city you are travelling to).

It is the western-most stop of the Trans-Siberian Railway that connects the capital with Vladivostok on the Pacific, and also with Beijing. St. Petersburg is connected via a high-speed train and the journey can be as short as four hours.

Top five things to do

  1. Go the open-air FIFA Fan Fest gatherings at Sparrow Hills, just across the Moskva River from the Luzhniki Stadium, to watch all the games live, and socialise with football fans from around the world!
  2. While at Sparrow Hills, head up the hill to the observation platform (one of the highest points in Moscow!) to take in a fantastic panoramic view of the city – this is particularly impressive at night when Moscow is lit up!
  3. Explore ‘traditional’ Moscow, including Red Square, the Kremlin and GUM (the historic shopping centre built towards the end of the 19th Century). Alternatively, for something more recent, head to VDNKH (ВДНХ) to see the Cosmonaut Museum and the city’s huge exhibition park celebrating the nations of the former USSR.
  4. Explore the architecturally stunning Moscow Metro. While all metro stations in Moscow are special in their own way, Mayakovskaya and Kiyevskaya metro stations are particularly spectacular.
  5. Russia, and Moscow particularly, is famous for the quality of its ballet and opera, so get yourself a ticket to the Bolshoi Theatre for a truly incredible experience.

Don’t forget, that is not all Moscow has to offer!

Remember that Moscow will be very busy during the World Cup, so all activities are subject to availability (so book early!).

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is often considered to be the most culturally Western city in Russia. However, it would be wrong to assume that this denies travellers an authentic Russian experience. On the contrary, St. Petersburg is the epicentre of the nation’s art and culture and is the place that gave birth to some of those who made the country into what it is today, from Ivan Pavlov and Vladimir Nabokov to Vladimir Putin.

St. Petersburg at the World Cup

St. Petersburg boasts the second-largest venue for the 2018 World Cup: The 64,000-seater Krestovskiy Stadium, which is also known as Zenit Arena and the Saint Petersburg Stadium. Located on an island which is dedicated to sports, this stadium will continue being the home of the highly successful and world-renowned football club Zenit St. Petersburg after the 2018 World Cup.

Getting to St. Petersburg and Getting Around in St. Petersburg

Airports

  • Pulkovo International Airport

Airport Transfer
Buses and taxis can be used to get from Pulkovo International Airport to the centre of St. Petersburg. However, there is also the option of flying into Lappeenranta Airport which is located across the border in Finland and served by low-cost airlines including Ryanair. Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service in St. Petersburg, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
Just like Moscow, St. Petersburg has its own metro system, which covers much of the city. It is a highly efficient mode of transport, and lets you avoid the traffic jams on the roads! Just as with the Moscow Metro, the interior of each St. Petersburg Metro station has its own architectural style. Buses, trams, trolleybuses and marshrutkas provide alternative modes of transport to the Metro.

Trains
The railway system is extremely well-connected. Moscow can be reached in only four hours on the high-speed Sapsan trains, and there are also international connections to Helsinki, Berlin and Eastern Europe. Travel will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets to matches in the city you are travelling to).

Alternative Transport
St. Petersburg can also be reached via ferry from Helsinki and Stockholm.

Top five things to do

  1. Experience St. Petersburg’s FIFA Fan Fests in in Konyushennaya Polshchad’ (Konyushennaya Square), a few minutes’ walk from the world-famous Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood.
  2. Visit some of the city centre’s approximately 2,300 palaces and magnificent Baroque and neo-classical buildings that have been well-preserved, justifying its status as UNESCO World Heritage site.
  3. Explore Zayachy Island on the bank of the Neva River, home to the Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral.
  4. St. Petersburg boasts 221 museums, 45 galleries and other exhibition spaces, ranging from the world-renowned Hermitage Museum (formerly the Imperial Winter Palace) to a wide range of smaller museums featuring more unusual topics such as dolls or the Freudian Interpretation of Dreams.
  5. The city hosts 2000 libraries and 80 theatres. The Mariinsky Theatre is especially famous for its ballet.

Inspired to see more of “The Venice of the North”? See our range of St. Petersburg excursions.

Remember that during the 2018 World Cup, St. Petersburg will be very busy, so all activities are subject to availability (so book early!)

Ekaterinburg

As a divide between the continents, Ekaterinburg has been dubbed the ‘window on Asia’. With a population of over 1.3 million inhabitants it is the fourth-largest city in the country, and the easternmost 2018 World Cup host city. It holds a special place in Russia for being the site of some history-changing events.

Ekaterinburg at the World Cup

At the 2018 World Cup, the renovated Central Stadium (known as “Ekaterinburg Arena” during the tournament) will host Ekaterinburg’s matches. It will be able to seat just over 35,000 World Cup spectators, and once the tournament is over, will become home to Russian Premier League team FC Ural Ekaterinburg.

Getting to Ekaterinburg and Getting Around in Ekaterinburg

Airports

  • Koltsovo International Airport

Airport Transfer
Buses, marshrutkas, taxis and the Koltsovo Express train (which runs from the airport to Ekaterinburg’s main railway station and vice versa) all transport passengers from the airport into the city centre.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
Ekaterinburg has its own Metro system, although this consists of only one line with nine stops, however this does cover most of the city centre. Buses, trolleybuses, trams and marshrutkas cover all of Ekaterinburg too, although only the buses and marshrutkas run to the furthest outskirts.

Trains Yekaterinburg is one of the major stops along the Trans-Siberian Railway. Since it is the furthest host city by distance from Moscow, trains take just over a day to get from the capital to Ekaterinburg Passazhirskiy station, which serves numerous long-distance routes in addition to suburban travel within Ekaterinburg. Travel to and from Ekaterinburg will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets for matches in the city you are travelling to).

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Ekaterinburg’s World Cup Fan Fests in the city’s main park, Mayakovskiy Central Park. It will be able to host up to 17,000 spectators a day during the 2018 World Cup.
  2. A walking tour of the city is a great way to see the beautiful old architecture and the main attractions of historical importance such as the Church on the Blood, the site of the execution of the last Tsar.
  3. See some of Ekaterinburg’s more unusual sights such as the QWERTY Monument, a giant stone keyboard, the so-called ‘Mafia Cemetery’ where former Mafia members are commemorated with life-size images carved into stone, and during the winter an entire city block made of ice.
  4. Visit the Chinese Market with little outdoor stalls that sell almost everything.
  5. Day trips into the surrounding area, for example the Deer Stream National Park, are also an option and can be made by public transport.

Inspired to explore Ekaterinburg? Consider our variety of Ekaterinburg excursions.

Please bear in mind that, during the 2018 World Cup, Ekaterinburg will be very busy, so all activities will be subject to availability (so book early!)

Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad was formerly known as Königsberg, and was founded in 1255 by the Teutonic Knights, later becoming the capital of East Prussia. It became part of the USSR following the Potsdam Conference in July and August 1945, and today is the heart of Russia’s Baltic exclave between Poland and Lithuania, separated from the rest of Russia.

Kaliningrad at the World Cup

Kaliningrad Stadium will host World Cup matches in Kaliningrad. The 35,000-seater stadium is located on Oktyabrskiy Island, in the Moskovskiy district of the city, and not far from Königsberg Cathedral. Following the tournament, the stadium will become the home of FC Baltika Kaliningrad.

Getting to Kaliningrad and Getting Around in Kaliningrad

Airports

  • Khrabravo International Airport

Flying to Kaliningrad’s Khrabrovo International Airport from Moscow takes just under two hours.

Airport Transfer
To get from the airport to Kaliningrad city centre, there is only one bus, the 244-e, which goes to Kaliningrad Bus Station (“Avtovokzal Yuzhniyy”). Alternatively, taxis will take you from the airport to the city centre.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
Buses, trolleybuses, trams and marshrutkas provide Kaliningrad’s public transport. Download the Yandex.Transport app (for Android and Apple devices) to see public transport routes for Kaliningrad and other Russian cities.

Trains
The train journey from Moscow to Kaliningrad’s South Railway Station (“Kaliningrad Yuzhnyy Vokzal”) takes about 20 hours on a sleeper train, although citizens of the Russian Federation travelling to Kaliningrad by train will need, in addition to their international passport, a document permitting them to transit through the Republic of Lithuania. For more information, please contact our visa team. Travel to and from Kaliningrad will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets to matches in the city you are travelling to).

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Kaliningrad’s FIFA Fan Fests in the city’s “Tsentral’naya Ploshchad’”; mix with fans from all over the world in a city boasting a unique history!
  2. Explore Kaliningrad’s traditional neo-Gothic and Gothic architecture, including the 13th-century Königsberg Cathedral, where famous 18th-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant is buried. The Fishing Village neighbourhood of the city imitates these architectural styles as well.
  3. Visit the Amber Museum at the Dohnaturm Tower on the bank of Lake Verkhneye, and discover how the Kaliningrad region is a world-renowned centre for amber mining and the production of many beautiful artefacts.
  4. Experience the World Ocean Museum, which is dedicated to sea and space exploration, and Kaliningrad’s Historical Ships Embankment; Russia’s only embankment to showcase historical warships, icebreakers, fishing trawlers and spaceflight support craft.
  5. Kaliningrad is surrounded by various neo-Gothic towers, fortresses and barracks, which are only now being opened to the public after being under the stewardship of the Russian military.

Want to see more of Kaliningrad? Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Remember, Kaliningrad will be busier than usual during the World Cup, so all activities will be subject to availability.

Kazan

Kazan is the capital of the Tatarstan region of Russia and is located about 720 kilometres (almost 450 miles) east of Moscow. Kazan has long been one of Russia’s prime cultural melting pots, with Islam, Judaism, Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism all blending seamlessly into the city. Kazan is also Russia’s sporting capital since 2009, having hosted the 2014 World Fencing Championship, the 2015 World Aquatics Championship and matches at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Kazan at the World Cup

The Kazan Arena, which was completed in 2013 and is home to Rubin Kazan FC, will host 2018 World Cup matches. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000, and features the largest outdoor screen of any football stadium in Europe. The venue resembles a water lily when viewed from the air, and overlooks the Kazanka River.

Getting to Kazan and Getting Around in Kazan

Airports

  • Kazan International Airport

Flights from Moscow usually take less than two hours to get to Kazan.

Airport Transfer
Kazan International Airport is well served by public transport. Bus 197 services Kazan via the airport, while the Aeroexpress train travels between the airport and Kazan Passazhirskaya railway station.

Public Transport
Kazan does have its own Metro, but it consists of only one line, the entire length of which can be travelled in 22 minutes. However, it serves a lot of the city’s main sites of interest, including the Kazan Kremlin, Kazan Vosstaniye station and the city’s main pedestrian street, Ulitsa Baumana. Buses, trams and trolleybuses are the mainstay of public transport in Kazan, covering more of the city than the Metro. Download the Yandex.Transport app (for Android and Apple devices) to see public transport routes for Kazan and other Russian cities.

Trains
The train from Moscow to Kazan takes between 11 and 14 hours, and suburban trains provide yet another public transport option. Travel to and from Kazan will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets to matches in the city you are travelling to).

Alternative Transport
Various river boats leave from the riverboat station at Ulitsa Devyatayeva for trips to neighbouring settlements during the summer.

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Kazan’s FIFA Fan Fests, which will take place at the Kazan Family Centre, situated on the opposite side of the Kazanka River to the Kazan Kremlin, and clearly visible by its large bowl-shaped building.
  2. Explore the Kazan Kremlin; a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring its own leaning tower, a 16th-century cathedral, and the uniquely beautiful Kol Sharif Mosque, which is open to all visitors.
  3. Do as the locals do during the summer and go swimming at the beaches and lakes. The water of Lakes Izumrudnoye and Goluboye, both within the city limits, are said by the locals to have healing properties.
  4. Marvel at the city’s numerous museums, from the Museum of Soviet Lifestyle (which features a unique mixture of artefacts from the era) to the Islamic Culture Museum in the Kol Sharif Mosque, to name just two.
  5. Taste traditional Tatar cuisine at various restaurants in the city. There are many dishes, ranging from homemade noodle soups to stuffed buns and the rice-based dish “pilaf”.

That is not all Kazan has to offer! Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Please be aware that, during the World Cup, Kazan will be very busy and all activities will therefore be subject to availability, so remember to book early!

Nizhny Novgorod

Founded in 1221 by Prince Yuriy II of Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod is the closest World Cup host city to Moscow. During the Soviet era, Nizhny Novgorod was renamed Gorky and became a closed city, producing some of the USSR’s most advanced military hardware. Now, it is Russia’s fifth-largest city, with a population of approximately 1.25 million.

Nizhny Novgorod at the World Cup

The Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, which has a capacity of just under 45,000 spectators, will host the city’s matches at the 2018 World Cup. It is situated on the bank of the Volga river, and a new metro station (called “Strelka”), due to be completed in April 2018, will transport passengers right to the stadium. After the World Cup, the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium will become the home of Russian Premier League side FC Olimpiyets Nizhny Novgorod.

Getting to Nizhny Novgorod and Getting Around in Nizhny Novgorod

Airports

  • Strigino International Airport (a.k.a. Nizhny Novgorod International Airport)

Flights from the capital to Nizhny Novgorod’s Strigino Airport (a.k.a. Nizhny Novgorod International Airport) take just over one hour.

Airport Transfer
Bus routes 11 and 20 take visitors from Strigino International Airport to the nearest Metro station (“Park Kultury”), from which much of the city can easily be accessed. The taxi journey from the airport to the city centre takes approximately 40 minutes.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
There are numerous ways to get around in Nizhny Novgorod, including a cable car across the Volga river, which provides a unique sightseeing opportunity. The Nizhny Novgorod Metro was opened in 1985, and as of January 2018 has two lines with 14 stations. The Metro covers much of the centre of the city, and journeys can be paid for by local travel cards (available for purchase at each station), contactless bank cards or smartphone.

Buses, trams and trolleybuses also serve the city. It is possible to use cash to pay for travel on these, or various types of travel card, which can be purchased at Metro stations and post offices in the city and include travel on the Metro as well.

Trains
Because it is situated only 400km away from the capital, Nizhny Novgorod can be reached in under four hours by the faster train services from Moscow. Nizhny Novgorod’s main railway station is called Moskovsky Vokzal. It provides long-distance and suburban trains and operates as a focal point for all local public transport modes. Travel to and from Nizhny Novgorod will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets to matches in the city you are travelling to).

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Nizhny Novgorod’s FIFA Fan Fests, which will be held in the Minin and Pozharsky Square, located right next to the city’s Kremlin.
  2. Nizhny Novgorod is considered by many to be the capital of river tourism in Russia, and river boat rides come highly recommended, especially during the summer months.
  3. Enjoy the traditional sites of this medieval city: Nizhny Novgorod features the 14th-Century Blagoshchetsvenskiy Monastery, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and its own Kremlin.
  4. Relax in the city’s numerous parks and squares. Take a stroll up Rozhdestvenskaya Ulitsa, which runs parallel to the Volga river and features many historical buildings, some of which are now shops and restaurants.
  5. Marvel at the city’s unique 560-step “Chkalov Stairs” (dedicated to Soviet air force test pilot Valery Chkalov) leading down to the Lower Volga Embankment.

Want to see more of Nizhny Novgorod? Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Please note that, during the 2018 World Cup, excursions are subject to availability because of increased visitor numbers during the tournament.

Rostov-on-Don

Rostov-on-Don, unofficially known as the “Gateway to the Caucasus” and “Russia’s Southern Capital” is now a major commercial hub providing access to the Black Sea. The city has a fascinating history from ancient times to the modern day, having played a significant part in the Russian Civil War and changing hands between Soviet and Axis forces twice during World War Two. Rostov-on-Don is situated 960km (600 miles) south of Moscow and now has a population of approximately 1.1 million.

Rostov-on-Don at the World Cup

Rostov-on-Don’s Rostov Arena has been purpose-built on the southern bank of the Don River for the 2018 World Cup and will host the city’s matches during the tournament. The stadium currently has a capacity of 45,000 spectators, although this is likely to be reduced to 42,000 after the tournament, when FC Rostov will become the stadium’s tenants.

Getting to Rostov-on-Don and Getting Around in Rostov-on-Don

Airports

  • Platov International Airport

Flights from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don’s brand new Platov International Airport take approximately two hours.

Airport Transfer
Taxi journeys from Platov International Airport to Rostov-on-Don city centre take approximately 40 minutes. Check the Yandex.Transport app for new public transport routes to and from the newly-opened Platov International Airport.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
The city has more than 100 bus and marshrutka routes, in addition to ten trolleybus lines and five tram routes. Buses and marshrutkas cover the whole city, and you can check the Yandex.Transport app for details of public transport routes.

Trains
Train journeys from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don can last between 17 and 25 hours, depending on the route taken by the train. Travel to and from Rostov-on-Don will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets to matches in the city you are travelling to). Locals in Rostov-on-Don often use trains to get around the city, with the main railway station (Rostov Glavniy, or Ростов-Главный in Cyrillic) serving suburban and long-distance inter-city routes.

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Rostov-on-Don’s FIFA Fan Fests, which will be held at Teatral’naya Ploshchad (Teatral’naya Square), near the Gorky Drama Theatre and Teatral’ny Prospekt.
  2. Discover the solemn suffering, loss and pride experienced by a city twice occupied by Axis forces and twice liberated during World War Two – Rostov-on-Don boasts a plethora of monuments and museums dedicated to the Second World War.
  3. Explore the city’s museums on various topics ranging from space (the Cosmonaut Museum) to railways.
  4. Connect with Rostov-on-Don’s theological side at Pokrovskiy Church and the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary), along with numerous other places of worship.
  5. Go on a boat trip of Rostov-on-Don, or venture into the Black Sea by boat during summer.

Of course, Rostov-on-Don still has plenty more to offer! Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Remember, during the 2018 World Cup, Rostov-on-Don will be very busy, so all activities will be subject to availability; book early!

Samara

Samara once stood at the eastern edge of Russia, but is now a major industrial and population centre, with 1.2 million people and a particularly varied history. The city changed hands between the Red and White factions twice during the Russian Civil War, and was renamed Kuybyshev during the Soviet era. The city was the USSR’s backup capital during the Second World War, and went on to design and construct the “Vostok” rocket that carried Yuriy Gagarin into space in the first manned space flight in history on 12th April 1961.

Samara at the World Cup

The city that constructed Yuriy Gagarin’s “Vostok” spacecraft will host its World Cup matches at the Cosmos Arena (a.k.a. Samara Arena). The stadium boasts a capacity of just under 45,000 spectators and will be the home of Russian Premier League football club Krylia Sovetov Samara after the World Cup.

Getting to Samara and Getting Around in Samara

Airports

  • Kurumoch International Airport (a.k.a. Samara International Airport)

It takes only one hour and 40 minutes to fly from Moscow to Samara’s Kurumoch International Airport.

Airport Transfer
Aeroexpress trains run twice every day between Kurumoch International Airport and Samara’s central train station, Samara Passazhirskaya. Aside from taxis, buses number 78 and 652 serve the airport, to and from Samara Passazhirskaya station.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
Samara’s Metro system consists of one line with 10 stations, covering much of downtown Samara, and running east to west. A Universal Travel Card can be bought for travel on the Metro, trams, trolleybuses and buses in the city.

Buses, trams and trolleybuses cover the whole of Samara and its suburbs. Although the nearest stops to Cosmos Arena/Samara Arena are 20 minutes away on foot, the stadium will be made accessible by public transport in time for the 2018 World Cup. You can check the Yandex.Transport app for details of public transport routes.

Trains
Train journeys from Moscow’s Kazanskiy Vokzal (Kazanskiy Station) to Samara can take between 14 and 19 hours, depending on the route of the train. Suburban, as well as long-distance inter-city, trains run from Samara Passazhirskaya station. Travel to and from Samara will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets for matches in the city you are travelling to).

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Samara’s FIFA Fan Fests, which will take place in Kuybysheva Square.
  2. Explore the historic part of Samara: Revolution Square (Ploshchad’ Revolyutsii), the Samara Regional Museum of Art, Samara Military History Museum and Stalin’s Bunker, to name just a few attractions.
  3. Relax on a sandy beach, which is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike during the summer months, at the Volga River Embankment.
  4. Enjoy a river boat ride during the summer months from the river port at the Volga River Embankment.
  5. Immerse yourself in the city’s proud role in space travel: Yuriy Gagarin Park, Samara Kosmicheskaya (the city’s Museum of Space History) and the SP Korolev Museum of Aviation and Aerospace are all worth a visit.

Want to explore more of Samara? Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Remember, during the 2018 World Cup, Samara will be very busy, so excursions are subject to availability because of increased visitor numbers during the tournament; book early!

Saransk

Saransk is the smallest of the World Cup host cities, with a population of only 320,000. It was founded in 1641, and was connected to the Moscow-Kazan Railway in 1893. The city became an industrial centre during the Soviet era, and is the capital of the Republic of Mordovia within the Russian Federation, with some residents still speaking (in addition to Russian) Erzya and Moksha, the Mordvinic languages of the region.

Saransk at the World Cup

The brand new Mordovia Arena, with a capacity just short of 44,500, will host Saransk’s games at the World Cup. After the tournament, FC Mordovia Saransk will become the stadium’s tenants.

Getting to Saransk and Getting Around in Saransk

Airports

  • Saransk International Airport

Flights from Moscow to Saransk Airport take approximately one hour and 30 minutes. Despite its name, Saransk International Airport currently only serves domestic flights.

Airport Transfer
A taxi ride to the city centre from the airport takes approximately 15 minutes. There are no public transport routes to Saransk Airport from the city centre.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
Saransk does not have a Metro system, so buses, trolleybuses and marshrutkas are the public transport options, although only buses and marshrutkas go out to the city’s suburbs. All public transport methods stop at Volgogradskaya Ulitsa, which is within a short walk of the Mordovia Arena. You can check the Yandex.Transport app for details of public transport routes.

Trains
Train journeys from Russia’s capital usually take approximately 10 hours. Travel to and from Saransk will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets for matches in the city you are travelling to).

Saransk 1 (Саранск-1) is the city’s main railway station, serving inter-city routes and some suburban routes.


Top five things to do

  1. Enjoy Saransk’s FIFA Fan Fests at Sovetskaya Ploshchad’ (Soviet Square), near Prospekt Lenina.
  2. See various themed public spaces, such as Millenium Square (which has fountains that are illuminated by a state-of-the-art LED lights system), the Aleksandr Pushkin Culture and Recreation Park and Victory Square.
  3. Experience Russia’s religion at the Cathedral of the Holy Virtuous Warrior Theodor Ushakov and St. Alexander Nevsky Chapel.
  4. The left bank of the Saranka River features the monument to the founders of Saransk, and The Memorial Museum of the Military and Labour Effort, 1941-45.
  5. Travel back in time to traditional Russia: the Mordovian Village Museum has a life-sized recreation of a traditional 19th-Century Mordovian village, with realistic huts and household implements inside the dwellings.

Curious to see more of Saransk? Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Please note that, during the 2018 World Cup, excursions are subject to availability because Saransk will be much busier than usual.

Sochi

Sochi is Russia’s prime resort city, spread over 145 kilometres (90 miles) of the beautiful Black Sea Coast on “the Russian Riviera”. Having hosted various hospitals during World War Two, Sochi has gone on to become one of Russia’s prime sporting locations, hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. This city with a sub-tropical climate offers plenty to the adventurous.

Sochi at the World Cup

The Fisht Olympic Stadium, which is located less than 15 kilometres (9 miles) from Sochi’s Adler train station and Sochi Adler airport, will host World Cup matches in Sochi. With a capacity of approximately 40,000 spectators, the stadium was used in 2014 to host the Winter Olympics. The stadium is located so that it will offer spectators a view of the Caucasian Mountains on one side, and the Black Sea on another.

Getting to Sochi and Getting Around in Sochi

Airports

  • Sochi International Airport (a.k.a. Sochi Adler International Airport)

Flights from Moscow to Sochi’s Adler International Airport take just under two-and-a-half hours.

Airport Transfer
Buses, which are Sochi’s main means of public transport, serve Sochi International Airport from numerous routes, including to and from the Fisht Olympic Stadium. Taxis are also available.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
Sochi is served by over 200 bus routes. See the 2018 World Cup Welcome Committee’s official webpage on Sochi for more detailed information on the city’s bus routes. Marshrutkas also offer various options for getting around.

Trains
Train journeys from Moscow to Sochi Adler train station can take between 23 and 38 hours, but do allow travellers to see the Russian countryside on their journey. Various suburban and shuttle trains serve Sochi, ferrying passengers from Sochi Adler train station to and from destinations such as Sochi Adler International Airport, Krasnaya Polyana (at the foot of the Caucasian Mountains), up the coast to Sochi proper. Travel to and from Sochi will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets for matches in the city you are travelling to).

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Sochi’s FIFA Fan Fests at the south mall of the Sea Port of Sochi.
  2. Being situated on the stunning Black Sea coast, Sochi is one of Russia’s most popular beach destinations, with numerous locations suitable for activities such as sunbathing and beach sports.
  3. Explore Sochi’s unique history at Stalin’s Dacha (summer house), various museums (including a museum of classic automobiles), and the large Olympic Park complex in Adler.
  4. See the aquatic wildlife at the aquarium, located in Sochi proper.
  5. Sochi welcomes the active adventurer; there are numerous opportunities for activities ranging from speedboating and hiking in the mountains to skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

Want to get the most out of Sochi? Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Please be aware that, during the 2018 World Cup, excursions are subject to availability due to Sochi being very busy.

Volgograd

Volgograd is one of Russia’s oldest cities and an important industrial centre with just over a million inhabitants. It has already been an important commercial hub during the Soviet era and remains so in the present day. To most Europeans Volgograd is perhaps better-known under its Soviet name Stalingrad and for the famous resistance against the German troops during the Second World War. In fact, this historical legacy still stands so strong that in 2013 the city council voted in favour of using the name ‘hero-city Stalingrad’ during six important commemorative days every year.

Volgograd at the World Cup

The Volgograd Arena will play host to the World Cup matches in Volgograd. The stadium has a capacity of 45,000, and is situated at the foot of the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex, next to the Volga River. Following the 2018 World Cup, the Volgograd Arena will become the home of FC Rotor Volgograd.

Getting to Volgograd and Getting Around in Volgograd

Airports

  • Volgograd International Airport

Despite its name, Volgograd International Airport can mostly only be reached via domestic flights. Flights from Moscow take just under two hours to arrive in Volgograd. There are also seasonal connections to Greece and Cyprus.

Airport Transfer
From Volgograd Gumrak International Airport, the city centre can be accessed by bus and marshrutka (which leave every 10-15 minutes) or by taxi.

Alternatively, if you would like a personal door-to-door service, Real Russia can offer private transfers, subject to availability.

Public Transport
While Volgograd lacks a Metro, it does have high-speed trams (referred to as the Metro Tram), a few stops for which are underground. In addition, Volgograd has buses, trolleybuses, trams and marshrutkas which provide alternatives. Universal travel cards covering all of the city’s modes of public transport except for marshrutkas can be purchased in Volgograd.

Trains
The railway links are good, and it takes around 20 hours to get to Moscow or 34 hours to St. Petersburg. Volgograd’s main train station, “Volgograd-1”, serves some suburban routes in addition to long-distance inter-city routes. Travel to and from Volgograd will be free on special chartered trains to World Cup ticket holders with valid Fan IDs (if you have tickets for matches in the city you are travelling to).

Alternative Transport
Due to its location on the river Volgograd can also be visited as a stop on a boat cruise down the Volga River.

Top five things to do

  1. Experience Volgograd’s FIFA Fan Fests at the city’s central embankment (62 Army Embankment), surrounded by the Battle of Stalingrad panoramic museum, a riverboat terminal and the grand stairway (which leads to Heroes’ Alley).
  2. The city’s history is ubiquitous. There is the Mamayev Kurgan, the hill on which the Battle of Stalingrad took place and the Panorama Museum, which houses a panoramic painting of the event, but fallen warriors are commemorated at many other corners of the city.
  3. Marvel at the largest Lenin statue in Russia and the Motherland Calls statue, which is one of the world’s highest and most complex of its kind.
  4. For the active explorer, trips to the surrounding rural area offer a relaxing holiday and there are options to go hiking and fishing and to do boat or canoe trips.
  5. During the warm summer months, take a river boat ride on Europe’s longest and widest river; the Volga.

Curious to see more of Volgograd? Contact our dedicated travel specialists to find out more.

Please note that, during the 2018 World Cup, Volgograd will be very busy, so all activities are subject to availability; remember to book early!

Of course, that is not all the world’s largest country has to offer! See our excursions page for more inspiration, or get in touch with our highly experienced, dedicated travel team who have been booking thousands of customers’ trips for over a decade.