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Getting Around: Transport at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Which Cities Will be Hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

The 2018 World Cup will be hosted in 12 stadia in 11 Russian cities:

As Russia is the largest country on Earth by geographical area, traveling between these host cities can be a long, but also fascinating, experience. To make this more convenient, the Russian transport authorities will be providing free train travel between the host cities, as well as free public transport within the host cities on match days.

How Can I Travel Between the Host Cities at the 2018 FIFA World Cup?

You can travel in Russia by road, rail, air, and, in some cases by boat. Rail is considered to be the safest way of travelling in Russia, with the additional benefit over air travel that it allows you to experience the changing landscape of this vast country as you travel.

Free Train Travel Between Host Cities

In early November 2017, Russian Railways confirmed that they plan to provide more than 500 free trains exclusively for supporters travelling between the 11 host cities during the 2018 World Cup.

To take advantage of this, you will need:

How Can I Book Free Train Travel?

We highly recommend you book your free train tickets for travel between the World Cup host cities well in advance of the start of the tournament, since the number of free trains is limited, and places are booked on a first-come, first-served basis.

To book your free train tickets, you must:

  • 1. Go to the official ticket portal for free World Cup train tickets, where you will be able to change to English using the button at the top of the page.
  • 2. Staying on the same page, click the “Sign Up” link at the top-right of the page, where you will be asked to enter your e-mail address and create a password for your account.
  • 3. Once you have done this, upon clicking “Sign Up”, you will receive a verification e-mail containing an activation link for your account. Although the verification e-mail will be in Russian, the link will be clearly underlined and coloured blue. Click on the link to activate your account, then you will be able to book your tickets!
  • 4. Returning to the official ticket portal, you will see at the bottom of the page a schedule of each match day in each city. Here you can select the day of your match and the options will be displayed for free trains before the match (i.e. to travel from other cities to the match), and for after the match (i.e. to travel from the match to other cities).
    • a. N.B.: The main train station in Sochi is called “Adler”.
  • 5. Click “book” next to the journey(s) you want to start the booking process.
  • 6. Complete the required information, including selecting your place(s), entering your “Fan ID” number and your match ticket/ticket request number in the relevant fields.
    • a. Even when English is your selected language, some fields on the form will still be displayed in Russian. “Номер билета или подтвержденной заявки на матч в…” means “ticket number or ticket request number for a match in… [host city]”.
    • b. If you are travelling to Russia on a non-Russian passport, after selecting your citizenship, select “Foreign Document” in the field “Document Name”. Your passport, “Fan ID” and match ticket will be checked when you board the train.
  • 7. Once you have completed all the required information, click “book a ticket”.

The train schedules that you will see on the official train ticket portal are due to be finalised by Russian Railways by 15th December 2017, so check back after that date for more trains on the finalised schedule.

What Kinds of Free Trains are Being Provided for the World Cup?

Russian Railways will be providing two types of train for free travel by fans:

  • Standard sleeper trains, some of these being two-storey trains, some being one-story trains.
  • German-designed “Lastochka” (“Swallow”) electric passenger trains. These are modern all-seater trains which will serve the Moscow-Nizhniy Novgorod route.

Sleeper Trains for Free World Cup Inter-City Travel

These will be made up of Second Class compartment carriages. Second class is made up of nine cabins in much the same way as first class, though there are four people to a cabin rather than two. There are two lower bunks that, like first class, perform the function of being both a couch and a bed, with two additional fold out bunks above these; again, there is a table between the bottom two bunks. At each end of the carriage are toilets with washing facilities. A provodnitsa (train guard) will have a room in the carriage from where they will ensure the carriage is tidy, and that all travellers have a point of contact for any problems.

If you have any additional questions about Russian trains, please see our dedicated Russian trains FAQ page or contact our travel specialists, who will be happy to assist you.

“Lastochka” Trains for Free World Cup Inter-City Travel

The “Lastochka” trains will serve the Moscow-Nizhniy Novgorod route only, since this is by far the shortest of the routes for the World Cup (it takes the “Lastochka” only 4 hours to connect Moscow and Nizhniy Novgorod, which is a very short journey by Russian standards)!

They are modern, all-seater trains with modern toilets and air-conditioning, among other facilities. If you would like to see pictures of the “Lastochka” trains, please follow this link.

What if I Want to Explore Other Locations by Train, or I Don’t Have Tickets for Some Host Cities I Want to Visit?

Russia and the surrounding region have much more to offer in addition to the 11 World Cup host cities. Real Russia provides thousands of train tickets for Russia, China, Mongolia and many other destinations every year to travellers from all over the world. Booking train tickets on our website is fast and easy. We can even organise your taxis and transfers in Russia and beyond!

Transport Within the Host Cities

Travel on certain routes of public transport within the host cities themselves will be free for fans on match days, to get them to and from the matches.

Use of public transport by fans will be provided for free only on certain routes, although most cities with a metro system (including Moscow and St. Petersburg) are offering free travel on the whole of their metro systems at certain times on match days. The rules on free transport vary between the host cities, so we strongly recommend checking the official website of the World Cup Transport Committee for more information.

What Do I Need to Use the Free Public Transport?

To use free public transport in the host cities on match days, you will need:

  • 1. Your “Fan ID”. If you are using a bus, trolleybus, or tram, you will need to present this to the driver when you get on. If you are using a suburban train (known as an “electrichka”), you will either need to show this to a ticket inspector on the train, or at the ticket barriers (if the station has them). If you are using a metro system, you will need to present your “Fan ID” at the ticket barriers.
  • 2. Your official match ticket(s). You will need to also show them just as described in the point above relating to the “Fan ID”. Please note that, to take advantage of free public transport, you must have a valid match ticket for the host city you are in, otherwise you have to pay to use public transport. For example, if you only have tickets for matches in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but find yourself in Kazan, you will not be able to use Kazan’s public transport for free.

Getting to Russia for the 2018 World Cup

There are a variety of ways to enter Russia, including by train, by ship, by air and by road. At Real Russia, we have over 15 years’ experience of providing advice and travel tickets to thousands of our customers, some of whom have negotiated their way to, and around, Russia using some highly innovative routes! Remember, prices are likely to increase as we approach the opening match of the World Cup on 14th June 2018, so the sooner you book, the better!

To see which routes are available to those who wish to travel to Russia by train, and to book your tickets, see our Trains page.

If you would like advice about getting to Russia and getting around within Russia during the World Cup, our team of highly knowledgeable travel experts are on hand to assist you.

Accommodation in Russia during the 2018 World Cup

At Real Russia, we highly recommend booking your accommodation for the 2018 World Cup as far in advance as possible, since hotels and hostels are likely to increase their prices further in the run-up to the first match on 14th June 2018, as fewer and fewer places remain available. Real Russia can reserve your accommodation in more than 500 cities throughout Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the region, though due to the 2018 World Cup accommodation will be limited and subject to availability. Please contact our travel specialists for more information, and to check availability.