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Written by Akshaya Seshadri on February 27, 2018 Share on

2018 World Cup in Russia – Best places to visit in the host cities

It’s time to GO FOOTBALL! With the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming up, we know for a fact, the hardcore footie lovers are gearing up to watch their stars rattle their opponents in Russia! Giving them all the more to visit, the Russian football association has permitted the usage of the FANID – an ID tagged with the match tickets to enable VISA FREE entry into Russia. Additionally, the services of the public transport can also be availed free of cost in the cities that host the matches. Not a football fan, but still visiting Russia with a friend who just loves football? Fret not! There’s something for everyone! Did you also know that Russia is home to various cultural sites, skyscrapers and bustling markets? Go on, read about the best places to visit in Russia during the 2018 World Cup.

1. Moscow

Moscow, top attraction sites in the host cities
Image credit – pixabay

Moscow is where you will find Asian and European cultures mixed. From the buzzing nightlife to top-notch theatre at the renowned theatres of Na Raushskoy and The Theater on the Embankment, Moscow is an entertainment hub of sorts. The GUM mall and Levsha flee-markets are sure to have your interest piqued with their melange of souvenirs and commodities.

Must Visit Places:

  • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts – European art, Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings
  • Armoury- Store weapons and treasures
  • Danilovsky Market – Shopping and good food

2. Kazan

Kazan, top attraction sites in the host cities
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Kazan was found in the year 1005 and is older than Moscow. Apart from being an important host of 2018 World Cup, this city also holds accolades for many other sports events which earned Kazan the name, ‘Sports Capital of Russia’. When it comes to Kazan, you can find spires of cathedrals and mosques alternating each other. The notable ones that you could have a look at would be the Temple of All Religions, Kul Sharif Mosque and Cathedral of the Apostles Peter. A bit of wandering along the Russian Tatar fortress would be exciting for cultural & history addicts.

Must Visit Places:

  • Hermitage-Kazan & St.Isaac’s Cathedral – History outing
  • Chak-Chak Museum – Tasting of Tartar food
  • Bauman Street – Street food, cafes and museums

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3. Ekaterinburg or Yekaterinburg

ekaterinburg, top attraction sites in the host cities
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What started as an arena for the execution of the Romanovs family, the city of Ekaterinburg went through a drastic change to becoming a modern city. With the hardcore economic centres of Russia, Ekaterinburg has eye-catchy art galleries and historical wonders. Golden dome structures and tall walls – Church On The Blood is a famous site in the city. The city’s skyline can be enjoyed at the Vysotskiy Viewing Platform. It’s time to get the best of Ekaterinburg when you are here to watch the Worldcup match.

Must Visit Places:

  • Military Technology Museum – Armoured vehicles and military antiques
  • Rosy Jane – English themed pub
  • Philharmonic Orchestra – Indulge in classical art and music

4. Samara

Samara, top attraction sites in the host cities
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Located in-between the rivers Samara and the Volga, the horizon of Samara city is speckled with the colourful, large mosques, cathedrals and synagogues. The city is well known for the Vostok 1 rocket launch, explore more of Russia’s space escapades at the Samara Space Museum. If you are interested in hiking and trails, trekking at Zhiguli Mountains and casual strolls on the Samara Embankment would be a good idea.

Must Visit Places:

  • Volga’s Gates and Zhiguli mountains – Scenic spot
  • Kuibyshev Square – Square for rollerskating, Opera and Ballet House
  • Strukovskiy Garden – Calm picnic spot

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5. St Petersburg

st petersburg, top attraction sites in the host cities
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St Petersburg, also called the Imperial capital of Russia tops every other place in the country for its grandeur and regal buildings. Be prepared to be dazzled by its many palaces and museums. This city is a popular choice among travellers and is ranked among the top places to visit in Russia. St. Petersburg is known to be Russia’s cultural centre and its many ballet and opera events are a must do on most travellers list.

Must Visit Places:

  • Lower Park – Fountains and statue lines
  • Yusupov Palace – History and grand interiors
  • Mariinsky Theatre – Theatre for ballet & musicals

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6. Kaliningrad

Kaliningrad , top attraction sites in the host cities
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Locals fondly call Kaliningrad as the ‘ Little Russia’. Offering cultural wonders, the tomb of Immanuel Kant can be checked out at the Königsberg Cathedral. This place also hosts musical concerts for the tourists. Kaliningrad is famous for amber. Having the largest deposit of amber in the world, Kaliningrad’s economy revolves around it. There’s a special museum for the same. Don’t be surprised if you find lots and lots of amber made jewellery and accessories in the prime shopping spots of the city.

Must Visit Places:

  • Museum of the World Ocean – Submarines and exhibition halls
  • Schloss Restaurant – Best restaurant on the Baltic coast of Kaliningrad
  • Kaliningrad Amber Factory – Hub for  Authentic amber accessories

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7. Sochi

sochi, top attraction sites in the host cities
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Sochi would be well known among ardent sports lovers given the fact the city hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. You have the summer house of Stalin, where the dictator spent the last years of his life. The Byzantium empire ruins and other museums are also famous in Sochi. A bit of skiing in the Caucasus mountains, some sighting at Mount Akhum and Ritsa lake, a relaxing swim in the Black Sea can also be done during your trip. Don’t miss out on the Kinotavr Film Festival which happens only in June.

Must Visit Places:

  • Festival Concert Hall – For some good music concerts
  • Arboretum – Relaxation spot with abundant palm trees
  • Lenin Mosaic – Renowned public art spot

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8. Rostov-on-Don

rostov don, top attraction sites in the host cities
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The port city of Rostov-on-Don lies along the Don River. It is the most preferred location when it comes to coastal activities. A relaxed boat ride is also suggested. You can feel the complete Russian lifestyle given the choices of local food offered at the Rostov’s Central Market. A bit of casual strolling along the Bolshaya Sadovaya and Pushkinskaya streets can also be done. For cafes and aesthetic dine-outs, check out Pushkin Street. If you are interested in taking a peek at the orthodox side of Russia, do visit the Bogoroditsa Cathedral where you can find beautiful domes and prayer sessions.

Must Visit Places:

  • 8 Zeryon – Greenlanes and cafes
  • Ploshchad Sovetov – Tribute monument for Russian warriors
  • Kraft Bar – Good  food & beer

9. Volgograd

volgograd, top attraction sites in the host cities
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Volgograd, as the name suggests, is a city lying on Volga River. It has witnessed one of the most blood-curdling battles of World War II.  The most popular destination here would be the sacred spot of ‘ The Motherland Calls ‘. This statue was built in honour of those soldiers who lost their lives during the wartime. Suggested outing areas at Volgograd would be the Komsomol Park and the Lake Elton. Visit the Volgograd Planetarium during night time to check out the ‘sky full of stars’.

Must Visit Places:

  • Panorama Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad – World war II & Battle of Stalingrad exhibits
  • Bar & Grill – Famous steak house
  • Volga-Don Canal – Shipping canal

10. Saransk

saransk, top attraction sites in the host cities
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The city of Saransk is named after the famous Saranka River in Russia. With renowned cultural outing areas and richness in historical heritage, Saransk has various places to visit. Cathedral of St. Fyodor Ushakov is very famous for the French touch to its architecture. The Mordovian Republican Fine Arts Museum is famous for its sculptures and artworks of Mordvin Fedot Sychkova.

Must Visit Places:

  • Cathedral of Saint Righteous Warrior Feodor Ushakov – Beautiful gold domes and ornate
  • Mordovian Republican Fine Arts Museum S.D. Erzia – Extraordinary artworks collection
  • Yaushev State Music Theater – Musical concerts and shows

11. Nizhny Novgorod

nizhny-novgorod, top attraction sites in the host cities
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Nizhny Novgorod is one of the oldest Russian cities and is home to a number of theatres, museums and churches. The Kremlin is the most talked about fortress in Nizhny Novgorod. You can find some of the oldest wonders of the city like the Cathedral of the Archangel here. You will be stunned when you take a look at Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The church has a beautiful backdrop. Go for some nice evening strolls at the Bolshaya Pokrovskaya and enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the street cafes!

Must Visit Places:

  • The Nizhny Novgorod State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre – Music and Dance Performances
  • Nizhny Novgorod’s cablecar – Check out the pleasant landscape of the city
  • Nizhegorodskaya Yarmarka – Conventions and fairs

Russia will definitely have you on your toes all the time with its rich history and culture. So, after watching your stars kill it at the 2018 World Cup matches, take some time off to check out the best places to visit in Russia!

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