Twelve stadiums across 11 Russian cities will be at the heart of the world football action this season. Check out where to go, what to see, what to eat (and drink) while you’re in town cheering for your favourite team. By Shikha Pushpan

 

Moscow

A post shared by Ok4Trip (@ok4trip) on

Well, let’s admit it, the world is going to descend upon Moscow between June 14-July 15 to be a part of the football frenzy. While the two venues—Luzhniki Stadium and Otkritie Stadium—are bound to remain jam-packed during the season, head to the Red Square to watch the match on life-size screens. The place will also hold a concert concurrently with the opening ceremony at the Luzhniki Stadium. If you want to tap on the city’s pulse, check out the rooftop bar, Krysha Mira for the biggest EDM performances.

 

Yekaterinburg

Russia’s fourth biggest city, Yekaterinburg is packed with restaurants, historic buildings, and eclectic art scene. Reserve your evenings to be at the Vysotsky Viewing Platform to enjoy panoramic views of the city. Just below the viewing platform, on the 51st floor is fine dining restaurant, Vertikal. One of the best in town, the place needs you to dress up and book in advance. Book yourself a seat at the Yekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre and admire Russia’s love for Classicism. However, the action will remain around the Ekaterinburg Arena that will host 4 group stage matches.

 

 

Kaliningrad

This is probably going to be your favourite among the 11 cities. Bordered by Lithuania and Poland, the city faces Baltic Sea, and is the closest venue to Europe. A former USSR outpost, the place is popular for its cosmopolitan European culture, magnificent museums (Museum of the World Ocean and Altes Haus, and Soviet monuments (Cosmonaut Monument and Vladimir Vysotsky Monument). While Borsch & Salo is an interesting find for Russian and Ukrainian cuisine, try the riverfront French restaurant, Madame Boucher for the best home-made cakes.  We hear the new Kaliningrad Stadium is pretty cool too.

 

 

Kazan

 

Если честно-пречестно, то Казань мне понравилась ну очень сильно! Чистые улицы,красивая набережная,радующие глаз-дома,татарская кухня такая вкусная,что слюнки текут непереставая😅 На фотографии мечеть Кул-Шариф.Она красива снаружи,но внутри мне сложно было находиться.Я хоть и не особо религиозна,но там я почувствовала себя чужой.Поэтому в славный месяц Рамадан,в этот вечерний час,я побежала скорей есть эчпочмаки,запивая чаем с вареньем из кизила и закусывая чак-чаком😋😅 Конечно,сложно оценить город за 8 часов.Возможно,мое мнение необъективно,но мне все равно,потомучто это была #МояКазань

A post shared by Yana Gorbacheva (@magi4ka) on

Kazan is often referred to as the Istanbul of Volga for its interesting mix of European and Asian architectures. While the main city centre is walkable, it is recommended to rent a bike and explore city attractions, such as Kazan Kremlin and Old Tatar Settlement. Check out Club Arena on Pushkin Street to dance the night away or head to restaurant, Bilyar for the best Tatar food. The Ancient City of Bolgar, located 120kms from Kazan, makes for an interesting day tour away from the crowd.


Nizhny Novgorod

#kremlin #wall #russia #moscow

A post shared by Mediciniştii Călători (@medicinistiicalatori) on

Overlooking the confluence of the rivers Volga and Oka, Nizhny Novgorod is the main centre of river tourism in Russia. The River Oka divides the city into two major parts: Upper City and Lower City. While the former gives an insight into the city’s past, the latter is more industrial. Kremlin is the main attraction here. Enroll yourself for a walk on the Kremlin’s Wall, which dates back to the 12th century, and get an insight into the Soviet era. Enjoy Volga fish specialities at Restoratsia Pyatkin or groove to international DJs at Tiffani.

 

 

Rostov-on-don

 

Прекрасный рассввет 🌇

A post shared by Ростов-на-Дону | Rostov-on-Don (@_rostov_on_don_) on

Located 350 miles north of Sochi, Rostov-on-don is Southern Russia’s most cosmopolitan city. The nightlife here revolves around the embankment along the River Don. Stop by at the Ryba Taverna to savour ukha (fish soup) or hangout in the beer garden at Schneider Weisse Brauhaus. Head to the Central Market to pick your gifts on the way back home. From dried fish to sunglasses to customised leather shoes—the place will be your one-stop destination.

 

 

Saint Petersburg

Located on the Krestovsky island facing the Gulf of Finland, the Krestovsky Stadium (with a retractable roof) is one of the coolest venues for the World Cup. However, when you are out exploring the imperial capital of Russia, check out the Grand Palace (which hosts tours from June to September) to get an insight into the lives of the erstwhile Czars. The Hermitage Museum/Winter Palace is another star attraction. The city is also home to an interesting mix of Russian, European and Fusion restaurants. The Russky Dvor in Vyborg has impressive, castle-like interiors, and serves traditional Russian cuisine.

 

Samara

Рабочий кабинет И.В. Сталина. Кабинет совсем небольших размеров, это связано с тем, что здесь не предполагалась длительная работа. В кабинете сохранились вещи, которыми пользовался И.В.Сталин. Это диван, кресло, письменный стол, телефонные аппараты, настольная лампа, этажерка, книги с произведениями В.И.Ленина. На стене оперативная карта. Она была сменяемой. Офицеры Генерального штаба наносили на нее свежую, изменяющуюся, боевую обстановку на фронтах. Ныне на карте нанесена обстановка, которая сложилась под Москвой в самое тяжелое время на ноябрь-декабрь 1941 года. На стенах всегда были портреты Маркса, Энгельса, Ленина. Данные портреты отпечатаны в типографии в 1939 году и представлены Центральным музеем Вооруженных сил. Старые не сохранились. В кабинете мы видим настольную игру, подаренную И.В.Сталину Войском Польским в 1948 году. Ее название «МОМ» в переводе с польского данная аббревиатура означает «Военно-Оборонительная Игра». Представлена на экспозиции как личная вещь Сталина. Игра имеет свои сложные правила с военной терминологией. #москва #бункерсталина #измайлово #кудапойти #выходной #музей #военнаяистория #музеироссии #школьники #bunkerstalina #stalin #museum #moscow #kudagomsk #instamsk #цмвс #militaryhistory #ig_msk #образование #instamuzeum #Schoolprograms #образование #кудасходитьвмоскве #кудасходитьсдрузьями #военнаяформа #военнаятехника #выходныевмоскве #kudago #travel #каникулы

A post shared by Stalin's Bunker Izmailovo (@stalins_bunker) on

Samara lies along the River Volga in the European Russia. One of the main attractions here is the Stalin’s Bunker, located under the Academy of Culture and Skill and equivalent to a 12-storey structure. While you’re here, store the local beer, Zhigyulevskoye, for all your matches, or take it back as a souvenir. Those who are in for a longer haul, can trek up to the Zhiguli Hills

 

Saransk

A major sports centre of the Volga region, Saransk is not yet on the mainstream tourists’ radar. Clean streets, European architecture, and buildings from the 17th and 18th century are the main highlights here. To get a birds-eye view of the city, climb the observation deck of Ogarev Mordovia State University. Check out the Mordovian Podvorye restaurant, just across the road from the Local History Museum, to taste local delicacies, such as pachat pancakes, pelmeni (dumplings), and selyanka (soup). P.S. The Mordovia Arena here looks strikingly similar to South Africa’s Soccer City Stadium.

 

 

Sochi

Russia’s biggest and busiest summer sea resort, Sochi is often referred to as the Russian Riviera for its picturesque coastline and promenade. The city shot to fame after the 2014 Winter Olympics and has since seen an upsurge in number of tourists. Park yourself at one of the seaside resorts, such as Swissotel Resort, and explore art installations such as Lenin Mosaic, or take a cable car to Arboretum. The city has an eclectic food scene with restaurants serving everything between Russian to Middle eastern to Belgian cuisines. Try the Georgian dumplings at Beliye Nochi or French preparation of mussels and bouillabaisse at Brigantina.

 

Volgograd

This is the place for staunch history buffs. The site of one of the bloodiest battles of Second World War, every other corner in Volgograd has a tale to tell. Aside from the World War II sites, such as Mamaev Kurgan and Rossoshka Memorial Cemetery, check out the Volga-Don Canal, the gateway to an aquatic avenue connecting the White and the Black Seas. The Italian restaurant, Rimini, is especially popular among locals for its straight-up-and-down pizza.