So you’ve bought your tickets to see some of the matches in the World Cup! Congratulations! We are sure you’re getting your favorite jerseys ready and are excited to go to Russia! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re also a travel enthusiast, thinking about what to do in Russia, other than watching the matches, to turn a World Cup journey into an exciting vacation!
Well, we’ve got you covered!
In this article, Tripdukaan lists down the things you can do in each of the 11 cities where the World Cup matches are going to take place! So let go of that travel planning stress and have an unforgettable experience!
Moscow is the capital and the biggest Russian city. Its population is more than 12 million people. Therefore it’s advisable that you use the public transport especially metro. It can seem a little difficult, but it’s the easiest way to explore Moscow. There are a lot of sights which you can visit during your trip. Except for Red square and Kremlin (must see), there are many museums and parks.
Two beautiful parks are Gorky Park and Muzeon Park of Arts (across the Gorky Park). First of all, it’s free. In Muzeon you can see the famous sculptures and historical artifacts. If you walk to the river, you will see Peter the Great Statue designed by the Georgian designer Zurab Tsereteli. Also, there are a lot of music festivals, creative workshops and special exhibitions in summer. Check the official site before you plan to visit it. Gorky Park is a good place to relax from the noisy and crowded capital.
The best view: the observation platform in Sparrow Hills (Vorobyovy Gory) and Ostankino Tower. The tower’s height is 561 meters. If you go on the top, you will see the best view of Moscow.
The main historical street is the Arbat. Spend one evening to walk there and buy some Russian souvenirs. Another place you can visit is Mayakovskaya metro station. Triumphal Square is a traditional meeting place and poetry readings. There you will find famous swings and the monument of Mayakovsky (Russian poet). If you are a fan of Russian literature, you have to visit the Patriarshiye Ponds. The Pond is one of the main settings of Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita”. Monuments to Bulgakov and to Ivan Krylov have been erected near the pond.
You’re in Russia! You must try out some authentic Russian cuisines! You can taste popular Russian salads, soup “Okroshka”, dumplings (pelmeni with meat or vareniki with potato) in the restaurant “Oblomov” (address: 1st Monetchikovsky lane, 5/1). You will find a lot of different types of dumplings in café “Varenichnaya №1”.
Kaliningrad is the most western Russian city on the Baltic Sea. The first place which you must to visit is Kneiphof (Cantha Island). It’s a historical region of the city. Here is built the Königsberg Cathedral. There is a sculpture park near the gothic cathedral where you can enjoy the beautiful Baltic nature.
Besides cathedrals and castles, the city is famous for its unique products made from amber, which you can see in the museum. The Amber Museum of Kaliningrad has collected many things of natural stone.
If you have a free day in Kaliningrad, you can go to the Curonian Spit. It’s the national park near the city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are a lot of different birds, waterfowl, species of mammals, including elk, European roe deer, wild boar, marten, raccoon dog, badger, red squirrel, and beaver.
It is the cultural capital of Russia and even local people haven’t visited all museums (more than two hundred) in their life. We list down the sights you need to visit.
The first day you can spend in the city center. Nevsky Prospect is the main street with historical buildings and cathedrals. Don’t miss the Rastrelliesque Stroganov Palace, the huge neoclassical Kazan Cathedral, the Art Nouveau Bookhouse, Elisseeff Emporium, the Russian National Library, the Anichkov Bridge with its horse statues, and the Singer House.
Next day you can see the Palace Square where stands the Alexander Column. Here there is one of the largest museums in Russia – The Hermitage. Be ready to spend all day in this museum! And even then, you won’t be able to see all rooms in the palace.
Summer is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg because you can see the white nights and bridges. Every night the Palace Bridge is raised. It’s a magnificent show that you can’t miss.
Near the city, there is a wonderful palace. The Peterhof Grand Palace includes a beautiful garden with fountains and it was built by Peter the Great. These Palaces and gardens are sometimes referred as the “Russian Versailles”. The palace-ensemble along with the city center is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You need the whole day to see this place.
Good places for lunch and dinner are “Pelmenia” (address: embankment of the Fontanka River, 25), Cheb-Rech Naya “Brynza” (address: Nevsky prospect, 66) and “Pirogovyi Dvorak” (address: Embankment of the Griboedov Canal, 22).
The small city is situated on the western bank of the Volga River. The main sight of the city is the statue Motherland Calls in Mamayev Kurgan. This memorial complex commemorates the battle of Stalingrad. The height of the Motherland Calls is 85 meters, it’s almost twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the USA. There is the Panorama Museum where you can see artifacts from World War II.
Museum-panorama “Battle of Stalingrad” is another place you must see in Volgograd. The Museum consists of eight thematic halls, as well as triumphal and panoramic halls. If you walk thoughtfully through the halls of the museum and look at all the exhibits, it’ll take you at least 3-4 hours. There are a lot of exhibits connected with the defense of Stalingrad such as personal things of participants in battles, photos, weapons, and shells. Near the museum, there is another famous building – The Mill Gerhardt. This is the only building that was not restored after the war.
In the evening you can walk along the street near the Volga River and finish your day in cafe “Marusya” (address: Alley of Heroes, 1).
Kazan is another beautiful Russian city, the capital of Tatarstan Republic. In this city, you get to explore another side of Russia. Kazan is famous for The Qolşärif Mosque. It’s a big complex with historical buildings where you will see the five-domed six-columned Annunciation Cathedral and the mysterious leaning Soyembika Tower.
Walking to the city, visit the Kazan Family Center. This is the palace of marriages, located on the right bank of the river Kazanka. One of the oldest theaters in Russia is Tatar State Puppet Theater “Ekiyat”.
The Temple of All Religions is situated in the Staroye Arakchino Microdistrict. If you have a free day, we recommend you to go there. This temple symbolizes the unity of all religions.
Kazan is famous for its authentic russian food. First of all, you should try “Echpochmak”. It is a symbol of the Tatar food. Echpochmak is a triangular pie which you can buy everywhere. Next dish is Tokmach, a traditional noodles soup. All Russian people like Tatar sweets especially chak-chak. For tasting all dishes you can go to “The Tea House” (Dom chaiay, address: Bauman street, 64).
Start exploring this city with the Kremlin. Yes, there is another Kremlin in Russia. There are 13 towers in the complex. Every building is a historical and cultural monument.
The main square of Nizhny Novgorod is the Minin and Pozharsky Square. It is a great place to start exploring the town. Through the Minin and Pozharsky Square, you can go to Chkalovskaya stairs. It is one of the most recognizable sights of the city. A lot of sports competitions are organized there.
Nizhny Novgorod is famous for numerous temples and churches. Try to visit each one!
There are many good and cheap places for lunch and dinner in the city center. First one is “Buffet” (address: Osharskaya street, 14). One of the famous dishes in this place is a pot of happiness. It’s salad with herring or mushrooms with potatoes. Even there you can taste bull eggs and calf brains. Another place is “Ochag” (address: Bolshaya Pokrovskaya, 44B). There you can eat traditional Russian pies and cakes.
Samara is the homeland of famous Russian beer. There is a “Zhigulevsky” brewery where the drink is produced. This site is one of the most visited places in Samara. You can go there and drink good beer. The main sight and pride of the city is the Volga River. Next, you can head to the embankment of the Volga, popular among locals. Samara embankment is the longest among the cities of the Volga region. Its length is more than 4 km.
To feel the Russian atmosphere, you can go in restaurant “Kiev” (address: Krasnoarmeyskaya, 76) or “Varenie” (address: Leningradskaya, 60).
Saransk is the capital city of the Republic of Mordovia. It isn’t a big city and you can get around the city center in 3 hours. What can you see there? The Republican Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Combat and Labor Heroism of 1941-1945, the Trinity Church, the St. John the Theologian Church and the Cathedral of St. Fedor Ushakov.
Also, there is the Pushkin Park of Culture which existed at the beginning of the XIX century. It is a favorite place of rest for citizens on the weekends.
You can taste Russian food in restaurant “Mordovskoye Podvor’ye” (address: Saranskaya str., 21).
Rostov-on-Don is a port city and the administrative center of the Southern Federal District of Russia.
In the city center, you will see the Cathedral of Virgin’s Nativity, the most famous architectural feature in Rostov-on-Don. Next, you can pass by Teatralnaya square and see fountains. Choose a sunny day and go to the embankment of the Don River. There you can have lunch with the beautiful view in restaurant “Pirs” (address: Beregovaya, 16 A).
If you have free time, you can learn Russian history in museums: Museum of Local Lore, Rostov Regional Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Russian and Armenian Friendship.
Rostov-on-Don is situated near the Sea of Azov. You can plan a 1-2 days’ trip and spend time at the beach there.
Sochi is one of the most magnificent cities in Russia. It’s close to a range of beautiful landscapes: Black sea and mountains, numerous waterfalls and caves, canyons and gorges.
In the heart of the city is situated the Arboretum. This is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens of Russia. In this open air museum, there are a huge number of plants of the Western Caucasus.
The Sochi Olympic Park is the main sports facilities that hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 2014. Other popular destinations are the observation tower on Mount Akhun, the Canyon of the Devil’s Gate, Stalin’s dacha, the Vorontsovskie caves and delicious excursions to the “Tea House“.
Do you like extreme sports? If yes, then you have to go to “SkyPark”. It is located 38 kilometers from the ski resort of “Rosa Khutor”, in the Akhshtyrsky Gorge. The main object of “SkyPark” is a suspension bridge which equipped with a system for bungee jumping.
Sochi is a touristic city, so there are a lot of restaurants and cafes everywhere. You can explore many cafes in the city centre.
Yekaterinburg is the heart of the Urals. The historic square is one of the oldest places in the city. And the exploration of Yekaterinburg should start from this place. It is located in the city center. In the historical square, you can see the museum of fine arts and nature, the monument to Vasily Tatishchev (the founder of Yekaterinburg), and the Garden of Stones.
One of the most important religious buildings here is the Church of All Saints on the list of places to see. There is a museum of the royal family, where you can see their rare things, household items, photographs, letters.
The best observation point is in the shopping center “Vysotsky“. The outdoor area is on the 52nd floor.
Another historical building that you should see is the House of Sevastyanov. It differs from other monuments with its architectural sophistication, as it was built in two styles: Gothic and Moorish.
After a long walk, you can taste Russian food in good restaurants such as “Pashtet” (address: Tolmacheva, 23), “Pelmen club” (address: Krasnoarmeyskaya, 2) or “Factory Kitchen” (address: Lenina, 69/1).
Featured Image Source: Government of Moscow Press Centre. All rights reserved to the other images in the article.