This summer the largest sports tournament on earth will kick off in Russia, the World Cup. From the 14th of June until the 15th July 64 games will be hosted at 12 separate locations across this enormous country, in fact, it’s the largest nation there is.
Russia is a beautiful country soaked in epic history, stretching 6,000 miles long from the natural wonders of Lake Baikal to Europe’s longest river, the Volga. it’s not only the largest land mass on earth but also has some of the most beautiful sights and sounds to offer.
This year, 32 incredible teams will be playing for the Golden Trophy. You can expect to see tourists from all walks of life in Russia out in full force to support their favourite football teams.
If you don’t support a team and you’re there purely for the experience, maybe catch up on the latest World Cup 2018 odds to help find yourself a flag to wave.
I’ve put together some basic tips for any visitor to Russia this summer, which will make getting around and about so much easier!
Getting a visa
If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket to the tournament, you’ll need to additionally apply for a Fan ID. Processing time between application and approval is 72 hours.
Apparently, the Fan ID also gives you free usage of the public transport but check this before you go. Please remember you must apply for the Fan ID before you get to the country.
If you don’t have a Fan ID then you will need to apply for a traditional tourist visa, please inquire at your local Russian embassy for more details.
What currency do they use?
Russia is a country that is quite reasonably cheap to travel in. Their local currency is called the ruble, and right now 100 rubles converts to around $1.60 USD, which is the equivalent of a cup of coffee. For any cost savvy traveller expect to budget around $50USD / 930 rubles per day.
When flying to Russia it’s likely that you’ll arrive in the great city of Moscow. There are three separate airports which you might land at – Sheremetyevo (SVO), Domodedovo (DME) and Vnukovo (VKO).
Convenient transfer and transportation options like the underground, taxis and Russia’s own version of Uber – Yandex – are accessible from all three. Taxis cost much less on average here than the rest of Europe, here you will pay around 30c per mile.
If you want to use the public transport system in Moscow you can purchase something from kiosks in the underground and the card itself costs around $0.80c USD/ 50 rubles.
If you want to drive between cities for games you could also rent a car, which isn’t that popular but can be done for around $35 USD a day. Petrol prices cost on average 65c/USD per litre.
How to get online
If you need to navigate your way around Russia then your best bet is downloading Yandex Maps, similar to Google Maps, which you can download from your phone, it will give you a clear overview of all the local streets and cities.
Getting online to do that is simple enough. If you have your smartphone with you then just walk into any of the local phone stores throughout the country and buy a SIM.
There are three main providers of SIM cards in Russia, MTS, BeeLine and Megafon but most locals recommend MTS as the best. If you’re worried about reception in Russia don’t be, internet access is prevalent, in fact, 80% of the country is online.
Finding a hotel
If you’re looking for some accommodation whilst in Russia Booking.com and Airbnb are the best websites to use.
Just make sure you book well in advance to secure the right room and location for yourself because rooms are likely to go very quickly. Prices can range from anywhere between $100USD and $500USD per night for a double room around this busy time.
Delicious Russian food
In general, food and drink prices in restaurants and cafes are no more expensive than in an average European city.
Options range from the lower end, where you can eat at any of the fast food chains for around $4USD, or all the way up to high-end boutique Russian dining where you can expect to pay 100$USD. But an average meal will set you back around $8USD.
Russian cuisine is delicious and is full of signature dishes which I’m sure you’ve heard about, from the very filling and tasty beef stroganoff to the hearty soup borscht. These delicious dishes are definitely worth tasting!
What will the weather be like?
And now to the most important part of travelling to Russia – the climate! Because it’s a very large country temperature varies from city to city, but during the summer you can expect temperatures throughout to be around 25 C. Although no one can guarantee good weather!
We hope these basic tips have helped you with the important stages of planning a trip here. The Russian Tourist Board is expecting 1 million fans to cross into the country for the World Cup, so expect it to be busy and crowded.
When you’re there you’ll likely want to take a lot of pictures, but always remember to respect the local customs. Russia is a fantastic country to visit, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience!