The FIFA World Cup – the world’s biggest sporting event outside the Olympics is being held from 14 June to 15 July at 12 venues in 11 Russian cities: Moscow, Kaliningrad, St Petersburg, Volgograd, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Sochi and Ekaterinburg.
Russia is as vast as it is culturally diverse, so prepare for an adventure. You may need help figuring out the best way to get to Russia, how to get from one city to the next and even how to get from your accommodation to the stadium. No matter what your question is, Rome2rio has you – and the World Cup – covered.
Where are the matches going to be held?
How can I travel between the host cities?
How do I book the free trains?
What if I miss out on a free train ticket?
How do I get into central Moscow from the airport?
How do I get into central St Petersburg from the airport?
How do I get around the host cities?
How do I get from my hotel to the stadium?
How do I get a FIFA match ticket?
If you missed out on the first two ticket sale rounds, the last minute sales period is your best bet. Available from 18 April to 15 July, tickets are sold on a First Come First Served basis and are subject to availability.
Special access tickets are also available for those with limited mobility or who are classified as obese.
Once I’ve got my ticket, what else do I need to do?
All fans attending matches need to apply for a FAN ID – an official identity document that provides visa-free entry to the Russian Federation, free inter-city travel on trains, and free use of public transport on match days.
The free trains are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so get in early to register, reserve a spot and get a boarding pass.
How long can I stay in Russia?
The FAN ID allows you to enter Russia 10 days before the first match and stay until 10 days after the last match. You’ll need a visa if you intend to stay longer.
Where are the FIFA World Cup cities in relation to one another?
Russia is the world’s largest nation, so the distances between host cities can be massive.
Kaliningrad and Ekaterinburg are the westernmost and easternmost host cities, more than 3040km apart, with Kaliningrad within a direct 90-minute flight from St Petersburg (634km north of Moscow). Train is also an option.
Ekaterinburg is 1417km east of Moscow and a two-hour flight. Nizhny Novgorod is an hour’s flight from Moscow but also a pleasant day trip by road or train. Samara is 857km south-east of Moscow. Volgograd is 911km south of Moscow, Saransk 513km south-east of Moscow, and Rostov-On-Don is close to 1000km south of Moscow, on the border with Ukraine.
The 2014 Winter Olympics host city Sochi is on the shore of the Black Sea, about a two-hour flight from Moscow. Kazan is 719km east of Moscow.
Much will depend on your team’s matches, your itinerary and your budget. England, for example, plays in St Petersburg, Kazan (1hr 30 min flight from Moscow) and Kaliningrad (1hr 35min flight from St Petersburg). Many fans opt to base themselves in one city (or in regional bases outside the host city) to avoid the issue of securing expensive accommodation in other cities, and then travel for free on trains with their ticket and FAN ID.
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Kazan
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Ekaterinburg
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Samara
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Volgograd
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Saransk
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Rostov-On-Don
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Sochi
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and St Petersburg
FIFA World Cup travel options between Moscow and Kaliningrad
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Kazan
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Ekaterinburg
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Samara
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Volgograd
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Saransk
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Rostov-On-Don
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Sochi
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Moscow
FIFA World Cup travel options between St Petersburg and Kaliningrad
Search all your FIFA World Cup travel, accommodation and rental car options here
More than 700 additional trains will be provided during the tournament. To take advantage of free travel between the host cities, create a personal account and provide your specific match ticket number. After registration and choosing the route, you’ll receive an email with a boarding coupon. The email contains confirmation of the free travel, departure/arrival times, the number of the train and seat, as well as the documents required when boarding. The free trains schedule can be found here: https://tickets.transport2018.com/free-train/schedule.
There’s also free use of public transport on match days in all cities for ticket holders. In Moscow, for example, the free transportation includes buses, Moscow Metro, Moscow Central Circle, Moscow Monorail, suburban rail transport (if the departure or arrival station is in Moscow) and Aeroexpress trains.
If you miss out on the free train tickets and want to book inter-city train tickets, you can search all your train options on Rome2rio. Be sure to book on Russian Railways, as external options can attract a hefty surcharge. Tickets generally go on sale 45 days before departure, but discounts for booking in advance do not apply in the busy summer period.
Can I stay in one city and watch all the matches?
Yes. FanFests organised by FIFA will be set up at venues around each host city.
In Moscow, head for the hills at Vorobyovy Gory (Sparrow Hills). A spectacular view will greet 25,000 fans next to the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Or enjoy the woodland surrounds and theme-park rides of Ekaterinburg’s Mayakovsky Central Park of Entertainment and Culture in the city’s heart to bring fun and games to 17,000 fans, naturally. Art lovers will appreciate the qualities of 25,000-capacity Family Center Kazan, or check out the Volga River, museums and more at the 15,000 Minin and Pozharsky Square in Nizhny Novgorod.
Moscow has three international airports: Sheremetyovo (SVO, about 29km northwest of the city centre), Domodedovo (DME, 42km south) and Vnukovo (VKO, 28km southwest). Each is well serviced by express trains, buses and taxis, but language barriers, traffic jams and unscrupulous operators can complicate the journey.
Buses are the cheapest but also take the longest.
Non-stop high-speed train operator Aeroexpress (6am–midnight) is recommended by most. If you’re in a group of three or four and not in a rush, a taxi can be a more affordable option – but always book through dedicated service desks at the airport.
From SVO airport to Moscow city centre
High-speed Aeroexpress trains leave every 20–30 minutes for a 40-minute trip to Belorussky railway station, where you can connect to Metro services at the neighbouring Belorusskaya Metro station. It operates 6am–midnight (Metro is open 6am–1am). Standard adult tickets are 500 rubles (child 5–7 is 130 rubles; under 5 is free), but we recommend getting an Aeroexpress plus Metro ticket for 560 rubles.
From DME airport to Moscow city centre
Use Exit No.2 from the terminal for buses (departing every 15 minutes). Costs up to 120 rubles to connect to Domodedovo metro station (Zamoskvoretskaya line).
If catching a taxi, book an authorised operator at dedicated service desks in the airport. The minimum fare is 1000 rubles.
Non-stop high-speed Aeroexpress trains run regularly from just outside Entrance 4 at the terminal to the Paveletsky rail terminal and take about 40 minutes.
The cheapest option, commuter trains, take 1hr 10mins to Moscow Paveletsky Rail Terminal.
The terminal is great for duty-free purchases, such as vodka.
From VKO airport to Moscow city centre
Non-stop Aeroexpress high-speed rail provides a 35-minute journey to Kievsky railway terminal (Kievskaya metro station). Buses go to Yugo-Zapadnaya metro station and usually takes 25-40 minutes.
Also, avoid those offering rides once you leave the customs area – always book at the dedicated service desks.
St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport (LED) is Russia’s third largest and is about 23km south of central St Petersburg. The combination of bus and Metro is the most economical option, but not always practical or timely if you have large amounts of luggage.
Diehard fans traditionally meet at a central point, such as the FanFest site, and then walk to the stadium well in advance of kick-off time. Once there, there’s plenty of activities to keep fans entertained. Most stadiums are located on city outskirts, so ticket holders should use the free public transport on offer in host cities on game day. The free travel also applies to and from airports on match day. Catching a taxi to the stadium is generally not recommended due to the large volume of pedestrian traffic blocking roads.
FIFA has a list of host city recommended hotels, but the routes to the stadiums will all vary. Think carefully about their proximity to transport and the stadium when booking.
Plan your journey from your hotel to the stadium here. For example:
MOSCOW: Crown Plaza Moscow to Luzhniki Stadium
ST PETERSBURG: Four Seasons Hotel St Petersburg to St Petersburg Stadium
SOCHI: Hyatt Regency to Fisht Stadium
EKATERINBURG: Doubletree by Hilton to Ekaterinburg Arena
Volgograd has the Metrotram (a high-speed light rail system costing 25 rubles for a one-way ticket), identified by its ‘CT’ logo. It is open from 6am to midnight, with departures virtually every minute.
To find a Metro station, look for the red M logo at street level for your nearest station in the six cities above. Once inside, doors with green signs are entry doors; doors with red signs are exits.
Outside of match days (or for those travelling to a FanFest site), a one-way Metro ticket in most cities costs 28 rubles. In St Petersburg, it’s 45 rubles and 55 in Moscow (but 35 in Moscow with a Troika transport card).
Bus, trolleybus and tram
Depending on time and geographical constraints, buses or trams can be a handy alternative in the cities without a Metro underground network. Timetables and routes are usually at the bus stop. Overground lines usually function at 5- to 30-minute intervals, depending on the time of day.
Multiple-journey and one-way tickets can be bought at tickets stands near stops and stations, or simply pay the driver or conductor when entering. Again, they’re free for ticket holders on match days.
The 14-16 seat minibuses, or marshrutka, are popular as they will stop anywhere the passenger asks. They are usually identified by a numbered piece of paper on the windscreen. Usually costing up to 30% more than regular bus tickets, the fare (advertised on the front of the bus or inside) is paid in cash to the driver. The downside is that passengers must pay on match days, but it could be worth it for the convenience.
Known locally as elektrichka, commuter trams and trains cover the city and suburban areas up to 150km away. This is the best option if you’re staying outside of host cities as they are free on match days to ticket holders. A round-trip ticket is valid within 24 hours of purchase (except on weekends and holidays). One-way tickets must be used on the same day they are bought and are only valid for the specific destination.
Commuter train tickets can be bought at tickets booths (usually marked with the word ‘KACCA’) and ticket vending machines at stations.
Are there any cheap public transport passes?
If you’re having an extended stay in one city, invest in a multiple pass ticket or plastic Troika card that can be used on all public transportation. They can be bought at any Metro station, in Mosgotrans machines and Svyaznoy electronic and mobile phone stores (including at airports). While you’re there, pick up a pre-paid Russian SIM card to connect to the internet.
Moscow has about 60,000 licensed taxi cabs – all of which must have a yellow or orange lamp on the roof and a checkered body. Book online or via mobile app, where fare estimates are provided and payment by card is accepted.
Most cabs are cash only. Tipping is not necessary. The driver may help with your baggage but it is not regarded as one of their responsibilities.
Taxis are available at designated bays at airports and stations.
If the car has no meter, the cost must be discussed with the driver before leaving. Bear in mind that clients typically pay for parking or tolls. All companies charge a minimum fee per trip (from 99–300 rubles in Moscow and St Petersburg). Journey costs depend on distance and journey time, but additional fees can be incurred for additional waiting time and leaving city limits. A 30-minute fare in Moscow costs about 500 rubles during the day and 600 rubles at night.
Under Russian law, children under 12 must always sit in safety seats in any car and taxi or face a 3000 rubles fine. Likewise, buckle up (or endure a 1000 ruble fine) and only exit the cab once it has stopped. Some taxis are smoke-free but not all, and cats and small dogs in carriers are permitted. Forgotten items should be reported ASAP via mobile app or by calling the taxi company.
Some taxi companies offer options, such as larger luggage spaces, air-conditioning, WiFi and airport/station pick-up.
This guide about travelling to and around Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup was originally published 6 February 2018.