Navigating a foreign country can get problematic, especially if it’s a country you have never been to or if don’t speak its language very well. If you’re headed to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup and if you’re planning to see the games in any of the other host cities, here’s your detailed guide on how to get there from Moscow.
There are some general peculiarities to travelling in Russia, all of which are covered here. Below you’ll find a detailed guide to getting to the specific World Cup locations. If you are looking for the exact train timetables, they can be found on the Russian Railways website (in English). Skyscanner is a good resource for searching for cheap domestic flights in Russia. Bus routes are operated by different providers. Yandex Timetables provides a good overview of most of them (in Russian, but an online translation tool should do the trick).
Planes from Moscow to St.Petersburg depart from all of Moscow’s airports at least once every hour. The ticket price hovers around $130 (if the ticket is purchased a few months in advance). The flight takes about 90 minutes.
The trains from Moscow to St. Petersburg leave at least once every hour for Leningradsky and Kursky train stations (be careful and don’t get them confused, they’re located a few metro stations away from each other!). You can choose between an ordinary train (the journey takes from 8-10 hours, the cheapest tickets, if bought in advance, cost around $25: for that price you get the upper bank in a third class carriage) and an express train (the journey takes from 3-4 hours, the cheapest tickets cost about $50). In either case, you board the train in the centre of Moscow and you get to the centre of St. Petersburg.
A bus ticket from Moscow to St. Petersburg can cost as little as $15, but the journey is far from comfortable. It takes approximately 12 hours, and the comfort of the bus itself is a little bit of a Russian roulette: if you’re lucky, the bus will be fairly new and fairly comfortable, if you’re not – it will be neither of these.
Kaliningrad is physically disconnected from the rest of Russia and this causes certain inconveniences in communication. Most of the Russian tourist visas are single-entry visas, making flying the only option. If purchased in advance, a one-way ticket from Moscow to Kaliningrad costs about $130-140 and there are at least a few flights to choose from every day.
A train ticket from Moscow to St. Petersburg passes around the Baltic countries and goes through Belarus. The journey takes approximately 20 hours and the tickets can be as cheap as $35, but passing through the territory of Belarus would very likely require obtaining a Belarussian transit visa (depending on your country of origin), as well as a multi-entry visa to Russia, which would, in turn, induce additional costs and a ton of paperwork. If you’re not exempt from visas in Russia and Belarus, a plane might be a more sensible option.
A flight from Moscow to Samara only takes about 40 minutes and a one-way ticket (if purchased in advance) can cost as little as $60 (that’s the price for Aeroflot’s weekend flights). There are four to six flights departing from Moscow to Samara every day.
There are at least four trains going from Moscow to Samara every day. The ticket can cost as little as $20 and the journey takes from 13-20 hours. A great option for those interested in devouring in Russian landscapes.
A bus journey from Moscow to Samara takes about 14 hours and costs about $25. The bus ticket prices tend to fluctuate less depending on the time of the departure, so it is an option to consider when all other means of transport become too expensive.
Kazan is a popular tourist destination in Russia. The flight takes about 90 minutes, the ticket (depending on the day of the week and if purchased in advance) costs from $50 to $150.
A train journey from Moscow to Kazan takes from 11-13 hours. The ticket prices start from $15 (and depend on the location of your bunk bed). The trains depart from Kazanskii station on Komsomolskaya Square.
A bus journey from Moscow to Kazan takes about 12 hours and costs about $25. The buses depart from Moscow twice a day (in the evenings) and arrive in Kazan the next morning. Once again, it is an option or those who are too late for any other option.
There are four to five flights from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod every day. The flight takes about 90 minutes and costs from $50 to $150, depending on the day of the week (once again, the weekend is the time to go).
The trains from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod depart from Moscow’s Yaroslavsky and Kurskiy train stations. Make sure to triple-check your station of departure, as they happen to be a few metro stations apart. The journey takes from 3.5-6.5 hours, depending on the type of train you choose. If bought in advance, the ticket can cost as little as $15.
The buses from Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod depart almost every hour. The ticket prices start from $17 and the journey takes about 6 hours. The buses depart from Scholkovskaya or Cherkizovskaya metro stations.
Flying to Volgograd is cheap and easy: it takes about 2 hours and costs about $60 (if the ticket is bought in advance). There are five planes flying from Moscow to Volgograd every day.
If you decide to go from Moscow to Volgograd by train, you can choose between a long-distance train with bunk beds and an express train with ordinary seats. The journey from Moscow to Volgograd takes from 20 to 24 hours and the ticket prices start from as little as $25 for a third-class bunk bed. The trains to Volgograd depart from Paveletsky station, easily accessible from the brown and green metro lines.
A bus journey from Moscow to Volgograd can be long and dire: it takes from 15-18 hours, depending on the time of the day and the bus’s exact route. The tickets cost from $25 to $35. The buses leave very frequently but from vastly different parts of the city. Once again, let the bus be your last option in case if everything else fails.
There is one plane a day flying from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport to Saransk. It departs in the late afternoon and, depending on the day of the week, costs from $50 to $80.
A train trip from Moscow to Saransk can be as cheap as $12 if you’re willing to sit through the 8.5-9.5 hour journey. The cheapest bunk beds cost from $26 to $35. The trains to Saransk depart from Kazanskii train station at Komsomolskaya square. There are only two trains from Moscow to Saransk per day, so make sure to get your tickets early.
A bus journey to Saransk takes about 13 hours and costs about $20. The buses depart from Sholkovskaya metro station three times a day.
Yekaterinburg is a very popular destination. The flight takes about 2.5 hours and costs around $60. There are many direct flights leaving from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports.
Yekaterinburg is one of the most distant World Cup locations. The train trip takes a day and 5-8 hours. The bunk bed tickets cost about $45. The trains to Yekaterinburg leave from many different train stations in Moscow, so make sure to triple-check your ticket before departure.
Rostov-on-Don is about 2-hour flight away from Moscow. The planes depart multiple times per day from all of Moscow’s airports. The tickets cost about $60 if bought in advance.
Rostov-on-Don is a day train ride away from Moscow. The bunk bed prices start from $40. The trains to Rostov-on-Don depart from different train stations in Moscow, so remember to triple-check your ticket!
A bus journey from Moscow to Rostov-on-Don takes about 15 hours and costs from $20. The buses to Rostov-on-Don depart very frequently from various, but vastly different locations in Moscow.
Sochi is a very popular holiday destination. There are at least a few flights there per day, departing from Vnukovo and Sheremetyevo airports. The flight takes 2.5 hours and costs from $50 to $80.
Sochi is 24 hours by train away from Moscow. There are three trains a day taking visitors there. The cheapest bunk bed tickets cost about $43 (on weekdays, prices go up a little on the weekends). The trains to Sochi depart from Kurskii and Kazanskii train stations: remember to triple-check your ticket!
If you’re feeling adventurous…
BlaBlaCar is a very popular mode of transportation in Russia. If you’d like to meet the locals and drive across Russian countryside in a smaller group, as well as save a dime or two, definitely consider that option. As a matter of fact, Russians hitchhike a lot and the drivers are extremely helpful and generous, always willing to show the lost tourists around. If hitchhiking is your thing, Russia is a perfect place to indulge in it.
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