There are several activities you can do in Russia, no matter which city you decide to visit: go to traditional Russian banya (bath house), try food from a Russian market, have a great night out and taste some real Russian barbecue. If you will be travelling across the World Cup cities, here are ideas for what to do in each.
Party like a Russian in Moscow
The Russian capital is truly a city that never sleeps, hosting some of the wildest parties and most lavish theatre performances. In a country where buying a ticket to the ballet or opera means planning months before the performance, make sure not to miss the hype and experience the legend of the Bolshoi theatre. Later, you can continue your night on to the streets in the centre, where you’ll find some of the most classy nightclubs.
Bolshoi Theatre, Theatre Square, 1, Moskva, Russia, 125009, +7 495 455 5555
Buy amber in Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad is the most western city in Russia and possibly also one the most European-looking ones. Due to its unique location on the shore of Baltic sea, it is known as the amber capital of the country, as most of these semi-precious stones come from that city. So once you are done with your fan duties and city exploration, you can get some memories shaped in amber stone to take home with you.
Experience White Nights magic in St Petersburg
Every June, The Venice of North, as St Petersburg is sometimes called, holds a huge festival to celebrate ‘white nights’ – the whole month without a proper night. Due to the northern location of the city, in June, the day almost never ends, and the nights look more like an overcast day. The whole city is out partying and enjoying rooftop terraces and some fine dining, and the culmination of the month is the beautiful Scarlet Sails festival – a spectacular music, light and theatrical performance right on Neva river.
Visit ‘The Motherland Calls’ in Volgograd
As one of the most important cities in the south of Russia, Voldograd is a popular tourist destination. The city’s fame is linked with the biggest memorial complex in Russia: The Motherland Calls. Dedicated to the Stalingrad battle of the Second World War, this statue is one of the tallest in the world and undoubtedly one of the most impressive.
Discover the Temple of All Religions in Kazan
Built by architect Ildar Khanov, the Temple of All Religions was inspired by his travels in Tibet and India. The temple is an architectural ensemble which combines 16 different religions together, creating a bright and colourful mix of different styles and cultures. This is one of the major attractions in Kazan.
See another kremlin in Nizhny Novgorod
Everyone knows the famous kremlin in Moscow, although, it is not the only kremlin in the country. In medieval times, almost every major city in the country had its own kremlin (citadel in a Russian town), and one of the oldest is located in Nizhnyi Novgorod. It is the most important historical attraction in the city and is home to numerous museums, historical sites and outdoor exhibitions.
Be inspired by space in Samara
If you’re fascinated by the history of space exploration, and Russia’s role in the space race, head to the Museum of Space History in Samara. Filled with information about Russian space expeditions and development, rockets and other spectacular equipment, this museum is a great getaway for several hours between the World Cup matches.
Museum of Space History, Prospekt Lenina, 21, Samara, Russia, +7 846 263 3935
Discover Mordovian culture in Saransk
Russia is a country of many nationalities (some sources count up to 120!) and Saransk celebrates the culture of indigenous people of the region at its museums of Mordovia Folk Culture and Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts. Both museums are dedicated to the art and culture of Mordovian people and play a major role in establishing a national identity among the young generation.
Historically, the Don river was one of the most important in Russia. The embarkment of the river in Rostov-on-Don is a perfect place to enjoy it: you can take a stroll or enjoy lunch overlooking the river, rent a boat or even join a boat party on the river, while enjoying the stunning views.
Taste Caucasian cuisine in Sochi
Sochi is a multicultural city offering plenty of different cuisines and dishes, although Caucasian cuisine is the most beloved by locals as well as tourists. The rich taste and original recipes make the dishes totally irresistible, and walking around the city, you’ll catch the scent of spices and grilled meat, along with the distinctive flavour of fresh lavash bread. Spend time with friends at Sochi’s Caucasian restaurants and enjoy great food.
Visit the fairytale city of Yekaterinburg
To see some folkloric and authentic Russian architecture, make sure to visit Kirillov’s House in Kunara, near Yekaterinburg. Built by local blacksmith Sergey Kirillov, the house demonstrates some traditional ornaments, mixed with soviet symbolics and motifs.