One of the world’s most-awaited sporting events is finally happening! This year, the FIFA World Cup is held in Russia and this beautiful place is blessed to have been given the opportunity to present itself to the rest of the world as a top travel destination. Beyond the stereotypical long queues and bowls of borscht, you may find yourself exploring ancient places of worship, imperial palaces, admiring the streets of Moscow, or simply extending your stay with ENTERTAINER getaways. Here at The Entertainer, we love anything and everything related to travel – and if you’re thinking of what to do in Russia after catching the world’s greatest football show, check out these top 10 places to visit in Russia during the FIFA World Cup:
Red Square, Moscow
Located in the heart of Moscow, Red Square is undeniably one of Moscow’s top attractions. This cobblestoned attraction is surrounded by architectural marvels, where most of the city’s history unfolded. Back in the day, Red Square used to be a place where traders would sell their goods. This historical site is also surrounded by other attractions such as the Kremlin, St.Basil’s Cathedral and Lenin’s Mausoleum. In Old Russian, the word “krasny” translates to “beautiful” and Red Square truly lives up to the original meaning of its name.
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
There’s no denying that Saint Petersburg boasts some of the best museums in the world, like the Hermitage Museum – the second-largest museum in the world. The Hermitage Museum is home to a vast historical and artistic collection that holds its own, unlike galleries in other parts of the world. Make sure you spend your free time between the FIFA football games checking this place out! If you’re a lover of art and culture, this one’s for you.
Mount Akhun, Sochi
Feast your eyes on panoramic views of Sochi from Mount Akhun on a clear day. Located 15 kilometres away from Sochi’s city centre, this mountain summit is marked by a 100-foot Romanesque tower, where you can witness Sochi’s vast landscape and the Turkish coastline. Surrounding the area are ruins of a medieval Christian church and 20 caves that you can explore. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can go camping for a night in Mount Akhun! Just leave your camping gear at the luxury health resort nestled at the foot of the mountain.
Dancing Forest, Kalinigrad
Located a few kilometres away from the North of Kalinigrad, is a narrow strip of land separating the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The Curonian is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is worth a visit. If you have some time to spare on your football break, head there on a sunny day to relish the view of spectacular sand dunes, or trek through the mysterious Dancing Forest, where the trees are crooked in the most bizarre ways.
Kazan Kremlin, Kazan
The Kazan Kremlin is located in the heart of Kazan on a high peninsula, spreading out into the Kazanka River and the Volga River. Even though a fortress was discovered at the Kazan Kremlin in the ancient times, the present Kremlin is built on the orders of Tsar Ivan the Terrible after his conquest of Kazan in 1552 and Pskov master architects have since then constructed 1,800-metre walls and 13 towers. Today, this UNESCO’s World Heritage attraction is Kazan’s most famous sight.
Samarskaya Luka National Park, Samara
Established in 1984, the Samarskaya Luka National Park is a land mass surrounded by a ring of water, formed by a bend from the Volga River and the Usa River. In Samarskaya Luka, you’ll find a variety of species of plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Don’t miss out on the park’s major landmarks, such as the Molodetsky mound, Devya mountain, the Kamennaya Chasha (stone bowl) and the Vedmino (witches) lake. If time is on your side, hop on a sightseeing tour to a solutional cave Stepan Razin!
Nizhny Novgorod Cable Car, Nizhny Novgorod
Following its completion in 2012, the Nizhny Novgorod cable car has fast become a favourite activity of every traveller who visits the city. This cable car ride offers endless views of Nizhny Novgorod’s gorgeous natural landscape from a bird’s eye position and features a 3660-metre long gondola lift that links Nizhny to the town of Bor, which stretches on across the Volga River for 900 metres. This fantastic sight-seeing journey is a perfect way to begin a fun-filled day – especially when you have some time to kill before catching your favourite countries live in action at the World Cup.
Volga River Cruise, Volgograd
The Volga is Europe’s longest river and offers some of Russia’s most captivating natural landscapes you’ll ever come across. Hop on the Volga River Cruise and let the boat take you down a vast stretch of water as you soak up Volgograd’s urban scenery in the distance. Along the way, you’ll be met by forested islets, endless valleys and abandoned beaches. The best time to hop on this river cruise is during the summer season and the best part is – the Volga River Cruise is docked near the city centre and is easily accessible from downtown Volgograd.
When the sun goes down, treat yourself to a fancy dinner at Vertikal in Ekaterinburg. Vertikal is an upscale restaurant located in Vysotsky Tower, just below the Vysotsky Tower viewing platform on the 51st level. This restaurant offers live music and a variety of cuisines, from Russian delicacies to European and Asian delights. Vertikal is one of the coolest dining spots in Ekaterinburg, where visitors get to enjoy a luxurious sun-downer or a cocktail while admiring the city lights. Decked with chandeliers and an extravagant interior, this place exudes luxury like no other.
Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts, Saransk
Named after the famous 20th-century Russian sculptor, Stepan Erzia, the Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts is where you’ll discover the extensive collection of Stepan Erzia’s artworks. This museum is also home to an array of 18th and 19th century contemporary Russian and Mordovian art, as well as artworks from other Mordovian artists, such as F.Sychkov and I.Makarov. The Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts has been declared as one of the most significant institutions of the Mordovian cultural heritage and is a must-visit if you’re roaming around Saransk!
Whether you enjoy admiring historical sites, going on a cable car ride, or cruising down a mighty river, Russia is the perfect place to experience an epic journey – especially when it’s the host country of the 2018 FIFA World Cup! If you fancy extending your trip for a little longer, book your hotel stay ASAP with ENTERTAINER getaways on your ENTERTAINER App!