2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 FIFA World Cup

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July in 11 cities. The final will be played in Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. Moscow’s second stadium to host World Cup matches will be Otkrytiye Arena. In addition to Russia’s best-known tourist destinations, visitors are welcomed to attend matches that will take place in other historic Russian cities, such as Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod.

Fans registered on the FIFA website and having tickets will be able to travel visa-free to Russia during the competition. The list price for tickets begins at $105.

Thirty-two national teams will take part in the final tournament. Qualifying competitions in European Russia will take longest: matches played by European teams will last until 10 October 2017, followed by a series of playoffs from 9 to 14 November, determining the teams that will participate in the final tournament.

Playoff schedule

Round of 16:

30 June – Kazan and Sochi
1 July – Moscow (Luzhniki) and Nizhny Novgorod
2 July – Rostov-on-Don and Samara
3 July – Moscow (Otkrytiye Arena) and St. Petersburg

6 July – Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod
7 July – Sochi and Samara

10 July – St. Petersburg
11 July – Moscow (Luzhniki)

15 July – Moscow (Luzhniki)

Host cities

The final list of host cities includes Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Samara, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad and Saransk. The World Cup is a great opportunity for fans to visit them and get familiar with local landmarks. What follows is a brief overview of these cities.


Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with over 12 million residents. It is said to have been founded in 1147, becoming Russia’s capital city in the late 15th century. Moscow’s chief landmarks, the stone-walled Kremlin with an impressive church complex and Red Square, so named in the 17th century, date back to this period too. Lenin’s Mausoleum in Red Square has been the resting place of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin since 1924. St. Basil’s Cathedral, with its worldwide famous multicoloured domes, is also located in Red Square.

Besides Red Square, visitors to Russia’s capital city are always excited to visit the Kremlin. Once a fortress, it is now the official residence of the President of the Russian Federation. On the territory of the Kremlin there are many cultural and architectural monuments, such as the Dormition Cathedral (Russian: Успенский собор), the Cathedral of the Archangel (Russian: Архангельский собор) and the Cathedral of the Annunciation (Russian: Благовещенский собор), the Tsar Bell (Russian: Царьколокол) and the Tsar Cannon (Russian: Царьпушка), the Palace of Facets (Russian: Грановитая палата), the Grand Kremlin Palace (Russian: Большой Кремлёвский дворец), the Ivan the Great Bell Tower (Russian: Колокольня Ивана Великого), the Kremlin Armoury (Russian: Оружейная палата) housing the Russian Diamond Fund (Russian: Алмазный фонд) and many more. Near the Kremlin is the beautiful Alexander Garden (Russian: Александровский сад) and the historic Kitay-gorod.

Among other popular landmarks is one of Moscow’s oldest streets, Arbat, every house of which is steeped in history. When in Moscow, be sure to visit the Theatre Square (Russian: Театральная площадь), named after the theatres located on it, including the Bolshoi Theatre, one of the best-known opera and ballet theatres built in 1856. Have a look at our list of Top 33 tourist destinations in Moscow and the cities around.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is Russia’s second largest city and the capital of imperial Russia. Known as the cultural capital of Russia, it abounds with theatres, palaces, museums and other architectural landmarks dating to the 18th and 19th centuries. Situated in the estuary of the Neva River, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, St. Petersburg was founded by Tsar Peter I in 1703. In 1924, the city was renamed Leningrad and was changed back to St. Petersburg in 1991. During World War II, the city withstood an 872-day siege. Its current population is 5,200,000.

Today, St. Petersburg is Russia’s major economic, scientific, cultural and tourist city. People come here to visit the Hermitage, one of the largest and most visited museums in the world, located in the Winter Palace on the Palace Square. Other places of interest include the Russian Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and Saint Isaac’s Cathedral, as well as the sumptuous imperial residences in Peterhof and Pavlovsk. The impressive Nevsky Prospekt is the city’s main thoroughfare. You could just stroll around the city’s historic streets and embankments all day. The beauty of St. Petersburg defies imagination, indeed!

St. Petersburg is about 700 km from Moscow. The best way to get to St. Petersburg from Moscow in just 4 or 4.5 hours is by taking a high-speed train, Sapsan or Nevsky Ekspress, whereas it will take 8 or 9 hours (or even longer) to get to St. Petersburg if you take a regular train. You can also travel by air to St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport, but you won’t save any time. Getting to St. Petersburg by bus will take you up to 12 hours. The 2012 FIFA World Cup will take place at St. Petersburg’s newly built stadium, Sankt Peterburg Arena.


Sochi is Russia’s southern capital and a major year-round city in Russia. Founded in 1838, it is located on the shores of the Black Sea, in the subtropical zone. With a population of over 400,000, Sochi is an important transportation hub and an important economic and cultural centre of Russia.

Pay a visit to the Olympic Park, on whose premises are located the main sports facilities built for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Of great interest are Sochi’s arboretum with rare flora and fauna, the Riviera Park, Mount Akhun featuring a tower, dolphinariums, waterparks and many more.

Distance to Moscow is 1,700 km. You can get to Sochi from Moscow by train, but the plane is definitely the quickest way. The airport is located in Adler, a district of Sochi 30 km from downtown. Getting to Sochi by train will take you a day or a day and a half. The FIFA World Cup matches will take place at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium.


Rostov-on-Don is a city situated on the banks of the picturesque Don River 1,092 km from Moscow. Founded in 1749, it is the administrative centre of the Southern Federal District of Russia. With a population of over one million, it is the tenth-largest city in Russia and a major transportation hub of Southern Russia: several highways run through it, including the Don M-4 Highway linking Moscow and the Caucasus.

Bolshaya Sadovaya Street is said to be the city’s main historic thoroughfare featuring a number of local landmarks, such as the Musical Theatre, Margarita Chernova’s House and TsUM (the Central Department Store). Don’t forget to visit the ‘Rostov Sea’, a beautiful water storage basin in the northern outskirts of Rostov-on-Don, and the embankment.

It will take you 15 to 16 hours to get to Rostov-on-Don from Moscow  by train or by bus. The fastest way to get to the eponymous airport is by airplane. Driving to Rostov-on-Don along the Don M-4 Highway will take you to the city in 13 hours. The World Cup will take place at the Rostov Arena Stadium.


Russia’s westernmost regional centre, Kaliningrad was the East Prussian provincial capital Königsberg until 1946, when it became part of the USSR. Situated on the coast of the Baltic Sea, the city is an important transportation hub and a sea and river port. Its population is over 460,000. Kaliningrad Oblast is an enclave and shares no common borders with the rest of Russia, which is why a Schengen visa is required for traveling by land to Moscow from Kaliningrad.

Kaliningrad is an old city boasting a beautiful old town. Among Kaliningrad’s landmark stands out the 14th-century Königsberg Cathedral, neighboured by Immanuel Kant’s grave. Don’t fail to visit the Fish Village (Russian: Рыбная деревня), a district being built to resemble the old city, the Kaliningrad Amber Museum (Russian: Музей янтаря), the Museum of the World’s Oceans (Russian: Музей Мирового океана) and the Kaliningrad Zoo, one of the oldest in Europe.

The easiest way to get there from Moscow is by plane landing at Khrabrovo Airport. It will take you over 20 hours to get to Kaliningrad by train crossing Belarus and Lithuania. The World Cup will take place at the Kaliningrad Stadium.


Yekaterinburg is the Urals’ capital and a major administrative, cultural and educational centre of the Ural Federal District. Founded in 1723 on the banks of the Iset River, it was renamed Sverdlovsk in Soviet times. Back in the 18th century, the Siberian highway passed through this city linking Central Russia to Siberia, and from that time on Yekaterinburg became Russia’s main ‘window to Europe’. The current population of the city is getting close to 1,500,000. Yekaterinburg is a major industrial city of Russia, with the Trans-Siberian Highway and six federal highways running through it.

Yekaterinburg is located 1,667 km from Moscow. The easiest way to get there is by plane (Koltsovo Airport). It will take you over 24 hours to get there by train. The World Cup will take place at the Yekaterinburg Arena Stadium.


Situated on the Volga River, Volgograd was known in Soviet times as Stalingrad. Its tragic history is forever associated with World War II and the Battle of Stalingrad. The city is located in Southeastern Russia and has a population of over one million. During the Battle of Stalingrad (1943) the city was literally wiped off the map. It took a long time to restore and rebuilt it. Volgograd’s main place of interest is the Mamayev Kurgan dominated by a giant sculpture The Motherland Calls, the world’s ninth tallest statue and the symbol of the city and of the victory over fascism.

Volgograd is located 970 km from Moscow. It will take you 18 hours to get there by train and 15-16 hours by bus. You can also get there in 12-14 hours by driving along the Don M-4 Highway. Another convenient way to get to Volgograd is by plane (Gumrak Airport). The World Cup will take place at the Volgograd Arena Stadium.


Kazan is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, a region with a predominantly Muslim population. The city is located on the bank of the Volga River and has a population of over 1,200,000. This is one of Russia’s major economic, educational, cultural, religious and sports centres. It is often referred to as ‘the third capital of Russia’. In 2005, the city celebrated its millennium. Western and Eastern cultures blended in this ancient city, mosques can be seen side by side with churches, and signboards are written in both Russian and Tatar languages. Kazan’s major landmark is its Kremlin made up of x historical and architectural monuments dating to various periods from the 12th century on. In the 15th century, the Kremlin was the center of the Khanate of Kazan. After the Russian army led by the Muscovite tsar Ivan the Terrible conquered the city in 1552, the Kremlin was reconstructed and became a regional centre of the Russian Tsardom. One of the world’s few leaning towers, the Soyembika Tower, is located here, along with the magnificent Qol-Şarif mosque, the height of each of its four main minarets being 58 m.

Kazan is located some 800 km from Moscow. It will take you 11 hours to get there by train, 11 to 12 hours by car along the Volga M-7 Highway, 13 to 14 hours by bus or, finally, by plane (Kazan International Airport). The World Cup will take place on the Kazan Arena Stadium.

Nizhny Novgorod

Located at the confluence of the Oka and Volga Rivers, Nizhny Novgorod is a major administrative centre of Volga Federal District. The city’s population is over 1,200,000. Nizhny Novgorod was founded in 1221 by Prince Yuri II of Vladimir. In the 16th century, a stone-walled kremlin was built here never to be taken by any besieger. Russia’s largest fair was transferred here in 1817, turning the city into one of Russia’s major trading centres. The old town abounds with over 600 architectural and historical monuments!

Nizhny Novgorod is located some 400 km from Moscow, so getting there is easy no matter what means of transportation you choose. It will take you 5 hours to drive there along the Volga M-7 Highway. If you prefer traveling by train, choose high-speed Lastochka or Strizh trains that depart from the Kurskaya Railway Terminal and get to the Nizhny Novgorod railroad station in 3.5 to 4.5 hours. You can also take an airplane to Strigino Airport. The World Cup will take place at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.


Samara is located at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers in the Mid-Volga region. Its population is over 1,000,000. This is a major transportation, economic, research, educational and cultural centre. Samara was founded in 1586 as a fortress. Today, Samara boasts Russia’s longest river embankment and the Kuybyshev Square, the largest square in Russia. Europe’s tallest railroad station building (over 100 metres high) is also located here.

Samara is about 1,000 km from Moscow, so the best way to get here is by plane (Kurumoch Airport). A deluxe train will take you to Samara in 13 hours, but it will take you up to 20 hours if you travel by other trains. Trains depart from the Kazan Railroad Station. Travelling by car along the M-5 Highway will take you over 14 hours. The World Cup will take place at the Samara Arena Stadium.


Saransk is the capital city of the Republic of Mordovia. It is located in the Volga basin on the banks of the Insar River. The Saransk Fortress was founded in 1641 to protect the borders of the Russian Tsardom. Later it lost its military significance and, in the 18th century, became a provincial trading town. Today, on the contrary, it is an actively growing city, new stadiums, hotels, residential areas and ring roads are mushrooming and monuments and old buildings are being restored there.

The distance between Saransk and Moscow is 500 km (or 640 km, if driving along the highway), because the city is situated far from federal highways. It will take you 9 hours to get there by train, 12 to 14 hours by bus and 9 to 10 hours by car (along M-5 or M-7 Highways). There are no direct flights from Moscow to Saransk, but you can try to get there by plane via Penza, which is not a very good idea. The World Cup will take place at the Mordoviya Arena Stadium.

2018 world cup in Moscow

The 2018 World Cup in Moscow will take place at two stadiums, Luzhniki and Spartak.

Luzhniki stadium

Russia’s largest stadium was built in 1956 to host the First All-Union Summer Spartakiad. The stadium also hosted the 1980 Summer Olympics (both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies), the 1986 Goodwill Games, the 1999 UEFA Cup Final and the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, along with various world sports championships. The stadium is to be reconstructed for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, while preserving its historical façade. As for the arena, it is expected to undergo large-scale reconstruction. Its total seating capacity will be 81,000, the stadium will also feature brand new architectural lighting and a natural grass football field. During construction, the inclination of the stands will be changed in such a way as to get it as close to the playing field as possible.

The World Cup’s opening and closing matches will take place here on 14 June and 15 July respectively. The Luzhniki Stadium will also host group-round matches (17, 20 and 26 matches), Round of 16 (1 July) and the semi-final (11 July).

Sportivnaya and Vorobyovy Gory Metro Stations, as well as Luzhniki Metro Station on the Moscow Central Circle, are the metro stations closest to the stadium.

Spartak stadium

The Spartak Stadium is also known as Otkrytiye Arena, so named after its sponsor. This is the home venue of Spartak Moscow, including a museum and the Hall of Fame of this popular Russian football team. Construction of the stadium equipped with the latest technology was completed in 2014 and is now a kind of architectural landmark of Northwestern Moscow. The arena’s façade is reminiscent of the gladiator’s mail armour and changes its colour depending on the colours of the team playing on the field. A sculpture representing a gladiator stands near the stadium. The latter consists of the football field and the 45,000-spectator stands. Group-round matches will take place here on 16, 19, 23 and 27 June, and the Round of 16 on 3 July.

The stadium is situated in the proximity of Tushino Airport. To get there, take the metro and get off at Spartak Metro Station.


FIFA World Cup ticket sales started in June 2016, but FIFA is only selling tickets for VIP lounges. As an example, the Tsar’s Lounge package, including a one-match ticket for the 40-person lounge at Luzhniki, St. Petersburg, Fisht and Kazan Arena stadiums, is sold for $24,900 (Kazan and Sochi) and for up to 49,900 (Luzhniki, Moscow).

The Random Selection Draw Period started on 14 September (tickets sold upon preliminary application). Individual tickets will go on sale from 1 December 2017. VISA card holders will be able to purchase tickets at an earlier date, from 8 to 17 November 2017, since VISA is funding the FIFA World Cup. Tickets are sold online on FIFA’s official website, To limit eventual speculations, one user is allowed to purchase tickets for no more than 7 matches and no more than 4 tickets for one match. For the first time in history, the price of standard (not VIP) tickets for the final will be over $1,000 and will cost $1,100 for a seat in the most convenient part of the stands. Discounted rates will apply to residents of Russia. The ticket price for foreigners will be $220 to $550 for the opening match, $105 to $210 for group matches, $175 to $365 for quarter-finals, $285 to $750 for the semi-final and $455 to $1,100 for the final.

Visiting Moscow

All ticket holders can come to Russia visa-free to attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup matches. Remember that you get through customs at the airports after leaving the baggage claim area. You have to declare valuable objects and cash over USD 10,000. Make sure you have your valid passport, your Fan ID and a medical insurance. This opportunity is offered to foreigners during the period stating 72 hours before the first 2017 FIFA World Cup match and ending on the day of the final match.

Fans arriving to one of Moscow airports will be able to go downtown by high-speed Aeroexpress train or by taxi (you can get a taxi from the taxi booking area at the airports). Тhose intending to travel to Russia by train will get off at one of Moscow’s nine railroad stations. All of them have direct access to metro stations.

2018 FIFA World Cup ticket holders will be able to use any means of public transport for free. What’s more, they can have free rides 18 hours before and 18 hours after the matches. Urban and railroad transport, as well as bus rides between host cities will be free of charge.

© 2016-2018
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2018 World Cup. Commemorative coins
Opening of the stadium in St. Petersburg
Cities hosting the 2018 World Cup
Zabivaka the Wolf, the Official Mascot for the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Iran national football team
Statue of a gladiator in front of the Spartak Stadium in Moscow
Tram in Volgograd with 2018 World Cup logos
Luzhniki Stadium
Bolshoi Theatre. 2018 World Cup logo
Clock counting down to the 2018 World Cup

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