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9 Cities: Your World Cup Trip to Russia

    The greatest sporting event on Earth is about more than just football, and these host cities will undoubtedly prove this in the summer

    The World Cup games will take place in 11 cities. We offer you a glimpse of what nine of them are like (as you probably know quite a lot about the other two, Moscow and St Petersburg).

    Sochi

    The “Russian Riviera” is a great place to visit all year round. It has hosted the Winter Olympics, and has an F1 track, so sports fans will feel at home here. During the summer you can sit on the waterfront and watch the sunset over the Black Sea. The nearby mountains boast incredible wildlife, and the Sochi area does have a lot of attractions. Distance from Moscow: 1,679 km

    Kazan

    Forget Istanbul, it is Kazan where Europe meets Asia. The capital of the Tatar Republic was founded in 1005, which means it is older than Moscow. Inside the white fortifications of the city's Kremlin reside the Qolşärif Mosque (it the second largest in Europe) and the Cathedral of the Annunciation. The city is also known for its cuisine. The variety of delicacies a traveler is offered here include horse meat, Kazan pilaf, chakchak, and other elaborate pastries. Distance from Moscow: 825 km

    Kaliningrad

    This Russian outpost in the heart of Europe charms visitors with an unusual mix of Gothic and Soviet architecture. The city’s old districts that survived two WWII bombardments are very picturesque with their cobbles and red-brick houses. The main historical attractions are the city gates, bastions, and fortifications dating back to the 17th century. And the sandy shores of the Baltic Sea will provide fans with respite after watching their team in action. Distance from Moscow: 1,235 km

    Ekaterinburg

    Although this huge industrial center is the fourth biggest city in Russia, it is a perfect destination for outdoor types: national parks that surround it are really special, and the Urals offer countless hiking routes. The city is draped in history: this is the place where the Romanov dynasty ended. Distance from Moscow: 1,755 km

    Nizhny Novgorod

    The main tourist attraction of this city, founded in the 13th century, is the kremlin, an impressive structure with a commanding view over the confluence of the Volga and the Oka rivers. Closed to foreigners during the Soviet years, Nizhny Novgorod is now a welcoming place, where people cruising down the Volga stop for a break. Distance from Moscow: 425 km

     

    Samara

    Samara has a few cultural and historic sights, and focuses on making the most of the Volga River. Along its banks people can be seen sunbathing and spending time in cozy restaurants and cafes. Out of town, the Zhiguli Mountains provide a perfect backdrop for a collective photoshoot after a victorious performance. Distance from Moscow: 1,057 km

    Rostov-on-Don

    Rostov will dispel all those rumors about Russia being a stark, barren, cold country. If its warm climate alone is not enough to convince you, take a short ride (50 km) to the Sea of Azov and chill on the beach. Distance from Moscow: 1,109 km

    Saransk

    Yet another host city on the Volga River, Saransk is the capital of the Mordovia Republic and a relatively small settlement compared to other World Cup host cities. It is a melting pot of ethnic groups of Finno-Ugric origin. Besides World Cup games, it is worth visiting folklore festivals which are in constant supply here. Distance from Moscow: 650 km

    Volgograd

    Formerly known as Stalingrad, it witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, which proved to be the conflict’s turning point. The heroic legacy of the area is embodied by the grand memorial complex of Mamaev Kurgan. A 72 meter-high Mother Russia statue is a tribute to the Soviet soldiers. The city is also known as ecotourism destination. Its valleys along the Volga River are an ornithologist's paradise. Distance from Moscow: 941 km

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