World Cup Travel Tips
Get ready, football fans! The World Cup is less than a month away. The tournament kicks off (literally) with a matchup of host-team Russia against Saudi Arabia. The first match takes place in Moscow, and the rest of the tournament is held in 11 different cities across the country. While we know the games will be the highlight of the trip, there are also many stunning backdrops that make for some amazing pictures to take back home (yep, this is how you get IG worthy posts)!
Out of the 11 cities, there are two that we think are must-sees and draw the most travelers - Moscow and St. Petersburg. So, when you’re not painting your body in your team’s colors, here are some of the best things to check out:
Top things to do in Moscow
Though the Kremlin, or fortress, in the Red Square, is one of the most celebrated, travel to the northeast part of the city and step into the unexpected fairytale land that is the Izmailovo Kremlin. The wooden complex combines classical Russian architecture with fairytale depictions of Old Russia. The center consists of several museums, including a museum dedicated to folk art, another to bread and another to, you guessed it, vodka. Connected to the Kremlin by a wooden bridge is an open-air market - a fan favorite to both locals and tourists.
In the Red Square, travelers can view for five minutes at a time a “modern mummy,” also known as the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin. The leader of the Bolshevik Revolution died in 1924, and his mausoleum was unveiled in 1930. Preserving a body for nearly a century is no small feat. The sarcophagus is maintained at a specific temperature and humidity, while the body receives a weekly bleach treatment to fight off fungus and mold. Lenin’s Mausoleum closes for one month every 18 months so that the body can be given a chemical bath and the suit he is wearing can be ironed. Fun fact: Lenin’s body receives a new suit every three years.
Even New Yorkers accustomed to strolling through Central Park will be astonished by Moscow’s Kolomenskoye Park, which is split by the Golosov Ravine. The park is full of not only natural beauty but also mystical tales of time travel. If you go, make sure you don’t lose track of time and miss the game!
Top things to do in St. Petersburg
The World Cup comes just in time for the start of the best time to visit Russia. Although the prices for flights and hotels increase, so does the number of daylight hours. During these long stretches of daylight, St. Petersburg is home to the White Nights Festival, an annual international arts festival. It is full of carnivals and opera and music performances each night. This summer, the festival takes place from May 26 - July 23, 2018.
One of the main attractions in St. Petersburg is the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood. The church gets its long name from Alexander II, who was assassinated on site by revolutionaries. Alexander III, son of Alexander II, commissioned its construction in honor of his father. Much of the draw-jopping mosaics inside the colorful building represent a theme of martyrdom.
Don’t let rush hour make you late for your dinner of traditional Russian cuisine. Skip the traffic and take a canal tour. St. Petersburg is made up of many canals, and there are even 800+ bridges that cross over 300 km of canals. Ancient cities used to rely on waterways as forms of travel and transportation, but now they’re just a fun way to see a city from a different perspective.
P.S. Though summer is the best time to travel to Russia, it does not reach the balmy temperatures of Miami. It can get chilly at night, so sweaters and jeans are highly recommended. Plus, nothing screams, “American!” more than wearing shorts in Europe. Between the museums, churches, football matches and culture, there will never be a dull moment in either of these eastern European cities, just don’t forget to leave time for a Shoot My Travel photo tour with your local Russian photographer ;) Go team!