Football fans are eagerly awaiting the start of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, due to kick off in June. Russia plays host to teams from across the globe in this prestigious warm-up event to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, also to take place in the country.
It’s a great opportunity to explore some of the nation’s most fascinating and diverse cities too. Major games are scheduled for the capital Moscow, elegant St Petersburg, Tatar Kazan and the sports capital Sochi, which you’ll remember was the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics. In between matches, you could take a selfie in front of the colourful onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow’s Red Square or pay your respects to Lenin whose embalmed body still lies in state. Perhaps instead you’d prefer to admire the incredible works of art at the Hermitage Museum or take advantage of St Petersburg’s White Nights as you wander the city’s canalside paths. For something a little off the beaten track, pay a visit to the UNESCO-listed Kazan Kremlin or spend the afternoon at Stalin’s holiday dacha just outside Sochi. Combining these cities is easy; with a high speed rail link between Moscow and St Petersburg and a comprehensive network of domestic flights, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one city.
The venues themselves are no less impressive. Moscow’s Spartak are just five years away from their centenary celebrations which you can learn about in their informative museum. But their state of the art stadium was inaugurated less than three years ago and is one of the country’s finest sporting venues. Kazan Arena’s architects cut their teeth on the Emirates and Wembley in London before drawing up this beautiful structure which, from the air, resembles a water lily. In St Petersburg, a huge 110,000 seat stadium, created by renowned Japanese architect Kisho Kurosawa, is sure to wow spectators with its spaceship-like design. Visitors to the games in Sochi will recognise their venue as the place where the Olympic opening and closing ceremonies took place in 2014, since refitted as a football stadium. As in St Petersburg, the styling will compete with sporting prowess for your attention – some say this one’s shaped like a mountain summit, others see a white helmet.
Why not see for yourself? We can take the hard work out of arranging a trip for you and your friends or family. We’ll take care of sorting tickets, flights, accommodation and more, leaving you to concentrate on working out which team you’re going to support. It’s an unmissable chance to get a glimpse into Russia beyond the sights.