Apparently you guys are going MAD for the World Cup this year.
According to data from KAYAK, this year’s host country, Russia is experiencing a huge boom in destination searches, particularly Moscow which is currently the number one trending European destination for Aussie searches with a 485 per cent year-on-year increase in flight searches!
Here’s a quick look at what to do and where to stay, if you’re planning to travel to one (or all!) of the 11 cities that will be hosting the action.
Russia’s capital is home to world-renowned ballets, theaters and operas, as well as iconic sites such as the Kremlin, Red Square and Gorky Park.
The city will host a multitude of football matches at its Luzhniki and Spartak stadiums. And though there’s high demand for hotels, you can still find deals if you’re quick.
Home to the Hermitage museum, the spectacular Church of the Saviour on Blood and charming canals lined with baroque buildings, Saint Petersburg is a cosmopolitan hub with so much to see.
Matches for the tournament will take place at Saint Petersburg Stadium, which boasts a capacity for 67,000 football fans.
Sochi, located on the Black Sea, is Russia’s top resort city. Many call it the “summer capital” of the country.
When you’re not watching soccer matches at Fisht Olympic Stadium, you’ll enjoy warm seas, hiking in the Agura Valley and top-notch nightclubs.
Ekaterinburg, or Yekaterinburg, sits at the foot of the Ural Mountains, with a vibrant arts, music and theater scene.
It also has a super-fast underground Metro system that can get you to the matches.
Saransk is a comparatively small host city, filled with picturesque mosques, orthodox churches, museums and charming squares. Soccer fans will head to Mordovia Arena for the action.
Along the River Don, fans can enjoy sandy beaches and a seafood feast before or after watching a match at Rostov Arena.
One of Russia’s oldest cities, Kazan is no stranger to sports. It’s home to some of the best soccer and hockey teams in the country, as well as the Kazan Arena.
In Kaliningrad you can take a ride on the Pregolya River, enjoy fantastic fishing and explore the dynamic amber jewellery industry.
The Volga region is on the tourist map for its famous Russian aerospace centre and beautiful beaches along the Volga River. Check out budget rooms at Hotel Livadia or at Holiday Inn Samara, where you’ll be close to the the river.
Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, is most famous for its place in World War II history, during which it was besieged and much of the city destroyed.
Now, the city welcomes tourists with beaches, monuments, museums and vibrant culture. If you’re planning on watching the action at Volgograd Arena, check out rooms at the Hotel Volgograd with a spa and indoor pool onsite, or the budget-friendly Parallel Hotel.
World Heritage-listed Nizhny Novgorod is located in the hills overlooking the Volga River. History shines throughout the city, especially at its 16th-century Kremlin. A brand new stadium will host the action, so look for rooms at central hotels.