The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be the first time the tournament has ever been staged in Eastern Europe and it offers travellers the chance to enjoy a superb mix of sport and culture.
Fans will be able to experience Russian life in some beautiful cities, although it will certainly pay to do your homework to ensure you get the maximum enjoyment out of your trip.
Read on for our top four recommended cities to visit and some useful tips to help you make the most from your World Cup experience.
Best places to visit
Russia’s capital city is one the largest and most beautiful cities in the world.
Moscow is the main political, economic and cultural centre of Russia and will host several matches during the tournament including the final on July 15.
Keep up-to-date with all the action at Sportlens while you’re touring iconic buildings like The Kremlin, A.S. Pushkin Fine Arts Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery.
Lenin’s Mausoleum, Red Square and Gorky Park are also well-worth visiting, while food lovers can enjoy the city’s numerous world-class restaurants.
There are over 600 historic, architectural and cultural monuments in Nizhny Novgorod, including its own Kremlin.
Narodnogo Edinstva Square is situated the Volga River and here you will find a monument to Minin and Pozharsky – a smaller version of the monument standing on Red Square in Moscow.
Make sure to take a walk up the Chkalov stairs which run from the Minina Square to the lower Volga embankment.
Built during the Soviet era, they are the longest flight of stairs on the banks of the Volga.
Sochi will be forever linked to the doping scandal that shamed Russian sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but it remains one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
Situated on the Black Sea, Sochi is a summer beach resort and boasts a wide range of restaurants, bars, entertainment centres and water attractions.
The city boasts a vast array of museums including Stalin’s Summer Residence, while the Sochi State Circus is also based in the city.
Sochi also offers numerous opportunities for sports including mountain climbing, diving, sailing, skiing and much more.
St Petersburg is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with thousands of cultural heritage monuments worth checking out.
The city is famous for its design of large squares, straight streets, rivers and canals. There are also numerous gardens and parks if you fancy chilling out.
Fountains are amongst the other famous sights around the city, with the most spectacular being a lovely complex of fountains in Peterhof.
Useful tips for an enjoyable trip to Russia
Demand is likely to be high for accommodation at the World Cup and booking in advance is essential.
Get your match tickets sorted early too and always use a reliable source. Russian authorities will be quick to clamp down on illegal sales, so don’t take the risk of travelling to games without a ticket.
Make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance to ensure that your belongings are protected throughout your trip.
Don’t be caught out by the weather
Russia is famous for its cold winters, but temperatures during the World Cup are expected to be above 20 degrees centigrade.
Sun cream and flip-flops will be the order of the day, so leave your cold weather gear at home and enjoy the delights of a balmy East European summer.
Familiarise yourself with the Moscow Metro
If you’re planning on getting around the capital the Moscow Metro will be crucial to your plans.
Take a colour map written in both English and Russian, just in case you need to ask for help. Count the number of stations you need to travel, as some of the signage around the network isn’t the best.
Allow yourself extra time to work out if you’re heading in the right direction, as there might not be staff on hand to assist you.
The Euro 2016 championships in France were blighted by violent clashes between hooligans, and there’s been threats of more at the World Cup in Russia.
England’s qualification for the tournament will lead to security being ramped up, but the home nation have insisted the event will be safe.
Stick close to fellow fans and listen to advice on the areas to avoid around the various host cities.