World Cup 2018: How to get into and around Russia
What are the transport options for England fans?
Russia is a vast country and England fans travelling to the World Cup host cities where the Three Lions play will need to cover huge distances.
A supporter who has tickets to all three Group G games and flies from London to Moscow first, before getting internal flights to each city via the capital, will have racked up 4,538 miles before even dreaming of the knockout stages.
Here are a few of the options for getting to and around Russia, as recommended by the organisers and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF):
All direct flights from the UK go into either Moscow’s Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo airports or St Petersburg, meaning fans cannot go straight from the UK to any of the cities which will host England group games – Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod and Kaliningrad.
Volgograd, 566 miles south-east of Moscow, is a one hour 45 minute flight away from the capital but those planning to head the 526 miles north on to Nizhny Novgorod will find few direct flights between the two.
Many indirect flights involve a connection at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, before getting the one hour 10 minute journey to Nizhny over 250 miles.
Likewise, those going straight from Nizhny to Kaliningrad, some 921 miles west, will likely need to fly to either of Moscow’s two airports first – a flight time of little more than an hour.
The FSF advise fans to print boarding passes, as QR codes on phones may not be accepted by border guards who will typically stamp them.
📢PLEASE WATCH: Every fan attending the #WorldCup must have a Fan ID to enter any stadium. Other benefits include visa-free entry to the Russian Federation and free use of public transport.— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) April 22, 2018
Apply here: https://t.co/RNd8x5uDdu
More info in the video below 👇 pic.twitter.com/tXCltiEnhi
Getting a train into Russia is often straightforward but time-consuming, according to the FSF.
There are daily connections from neighbouring countries such as Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, and connections from Berlin, Prague and Warsaw, while high-speed services from Finland to St Petersburg run four times a day.
Belarus requires an additional visa which must be applied for in advance.
Once in the country, the huge distances will make for some very long train journeys but, with larger baggage allowances than domestic flights, some fans may find it convenient.
The FSF advise booking bunks on trains travelling overnight, with standards of accommodation being “mixed”.
And 734 free trains have been laid on by tournament organisers for fans with tickets, although these will go to and from Moscow rather than directly between cities hosting England’s group games.
The shortest train from Moscow to Volgograd will take just over 18 hours, while the trip between the capital and Nizhny is a mere three hours 47 minutes and Moscow to Kaliningrad is at least a 21-hour journey.
Alcohol is not allowed on these journeys so fans will have to pack something to keep themselves entertained.
Road crossings into Russia can have lengthy queues but the FSF said entry from Estonia, Finland ant Latvia are the most practical.
Coaches into Russia can be caught from several neighbouring countries, including from Helsinki, in Finland, to St Petersburg; Riga, in Latvia, to Moscow, St Petersburg and Kaliningrad; and Gdansk and Warsaw, in Poland, to Kaliningrad.
In the host cities, specially designated public transport will run for free for those with tickets and fan IDs, although this will exclude taxis.
The numbers of fans driving in Russia is expected to be low but those that do will want to know they drive on the right and wearing a seatbelt is compulsory.
The drive from Moscow to Volgograd, should fans hire a car once they land, is estimated to take 11 hours 35 minutes, and then from there to Nizhny will be around 13 hours. Nizhny to Kaliningrad will be a journey of at least 21 hours, avoiding Belarus.
Taxis are said to be an expensive mode of transport, although cab-hailing app Uber operates in host cities including Moscow, Nizhny, Rostov-on-Don and St Petersburg.