The FIFA World Cup 2018 has gathered its momentum, and we are here to talk about it. More so, to reflect on how the global football event affects the organization of our tours to Russia and travelers' experience. Don't worry. There are bright sides to it. So, let's not wait any longer and firstly look at the festive bright part of the event and on its not-so-shiny side.
Crowds of peopleWhen you imagine such a grand happening like the FIFA World Cup, what is the first thing that you see? Of course, the never-ending crowds of people everywhere. You see them in the supermarkets, on the streets, at the bus stops, onboard the trains, next to every single landmark you really wanted to see. It is quite exhausting always having to fight for your space under the Russian sun or just for a seat on the local train.
When it comes to our Russia tour packages, you won't be able to avoid the crowds in the streets, but you will surely be able to visit the essential sights listed on your itinerary and won't have to use your elbows while on the public bus as a private minivan or sedan transfers all our travelers.
Little availabilityWith big crowds comes limited availability. This is the case for hotel rooms, for different transportation options, for tickets to local entertainment shows, for private guides, for restaurant reservations. Well, for everything, except for the air you breathe. So, arguably FIFA attendees and foreigners in the country are not experiencing the best of Russia as their choices were very limited.
However, we have taken into consideration the subject to availability and offered fewer departure dates to Russia for our summer packages. But travelers who have booked our private tours to Russia were not affected that much as our resources, such as hotels, guides, and transportation was all reserved way in advance.
Great atmosphereThe subtitle of this point says it all. Even though there are crowds of people and less choice of accommodation or train tickets the atmosphere compensates for it all. The feeling of being part of something so momentous and big is amazing in itself. You also get a chance to witness how the whole world fits in one country as you meet people from all around the globe, who are so different, but at the same time, all united by the passion for football and their team.
In respect to the tours, they are positively enhanced too, because our travelers can enjoy a more enchanting free time if they wish to experience the nightlife after the day of touring. Even though the night scene in Moscow and other major Russian cities is rich anyway, the joyful football fans celebrating the wins or drowning their sorrows is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience for any traveler.
Two birds — one shotYes, you got it right, this section is for the football fans. If you enjoy football and have always been dreaming about seeing the fascinating country then we're pretty sure you have taken this chance to tour Russia in between the matches. One of the greatest perks that the fans who came to Russia took advantage of was the visa-free entrance to the country with a FAN ID, which was available when buying tickets to any match, the ID basically serves as a visa to Russia and is a total relief for those who worried about the long process of obtaining a Russian visa.
However, having two things on your agenda can compromise one or the other as you have limited time for exploring places of interest and there is a chance that you don't know where you will have to travel next in Russia as the games are held in different towns.
Choice of directionsLastly, if you're not a fan of football in the slightest and you want to stay away from the crowded streets you have two options: go north or go east. Let's start with the first one. Visiting northern Russia can be a breathtaking experience and the summer is almost as perfect time as winter. Even though the colder months offer memorable activities such as a hovercraft ride across a frozen lake, a snowmobile drive and, of course, seeking the northern lights, summer has a lot to show too.
If you run away to Karelia this summer, while the World Cup is taking place, you will be able to experience the White Nights, as in this region the days are long and the sun remains above the horizon even after setting. It is also the best time to take a night boat trip around the lake Onega or just to enjoy the absolute silence in your private chalet on a lakeshore. When you're there you must visit the one-of-a-sight Kizhi wooden architectural ensemble. Our travelers have been to this Northern region of Russia and would like to share their experience with you:
However, if you feel tempted by the east of Russia, then a Trans-Siberian railway tour could be the right way to explore the largest country of the world. During such a train journey, you can also expand your reach and make stops in Mongolia and finish your trip in the capital of China. The highlight of your trip will definitely be Lake Baikal — the deepest freshwater lake in the world. Our representative Vera is taking this journey as we speak and frequently reports back with video content, so make sure to follow us on Youtube (@Firebirdtours) to watch the next episode from Trans-Siberian series. Here is the first one:
To summarize, traveling in Russia this summer is going to be challenging, but with the right attitude and in-advance preparation you can end up loving every minute there. And if you're not a football fan you have a chance to avoid the buzz of the World Cup by choosing off-the-beaten-path to the North or East of Russia, exploring the beautiful nature of the country and leaving the capitals for your next trip.