Traveling to Russia during the World Cup: A Complete Guide

Traveling to Russia during the World Cup: A Complete Guide

The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia from June 14th to July 15th. Every four years, it is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet, but also one of the most beautiful popular festivals in the world, which unites far beyond football fans. Rather than follow the matches in front of his TV, why not take the opportunity to go on site and combine both the passion of sport and travel? This is what I have done twice since I went to South Africa for the World Cup in 2010 and Brazil in 2014. Each time, it was a great adventure and unforgettable. With supporters from all over the world coming out to cheer for their team, it feels like going around the world while staying in the same country. The festive and friendly spirit predominates largely on the rivalries and animosities that can sometimes exist between supporters. More than just a sport, football is a great vector of social gathering.

So how do you go about organizing a trip to Russia to see the World Cup? Contrary to popular belief, we can very well attend a World Cup without breaking the bank, provided we are resourceful, flexible and not demanding on comfort on the road. Whether for South Africa or Brazil, I did not organize anything in advance. But for Russia, the configuration looks different. It is a country more complicated than the others and which is not very touristy. I have been there three times, so I invite you to read this general article with all my advice for a trip to Russia . As for the World Cup, here is the main information that I could gather and the tips that I can give strong of my experience of two World Cups.

Note: I will be in Russia during the World Cup, so I will regularly update this article based on information collected on site.

Russian visa instructions for the World Cup

This is the first good news: fans holding tickets for matches will be exempt from visa to enter Russia. When you know the galley to get it and the price to pay, it’s a big advantage! It will be sufficient to have purchased at least one ticket (on the FIFA website), and this will entitle you to stay in Russia in a period starting ten days before the first match (ie June 4 from 00:00) and finishing ten days after the final (ie until 23:59 on July 25), so much more than the tourist visa which is limited to 30 days. It will however make a request for Fan-ID, kind of ID of the supporter, it will be necessary to present to access the stadiums. Everything is explained on this site: It will of course have a passport also valid throughout the duration of the trip to Russia. Another advantage of the size of the Fan-ID: it will also allow to go to Belarus during the same period, from June 4 to July 25. This is an opportunity to visit a second country on this trip!

For those wishing to attend the World Cup without buying match tickets in advance, who just want to enjoy the atmosphere or who accompany supporters, it will be necessary to apply for a traditional Russian visa. For my part, I recommend going through an agency like Action Visas to facilitate the process.

Buy tickets for Mondial matches

This is of course the most important step: to successfully buy a ticket (s) for the competition. The FIFA websiteis the only official website to buy tickets. There have already been several sales phases, including a random draw or first-come, first-served basis. It must therefore be responsive enough to dig up the precious sesames. The last phase takes place from April 18 to July 15, the day of the final. It will still be possible to buy tickets after the start of the competition, especially at the end of the group stage, when we know which teams are continuing the competition. At this point, there may be a lot of last-minute buying possibilities, especially when favorite teams are not qualified for the second phase: many disappointed fans cancel the options that allowed them to see their matches. team and therefore release tickets for sale.ticket resale platform for those who can no longer travel to Russia. Resellers only lose 10% of the ticket price. As a result, it puts on sale tickets for matches while everything was sold-out before! The best way to buy these last minute tickets is to connect to the FIFA website in the middle of the night. This is where there is more shopping opportunity, otherwise in the course of the day there is nothing.

There are four different price categories, knowing that the 4th, the least expensive, is reserved for Russian nationals. This is the case for all World Cups: there are always cheaper tickets to allow the inhabitants of the country to enjoy the event more easily. A Russian will be able to attend a group match by paying a little less than 20 euros, which allows the Mondial to remain a popular party. For foreigners, the minimum price is 90 euros (it is cheaper than the price of the Russian visa which easily exceeds 100 euros with ancillary costs).

Before buying tickets for matches, you must first decide what strategy to adopt. Encourage the Blues and follow the team of France? It is then necessary to apply for the packs of the first phase and / or the options on the matches according to the results. At this stage of the sales phase, as many tickets have already been sold, it may be wise to consider an alternative strategy: target matches for which there is little demand. For example: Croatia / Nigeria on June 16th in Kaliningrad, Sweden / Korea on June 18th in Nizhny Novgorod, Iceland / Nigeria on June 22nd in Volgograd … This can make sure to see at least one match and have the precious fan-ID that entitles you to the Russian visa and the entrance of the stadiums.

Perpignan travel guide with lots of great places

Perpignan travel guide with lots of great places

I did not expect it, but Perpignan was a very good surprise. Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Pyrenees, the prefecture of Pyrénées-Orientales has many tourist attractions. This is not just the gateway to discover the pearls of the coast as Collioure or the inescapable hinterland as Céret or Villefranche-de-Conflent. With its historical heritage and charming old center, Perpignan is worth a stop for a day or two, to enjoy its pleasant atmosphere in the shade of plane trees and palm trees.

The many red and gold flags hanging from the colorful facades of the city highlight its strong Catalan identity: here we are in French Catalonia and the cultural change is at the rendezvous. Here are the must-see sites to visit in Perpignan and all the good addresses (12 in total !!) that I could find there.

What to see and visit in Perpignan

The Castillet

The Castillet is the emblem of Perpignan. This 14th century fortified gate marks the entrance to the old city center. You can climb to the top of the keep and its 142 steps to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, but we still have a better view from the terrace of Galeries Lafayettes, just in front of the Castillet (plus it’s free and we can take the elevator …).

St. John the Baptist Cathedral

Southern Gothic style, the Cathedral Saint-Jean-Baptiste was built between the fourt  and seventeenth century. Longer than 70m, the nave is quite impressive. The visit not to be missed is that of Campo Santo, just behind the cathedral, passing on the right. It is the only cloister-cemetery in France. The immense, very bare courtyard surrounded by white marble gothic arches is a real haven of peace in the city center.

The Sea Lodge and the Town Hall

The Place de la Loge is the historic heart of the old town. The Sea Lodge, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, built in the 14th century in flamboyant Gothic style, was once the maritime court. When I went to Perpignan, the building was in full work because this is where will be installed the new tourist office of the city. Next door is the Town Hall, a beautiful building dating from the 13th century. The major asset is the patio with a sculpture by Aristide Maillol, The Mediterranean, in its center.

Nature and design trip to Sweden through Småland

Nature and design trip to Sweden through Småland

Have you heard of Småland before? It is a little known region of Sweden, located in the south of the country. Covered by huge forests and innumerable lakes, I discovered it on the occasion of the inauguration of a new airline serving Växjö, one of the main cities of the province. Småland is not only a destination for nature lovers, but also for design lovers, as it is also the kingdom of furniture and crystal. This is where the global giant Ikea was born, as well as many prestigious brands in the glass business. Follow me on this nature and design journey through Småland, from Växjö to Kalmar …

Växjö, one of the greenest cities in Europe

The journey starts in Växjö, accessible via daily KLM-Air-France from Amsterdam. It’s not especially a tourist town, but it’s a good starting point for exploring Småland. Interesting fact to know: it is one of the most ecological cities in Europe! Located on the edge of huge forests, it is warmed by moss and pine cones and public transport biogas using food waste as fuel. As a result, the city has a CO2 emission rate of just 2 tonnes per capita per year, which is one of the lowest rates in Europe. Renewable energies contribute 85% of the energy for heating and electricity.

The city center of Växjö is pleasant to discover, with its pedestrian and lively streets. The cathedral is one of the emblematic monuments of the city, with its two symmetrical towers that can be seen from afar. It dates from the 12th century, but it has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. With 63m high it is the tallest building in Växjö.

The best way to visit Växjö is to rent a bike. The network of bike paths is very developed and it allows to cover large areas, among the many lakes and green areas of the city. We often feel like we are in the middle of the Swedish countryside when we are just rallying from one neighborhood to another.

A break in paradise on the island of Nusa Lembongan in Bali

A break in paradise on the island of Nusa Lembongan in Bali

That’s the feeling I had when I left Nusa Lembongan … I had just spent three days in paradise. This small island of just 8km2 off South Bali is a real treasure. We come here to swim in its incredible blue turquoise waters, surf, dive or snorkel. After a month of traveling in Indonesia with Lucie ( Voyages and Vagabondages ), we wanted to ask ourselves a few days in peace on dream beaches and we chose our destination.

We arrive at Nusa Lembongan by boat from Sanur. The crossing lasts a little more than 30 minutes with a speed boat (approx 150.000 IDR, or about 10 EUR). Attention, it shakes a little, I prefer to warn for those who have seasickness … And better to provide flip flops or sandals for the ride because you have to put your feet in the water (to the knees) to go up to edge. We dock at Jungutbatu, on the main beach facing Bali. This is where we booked our hotel, the Krisna Home Stay , a small family run hotel with clean and comfortable rooms, hot water and air conditioning (approx. IDR 200.000 per night, around EUR 15).

We leave immediately to discover the sublime beaches of Nusa Lembongan. I have rarely seen a blue water so pure and beautiful. It’s almost unreal. The island is not big, so you can walk, along beaches or trails on the cliffs. For those who prefer, it is of course possible to rent scooters. From the first day, we discover our favorite bar for a drink facing the sea: the Blue Corner Bar. Very photogenic with umbrellas and poufs of all colors, we will come back there every day. This is the best place to enjoy the sunset, with good music and a good cocktail. It is also a diving club (with good reputation) for those who want to do on the island

The next day, we leave to discover the neighboring island, even smaller, Nusa Ceningan. During our stay there, the two islands were connected by a small yellow bridge, only accessible for pedestrians and scooters, and that did not make us feel good anyway, so it was shaking under our feet. He unfortunately broke the day after we left, killing nine people and dozens wounded. There was a problem of overload following a religious ceremony that day. This tragic event reminds us that Indonesia’s transport infrastructure, whether roads or bridges, is often in poor condition. This is something to keep in mind when traveling to this country, although unfortunately there is not much you can do about it. Since,

On Nusa Ceningan, we went to see Secret Beach, on the other side of the island. The beach is sublime, however, to swim is average, because there are big waves and lots of rocks. To get refreshed, it is better to swim in the pool of the resort which borders the beach. It is accessible to foreign guests of the hotel if one consumes. On the other hand, it’s better to just have a drink and go eat somewhere else, because we found it expensive and really bad.

The other magical place on Nusa Ceningan is the Blue Lagoon. You can not swim there, because it’s on the edge of a cliff, but the view is amazing! Again a turquoise blue of unreal transparency.

In addition to tourism, both islands live from seaweed cultivation. You can see algae parks in the water when you walk around. At low tide, fishermen come harvest the seaweed in large baskets. They let them dry in the sun along the roads.