The 21st World Cup kicks off on 14 June in Russia. It's the eleventh time it will be held in the Europe and the first time it is hosted by an Eastern European country.
How is Russia getting ready for the big event? What do we need to know about it? What are the 2018 World Cup dates? Since Russia was awarded the World Cup at the end of 2010, beating Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands, the country has been busy getting everything ready for the big event.
- Match dates
The event kicks off on Thursday, 14 June, in Moscow, with the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. There will be matches practically every day until the final on 15 July. Want to know the full schedule? You can find all the information on the official website.
- Visa or no visa?
If you travelled as a European citizen in the past you always needed a visa to enter Russia. You'll know if you've ever been to Russia. But in order to make it easier to go to the 2018 World Cup, the Russian Government passed a law in 2016 which said that they would allow visa-free entry to anyone travelling to watch the World Cup (15 June to 14 July). There are only two requirements: first, to have a ticket to a World Cup, and second, get the so-called “FAN ID”.
- Travel insurance
Let's face it – it's probably a good idea to take out travel insurance when travelling to Russia. We don't want to worry too much about getting ill or having an accident, but we also have to take into account that, amongst other things, it's very expensive for foreigners to stay in private hospitals. So it's better to be prepared and take out travel insurance just in case!
Luzhniki Stadium, in Moscow, is the main venue. The official opening ceremony and the final on 15 July will take place here.
Let's not forget that Russia in the largest country in the world, so we must take into account the distance between cities. The organisers chose the most important cities in Russia. As well as the main venue, Moscow, there are ten other cities: St Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Volgograd, Rostov and Sochi.
If you're lucky enough to travel to Moscow to see the World Cup, we would like to recommend a few places to visit beyond Luzhniki Stadium and the Fan Fest: the Red Square with St Basil's Cathedral as the main attraction, and then the Kremlin, the famous Bolshoi Theatre and Tverskaya Street, the most important shopping avenue in Moscow and the best place to enjoy the city's nightlife.