Can Eurail get me to Russia for the World Cup?
This summer, the world’s most-watched sporting event is coming to Europe – sort of. Russia is hosting the FIFA World Cup, the most prestigious soccer event in the world! Although Russia is technically only partially in Europe, you can still get close enough with your Eurail Pass to experience some World Cup action this summer.
Even if you don’t have tickets to a live game, it’s worth making the trip for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of going wild with soccer fans from around the globe in this incredible country. Use your Eurail Pass to travel to a neighboring country, then hop on one of these trains, buses or ferries to start your World Cup experience.
Option 1: Finland to St Petersburg route has a plethora of trains, busses, ferries, and trains available. With the cheapest ticket to St Petersburg costing only 13€ (bus), this trip will not make you go over your travel budget. Use your Eurail Pass to get to Helsinki, Lappeenranta, and Imatra, and then choose one of the many companies which provide transportation between those cities and St Petersburg. Rome2Rio or GoEuro can help you with your search, as they represent many travel agencies.
Option 2: Any Europe – Russia trains can be found at Russian Rail. You can travel to either Moscow and St Petersburg from Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Budapest and many other European cities. The long journey trains don’t run every day, so take that into account when you plan your journey.
Option 3: St Peter Line Ferries run between Sweden/Norway/Finland and St Petersburg. It is absolutely magical to watch Scandinavia disappear in the fjords and enter the city of Peter the Great by water. Another benefit of traveling by ferry is getting a visa-free journey into Russia as part of organized excursion group up to 3 days. Make sure to look up the exact regulations.
Option 4: Although this may be the more expensive and the less scenic form of travel, flying is also an option, if you are looking for a quick way of getting around.
Tips on taking the train in Russia:
To buy train tickets between different cities in Russia, use www.tutu.travel/poezda/. You can also buy tickets at the train station, as well as in many specialised ticket stores. The convenience and comfort of Russian night trains will surprise you. Most Russian long-journey trains have three classes:
- The third class is called ‘platzkart’. Platzkart is an open couchette car with upper and lower level berths. It is perfect for journeys less than 24hr.
- The second class is called ‘coupe’. Coupe is a private 4-person compartment, with two upper and lower berths. It is great if you are looking for more comfort and quiet time. This class is most convenient for traveling with family, or if you are doing a long journey across Russia.
- The first class is called the ‘SV’. There are only two beds in this private compartment, and depending on how long the train ride is, there are showers as well. It is not common to use them, thus not every train has an SV compartment.
What to bring with you:
- Some coffee/tea, instant noodles, and snacks. Every long-journey train in Russia has hot water available at all times and there most likely will be a restaurant wagon to eat at as well.
- Some cups, plates, and utensils
- Prepare some comfortable clothes and slippers for longer journeys
- Some cards and a book so you can entertain yourself
- Most importantly – socialize with your fellow train travelers and enjoy the ride!
Want to know more about soccer in Europe? Check out these articles: