International and Domestic Flights: During the Confederations Cup, airline reservations to Russia will be at an absolute premium. Therefore, it is critical to reserve your seats as early as possible to get the best air and train schedule and prices available.

Airports: There are three international airports in Moscow: Sheremetyevo (SVO) in the northwest, Domodedovo (DME) in the south and Vnukovo (VKO) in the southwest.  Airport

  • Sheremetyevo has undergone major expansion in 2010 with two new terminals commissioned and consists of five terminals. Terminals B (old Sheremetyevo-1) and C are located on the northern edge of the airport and provide mostly domestic and charter services. Terminals D and E operate since December 2010 along with older Terminal F (old Sheremetyevo-2, built for Summer Olympics in Moscow in 1980). Terminal D hosts domestic and international Aeroflot flights, Terminals E and F host international flights operated mostly by SkyTeam alliance.
  • Domodedovo is a quite modern airport with a single spacious terminal. It serves both domestic and international flights by most Russian and international companies. Unfortunately, over a few last years, the airport has been increasingly suffering from overcrowding.
  • Vnukovo is a smaller airport and is generally operated by low-cost airlines. As of March 2012, it undergoes a major renovation with a construction of a new spacious terminal building. A few Star Alliance airlines have recently switched their operations to Vnukovo.

There are airports in all large cities in Russia. Some international service can be found in: Novosibirsk, Sochi, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg. International service to other destinations is much more limited.

Visa & Passport Requirements for Russia:

For the residents of over 30 countries, a visa is not required for entry into Russia. In general, residents of those countries can stay on the territory of Russia for from 14 to 90 days without a visa.

Unlimited entry and exit is available to residents of CIS countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarussia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldavia, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine. If the stay on Russian territory of the citizens of these countries (with the exception of Belarussia) is over 90 days, they will need grounds to be in Russia for a longer period of time – a work permit, patent, studies at a higher education establishment, etc.

The possibility of staying in Russia without a visa for up to 90 days is available to citizens of Abkhazia, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, Fiji, Chili, Ecuador, Souther Ossetia. Inhabitants of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macao, Cuba, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey and Montenegro can reside in Russia without a visa for up to 30 days. Hong Kong residents can reside for up to 14 days.

The federal legislation establishes that during the time period of the holding of the sporting competitions entry into the Russian Federation by foreign citizens and individuals without citizenship wishing to be spectators at the sporting competitions, and departure from the Russian Federation of such citizens and individuals without citizenship, will be carried out without the receipt of visas.

Ruѕѕіа аlrеаdу hаѕ аn еxреrіеnсе оf hоldіng lаrgе-ѕсаlе ѕоссеr еvеntѕ wіth vіѕа-frее trаvеl for fans. In Mау 2008, a ѕіmіlаr mоvе hеlреd thоuѕаndѕ оf soccer fаnѕ tо соmе tо Mоѕсоw fоr thе fіnаl mаtсh оf thе UEFA Champions Lеаguе between Chelsea and Manchester United.

A very important thing to know is that onсе уоu gеt tо Ruѕѕіа, dо NOT оvеrѕtау уоur wеlсоmе (thе durаtіоn оf thе ѕресіаl «vіѕа» fоr thе 2017 Confederations Cup саn nоt bе lоngеr thаn оnе mоnth) unlеѕѕ уоu  hаvе gоttеn a rеgulаr tоurіѕt vіѕа рrіоr tо bоаrdіng уоur flіght tо Ruѕѕіа. Remember – regular vіѕаѕ аrе nоt grаntеd оn аrrіvаl to Russia. If you did overstay, уоu’ll fіnd уоurѕеlf ѕtuсk іn Ruѕѕіа untіl a nеw tоurіѕt vіѕа аррlісаtіоn will be аррrоvеd and this рrосеѕѕ might tаkе uр tо 20 dауѕ.

A nоrmаl Ruѕѕіаn tоurіѕt visa іѕ $160 for the US citizens аnd this move with visa-free entry for the 2017 Confederations Cup is very helpful. As it was already mentioned before, ticket-holders will be allowed to stay without a visa for only a month and if you plan to stay in Russia for a longer period, you should get a visa before your trip. For those of you who are interested, I’ll tell you what the process is to get a Russian visa.

Transportation around Russia:

By train:
Due to the immense size of the country, and the poor road safety, the best way to get around through the entire country quickly is by train. Russia has an extensive rail network linking nearly every city and town, excepting some northern ones. For intercity travel, the train is generally the most convenient option for trips that can be covered overnight. Although accommodations are not always the best, Russian trains have efficient and courteous staff as well as timely departures and arrivals. The train is an option for longer trips (many Russians continue to use it for trips of 2 days or more), but mainly if you appreciate the nuances and experience of train travel in Russia. For the complete Russian rail experience, the one-week Trans-Siberian Railway has no equal.

Russian trains are divided into types: Long-distance (дальнего следования DAHL'nyehvuh SLEHduhvahnyah) trains generally cover trips more than about 4 hours or 120 miles. Take a look at the Russian long-distance rail timetable.  Shorter distances are covered by the commuter trains (пригородные PREEguhruhdnyyeh), which are popularly called электрички ehlehkTREECHkee. Most train stations (железнодорожный вокзал zhehlyehznohdohROHZHny vohgZAHL) have separate areas for selling tickets for these types.

Sleeper cars

Almost all long-distance trains are set up for overnight travel. There are several classes of accommodation:

  • Deluxe – lyuks (люкс) – the most comfortable and the most expensive, with private compartments for two adults and a child, with a private toilet and shower. Only a few branded trains have this posh class. An entire compartment is reserved even if you buy a ticket for yourself only, thus the price can be up to 3 times higher than in the 1st class.
  • 1st class – spalnyy (спальный) – with private compartments for two people. Most trains connecting major cities have a car of this class; tickets are quite expensive in comparison with European standards. Colloquially this class is commonly referred to as SV (es-veh, СВ).
  • 2nd class – kupe (купе) – with private compartments for four people. These compartments have two top-bunk berths and two bottom-bunk ones. In the daytime the two latter ones are shared with your neighbors from above as sitting places. In modern single-decker second class carriages of firmenny trains the lower berths are convenient sofas that are easily transformed into beds by putting down their backs. On some trains, compartments may be marked as male, female, or mixed-sex by the ticketing system. Note that in double-decker second class carriages top-bunk berths on both levels offer little overhead space suitable only for lying position, and luggage in these compartments can be placed only under bottom-bunk berths. This is because overall carriage height is limited by the overhead wire.

In all the three above-mentioned classes bedding is always included in the ticket price, and on branded trains a lunchbox with some refreshment (mineral water, yogurt, etc.) and a hot meal (cooked on demand in the dining car and thus can be brought to a passenger when it is most convenient for him/her) are also included.

  • 3rd class – platskart (плацкарт) – with unwalled compartments of four fold out beds opposite two beds on the window wall. There is controversy on safety of these compartments. For some these compartments are generally less safe than other classes as they allow uncontrolled access. Others point out that in an open car full of witnesses the chances of becoming a victim of a crime or harassment are less. Anyway, they provide for a much more immersive experience. Bedding is an additional option that can be bought together with the ticket if you specify it explicitly.
  • Sitting class – sidyachiy (сидячий) – sitting cars for shorter distance, with rather soft but a bit narrow armchairs (like in intercity buses) and seat reservation. These are mostly met on slower regional trains, but sometimes can be found on quite long-run routes, such as 145/146 Saint Petersburg — Chelyabinsk one. No bedding, of course. Not recommended if you take an overnight trip, however it's a cheap option for a 200-300 km travel between adjacent regions.

Every car has its own attendant/conductor (provodnik or provodnitsa), which check your tickets at your boarding, provides you bedding, sells you tea or snacks and can lend you a mug and spoon for (in most cases) free, especially if you order coffee or tea. Do not be afraid, if the conductor takes your tickets, he gives it back at your destination station; if not, feel free to remind him/her to do so. In the corridor you will typically find a samovar with free hot water for making tea or soup. Most long-distance trains have dining cars.

Bottom-bunk berths (nizhnie – нижние) are slightly more comfortable than top-bunk berths (verhnie – верхние), because they have more place for baggage under them. There are also discounts sometime for top-bunk berths only (usually not in the tourist season and not in popular directions, which are from largest towns on Friday nights, and back on Sunday nights).

Train classes
Trains are classified according to their average speed:

  • skorostnoy (скоростной, numbered 151 to 168) – the fastest trains (seating only), average speed is 91+ km/h, current maximal speed record is ~250 km/h by Sapsan;
  • uskorennyy (ускоренный, numbered 171 to 198 and 800 to 898) – fast trains (some with seating only, some with overnight accommodation), average speed is close to 91 km/h;
  • skoryy (скорый, numbered 1 to 148 round-the-year and 201 to 298 seasonal) – rapid trains with overnight accommodation, average speed is 50 – 91 km/h, usually 60 – 80 km/h;
  • passazhirskiy (пассажирский, numbered 301 to 598) – slower trains with more frequent stops, average speed is less than 50 km/h. Mostly used on regional routes.
  • mestnyy (местный, numbered 601 to 698) – the slowest trains serving all the localities along the railways, speed is the same, as of the previous ones;
  • pochtovo-bagazhnyy/gruzopassazhyrskiy (почтово-багажный/грузопассажирский, numbered 901 to 998) – mainly used to deliver post and bulky baggage or goods but also offering passenger capacity to persons accompanying these items;
  • prigorodnyy/elektropoyezd (пригородный/электропоезд, numbered 6001 to 6998) – suburban trains mostly serving commuters in cities.
  • express suburban trains (экспресс, numbered 7001 to 7999, but there is an exception in the St. Petersburg – Vyborg line where they are numbered 609x) – faster suburban trains connecting regional and large cities. They make few stops along the way. The difference in fares compared to conventional suburban trains is low, so it's one of the most preferred options to get to Moscow from the capitals of adjacent regions.

According to their standards of service, some trains are promoted to branded ones (firmennyy, фирменный) and given a proper brand. The most distinguished trains, like the first branded one in Soviet/Russian history, the Red Arrow, as well as privately held Grand Express and Megapolis ones, use their own special liveries.

Tickets

Because virtually all long-distance trains are overnight, the long-distance tickets are bound to specified train. At Russian counters or travel agencies you'll get a reservation automatically, but if you buy an international ticket from some European non-CIS country, you should ask for reservation explicitly.

Ticket price depends on train class and car class, as well as on season (off-peak day tickets can cost 2/3 of peak day tickets). You can check the ticket price at Russian language version of Nnov-airport.ru, Poezda.net or Russian Railways e-shop.

Most stations have a large room called a KASsovyi Zal (кассовый зал) where tickets are sold. Lines vary widely – some stations are much better organized than others nowadays, and it also depends on the season. If you find the lines unbearably long, it's usually not hard to find an agency that sells train tickets. Commission rates are generally not prohibitive. For instance, buying your ticket to Saint Petersburg from Moscow, it is much better to walk a flight of steps from the ordinary ticketing office – there are no queues upstairs and RUB140 is a small premium to pay for this service.

Alternatively you can buy an e-ticket online on Russian Railways website. It allows Visa and MasterCard cardholders to purchase tickets for RZD/FPC trains directly and at the lowest prices, without any commissions (the only thing is a margin between exchange rates during conversion of your currency to Russian rubles for committing the payment). You should take the printed e-ticket at station counter before boarding and pick up a regular ticket.

Stations in middle-sized and big cities have ticket machines with interface in both Russian and English. You can either buy a ticket or print the ticket you previously bought on the site. To print a ticket, you can either enter the booking code or scan the bar code from the electronic reservation. These machines don't accept cash, only debit/credit cards.

There are many agencies selling Russian train tickets abroad – RealRussia, RussianTrains or RussianTrain. They have English-language website and can deliver the ticket by post to your home address, but prices are 30-50% higher.

Generally, buying tickets from Russia to any other CIS country is same as for domestic routes, because all CIS railway companies share a common reservation system. This does not apply for ticket from abroad to Russia – you have to buy the ticket at railway company of the departure country.

Travel tips
Travel time can vary from several hours to several days. There are more types of train between the two largest cities than between any other two cities in Russia. Apart from ordinary trains, there are rapid trains (Sapsan) that run by day only and cover the 650km between Moscow and Saint Petersburg in 4 hours. Some of the overnight trains are quite luxurious — these include the traditional The Red Arrow service and the private Grand Express (Russian interface only, English version is under construction), a 'hotel on wheels'. Sheets, towels and pre-packed breakfasts are included in all the better trains. Shared bathroom facilities are located at the end of the train car. There are special hatches that one may use to secure the door of the compartment from the inside during the night.

Branded trains are always air conditioned, but in cheaper ordinary trains it is true only for renovated or new carriages (mainly TVZ cars built in 2006+), so it would be a good idea to inquire beforehand whether your carriage has an air conditioning system, especially if you are traveling to the southern part of Russia in summer.

Train stations staff most often speaks only limited English, so if you are not familiar enough with Russian to purchase your train ticket in person, it is suggested that you purchase online or through your hotel concierge or travel agent before you depart.

Dining cars of express trains are nicely appointed with real table linens and an impressive menu and wine list, but an average bill is 2 to 3 times more expensive than it would be in a typical cafe in the city before and after you travel.

At major stations trains usually don't stop for long times, about 15-20 minutes. Check the timetable placed on door at the end of the corridor. During long stops, you can buy various meals and drinks at the platform from locals for pretty reasonable prices.

A few very popular routes, mostly between Moscow and nearby cities such as Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Tula, and others have an express commuter train that is considerably more comfortable. Your ticket will have a designated seat number and the seats are very comfortable. The trains travel to their destination with only 1 or 2 brief stops and are thus considerably faster.

Smoking on all types of trains is absolutely prohibited.

Being drunk and unruly and any type of aggressive behavior will get you in trouble first with a conductor and then with the police. People in Russia generally keep their voice down when traveling on trains and talking in a loud voice will earn a cold look from other fellow passengers. As a tourist just avoid drinking alcohol, it would only get you in trouble, if you don't know the language.

Drinking your own beverages is OK in closed compartments if your neighbors don't mind seeing you in a slightly drunk condition, otherwise they may officially complain about your behavior to a conductor or a transport policeman, and that may result in the termination of your trip at the very next station where you will be accompanied to a police department and fined. In this case, your ticket will be marked by a conductor and you'll have to buy a new one.

Warning! Since 2014 drinking of any alcohol in trains (except dining cars) is illegal and punishable with fine from 500 to 1500 rubles, so if you decide to drink on a train, do it at your own risk. As said above, if you drink responsibly and behave quietly, the other passengers most probably will not trouble you, but if policemen that patrol trains see you drinking, you may have problems.

Alcohol ordered in dining cars may be consumed right there without any problems. But note that, as of 2014, most dining cars officially offer only alcohol up to 16.5%. Sometimes they can unofficially offer you vodka poured in a tea-pot, but beware of its possibly low quality. Perhaps, the best choice in this case would be a glass or two of quality wine instead.

Be aware of the time zones difference between the cities, e.g. Moscow and Vladivostok differ by 7 hours. Within Russian territory trains always operate on Moscow time zone (UTC+3).

By bus

Most Russian cities have bus links to cities as far as 5-6 hours away or further. Though generally less comfortable than the train, buses sometimes are a better option time-wise and are worth looking into if the train timetables don't suit you. A small number of cities, notably Suzdal, are not served by train and bus is the only option besides a car.

The Russian word for bus station is Avtovokzal (Ahv-tuh-vahg-ZAHL). Most cities have just one for long distance buses and the state buses depart from there. However, in Moscow and in some other Russian cities, a number of commercial buses are available, and they generally don't depart from the bus station. Quite often, you'll see commercial buses near train stations. Sometimes they run on schedules, though for popular routes (such as Moscow-Vladimir, Moscow/Yaroslavl, etc.) the buses simply wait to fill up. On these buses, payment is usually to the driver.

Russian buses have luggage storage, but if it's an old Eastern-bloc bus, you may find your luggage wet at the end of the trip.

Apart from regular buses there are private minibuses called marshrutka (маршрутка). Marshrutkas have fixed routes, but usually no timetables and no regular stations. Stop at the roadside and wave a hand, if you are lucky and the minibus isn't full, it will stop. You can arrange with the driver to drop you off at a desired place on his route. At more frequent stops the driver waits until his minibus will fill up. There are no tickets, you pay directly to the driver. Marshrutkas ride both on countryside (in this case they likely to have timetables) and as city transport – in cities usually have number plates as regular buses.

By plane
The tremendous distances of Russia make plane travel highly desirable if you plan to travel to some of Russia's more far-flung attractions. It's worth considering for any destination that is farther than an overnight train ride. Travelling across Russia by train can sound awfully romantic, but it's also time-consuming and rather monotonous. Nearly every major destination of interest has an airport nearby. The great majority of domestic flights are to/from Moscow, but other services exist.

The Russian domestic airline industry since the 1990s has made substantial improvements, so that plane travel in Russia is like in any other developed nations of USA or Europe, with a high standard of service and punctuality. Domestic flights cover huge distances and are part of an efficient network and are quite affordable.

  • Aeroflot based at Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow, is Russia's national airline for local Russian and CIS flights and international flights to worldwide cities (Germany, South Korea, US, etc.). Flights from St. Petersburg back into Moscow run only USD57 (May 2009) and makes this less expensive and less time consuming than taking the train. Since December 2010 Aeroflot operates both domestic and international flights from the new Terminal D located next to the old international terminal (now Terminal F) serving non-Aeroflot international departures. Many international flights and most internal ones are operated by Boeing and Airbus aircraft, only a few soviet era aircraft are left.
  • S7 airlines (ex-Siberia or Sibir Airlines) Russia's largest domestic carrier with international service to many cities in Germany, China and ex-Soviet republics.
  • Rossiya Airlines has a substantial network based at St Petersburg Pulkovo airport to major cities in Russia, and to western Europe.
  • UTair operates the largest aircraft fleet in Russia and ranks among the top five largest Russian carriers by passenger volume. UTair is the Russian market leader in helicopter services and is the world's fourth largest helicopter service provider by volume of international operations.
  • Yakutia Airlines is Siberian/Far Eastern air carrier having extensive flight network around Siberia and abroad.

Package Options: Custom Travel, International Russia Airfare, Multi-City Hotel Itineraries, Extra Room Nights, FIFA Hospitality, Russia Excursions & Touring, Transfers between host cities, Match Transfers and Travel Insurance.

Once you have decided that you would like to make a booking with us, perhaps after suitable consultation with a member of our staff, please contact us to confirm the booking. We highly recommend that you consider Travel Insurance and protect your investment.

It is important to understand that we send out many quotes everyday and we cannot hold possible bookings based on a quote.  Travel during the FIFA Conferderations Cup is in high demand and our best priced programs sell rather quickly.   Although we have plenty of inventory, delays sometimes create problems and prices may change based on our vendors.

Follow Your Team:   will be added to the travel package based on the number of nights you would be in Moscow.  Should this occur, our staff will keep you informed.  Reducing the number of nights in Moscow.  Reducing the number of nights in Moscow will lower the surcharge.  This will need to be handled immediately after the draw, December, 2017.  The standard 5 night package will not cover all possible match dates for each of the three matches that each teams has.  Therefore the exact date of travel cannot be determined for the group matches until after the draw.  To avoid having to wait to purchase your airfare until after the draw, you would need to extend your package one or two nights.  This would allow you to purchase your airfare early.  

Select Your Schedule Travel Packages:   All of these programs will be processed based on the established dates and hotels assigned in accordance with the bookings.   These packages can be booked with two night stays in each city.

Match Tickets: Match tickets can be purchased on the FIFA site.  After purchasing your ticket you will need to register for a Fan-ID.  As required by Russian legislation, to get to the FIFA Confederations Cup match, you will need a personalized visitor card, otherwise known as the fan-ID, in addition to your ticket. This name card is issued for each visitor and is obligatory for all ticket owners, including Russian residents and children. For the citizens of foreign states, the fan-ID also gives a right to visa-free entrance to Russia. You only have to get your fan-ID once, and use it for all the FIFA Confederations Cup matches along with your tickets.

Groups & Team Travel: Great Atlantic Sports Travel is entirely committed to providing a once in a lifetime travel experience to all our participants and giving you the opportunity of an exclusive tour hand-made by you with the help of our experienced staff. Our tours will combine superb experiences with Russian culture during the Confederation Cup. Complete our Group Tour Request.

Sightseeing: Russia offers unique, diverse opportunities for city touring and sightseeing excursions. Whether your second passion to soccer is music, theater, dance, or art…Russia has it all!  Moscow, the capital city, offers a startling range of unique attractions, top class entertainment and quality shopping with a difference. Innovative architecture sits alongside historic buildings and Moscow city center offers entertainment for everyone.

Custom Travel Packages: Let us build a custom sports vacation that is an exact fit for your corporate taste, time, and budget. Confederations Cup is the ideal setting for international travel. Create a signature package incorporating extra room nights, multiple cities, sightseeing options and meet and greet services.

Corporate Services: Integrating plan is not just a good idea to consider but an essential strategy to increase market share and improving customer service. Incentive travel provides a distinctive opportunity for your staff or customers to strive to increase sales revenue. It is also an excellent way to introduce a new product line. Whether your company is best suited to sponsor a customer program or an internal, regional, national, or even worldwide corporate event, we can assist. From concept to completion, Great Atlantic Sports Travel has the experience you need to help you boost your sales in an exciting way. Call or e-mail our Sports Desk for additional information.

Financial Security: We are proudly affiliated with the National Tour Association (NTA), and with the International Association of Travel Agents (IATA), consumer advocates of excellence in all forms of leisure travel. In addition to adhering to a strict code of ethics, Great Atlantic Sports  maintain the following insurance to insure full client security: $2,000,000 coverage for general public liability, and a consumer protection plan to protect your investment. The thrill of traveling can come with its own security system. Protect your vacation investment. Make your travel plans with an NTA tour operator. For references call NTA services at 1-800-862-8888.

Great Atlantic Sports Travel has been an Official FIFA Travel Agent for 1994 World Cup-USA, 1998 World Cup-France, 2002 World Cup-Japan and 2010 World Cup, South Africa™. Great Atlantic Sports has been appointed an official Hospitality Agent for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Germany and 2014 FIFA World Cup - Brazil.   Experience counts, booking your travel for the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup can be done with confidence through Great Atlantic Travel.

For further details, to view terms and conditions, don't hesitate to contact us. If you have any questions, or if you need more specific information regarding travel services, tickets, hospitality, hotels or any other travel services offered by Great Atlantic Travel & Tour Company, please give our Sports Desk (+1-757-422-9001) a call or email us.