From Russia With Love: 5 things Saffas heading to the 2018 World Cup should check out

Cape Town - There are less than six months left before the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow hosts the official opening match of the most popular football competition held every 4 years – the FIFA World Cup.

The country’s readiness to host the world championship was re-affirmed at the Confederations Cup this past December 2017 as the draw for the tournament saw at a star-studded ceremony in the Kremlin. - See Sport24's full coverage. 

Set to take place from 14 June to 15 July, the time to state planning your itinerary to the visa-free destination for South Africans would be now. 

Getting there:

As the Official Airline of FIFA, Qatar Airways, under its exclusive holidays travel packages which include flights, hotels and official match tickets, has announced that football fans still have until 31 January to secure their preferred travel package. The Qatar Airways Holidays travel packages is still available for group matches as well as the semi-final and final for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

SEE: Russia to scrap visas for SA travellers from April

The airline says prices vary depends on match ticket category, chosen hotel type and flight origin.

Qatar Airways Holidays travel packages for key group stage games and the final phases are available to buy on a first-come, first-served basis.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications, Salam Al Shawa, says while millions of people are expected to watch the matches on television, nothing beats being there in person to experience the ultimate FIFA World Cup experience.

“We have made it even easier to get to the games in Russia, thanks to new direct daily flights to St Petersburg as well as now offering three services a day to the Russian capital, Moscow -  expanding global network via our state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport," he says. 

SEE: WATCH: Qatar Airways launches inaugural flight to St Petersburg

What to do: 

Here are the 5 things you should absolutely experience:

Alexandrovsky Sad

Start at the Alexandrovsky Sad (Alexander Garden), a highlight of the Moscow center. 

According to WeHeart Moscow, the garden is famous for its architectural monuments, incredibly beautiful flowerbeds and history. The Eternal Flame in the memory of the fallen heroes in the World War II glows in front of the Kremlin Kutafya Tower. 

SEE: A South African's first impressions of Russia

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

This is Moscow’s premier foreign-art museum, split over three branches and showing off a broad selection of European works, including masterpieces from ancient civilisations and the Italian Renaissance.


The Armoury dates to 1511, when it was founded under Vasily III to manufacture and store weapons, imperial arms and regalia for the royal court. Later it also produced jewellery, icon frames and embroidery. 

Try Russian Standard Platinum

In Russia, do as the Russians do and take a shot to the liver.

Famous well beyond Russian borders, Russian Standard Platinum can be seen at parties in Italy, at dinner celebrations in the US and at expensive restaurants in London and Paris.

Head for the streets 

What better way to get to know the people, culture and lifestyle if not by heading to the streets?

Just like most cities, in Moscow, you are bound to find a vibe. Don’t be afraid to experience the city in all its essence, however, be safe. The best way to experience a destination is to eat its street food, party with the locals and forgot about prejudices. Da!

What to read next on Traveller24

#ClimateChange: How 5 animals are impacted by extreme weather

UPDATE: Green ID hoax adds 'panic and pressure' as 31m more smart card IDs still to be issued

WATCH: Fiona the Hippo boosts Cincinnati Zoo sales to nearly $500K