Before diving into the fan mode in one the biggest Russian stadiums make the most of your free time by visiting some awesome places in the area! Whether it’s some sightseeing, dining or drinks — we have just the right suggestions for you!
Sparrow Hills (Vorobyovy Gory)
If the Kremlin is the heart of the capital, then the Sparrow Hills are the soul. Legend has it that the terrain was named after the priest Vorobey who was gifted this land by the Grand duchess Sofya. The Sparrow Hills are situated next to the metro station of the same name. You can explore Sparrow Hills on foot, by renting a bicycle or roller available nearby, or by boat (this costs around $5 for 15 min). Here you’ll find a lovely park by the Moskva river embankment, with several ponds, where you can feed the ducks that have made these ponds their home.
Having walked on the Avenue of scientists, you will approach the observation deck that offers a fantastic view enjoyed in the past by the likes of Karamzin, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy. Soak in the view of the capital’s skyscrapers, the picturesque bend of the Moskva River, and the Luzhniki stadium located on the opposite side of the river.
During the World Cup the Sparrow Hills will be turned into the official fan-zone, so get ready to be caught up in the football frenzy. Olé, Olé!
The Novodevichi Prudy Park
This is a small picturesque park stretched around the Big and Small Novodevichy (which means new maidens) ponds at the monastery of the same name. In the summer its full of greenery, and while walking around the park, take some time out to sit by the ponds and enjoy the glorious reflection of the monastery in its waters. Many consider this park a perfect spot for a romantic rendezvous in the summer.
The Novodevichy Monastery
The monastery was built by the Grand duke Vasily III in 1524. It’s architecture is a reflection of the 16th and 17th century Moscow baroque style. The convent was directly associated with the political, cultural, and religious history of Russia and closely linked to the Moscow Kremlin. It was the place where some noblewomen retired — some more willingly than others. The convent’s most famous residents included Irina Godunova (wife of Fyodor I and sister of Boris Godunov), Sofia Alekseyevna (half-sister of Peter the Great), and Eudoxia Lopukhina (first wife of Peter the Great). In 2004, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The oldest and most dominant building on the grounds is the white Smolensk Cathedral, with an amazing interior covered in 16th-century frescoes. Built as a fortress, the monastery is surrounded by several towers, the most popular being the Naprudnaya (Pond) tower. It is believed that its walls make wishes come true. In reality, it has a much darker history, for this is where Peter the Great’s half-sister Sofiya was eventually confined after being implicated in the Streltsy rebellion. It is rumoured that the architect of the tower wanted it to resemble the Kremlin towers, true or not — find out for yourself!
When visiting, make sure to enter the premises through the Transfiguration Gate-Church.
P.S. This is a functioning monastery, so women are advised to cover their heads and shoulders when entering the churches, while men should wear long pants.
7 AM — 7 PM
Tour around Mosfilm
The Moscow Film Studio — Mosfilm is the largest and oldest film studio not just in Russia, but Europe as a whole, and dates back to pre-revolution Russia. This is where most of the popular Soviet films, many having gained international acclaim, were made. The entire premises are a tribute to the art and history of filmmaking. Situated on the premises is the Mosfilm where the halls give you a glimpse into scenes from various Russian films, as well as the equipment and costumes used. For those who have little to no idea about filmmaking in Russia, fear not, you can book a guided tour in English and several other languages and learn about the local film industry as you visit the museum, movie sets, and other parts of Mosfilm.
P.S. You need to book an excursion beforehand.
Cafe “Batoni” is an ideal place to take a well-deserved timeout after a busy morning, or evening and enjoy a hearty meal. This is a Georgian restaurant offering delicious Georgian food, wine, hospitality, and live music. The prices are sparing, so a good lunch, with a glass of wine should set you back about $15 — $20. Some things to try are the kharcho soup (hearty lamp soup) (~6$), khachapuri po-ajarski (traditional Georgian cheese pies)(~7$), pork and lamb lulya kebabs with cheese (~8$). But feel free to select any dish, for you can’t go wrong with Georgian food. 🙂
11.30 AM — 12AM
Grill-bar and Terrace “Sparrows” (“Vorobyi”)
The bar with a beautiful panoramic view of the city offers European and Russian cuisine, as well as its variations, brought to you by the in-house Chef. Its interior is designed in a chic modern style, with an impressive bar right in the center. If the weather is nice you can enjoy your meal on the terrace with a stunning view of Moscow. Try a salad with duck breast, the persimmon and dressing made from Adygei cheese (~8$), treat yourself with grouper with broccoli and paprika (~10$) or choose something else from a big variety of dishes from the menu. An average bill will set you back about $20. We recommend booking a table in advance since this place is quite popular and gets busy.
Getting to Luzhniki
Entry to the stadium by car during match days will be limited to special pass holders only. Hence, it is best you use public transport. You can get to the Luzhniki stadium on foot, from the metro stations «Sportivnaya», «Vorobyovy Gory», «Frunzenskaya» (the red line) and from the public transport station Luzhniki.
Metro entrance restrictions:
These are done to avoid stampedes and increase efficiency with regard to the comings and goings to the matches. Some metro stations will be used solely as exit points to the Luzhniki stadium, while others only as an entry point to take the train to other locations.
During the arrival of fans:
— the southern hall of the Sportivnaya metro station and the northern hall of the Vorobyovy Gory metro station will be used for exit only.
— Before the match, the Luzhniki metro will be used for exit only.
During the departure of fans:
— the southern hall of the Sportivnaya metro station, the northern hall of the Sportivnaya metro station and the northern hall of the Vorobyovy Gory metro station will be used for entrance only (the turnstile is open, free pass within two hours)
— the Frunzenskaya metro station will be used both for entry and exit.