June 25: Spain v Morocco (Group B)
June 28: England v Belgium (Group G)
June 16: Croatia v Nigeria (Group D)
June 22: Serbia v Switzerland (Group E)
flight time from moscow: 2h
Stadium: Kaliningrad Stadium
Local Team: FC Baltika Kaliningrad
Fun Fact: Russia's most Western point, Kaliningrad is over 4500 miles away from Vladivostok in the East.
Kaliningrad, Russia’s small, Baltic exclave, will host four group stage matches during next year’s World Cup. Kaliningrad Stadium is still under construction, but will hold 25,000 spectators when complete. After the tournament, second division side, FC Baltika Kaliningrad, are due to move into the stadium from their current home across town.
Sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, Russia’s westernmost city feels a little more European than other parts of the country, which will make British fans feel right at home. Cobbled streets and leafy parks make this a pleasant town to walk around.
The Pregolya River runs alongside wide promenades and under little wooden bridges. Visitors can take in everything from medieval cathedrals to slightly run-down blocks of flats, relics from two different eras.
The Soviet Union seized Kaliningrad from the Germans in 1945 and the city has its proud military past on show. Fans will be treated to a complete array of military paraphernalia as the river widens and heads to Baltic Sea. Ships, submarines, planes and missiles appear as the bridges turn from wood to metal.
The Fan Fest will bring the otherwise unassuming Central Square to life. Victory Square, home to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, and the ‘Fishermen’s Village’ down by the river, will no doubt be popular spots for fans to gather for a drink or a bite to eat.
A new dual carriageway races from the airport to the city centre, part of the region’s World Cup improvements. Work is also underway to help the airport cope with increased demand. This is a city with a chequered past, but one that is looking forward to opening up to the world in June 2018.