With the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia finally underway, there is talk amongst the All Car Leasing staff as to how far the England squad will make it this year. Optimistic as always we'd love to see them reach the final, but what if we could drive to the Stadium to see them take the trophy in person? We decided to plan out an absolutely Goliath two-man road trip, starting from our offices in Mobberley, Cheshire, all the way to Luhzniki Stadium in Moscow. The overall journey (on paper) would be a total distance of 2031.5 miles with a staggering 35 hours worth of driving time, taking you through a total of 8 different countries. There are some considerations that have to be taken in advance of course, such as applying for a VISA, pre-booking parking in Moscow along with accommodation plans along the way.
The Car Of Choice
We thought it would be fitting that the vehicle of choice for the journey should be Russia's most popular car, the Kia Rio. Specifically, the 1.4 litre diesel Rio with a manual gearbox, sporting some road-trip essentials such as leather heated seats and steering wheel, cruise control, reversing camera and most importantly - satellite navigation.
The boot offers room for up to 352 litres worth of luggage (or 980 litres with the back seats down) which is more than enough room for two average-sized suitcases. Regarding the engine, on paper the figures aren't as impressive than the likes of the Ford Fiesta however the 1.4 CRDi Rio 3 has an output of 89 horsepower and a 0-62 time of 11.6 seconds. While brochure stats are important, the focus is on the experience you have with your travelling companion on the way, with the Kia Rio also having smartphone compatibility (Android Auto AND Apple CarPlay) the lucky passenger will be in charge of the tunes, perhaps annoying the driver by playing The Proclaimers on repeat.
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Day 1 - 1st Leg - United Kingdom
Setting off at 8am to get to our first overnight stay at Antwerp (Belgium) for 8pm the route starts on Station road, Mobberley with the main goal being to reach the M6 southbound as soon as possible, at junction 18 this is done and it's pretty smooth sailing from here, you'll come off the M6 temporarily to join the M42 before rejoining the M6 again further down.
After 102.4 miles our time with the M6 is over and we get our first flavour of the M1 and we will be on this road now for 62.3 miles, so get comfortable. At junction 6A situated near St. Albans take the m25 exit towards the M11. Stay on this road for around 40 miles before continuing onto the A282 and getting on the M20.
We have now reached 212 miles on our journey and the first driver may have been going at it for a few hours, traffic dependant, Ashford services junction 8 is a great place to stop for some food and to fill the car up as we get nearer to the Eurostar.
Ashford Truck Stop is hailed as one of England's best truck stops and won the prestigious 'Truck Stop of the Year' award in 2016, so you're in good hands. They've got a 5-star hygiene rated restaurant that has all the classics on the menu and a shop if the co-pilot wants a magazine. This is your last chance of British cuisine so make the most of it!
At this point we've used around 40% of our full tank so make sure to fill it to the top, and to give the both of you plenty of rest - we recommend stopping for just an hour total. Once fed and fuelled it's only 12 miles to the Eurostar tunnel so it's pretty plain sailing - the car gets a bit of a rest here for the next 30 miles and roughly 40 minutes of travel time, not including Eurostar security.
And that's the British leg of the Road to the World Cup done! We've got 1729.4 miles to go and 28 hours and 53 minutes worth of driving to do before we reach the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
Day 1 - Second Leg - France and Belgium
Our first mission is to get out of Calais and onto the A16 for our first taste of French roads for the next 35.4 miles before we switch over to the E40 which takes us into Belgium. In total, we are only in France for around 40 miles and 50 minutes of drive-time. With it being a short journey you could stop off for some sights along the French coast such as Dunkirk.
Coming into Belgium, we'll have been driving for around 6 hours and a half, with an hour for the truck stop and an hour or two at the Eurostar bringing our journey time to roughly 10 and a half hours which means it's getting closer to a stop.
The road to Antwerp is relatively straight forward, just stay on the E40 until the interchange Zwijnaarde then take the E17 all the way to Antwerp. Antwerp is our first overnight stay on the road to Russia so we recommend finding a nice city centre hotel to take some of the views of the gorgeous Belgian city. For the sake of accuracy, the hostel we would be staying at is the Antwerp City Hostel which is £39 for both guests.
You'll be in Antwerp for the second World Cup Semi Final so if England get knocked out at this point this is where you'd turn around. However, if they make it then you will get to Russia the night before or the day of the Final if you continue from this point.
With all things being equal and no major problems the journey should have taken 11 hours total to this point getting us to Antwerp for around 8pm local time with around 80% diesel in the tank.
Day 2 - Antwerp
Start the day right with a decent breakfast as the next stop won't be for another 4 hours or so. The first order of business is to get out of Antwerp at 8pm to join the N184, then the E313 which you'll stick on for the next 30 miles or so. The E34 takes you all the way over the Dutch border.
Day 2 - Netherlands to Germany to Poznan, Poland
Stay on the E34 until you reach the A3 exit towards Hannover. Kept left and continue on the A2 for 150 miles, make a stop at Restaurant Fasanenkrug and then fill up at the nearby HEM Tankstelle to the top. From the Antwerp Hostel to the HEM Tankstelle in 28, 30657 Hannover, Germany is 278 miles and a journey time of 4 hours and 30 minutes so you should arrived around 12:30 local time. Spend an hour here to eat, drink, fill up and relax before hitting the open road again at around 1:30pm. We've got 1281 miles to go and 21 hours and a half of driving time to go.
The next goal is to reach the hostel in Poland for a rest, this stretch of driving is 320 miles and should take just under 5 hours so get comfortable.
From Tankstelle, get back to the A2 which you will stay on for the next 140 miles before coming off for around 10 miles on on to the A10 before getting on the A12 which takes us into Poland. This is a scenic drive and takes you through the Guldendorfer natural gardens along a plethora of other greenery. Keep an eye on the fabulous views of the river Oder which also acts as the border.
Our goal in Poland is to reach the Poco Loco Hostel which is located in Poznan Taczaka 23, 61-819 PoznaÅ„. After 35.5 miles on the A12 take the A2 and stay on the A2 for just under 100 miles.
Once you've reached DW196 it's time to get off the A2 and head northward onto Glogowska, continuing on Roosevelta as we head towards Poznan. Our arrival time is around 6.30pm with no traffic, giving us a couple of hours buffer in the even there is heavy traffic.
As there are no games being played now until the third place game on the 14th it's a good time to take in the sights and sounds of Poznan and enjoy the local delicacies such as the Rogal Å›witomarcski which is a sweet pastry. You're spoiled for choice for food in Poznan with the Toga, Vine Bridge, Dark, Brovaria and Under the Goats Inn Restaurants scoring high marks for quality food. If you want to make your trip mor football-y then you can always visit the local football team Lech Poznan's stadium the Miejski Poznaniu.
Day 3 - Poland to Belarus
Set off at 8am this time. The Rio at this point should have half a tank of diesel so after your breakfasts it's time to find a station before resuming the journey. Stop at the very close by petrol station ORLEN situated in Topolowa 11, 61-584 PoznaÅ„, Poland. Fill it right to the top and then hit the road!
First order of business is to get out of Poznan and rejoin the A2 which we will then be on for around 120 miles before joining the E67 for the second bulk of this journey. For our first stop of the day we've decided to take a detour so that we can enjoy the picturesque village of Tykocin to have our lunch, have a short rest and fill up the car at the nearby Sitowicz B. Stacja paliw petrol station.
A little bit out of the way but a gem nonetheless, Tykocin is one of Poland's oldest settlements and has a population of around 2,000 but it is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and what would be the point of the trip if every stop was a service station? Fill the Rio to the top and then head back on the road at around 1:45pm-2:00pm local time.
The goal for the second leg of Day 3 is to get to Minsk for our 3rd overnight stay. Say farewell to Tykocin and head south towards DK8, then join DK65 and finally the P99, the P99 is the road that takes us into Belarus and towards Minsk. The target? Your Hostel Minsk.
It's a relatively simple journey once we have resumed on the P99 then the E30/M1 and finally Dzerzhinsky Avenue towards Minsk city centre. Minsk is the capital of Belarus and has some of the most stunning architecture in Europe, with a population of just under 2,000,000 it's a busy one, too and one you'll no doubt enjoy during your evening off.
You should arrive at the Hostel at around 8:00pm local time. There's no footy on tonight so it's time to relax and take it all in during your time in Minsk. Why not try a Zhurek, Kletski or perhaps a Galushki? Either way, enjoy yourself and relax as tomorrow is the final day of long travelling ahead of the World Cup Final!
Day 4 - Belarus to Russia
Head out at 9am again, after a great Belarussian brekkie and On your way out of Minsk stop over at the A-100 petrol station at Ulitsa Nekrasova 41, Minsk and fill up the Rio's tank to full before getting back on the M1 (not to be confused with the British M1). Our goal for the day is to pass the border into Russia, head into Smolensk and to have some food at Yaki Packie. This part of the journey should take around 4 hours to do the 214 odd mile journey and you should arrive roughly 1:00pm local time. Take your time, relax and take some of the sights if you can in Smolensk as we are rapidly approaching the end of the road to the World Cup.
Take your time if you wish at Smolensk as the next part of the journey takes 4 hours 28 mins. However, to catch the 3rd place match then we encourage to set off no later than 2:30pm.
From Smolensk, our route is simple, get back on the M1 and stay on it for around 190 miles until we reach the A100 and head towards our hotel for the night which is the Uninn Hotel, Odintsovo, which is just outside Moscow but still in the Moscow oblast (county). We are in touching distance! The long hard journey really is over now and the choice is yours whether you leave the Rio in Odintsovo or take alternative transport into Moscow.
Day 5 - Russia and the World Cup Final
Getting from Odintsovo to Luzhniki Stadium is a short 17 mile drive which should take 37 minutes. However, with World Cup Final traffic, expect delays! Hopefully you will have arranged pre parking in the area around the stadium, however even if you didn't there's plenty about.