Sochi

Historically, Sochi along with the Crimea was one of the most popular holiday regions in the Krasnodar regionToday Sochi is the main resort city of Russia and capital of the Russian SouthThis is a major financial and cultural center, which is rapidly developing in recent decades. In 2012, Forbes wrote about Sochi as the best city for business in Russia — and no wonder: for the 2014 Olympics in the city launched a series of ambitious projects worth about 500 billion RUB, which made the infrastructure of Sochi even more modern tourism opportunities — bigger and more comfortable, and the price is even higher.

Modern Sochi stretches along the Eastern coast of the Black sea from Magri to the river Psou. According to some estimates, this city is the most stretched in the country. The so-called Big Sochi includes the historic town and already merged with it neighboring towns Khostinsky, Adlerskyand Lazarevsky districtsThis includes many resorts, which are themselves famous MatsestaKhostaKrasnaya PolyanaDagomysAdler.

Museums and churches, with five hundred hotels, including international hotel chains, sports facilities Olympic level, beaches, parties… Free visa entry and excellent transport links. All this is Sochi.

Getting in

Sochi is among several Russian seaports, where international tourists have the opportunity of visa-free entry for up to 72 hours (applicable for cruise ships and ferry line passengers only). Check limitations and requirements carefully before use.

For other foreign visitors standard Russian visa requirements apply.

Sochi International Airport
By plane

Sochi’s primary gateway is Sochi International Airport (AER), which is located in Adler district, right on the way to Krasnaya Polyana. It was totally reconstructed during the preparation to the 2014 Olympics. The new terminal was opened in 2010 giving the city a chance to become a major regional air hub.

Flight schedule differs depending on season with the peak number of flights in May-September. During the winter flight delays are possible due to weather conditions. Alternatively, Krasnodar or Gelendzhik airports can be used.

International flights

There are regular air connections with Vienna (Austrian Airlines), Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), and Tel-Aviv (DONAVIA).

Former Soviet Union countries are also connected to Sochi: Yerevan, Armenia (Armavia), Tashkent, Uzbekistan (DONAVIA), Minsk, Belarus (Belavia), CishinauMoldova (Air Moldova), and Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Tajik Air ).

Domestic flights

Several flights per day connect Sochi with Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Other major cities of Russia, such as KazanKrasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Yekaterinburg and others are also connected by air with Sochi.

Airport transfer

By bus / marshrutka:

  • 51 – from the airport to Adler (central market)
  • 105124 – from the airport to Sochi central railroad station
  • 135 – from the airport to Krasnaya Polyana

By taxi:

Taxi service at the airport is chaotic, taxi drivers can rarely speak English, and the declared price for a ride can be inadequate. To protect yourself book taxi / hotel transfer in advance.

The price varies greatly depending on the district you are going to. A ride to Adler costs RUB300-500, to Central Sochi – RUB800-1,000, to Krasnaya Polyana – RUB1,200-1,600. The most remote parts of Greater Sochi, such as Lazarevskoe, will cost up to RUB4,000.

  • Europe Shuttle (airport transfers & chauffeur services worldwide),  +44 20 3318 1696 or +34 91 125 100824hs. Europe Shuttle offers the airport taxi transfer from or to Sochi/Adler International Airport to any destination.
  • Sky Express Taxi (airport transfers only),  +7 8622 358-100SkyExpress discounter airline offers the airport taxi transfer as an addition to other flight services (don’t expect discount prices for that).
  • Taxi Galant (airport transfers only),  +7 918 101 0342. Transfers from Sochi International airport to any part of Greater Sochi and back. Order in advance, at least two hours, or better one day prior to ride.

By rail:

Preparing for the 2014 Olympics, RZD  constructed the railroad, which will connect Sochi airport with the city. Commuter trains to Adler and Central Sochi are available since 2012, the connection with Krasnaya Pollyanna – since 2013.

Main railroad terminal of Sochi
Main railroad terminal of Sochi
By train

Sochi has two major rail terminals in Central Sochi and Adler. However, most trains make short stops at small transit stations of Great Sochi: Lazarevskaya, Loo, Dagomys, Matsesta and Khosta. Tickets can be purchazed via Russian Railways website, at RZD counters, or via travel agencies. RZD opens ticket sales 45 days prior to ride, book in advance during the high season.

There are regular train connections with key cities of Russia, and also with major cities of Belarus and Ukraine. Round-the-year destinations include:

International:
  • Kiev, Ukraine (30 hours)
  • Minsk and Gomel, Belarus (34-39 hours)
  • Kaliningrad (64 hours, via Vilnius, Lithuania)
  • Sukhum, Abkhazia (from Adler station, 5 hours, RUB200 one way, service launched in 2011)
Domestic:
  • Moscow (25-28 hours, speed trains and 15 hours route are planned to be launched by 2014 Olympics)
  • Saint Petersburg (40-49 hours)
  • Chelyabinsk (64 hours)
  • Kazan (49 hours)
  • Krasnodar (6-7 hours)
  • Krasnoyarsk (95 hours)
  • Nizhny Novgorod (38-39 hours)
  • Novosibirsk (81 hours)
  • Perm (68 hours)
  • Rostov-on-Don (14 hours)
  • Samara (43 hours)
  • Saratov (32 hours)

During the high season (May to September) the number of trains and the diversity of destinations increase dramatically.

By car

The M4 / E115 road connects Sochi with Moscow (1,660 km/1,031 mi) via Voronezh (1,150km/715 mi), Rostov-on-Don (570 km/354 mi) and Krasnodar (300km/186 mi).

The quality of this busy road differs from a narrow serpentine to a highway depending on its section, tending to improve during last years. Normally it takes two days to reach the city from Moscow and 5-9 hours from Krasnodar, depending on traffic.

Going to Sochi from Europe you can use transit roads through Ukraine or Turkey. In the last case a car can be transferred to Sochi from Trabzon by ferry. Also you can entering Sochi via Georgia and Abkhazia.

By bus

Sochi main bus terminal is located right near the main train terminal in Central Sochi. The second important terminal is in Adler.

International route destinations:

  • Chişinău, Moldova (30 hours, except F, Su)
  • Odessa, Ukraine (27 hours, weekly on Su)
  • Sukhum, Abkhazia (4.5 hours, three times a day)

Major domestic route destinations:

  • Anapa (10 hours, daily, 400 RUR)
  • Astrakhan (26.5 hours, daily, 1300 RUR)
  • Krasnodar (8 hours, twice daily, 350 RUR)
  • Maykop (8 hours, twice daily, 420 RUR)
  • Makhachkala (27 hours, daily)
  • Nalchik (17.5 hours, daily)
  • Novorossiysk (8.5 hours, daily, 320 RUR)
  • Rostov-on-Don (12.5 hours, odd days, 650 RUR)
  • Stavropol (14 hours, twice daily, 750 RUR)
Seaport of Sochi
Seaport of Sochi
By boat

Going to Sochi by a cruise ship or by a regular ferry can be an attractive opportunity to visit Russia without visa. Passengers are allowed to stay up to 72 hours at Russian territory if they live at the cruise ship or at the hotel, which is arranged for this particular group tourist program.

Unsurprisingly, up to now, most international tourists come to Sochi by cruise ships (please check the itinerary).

The seaport of Sochi operates several regular international routes, mainly in the period from May to October:

  • Fast ferry from Trabzon, Turkey – 3.5 hours, RUB 3,500, May to October, 2 times a week
  • From BatumiGeorgia — 4.5 hours, 3,000 – RUB 3,500 per person, daily, open only for citizens of RussiaGeorgia, and CIS countries.

Ferry tickets from Sochi can be usually purchased only at the port, one day prior to departure.

There are also regular ship connections with neighbouring cities of Novorossiysk, Tuapse and Gagra, Abkhazia.

Get around

greater_sochi_map

On foot

Within Central Sochi most distances are walkable, with some regard to hilly landscape and appropriate physical efforts needed (take into account that the big volume of construction prior to 2014 Olympics has made some walks less suitable). Other districts of the city have significant spaces between their parts, so it’s better to use some transport to get from one to another.

Due to the resort specifics of Sochi, the usual approach there is to measure the distance in meters from the beach. This may play a bad joke: you can find yourself at a hotel or apartment close to the sea, but far away from any infrastructure and transportation. So, be attentive while booking.

By bus / marshrutka

In contrast to other Russian cities of the same size, Sochi does not have any trams or trolleybuses. The city is doped with smaller private buses and marshrutka (minibuses). The last category mostly duplicates the existing bus routes with some minor, but often useful additions. The sevice is quite frequent and relatively cheap, that makes it the most popular way of transportation in Sochi.

By train

New vs Old: a Siemens Desiro ML train (similar to the Desiro RUS) and an elektrichka in Sochi

The 105 km (65 mi) length of Greater Sochi makes the railroad one of the fastest and most suitable transports to travel between the city districts.

Commuter trains of Sochi have been constantly improving during recent years, upgrading from standard Russian elektrichki to modern and comfortable ones. Most of them go from Adler (or from Sochi central terminal) to Tuapse and back. There are also 1-2 trains daily to Krasnodar and Maykop. One way ride from Sochi to Lazarevskoe will cost 45 RUR for an ordinary elektrichka (1h:45). A modernized commuter train ticket is more expensive: RUB 100-200 depending on class, but also faster (50-70 minutes). Expect to pay 40 percent more if going to Lazarevskoe from Adler (2h:20 for an ordinary elektrichka).

By taxi

As is usual in Russia, if you put your hand out in the street, you’ll gather several cars willing to be hired, and only a few of them will be licensed taxis. Such unofficial ways of transportation are still popular in the country because it is usually cheaper and faster than the official taxi service. In the same time, it is of course less safe, cars are less comfortable etc.

You will hardly find any English-speaking taxi drivers in Sochi. So, unless you are a bit adventurous or familiar with Russian, it is very recommended to use mediators, such as hotel receptionists, to arrange a ride.

Be also aware, that even official services rarely use meters, more often measuring the fare by time of ride or using fixed prices. Have cash with you as only few services accept credit cards.

  • Taxi Kapriz +7 (8622) 369-360, +7 (988) 502-90-60Economy class cars allow this provider to set cheaper prices for some popular destinations (e.g. Central Sochi to the airport – 600 RUR).
  • Taxi Kruiz +7 (918) 340-9819, +7 (963) 160-7800. Only air-conditioned cars. A ride can be arranged by phone or via the website.
  • Taxi Nika +7 (8622) 330 330A bit expensive service, using new Renault Logan cars.
  • Taxi Sochi +7 963 163 0603Taxi service with receipts given and credit cards accepted. A ride can be arranged by phone or via Internet. The cost of ride is fixed depending on location, see on the website.
  • For more taxi services see here
By car

Driving style in Sochi is even more chaotic than in most parts of Russia. Expect the road culture to be similar to that in Greece or Turkey and be extremely careful while driving.

Another issue is that Sochi is extremely lacking parking space, especially in the central part of the city. Drivers often have no alternatives to leaving their cars at bus stops, pedestrian areas etc. Together with the fast increase of car users this leads to traffic jamming at the streets. Certainly you could use a pay parking.

Car rentals in Sochi:

  • Hertz (Independent licensee), Sochi International Airport,  +7 (8622) 357 10009:00-21:00 daily.
  • SixtLocations: 1) Sochi International Airport; 2) Marins Park Hotel (Morskoy pereulok, 2) +7 (8622) 96-002009:00-21:00 daily.
  • Rossa Rent (local car hire service operating in Sochi and Krasnodar), Locations: 1) Zhemchuzhina hotel (Chernomorskaya street, 3 – Center); 2) Sochi International Airport (pre-booked only,  +7 (8622) 955-497, 8 918 905 59 77.
By boat

Regular ship service from Central Sochi to other city districts was stopped in 2005 due to an obsolete fleet and several local piers’ destruction. Currently, the objective to restore this shipping is in place, and probably in the next few years it will be done.

By bike

Sochi authorities recently introduced the city bike rental service. A bike can be taken and left at any of 30 automated terminals. The service itself is free, but you need to leave RUB 3,000 deposit before you take the bike. However, Sochi is still uncomfortable for cycling due to heavy traffic and a lot of construction sites.

By wheelchair

Generally, Russia has a huge gap in the level of accessibility for people with disabilities. Several cities have started their improvement programs in this area, and Sochi is among them. The accessible city is a requirement for 2014 Paralympic Games organization.

Exotic

In the city are several ropeways in the Park, at the boarding house “Neva” and the sanatorium “Zarya”. Trip on the cable car Park is just RUB 200 for adults and 100 RUB for children. 

Historical sights

Loo temple

Stalinist period Empire Style buildingsThe modern-period architecture history in Sochi started from the general construction plan of 1934. During the Stalinist period (till 1953) many monumental buildings around Greater Sochi were built. Among them are: Sochi central train terminal, Sochi seaport, The Winter Theatre, Sochi Art museum, and more.

Stalin’s Summer Residence, 120, Kurortny – Khosta district,  +7 (8622) 69 56 00. Initially a merchant’s Mikhailovskoe estate, taken by Bolsheviks and later converted into Stalin’s residence by Miron Merzhanov, Soviet chief architect. Stalin visited this dacha quite often, having numerous meetings with top-echelon politicians, such as China’s Chairman Mao. Inside is a museum with many personal belongings and Stalin’s waxwork. There are also legends about Stalin’s phantom, still walking around this place by nights. 

Godlik fortress, Kurskaya St, Chemitokvadzhe – Lazarevskoe district. The remains of a Byzantine triangle fortress, which was initially built in 4-5 centuries A.D. Despite of the poor condition of this sight, it still has remained towers and part of limestone walls. 

Loo temple, Loo – Lazarevskoe district. Another Byzantine site, and also in poor condition. Located at the hilltop away from the sea (1.5 km), it was initially built in 10-12 centuries, rebuilt in 14th century and converted into a fortress in 15-16 centuries. 

Anchor and Cannon monument in Sochi

Monuments

Among the traditional Russian set of monuments left as a legacy of the collapced Soviet Union, Sochi has several original artworks worth to be explored by the city’s guests.

Anchor and CannonPushkinsky park – Central (near Primorskaya street). The oldest monument in the city, built in 1913. An original 19th century cannon and 18th century anchor symbolize the victory of Russian army in Russian-Ottoman war of 1828-1829.

Churchill, Roosevelt and StalinVinogradnaya, 14 – Central (at Krashmashevsky resort hotel area)Probably, the only one monument to these key anti-fascist coalition leaders in Russia. Erected in 2008 by an Israeli sculptor Frank Meisler. Two copies of the monument were granted to the U.S. and UK. At the same place, a historical museum of World War II was opened.

The Feat for Life memorialRiviersky pereulok – Central (At the entrance to Riviera Park). An architectural ensemble dedicated to medical personnel of Sochi, who returned back to life more than half-million casualties during the World War II. The monument is a steel arc with the marble statues of physicians, nurses and wounded people at its pediment.

The Golden FleecePloschad Isskustv – Central (near Sochi Art Museum). A symbolic composition, illustrating a well-known Classical Greek myth about Argonauts and the Golden Fleece, was opened in 2008. Between two elegant columns the gold-plated sheep skin is stretched, guarded by a dragon. The sculptor implemented the idea of historical bridge between Greece and Olympic Sochi.

The Singing FontainsKurortny – CentralLocated in the center of the city, at the corner of Kurortny Prospekt and Navaginskaya street, at the entrance to Sochi Trade Gallery. A pool with numerous water streams, and special sound and visual hardware, allowing the water to “sing” and “dance” in rhythym. The fontains operate only in summer evenings, when their visual effects are the best-seen. Initially constructed in 1970, the Singing Fontains were totally renovated in 2009.

Zavokzalny War MemorialZavokzalny subdistrict – CentralThe memorial to Sochi soldiers, who died during the World War II, and the burial place for more than 2,000 of them, built in 1985 to 40th Victory Anniversary. At the hilltop there are memory desks with soldier names, as a semicircle surrounding an eternal light. Overlooking Central Sochi, this place has become a non-avoidable photosession point for weddings in the city.

Olympic Countdown Clock, (near Sochi seaport). Installed and launched in May (Olympic) and June (Paralympic) of 2011, 1,000 days before the start of Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games. An innovatively looking construction, worth to see. 

Museums

Sochi Art Museum

Sochi Art MuseumKurortny, 51 – Central +7 (8622) 62-2947, +7 (8622) 62-2916The museum occupies one of the most beautiful buildings of Sochi, built in 1936. Its collection is the largest at the Black Sea coast (more than 5 000 items of various style and period from antique to contemporary). The exposition expands with new paintings of Sochi artists, regular solo exhibitions are organised.

Sochi History MuseumVorovskogo 54/11 – Central +7 (8622) 64-28-91. This museum, one of the oldest cultural sights in the city, was open in 1920. The exposition embraces the important milestones of the city’s history, archaelogical findings, nature and famous people. In total, there are 14 museum halls and about 150,000 items.

Museum of Sochi Sport HonourSovetskaya, 26 – Central +7 (8622) 64-23-26, +7 (928) 448 90 85 (tours)11:00-09:00 daily. This is the newest museum in the city, open in 2010 in the threshold of 2014 Olympics. The items of its collection show the history of Olympics, the Olympic movement, and Sochi participation in the organization of Olympics. The most important items are Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic flags, as well as the miniaturized models of Coastal and Mountain cluster venues, which are in construction in Sochi. The museum also acts as a cultural center, where numerous educational programs and meetings are conducted. 80 RUR

A.A.C. Art Gallery of Wood Plastic, Zvezdnaya street, 1, office 24 – Khosta district +7 (8622) 65-90-0810:00-08:00. The individual art gallery of a talented Sochian wooden sculptor, Alexander Sobol. The exposition of over 500 wonderful wooden works accompanied with specially composed music. 1-hour guided tours are provided. 

Parks

Riviera ParkYegorova, 1 – Central +7 (8622) 64-33-77, +7 (8622) 64-08-85. The most popular and the biggest public park of Greater Sochi, established in 1898 and fully renovated 100 years after. Riviera is an all-season sight. In summer it offers shadow and numerous leisure attractions, while in winter its silent alleys attract fans of quiet walks and solitude. The park has restaurants and bars, sports facilities, leisure centers, a cinema, and other attractions. The Green Theatre of the park is a venue for frequent concerts and festivals. But the main point of interest is probably Friendship Alley (Поляна дружбы), established in 1960, with trees planted by famous politicians, celebrities and other well-known people. For example, 45 Russian cosmonauts and American astronauts planted their trees at this site.Free entrance.

Dendrarium (Dendrary Botanical Garden), 74, Kurortny – Khosta district +7 (8622) 62-18-42, 08:00-21:00 dailyThe best park at the Black Sea coast, where a wide variety of trees’ species is collected. A beautiful, shadowy, and well-managed place, excellent for leisure, unhurried walking etc. Use cable-car to get to the mountain from the coastal part of Dendrarium and discover a scenic panoramic view of the sea and Caucasus ridges. 180 RUR.

Park of Southern CulturesAdler district. Another dendrary botanical garden located in Adler, at river Mzymta’s left bank. Established in 1910, the park collected more than 5,500 plant species from all over the world, blossoming round the year. At a single place you can find 300-year oaks, blossoming sakura, and Chinese fan palms. There are also ponds with water lilies and lotuses, inhabited by swans and ducks. The park with its outstanding landscape and biodiversity is definitely among the best such objects in Russia. Entrance 150 RUR.

Frunze ParkChernomorskaya st – Khosta district. One of the oldest resort parks in the city, located in the coastal park of Khosta district, near Dendrarium, having at its area the Summer Theatre, venues for sports, and an amazing cascaded fontain.

Sochi Olympic Park

Imeretinskaya lowland of Adler district was chosen as the place of Sochi 2014 Olympic Coastal Cluster allocation (the Mountain Cluster is located at Krasnaya Polyana). Initially occupied with chaotically built private houses, this area started to be totally re-developed in 2007, seeming to be the largest construction site of modern Russia. As of 2011, the construction is on its midway and to be finished by the end of 2013.

Wildlife expositions

Sochi Discovery World Aquarium

Sochi Discovery World AquariumLenin 219а / 4 – Adler +7 (8622) 46-33-56Tu-Su 10:00-18:00The largest oceanarium in Russia, and one of the largest ones in Europe. Standard, but impressive variety of marine species is complemented with a wide array of Russia’s freshwater species of fish. 500 RUR.

Aquarium and Marine Zoo4 Cheltenham alley – Khosta district (New Matsesta),  +7 (8622) 67-72-26 ()Summer 09:00-20:00 daily, winter 10:00-18:00 dailyOpen in 2005. It is possible to participate in feeding animals, such as sharks, penguins, hippopotamus etc. 300 RUR, kids (6-11 years old) 100 RUR.

Oceanarium at Riviera ParkYegorova, 1 – Central +7 (8622) 64-43-43. Summer 10:00-midnight daily, winter 10:00-21:00 dailyThe most centrally located aquarium, however, not the most impressive one. 300 RUR, kids (6-11 years old) 200 RUR.

Adler DolphinariumLenin 219а – Adler +7 (8622) 46-33-03 (fax+7 (8622) 46-33-03). Summer Tu-Su 11:00, 14:00 and 16:00. Winter Sa Su and holidays, 15:30Sochi representation of Utrish Delfinarium of Novorossiysk. 50-minute performance of dolphins is conducted round the year, the pool is 20 metres in width and six metres in depth. The place holds up to 1,000 spectators. 450 RUR, kids (3-12 years old) 250 RUR

Monkey Nursery CenterVesyoloe, 1 – Adler district (Marshrutka / bus 134). The place is owned by the only Russian scientific institute of medical primatology of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. It is famous for monkey preparation for experimental space flights, starting from non-manned period of space exploration. Here animals pass the spaceflight training, accustom to spaceship conditions etc. The center has large area, where 2,700 friendly animals of more than 11 monkey species live (primarily macaques). Nursery itself is 1.5-km walk from the entrance. Open for visiting, 200 RUR

Outdoor sights

View at Mount Akhun, Sochi

As a rule with some exceptions, Sochi outdoor sights are located inside the area of Sochi National Park. This means that in some cases you will need to pay the park entrance fee. All major sights attract both independent travellers and guided groups. Tours can be arranged at hotels or at the hot tourist areas in the city.

Mount Akhun, Khosta district. Mount Akhun is the highest Greater Sochi coastal point famous as the best panoramic view of the city. The castle-looking tower on its 700-meter top gives a perfect overlook of the city. It is probably even possible to see the remote Turkish coast, if the weather and visibility are fine. Taking a trail down from Mt. Akhun, it is possible to get to the nearby Agurskoe Canyon, another popular destination with a cascade of 3 waterfalls surrounded by high cliffs. It is spoken to be the oldest tourist sight in the city. Outside of the waterfalls there is the place called Eagle Rock, with few caves around. As a legend says, Eagle Rock is the place, where Prometheus (Classical Greek god of fire) was enchained. To reach Mount Akhun and its surroundings it is best to use a car/taxi. Using a bus, take route 110 from Central Sochi to Sputnik stop. In this case you will need to climb the mountain (2-3 hours walk). RUB 100 (Mt. Akhun viewing point), 100 RUR (Agurskoe canyon), RUB 50 (Eagle Rock).

Yew & boxtree wood. Khosta district. An exclave of Caucasian Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage List item, yew and boxtree wood occupies 3 square kilometres at one of the Mt. Akhun slopes. This is a unique nature sight with over 700 plant species, some of those are relicts remained unchanged for 30 million years. There are also endemic species and very aged plants, like 2 thousand years old trees. The wood has 20 endangered species included into the IUCN Red List. 

Vorontsovka CavesVorontsovka village – Khosta districtThe mountain part of Greater Sochi area contains over 400 caves in total. The most known of them is the complex of caves in Vorontsovka village of Khosta district. It consists of 3 interconnected parts (Kabanya, Vorontsovskaya and Labirintovaya) with total lenght of 11 km and the height difference of 240 m. This is one of the largest cave systems in Caucasus, a significant part of it is open for visiting. 

Dagomys Tea-Party HousesDagomys and Uch-Dere – Lazarevskoe district. The world northernmost tea has been cultivated in Sochi since 1887, as “Krasnodar Tea” brand. There are group tours to Dagomys Tea Plant, and also, on a hill in Uch-Dere there are tea-party houses, open for visiting. There you can find out how tea is grown, collected and manufactured. You will be offered a tea-party with samovarpirozhki, pancakes, jam, and folk songs. As a bonus, at the place there is a museum with traditional Russian crafts exposition. 

33 waterfalls, Lazarevskoe district. There are several waterfall locations in Greater Sochi area. This certain one is a bit remote, but contains as many as thirty three waterfalls, those are not so high (1.3 to 10 metres), but very scenic ones. They are best seen in spring, when rains and snow melting at mountains bring more water. Dzhegosh stream has only 2 km lenght flowing down to Shakhe river not far from a traditional Circassian settlement Bolshoy Kichmay, 11 km from the sea coast, Golovinka sub-district and regular public transportation. To get to waterfalls less cheaper, but more suitable is to use a taxi or to join an organized tour. 

Trout Farm, Forelevaya st, 45, Kazachiy Brod settlement – Adler. The largest fish farm in Russia, includes 131 ponds for trout and 6 more for carps. This is not only a farm, but also an amazing tourist spot. Visiting it, you can get information about trout planting, watch the fish, feed it, and even go fishing at ponds. It’s also possible to buy incredibly tasty smoked trout at the place. 

Akhtyrshskaya CaveAdler districtMany of Sochi caves were inhabited by primeval people. Akhtyrshkaya cave is among them, having many petroglyphic drawings and other primeval remains. Take a bus/marshrutka 106 to its ending point (Trout Farm). Cross the street from the bus stop and go to the tunnel. Turn right close to the tunnel and go down to Mzymta river and a monkey bridge. Prior to the bridge go left and up to the entrance to the cave. There is beautiful scenery and panoramic view close to the cave: cross Mzymta river and take the trail left and up. Entrance 100 RUR.

The Sochi’s beaches

The first thing you need to know about a hundred beaches of Sochi — they are pebbly. Pebbles here can be low, medium, sometimes a hen’s egg. Even if you are lucky to get on a narrow strip of sandy beach, it would still be half consist of pebbles. Take it as a given and accept it. By the way, someone consider these beaches more hygienic — less debris accumulates, water muddying, and it is not necessary for three times to wash a bathing suit from the omnipresent sand.

The beaches of Sochi are divided into three types: the “wild”, private and publicThe first good relative cleanliness and privacy, there are even some nudist beaches. But “wild” places devoid of traditional beach facilities sun beds, showers, cabins for changing clothes. Although for nudists such are unnecessarily.

Closed beaches belong to different boarding houses and sanatoriums. For some input ordered, some can take extra charge from 50 to 450 RUB per day. These beaches are well monitored, they are equipped with umbrellas, sun-beds and other nice utility.

Public beaches are free. It is believed that they are dirty, but in recent years, beaches in Sochi are trying to keep the name and brand of the resort. The beaches are good for the entire spectrum of water activities, but on their place in the high season, especially on the strip by the water, a place could hardly founded. 

Treatment in Sochi

In the Big Sochi treat diseases of the cardiovascular system, Central and peripheral nervous systems, musculoskeletal, gynecological, dermatological, allergic diseases, diseases of the endocrine system, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory system. Spa treatment in Sochi combines specific methods of healing, characteristic only of this area, with a general use in any other resorts. Various resorts have special methods of treatment including various elements of climatotherapy, balneotherapy (hydrogen sulfide, iodine-bromine, carbon-arsenic baths), mud therapy, some types of physiotherapy. Common treatments include physical therapy hardware, some types of hydrotherapy (pearl baths, various souls), physiotherapy, nutritional therapy, psychotherapy, medication. 

For the treatment widely used Matsesta hydrogen sulfide mineral water springs. “Matsesta” cure rheumatism, circulatory insufficiency, varicose veins, atherosclerosis, diabetes, skin diseases, chronic inflammatory diseases of women, diseases of the joints, etc. 

Iodine-bromine water Kudepsta act more softly, so they help very sick “cores”, and just tired people.

A beach arbour in Sochi

Sports, extremes and other activities

A popular seaside resort is the place to try for the unusual and sometimes extreme water adventures — kitesurfing, parasailing, kayaking, divingAbout riding on “the pill” and “bananas” is not worthing to  mention — all that in Sochi there is a great deal. In addition, the area is rich in mountain rivers, so that aquatic species in season add rafting on rafts and catamarans. The epicenter is non-water sport facilities of Sochi is Krasnaya Polyana. In the winter — mountain skiing, freeride, snowboard, spring-autumn — Hiking on a tourist eco-trails, horseback riding, mountain biking and much more. Also good for Hiking Lazorevskoe district and Khost with their gorges, waterfalls and protected forests. And don’t forget to climb to the observation tower on mount Akhun.

Trying yourself in the role of the olympian, and even in such an unusual sport like curling, you can do in the arena “Ice cube”.

Tickle nerves offer Skypark AJ Hackett Sochi and Sochi Autodrome, the last one for 12 000-30 000 RUB offer you the opportunity to feel like a real racer on the track in Formula 1.

Diving in Sochi

Diving off the coast of Sochi may seem boring and not very interesting for experienced divers. The flora and fauna of the Black sea is not so rich, beautiful coral reefs and swarms of colourful fish here not to meet. But local diving centres more accessible to their foreign colleagues, and the professionalism and responsibility of instructors are marked by many experienced travelers. Thus, in Sochi is well to learn to dive, learn first steps and to obtain the necessary certificates to support form or even “pumped” to higher levels. Trial dives for beginners starts from 1500 RUB, the initial training will cost 10 000-20 000 RUB.

However, the diving centers in Sochi have something to surprise and professionals. First, this is an extreme dive in an underground cave waters. Second, diving in Alpine lakes. Finally, do not forget that until the 19th century the Black sea coast plied the pirates of all stripes, so if you want you can make a real underwater archaeological expedition finding the coveted treasures.

Festivals and Events

  • Kinotavr, Open Russian Film Festival – conducted in June annually since 1990. Kinotavr is the largest Russian film festival attracting the top talents of Russian cinema: directors, producers, actors, writers, and photographers.

Local specialties

Krasnodar Tea
  • Krasnodar tea (Краснодарский чай)This is the only tea sort grown in Russia. Tea plantations of Greater Sochi are located in DagomysSolokhaul (Lazarevskoe district) and Adler. The amount of their production is limited, so it’s not easy to meet it outside Krasnodar Krai. Baloven (Баловень) tea brand by Dagomys Tea Plant is available at Sochi shops. Group tours to tea plants are also available. 
  • Local alcohol. Surpisingly, Russia is the 11th-largest wine producer in the world. 60% of all Russian wine is manufactured in Krasnodar Krai. In Sochi and around there is possible to buy many kinds of this drink, starting from home-made and market-sold wine in no-brand plastic bottles (looks dangerous, but is spoken to be the best one), finishing with premium-class aged wine and brandy in souvenir boxes. To avoid fake brand production buy it at the city’s chain stores.
    • Abrau Durso sparkling wines
    • Abkhazian wines: Apsny (Апсны) – red semi-sweet wine from the mix of Cabernet, Sovignon, Merlot and Saperavi grape. Chegem (Чегем) – red dry wine from Cabernet grape. Lykhny (Лыхны) – red semi-sweet wine from Isabella grape. Psou (Псоу) – white semi-sweet wine from Aligote and Riesling grape. 250-500 RUR per bottle.
    • Brand wines of Krasnodar KraiThe best wine brands in the region are Fanagoria (Фанагория) and Myskhako (Мысхако), both produced in Novorossiysk area and having the wide assortment. 200-500 RUR per bottle
    • BrandyThis alcohol drink is called Cognac (Коньяк) at Russian domestic market, but is exported as Brandy due to necessity to follow the copyright of Cognac province of France. The factory in Temryuk town makes the best brandy in Krasnodar Krai, including the aged and souvenir collection. From 150 RUR per bottle for ordinary drink, to 2,500 RUR for upper-class souvenir bottles

Eat

In the Sochi there are a lot of eating-drinking placesWith the proper approach it is possible to organize a full-fledged gastronomic tours, restaurants and cafes of Caucasian cuisine will last for a couple of weeks of tasting.

Due to  the size of the resort,  we suggest to install app reviews travelers and orient yourself on smartphone, so You can choose by distance, mood, the wallet and the spirit. Or just follow your gut feeling and go for dinner, randomly looking in the local tavern and studying their menu. Surely there is a place that later, trough years you’ll recommend to your friends traveling to Sochi.

As for prices, remember about the tourism component of the city — from 200-300 RUB to 1000-1500 RUB, in expensive restaurants

10 things to do in Sochi
  1. To love pebble beaches. Well, at least to find some their advantages.
  2. A walk through Apricot street and to understand what Grape street not junction it. Do not look for Shady street, Sochi is too Sunny for it… ?
  3. From the top of the tower on the mountain Ahun to see the Turkish coastIn case of failure of the experiment, looking at Adler.
  4. To ride in the “Lastochka” to Krasnaya Polyana and ride there on skis. There is no snow? Not a problem, there is a ski-roller route and carve scooters, interesting thing, try it.
  5. To test nervous and vestibular system, and the power of the spirit in the “Sochi Park” and the Skypark AJ Hackett Sochi.
  6. Go to an independent campaign and to recount the famous 33 waterfalls in Lazorevskoe area.
  7. Buy delicious local smoked fish for friends, do not resist and eat it the same evening.
  8. To arrive in March, to admire the storm of the Black sea, surprising lack of photographers with monkeys, and buy ice cream without having to queue.
  9. Take this opportunity to gain a diving certificateCheap, cheerful and come in handy in future travels.
  10. To combine a vacation in Sochi with a trip abroad and cruising: to buy a ticket on a high-speed catamaran to the Mouth and back. Or to Trabzon, in spite of that enough time, courage and money.

Climate

The climate in Sochi is special – it is the most northern subtropics in the world. Even in neighboring Anapa and Tuapse weather is quite different and exposed to a semi-dry Mediterranean climate. In Sochi is humid and warm all year round. Caucasus Mountains cover the resort from cold winds and the Black Sea gives off heat in winter, cool in the summer bringing.

Wi-fi

  • Wi-fi connection can be found at part of Sochi Airport, hotels and restaurants.

Stay safe

Krasnodar Krai is probably one of Southern Russia‘s most safe regions. Sochi does not stand out with the higher crime rate, but standard safety precautions should be used. There is a saying in Russia“Nights are dark in Sochi” (“В городе Сочи темные ночи”), and this can be explained as that anyone or anything can get lost in the city.

Try to avoid unlit spaces during the night and beware pickpockets in crowded places, such as markets and transport terminals. Beggars can approach you at stations and beaches. Fraud is widespread at Russian summer resorts, but most of its organizers would have problems with English. Anyway, try to avoid drinking and gambling with newly met people.

Sunburn can occur in summer, so use sunblock during the hot season.

Sleep

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.comBefore you proceed to the choice of housing in Sochi, we offer to define the main priorities of the holiday. If the main goal is a beach holiday, then do not be lazy to read the reviews of real travelers and meticulously explore the maps of the area: the hotel is not always 10 minutes to the beach as declared, although meant it was a taxi ride. Are you going to carefully explore the drive arounds and the whole neighborhood? Give away the edge  housing in favor of the hotel close to the city center with its terminals and stations.

In any case, there is a house in Sochi for every budget and for every need: from 500-1000 RUB per night in guesthouses and small hotels to luxury options for 80 000 – 100 000 with RUB full board on the secluded protected cordon. Standard and decent 3 “stars” in the high season will cost about 2000-3200 RUB.

Booking Sites account for up to 2 thousand. accommodation options in the main resort city of the country, in fact, more of them. There is a reason to come to the selection carefully and meticulously.
If there is a desire not only to unwind but also improve your health, the study offers boarding houses and sanatoria of Sochi, as well as resorts and resort towns of Adler. Unfortunately, many of these institutions are still not included in the list of issuing popular hotel and hotel aggregators, so that will have to look for options on their own. Among the advantages of such institutions – its own private beach, decent food and spa treatments.


Booking.com


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