Dave and I have never been to Russia but it’s certainly a place we’re open to exploring. In this post, Russian blogger Daniil Timin tells us why Sochi is a must see.
The recent Winter Olympics shone a spotlight on Sochi, but there’s more to do in this city than winter sports.
Where is Sochi Located?
The Greater Sochi area runs alongside the coast of the Black Sea, almost at the border separating Russia and Georgia.
Its location depends on who you ask, but you’ll get one of two answers. Some people will say it’s a European city. However, a popular belief puts Sochi in Southeast Asia especially if you’re going to use the Caucasus Mountain as the division.
Must see attractions in Sochi
There are a lot of tourist attractions in Sochi. However, there’s a good chance that you can’t see them all because of your limited stay.
So start with these popular tourist attractions:
Empire Style buildings constructed during the Stalinist period
Start with the Sochi central train terminal. From there, you can also check out The Winter Theatre, Sochi seaport and the Sochi Art museum. The Empire Style of construction was very popular and even popular hotels followed it. These hotels include the Lazarevskoe, the Mettalurg and more.
The fortress is in bad shape and is just a shell of its former self. It’s hard to imagine how solid this Byzantine triangle fortress was. However, it’s still a must-see since you can still see some towers and limestone walls that stood the test of time. This fortress was built sometime during fourth and fifth century AD. You can find this attraction in Kurskaya St. at the Chemitokvadzhe – Lazarevskoe district.
Anchor and Cannon
This should be first on your list if you’re looking to check out monuments. This is because this is the oldest monument in the city, constructed in 1913. Just as the name implies, this monument features an anchor and cannon. The 18th century anchor and 19th century cannon serve as a symbol of the Russian army’s victory in the Russian-Ottoman war that raged from 1828 to 1829. You can find this monument in Pushkinsky Park.
The Golden Fleece
This is one of the most interesting tourist spots in Sochi. It’s also one of the most symbolic. It’s an illustration of a classical Greek myth about the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece. This is one of the newest attractions in the city, having been opened in 2008. You can visit this attraction in Ploschad Isskustv.
As an important note, this is only available during summer nights, so schedule your visit to Sochi in the summer if you want to check it out.
Sochi Art Museum
If you’re travelling to Sochi, this museum should be first on your list, as it’s located in one of the most gorgeous buildings in the city.
It has the most impressive collection along the coast of the Black Sea. With over 5,000 items to check out, it can easily entertain you for at least half a day. More items are regularly added as new paintings of budding artists in the city are added. Regular solo exhibits are also held.
Sochi History Museum
It’s a good idea to understand the history of Sochi in order to appreciate it even more. The museum itself is part of history, having been opened in 1920.
Sochi Olympic Park
Of course, you have to visit the Sochi Olympic Park. Located at the Imeretinskaya lowland in the Adler district, this is the legacy of this city so you should check it out.
Things to do in Sochi during the summer
If you’re travelling to Sochi during the summer, the below guide should help you make the most of your time spent in the city.
The Singing Fountains
Located in Kurortny, this is one of the most popular tourist attractions. You won’t miss it especially if you’re visiting the Sochi Trade Gallery. It’s basically a pool that features several streams of water. This pool has special hardware installed that produce lights and sound. This hardware allows the pool to ‘sing’ and ‘dance’.
Visit the parks
There are a lot of parks in the city like the Riviera Park and the Dendrarium. These parks look the most beautiful during the summer.
Enjoy the beaches
You’ll enjoy Sochi’s wide variety of sandy and pebble beaches amidst picturesque surroundings. There are countless of beach resorts along the coast and you can surely find one that fits your budget. If budget is not a question, you can’t go wrong with the Radisson Blu Paradise Resort.
Things to do in Sochi during the winter
Being the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, you know the city has a lot to offer for the winter. With its mild winters, you can do just about any activity that you fancy. But of course, you need to check out the city’s ski resorts. Most of them have upgraded their facilities and can now be classified as world-class.
You need to check out the Sochi Olympic Park as it’s the legacy of Sochi. You can visit even if it’s not winter, but it’s best to visit during the colder months.
You should try skiing and snowboarding in the region. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll have a lot of fun. If you’re travelling to Sochi just to check out these ski resorts, you won’t be disappointed.
How to get to Sochi
The fastest and most logical way to get to Sochi is by plane. Sochi International Airport is conveniently located in the Adler district which is very accessible to and from the Krasnaya Polyana.
A new terminal was built in 2010 and is now the reason this airport is considered to be a major regional air hub. If you’re going to fly in now, you’ll get the chance to see for yourself its improvements as it underwent a major facelift for the Winter Olympics.
You can also fly to and from Sochi via the airports in Gelendzhik and Krasnodar. The schedule of flights in all airports varies greatly. The peak season for these airports is from May to September.
Domestic and international flights are both available.
Arriving by sea
Another option is to arrive via the seaport. Russia has several seaports, with Sochi being one of them. In fact, it’s the best option if you want to check out what the city has to offer without getting a visa. You can enter the city by sea and stay for up to 72 hours without a visa. If you’d like to take advantage of this option, check out ferry lines and cruise ships that offer tours and stopovers in Sochi.
Getting around Sochi
Once you’re in the city, getting around should be easy and straightforward. The public transportation is made up of taxis and buses. There is also a cable car system that’s pretty popular with tourists. There are several railway stations, with five of them being recently renovated for the Winter Olympics.
When to visit Sochi
When should you visit Sochi? Basically, it all boils down to whether you want to swim or ski. If you want to swim, visit during the summer. If you want to ski, visit during the winter. Either way, just refer to this guide to make sure that you’ll have an amazing time in Sochi, Russia.
Have you been to Sochi? What did you think?
Daniil Timin is the author of a travel blog about Russia called Russianblogger.me. Daniil is experienced traveller who visited over 30 countries in Europe, Middle East, North and South America. Check his blog out to learn more about travelling to Russia.