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Sochi is a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, located on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia/Abkhazia and Russia. The Greater Sochi area, which includes territories and localities subordinated to Sochi proper, has a total area of 3,526 square kilometers (1,361 sq mi) and sprawls for 145 kilometers (90 mi) along the shores of the Black Sea near the Caucasus Mountains. The area of the city proper is 176.77 square kilometers (68.25 sq mi). According to the 2010 Census, the city had a permanent population of 343,334, up from 328,809 recorded in the 2002 Census, making it Russia's largest resort city. Being part of the Caucasian Riviera, it is one of the very few places in Russia with a subtropical climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters.
With the alpine and Nordic events held at the nearby ski resort of Roza Khutor inKrasnaya Polyana, Sochi hosted the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympic Winter Games in 2014, as well as the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix from 2014 until at least 2020. It will also be one of the host cities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
|TIME ZONE :||MSK (UTC+03:00)|
|AREA :||176.77 km2 (68.25 sq mi)|
|COORDINATES :||43°35′07″N 39°43′13″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 47%|
• Female: 53%
|ETHNIC :||Russians 69.92%, Armenians 20.09%, Ukrainians 2.29%, Georgians 2.03%|
|AREA CODE :||8622|
|POSTAL CODE :||354000, 354002–354004, 354008–354010, 354013, 354014, 354018, 354019, 354022, 354024, 354025, 354030, 354031, 354033, 354036, 354037, 354039, 354053–354055, 354057, 354059, 354061, 354065–354068, 354071, 354073, 354084, 354099, 354200, 354202–354214, 354216–354218, 354220, 354226, 354231, 354233, 354299, 354340, 354346, 354348, 354349, 354354, 354355, 354364, 354380, 354382, 354383, 354399, 993501|
|DIALING CODE :||+7 8622|
|WEBSITE :||Official website|
Sochi is often called the unofficial 'Summer Capital' of Russia, or the Black Sea Pearl. This is the country's biggest and busiest summer sea resort, attracting more than 4 million visitors annually with its amazing mountainous coastline, endless shingle beaches, warm sunny days, and bustling nightlife. From May to September Sochi's population at least doubles with tourists, including celebrities and political elite of the country.
Strangely, only 3 percent of this visitors' crowd are international travellers, and even the frontier location of the city doesn't help to change the situation. Maybe the most famous non-politician foreign visitor of Sochi was Bono, who was invited to spend some time at President Medvedev's residence in 2010. But in general the city remains a very domestic destination, somewhat lacking in appropriate international infrastructure and having the same language barrier most regional centers of Russia do.
Another paradox of Sochi is that the city, always associated in national mentality with south, palms and hot climate, won the 2014 Winter Olympic bid. This phenomenon will be probably never understood by Russians completely: every place in the country has a real winter, but Sochi? The answers are absence of harsh frost and the very promising Alpine resort of Krasnaya Polyana in the city area. A less pragmatic explanation is the lucky destiny of Sochi. The most famous Russian saying about the city is "If I could read the cards, I would live in Sochi" ("Знал бы прикуп - жил бы в Сочи"). Initially coming from the Preference card game, this saying shows the association of Sochi and its inhabitants with luck, moreover, with an accidental and unpredictable fortune.
Well, perhaps such an Olympic luck will help the city to reach beyond the national borders and to become a truly global site. Sochi has many attractions to offer for anyone who loves nature, sports, history, and sunny beach leisure. This Black Sea Pearl is still waiting to be discovered.
Before the whole area was conquered by Cimmerian, Scythian and Sarmatian invaders, the Zygii people lived in Lesser Abkhazia under the Kingdom of Pontus, then the Roman Empire's influence in antiquity. From the 6th to the 11th centuries, the area successively belonged to the kingdom of Lazica and kingdom of Abkhazia who built a dozen churches within the city boundaries. The Christian settlements along the coast were destroyed by the invading Göktürks, Khazars,Mongols and other nomadic empires whose control of the region was slight. The northern wall of an 11th-century Byzantine basilica still stands in the Loo Microdistrict.
From the 14th to the 19th centuries, the region was dominated by the Abkhaz,Ubykh and Adyghe tribes, the current location of the city of Sochi known as Ubykhia was part of historical Circassia, and was controlled by the native people of the local mountaineer clans of the north-west Caucasus, nominally under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, which was their principal trading partner in the Muslim world. The coastline was ceded to Russia in 1829 as a result of aCaucasian War and Russo-Turkish War, 1828–1829; however, the Circassians did not admit the Russian control over Circassia and kept resisting the newly established Russian outposts along the Circassian coast (Adyghe: Адыгэ хы аушу). Provision of weapons and ammunition from abroad to the Circassians caused a diplomatic conflict between the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom that occurred in 1836 over the mission of the Vixen.
The Russians had no detailed knowledge of the area until Baron Feodor Tornau investigated the coastal route from Gelendzhik to Gagra, and across the mountains to Kabarda, in the 1830s. In 1838, the fort of Alexandria, renamed Navaginsky a year later, was founded at the mouth of the Sochi Riveras part of the Black Sea coastal line, a chain of seventeen fortifications set up to protect the area from recurring Circassian resistance. At the outbreak of the Crimean War, the garrison was evacuated from Navaginsky in order to prevent its capture by the Turks, who effected a landing on Cape Adler soon after.
The last battle of the Caucasian War took place at the Godlikh river on March 18, 1864 , where the Ubykhs were defeated by the Dakhovsky regiment of the Russian Army. On March 25, 1864, the Dakhovsky fort was established on the site of the Navaginsky fort. The end of Caucasian War was proclaimed at Kbaade tract (modern Krasnaya Polyana) on June 2 , 1864, by the manifesto of Emperor Alexander II read aloud by Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich of Russia.
After the end of Caucasian War (during the period of 1864–1870) almost all Ubykhs and a major part of the Shapsugs, who lived on the territory of modern Sochi, were either killed in the Circassian Genocide or expelled to the Ottoman Empire. Starting in 1866 the coast was actively colonized by Russians, Armenians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Greeks, Germans, Georgians and other people from inner Russia.
In 1874–1891, the first Russian Orthodox church, St. Michael's Church, was constructed, and the Dakhovsky settlement was renamed Dakhovsky Posad on April 13, 1874 (O.S.). In February 1890, the Sochi Lighthouse was constructed. In 1896, the Dakhovsky Posad was renamed Sochi Posad (after the name of local river) and incorporated into the newly formed Black Sea Governorate. In 1900–1910, Sochi burgeoned into a sea resort. The first resort, "Kavkazskaya Riviera", opened on June 14, 1909 . Sochi was granted town status in 1917.
During the Russian Civil War, the littoral area saw sporadic armed clashes involving the Red Army, White movement forces, and the Democratic Republic of Georgia. As a result of the war Sochi has become Russian territory. In 1923, Sochi acquired one of its most distinctive features, a railway which runs from Tuapse to Georgia within a kilometer or two of the coastline. Although this branch of the Northern Caucasus Railway may appear somewhat incongruous in the setting of beaches and sanatoriums, it is still operational and vital to the region's transportation infrastructure.
Sochi was established as a fashionable resort area under Joseph Stalin, who had his favorite dacha built in the city. Stalin's study, complete with a wax statue of the leader, is now open to the public. During Stalin's reign the coast became dotted with imposing Neoclassical buildings, exemplified by the opulent Rodina and Ordzhonikidze sanatoriums. The centerpiece of this early period is Shchusev's Constructivist Institute of Rheumatology (1927–1931). The area was continuously developed until the demise of the Soviet Union.
Following Russia's loss of the traditionally popular resorts of the Crimean Peninsula (transferred from the Russian SFSR to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954 by Nikita Khrushchev), Sochi emerged as the unofficial summer capital of the country. During Vladimir Putin's term in office, the city witnessed a significant increase in investment, although many Russian holidaymakers still flock to the cheaper resorts of neighbouring Abkhazia (Georgia), Ukraine, or to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Additionally, Sochi has also served as the location for the signing of many treaties, especially those between the Georgian, separatist Abkhazian, and separatist South Ossetian governing authorities.
Sochi belongs to that tiny part of Russia, which is happily located in the subtropical climatic zone. In contrast to Mediterranean climates, Sochi has a very high humidity level, like that in Abkhazia or in some USA states (e.g. Mississippi,Alabama, Louisiana, and Georgia). Despite high precipitation, Sochi enjoys 300 sunny days annually, which is unbelievable for any other part of Russia except neighboring Krasnodar Krai coastal cities. This makes nearly all the year months comfortable for visiting Sochi, except maybe November, December and January.
Most of precipitation falls during the winter, partly in snow, but there is usually no regular snow cover in the coastal part of the city. Sochians rarely use winter tyres, so every heavy snowfall comes unpredictably for drivers. The climate of the mountainous part of Greater Sochi is significantly colder, allowing for a full ski season in winter (usually, February and March). Thanks to that, Krasnaya Polyana is quickly developing as a winter resort and hosted all outdoor competitions during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The period of spring is quite short and is characterized by gardens blossoming (usually starts in March, even if temperatures are lower than in February). This is a comfortable season with less rain, but still with the cold sea.
Sochi summer can be associated with the swimming season, which usually lasts from the mid-end of May till the end of October. This is the true high season with its touristic peak in July–August. In September and October the city attracts fewer visitors, partly because of the start of the school year. These two months, when the Black Sea is still warm, air is not very hot, and streets are not filled with tourists' crowds, seem to be the most enjoying time to visit Sochi. This period is called smoothy season ("бархатный сезон").
The off-season autumn, coming to Sochi in the end of October, is warm, but with more cloudy days and rain. By the end of November daily average temperature drops below 10 degrees C.
Climate data for Sochi
|Record high °C (°F)||21.2|
|Average high °C (°F)||9.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||6.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||3.6|
|Record low °C (°F)||−13.4|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net|
|9.6 °C (49.3 °F)||8.7 °C (47.7 °F)||9.6 °C (49.3 °F)||11.2 °C (52.2 °F)||15.2 °C (59.4 °F)||19.6 °C (67.3 °F)||24.0 °C (75.2 °F)||25.3 °C (77.5 °F)||23.1 °C (73.6 °F)||19.5 °C (67.1 °F)||14.9 °C (58.8 °F)||11.5 °C (52.7 °F)|
Greater Sochi is elongated along the Black Sea coast for 145 kilometers (90 mi). Sochi is in Southwest Asia, falling on the southern (Asian) side of the Greater Caucasus. Sochi is approximately 1,603 kilometers (996 mi) from Moscow.
The city of Sochi borders with Tuapsinsky District in the northwest, with Apsheronsky District and with Maykopsky District of the Republic of Adygea in the north, with Mostovsky District in the northwest, and with Abkhazia in the southeast. From the southwest, it is bordered by the Black Sea.
The vast majority of the population of Sochi lives in a narrow strip along the coast and is organized in independent microdistricts (formerly settlements). The biggest of these microdistricts, from the northwest to the southeast, are Lazarevskoye, Loo, Dagomys, central Sochi (Tsentralny City District), Khosta, Matsesta, and Adler. The whole city is located on the slopes of the Western Caucasus which descend to the Black Sea and are cut by the rivers. The biggest rivers in Sochi are the Mzymta, which is in fact the longest Black Sea tributary in Russia, and the Shakhe. Other rivers include the Ashe, the Psezuapse, the Sochi, the Khosta, and the Matsesta. The Psou River makes the border with Abkhazia.
The northeastern part of the city belongs to the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve which is a World Heritage Site spanning vast areas in Krasnodar Krai and Adygea. Almost the whole area of the Greater Sochi, with the exception of the coast and of the area which belong to the Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, are included into Sochi National Park.
Sochi has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters (average 11 °C (52 °F) during the day and 4 °C (39 °F) at night) in the period from December to March and warm summers (average 24 °C (75 °F) during the day and 16 °C (61 °F) at night) in the period from May to October.
Sochi is administratively subdivided into four city districts:
|City District||Area (km2)||Population|
Tsentralny City District
Tsentralny City District, or central Sochi, covers an area of 32 square kilometers (12 sq mi) and, as of the 2010 Census, has a population of 137,677. The highlights include:
- Michael Archangel Cathedral, a diminutive church built in 1873–1891 to Kaminsky's designs in order to commemorate the victorious conclusion of the Caucasian War.
- The red-granite Archangel Column, erected in 2006 in memory of the Russian soldiers fallen in Sochi during the Caucasian War. It is capped by a 7-metre bronze statue of Sochi's patron saint, Michael the Archangel.
- Sochi Art Museum occupies a large building with a four-columned portico, completed in 1939. The Neoclassical design is by Ivan Zholtovsky.
- Sochi Arboretum, a large botanical garden with tropical trees from many countries, and the Mayors Alleé—a landscape avenue of palm trees planted by mayors from cities around the world.
- The Tree of Friendship, a hybrid citrus tree planted in 1934 in the Subtropical Botanic Garden. Since 1940 numerous citrus cultivars from foreign countries have been grafted onto this tree as a token of friendship and peace. The associated Friendship Tree Garden Museum has a collection of 20,000 commemorative presents from around the world.
- The Winter Theater (1934–1937) is another rigorously Neoclassical edifice, surrounded by 88 Corinthian columns, with a pediment bearing the statues of Terpsichore, Melpomene and Thalia, all three cast by Vera Mukhina.
- Hall of Organ and Chamber Music. Located centrally in the city of Sochi it conducts organ, symphony, chamber-ensemble, choral, vocal music concerts. All year round the Sochi Symphony Orchestra, local actors of the city art groups, famous Russian and international performers, International Contests Winners and Laureates give concerts here.
- The Maritime Passenger Terminal (1955) is notable for its distinctive 71-meter-high steepled tower and four statues symbolizing the cardinal points.
- The Railway Station (1952) is one of the most remarkable buildings of Sochi.
- The Riviera Park was established by Vasily Alexeyevich Khludov in 1883 in the part of the city which later became known as Khludovskaya. The park is popular with tourists and local residents alike. It has a variety of attractions, including an outcrop of funny statues and a "glade of friendship" where magnolia trees were planted by every Soviet cosmonaut, among other notables.
Lazarevsky City District
Lazarevsky City District lies to the northwest from the city center; the 2010 Census showed the population of 63,894 people. It is the largest city district by area, covering some 1,744 square kilometers (673 sq mi) and comprising several microdistricts:
- Lazarevskoye, 59 km (37 mi) from the city center, contains a delphinarium, an old church (1903), and a new church (1999). The settlement was founded as a Russian military outpost in 1839 and was named after Admiral Mikhail Lazarev.
- Loo, 18 km (11 mi) from the city center, was once owned by Princes Loov, a noble Abkhazian family claiming patrilineal descent from King Anos, whose royal title was sanctioned by Emperor Heraclius in 623 AD. The district contains the ruins of a medieval church, founded in the 8th century, rebuilt in the 11th century, and converted into a fortress in the Late Middle Ages.
- Dagomys, 18 km (11 mi) from the city center, has been noted for its botanical garden, established by order of Nicholas II, as well as tea plantations and factories. A sprawling hotel complex was opened there in 1982. Dagomys adjoins Bocharov Ruchey, a dacha built for Kliment Voroshilov in the 1950s, but later upgraded into a country residence of the President of Russia, where he normally spends his vacations and often confers with leaders of other states.
- Golovinka is a historic location at the mouth of the Shakhe River. Formerly marking the border between the Ubykhs and the Shapsugs, the settlement was noted by Italian travelers of the 17th century as Abbasa. On May 3, 1838, it was the site of the Subashi landing of the Russians, who proceeded to construct Fort Golovinsky where many convicted Decembrists used to serve. The fort was intentionally destroyed by Russian forces at the beginning of the Crimean War, so as to avoid its capture by the enemy.
- Fort Godlik, of which little remains, had a turbulent history. It was built at the mouth of the Godlik River in the Byzantine period (5th to 8th centuries), was destroyed by the Khazars and revived by the Genoese in the High Middle Ages.
Khostinsky City District
Khostinsky City District, sprawling to the southeast from the city center, occupies approximately 374 square kilometers (144 sq mi), with a population of 65,229 as of the 2010 Census. The district is traversed by many rivulets which give their names to the microdistricts of Matsesta ("flame-colored river"), Kudepsta, and Khosta ("the river of boars").
Adlersky City District
Adlersky City District, with an area of 1,352 square kilometers (522 sq mi) and a population of 76,534 people as of the 2010 Census, is the southernmost district of the city, located just north of the border with Abkhazia. Until the establishment of Greater Sochi in 1961, it was administered as a separate town, which had its origin in an ancient Sadz village and a medieval Genoese trading post.
Among the natural wonders of the district is the Akhshtyr Gorge with a 160-meter-long cave that contains traces of human habitation from about 30,000 years ago. The upland part of the district includes a network of remote mountain villages (auls), the Estonian colony at Estosadok, and the ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana which hosted the events (Alpine and Nordic) of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Also located here are the largest trout fishery in Russia (founded in 1964) and a breeding nursery for great apes.
Sochi has the traditional set of Russian mobile operators:
- Beeline (by Vympelcom), .
- Megafon, .
- MTS (Mobile TeleSystems), .
- Tele2. A multinational European provider, operating in 22 countries including Russia. Tele 2 has its network in many regions of the country, excluding Moscow. Comparing to others, it is the cheapest operator, but having the smallest coverage area.
- . The all-Russian CDMA operator, having less subscribers, than GSM operators, but popular for faster and cheaper mobile Internet service.
Check roaming prices before using non-Russian sim-card, especially those for mobile Internet. Some standards of mobile connection are not supported in Russia, e.g. those for Japan and United States.
Staying in Russia for a week or more, it's definetily worth to buy a local sim-card, but be aware, that a passport is needed for that. The easiest way refill a local mobile account is to use an ATM for that. Most ATMs have bilingual interfaces, allowing numerous kinds of payments, including those for mobile services by local operators.
- Computer Club, Severnaya street, 10 - Central. 9-00 - 24-00.
- Noosfera (Ноосфера), Kurortny Prospekt, 6 - Central, , e-mail: [email protected]. 9-00 - 24-00.
- Novoe Vremya + (Новое Время +), Navaginskaya street, 9 - Central, .
- GPRS / 3G Internet is provided by all mobile operators.
- 4G internet is provided with Yota and MegaFon . Yota available in Sochi and some other cities. You can buy their USB modem in almost every outlet selling mobile phones (Euroset, Svyaznoi, DNS etc.) as well as in any computer related store. The price of the modem is 2900 rubles. You can use it for free for 7 days, after you should select your tariff on their site (https://my.yota.ru/) suggested in English as well. To switch the language, click "EN" on the top. The advantage of this operator is that you can change your tariff at any time without paying. You just choose another tariff using the scroll bar, and the amount of days will be changed according to your current payment, the speed will increase. Also Megafon currently offers 4G (LTE) connections.
- Wi-fi connection can be found at part of Sochi hotels and restaurants. Below is the list of major free wi-fi spots in the city:
- Sochi International Airport (Adler district). Service provided by MegaFon.
- McDonalds, Kurortny Prospekt, 17 - Central. inside the restaurant and around it.
- Antikvar restaurant, Ostrovskogo street, 27 - Central. 10AM - 9PM.
- Botanik Cafe, Pobedy street, 73 A - Lazarevskoe.
- Diana Cafe, Tuapsinskaya street, 9A - Central.
- Dobrynya Cafe, Navaginskaya street, 5 - Central.
- La Terrazza restaurant, Kurortny Prospekt 105 B - Central. 12.00-0.00.
- Lentyai Cafe, Chernomorskaya street, 12 - Central.
- London Bar, Nesebrskaya street, 6 - Central. 24 hours / 7 days.
- Radisson Lazurnaya Hotel, lobby, Kurortny Prospekt 103 - Central. 24 hours / 7 days.
- Sinee More restaurant, Chernomorskaya St. - Central (Sunny Beach (Solnechny Plyazh)). 12.00-2.00.
- SV Cafe, Plastunskaya street, 1 - Central.
- Yuzhnoe Vzmorye Resort Hotel, Kalinina street, 1 - Adler.
Among dozens of Sochi newspapers, magazines and radio stations, there are no expat-oriented or internationally focused media at the moment. Everything is published in Russian only. Hotels often provide satellite TV with standard assortment of international channels (BBC, CNN, Russia Today, etc.). Following resources are recommended in addition:
- Sochi Life TV Channel. Music channel with both Russian and international playlists, mixed with views of Sochi and tourist information (in Russian only). Available within some satellite TV packages e.g. Tricolor.
Prices in Sochi
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.70|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€4.25|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€20.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€35.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€60.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€4.30|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.55|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€2.15|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€6.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€5.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.02|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€1.40|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.10|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€70.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€26.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€73.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€0.30|
34 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
78 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get 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.
Sochi's primary gateway is Sochi International Airport (IATA: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 open 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.
Former Soviet Union countries are also connected to Sochi: Yerevan, Armenia ( Armavia ), Tashkent, Uzbekistan (DONAVIA), Minsk, Belarus (Belavia),Cishinau, Moldova (Air Moldova), and Dushanbe, Tajikistan (Tajik Air ).
Several flights per day connect Sochi with Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Other major cities of Russia, such as Kazan, Krasnodar,Krasnoyarsk, Perm,Rostov-on-the-Don,Samara,Yekaterinburg and others are also connected by air with Sochi.
- Aeroflot - flights to Sochi from Sheremetyevo airport, Moscow
- Nordavia - flights from Arkhangelsk
- S7 - flights to Sochi from Domodedovo airport, Moscow
- Sky Express - domestic discounter, flights to Sochi from Vnukovo airport,Moscow
- Transaero - flights to Sochi from Domodedovo airport, Moscow
- Utair - flights from Tyumen, Ufa and Surgut
- Vladivostok Avia - flights from Khabarovsk
- Yakutia - flights from Yakutsk
By bus / marshrutka:
- 51 - from the airport to Adler (central market)
- 105, 124 - from the airport to Sochi central railroad station
- 135 - from the airport to Krasnaya Polyana
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 300-500 RUR, to Cental Sochi - 800-1000 RUR, to Krasnaya Polyana - 1,200-1,600 RUR. The most remote parts of Greater Sochi, such as Lazarevskoe, will cost up to 4000 RUR.
- Sky Express Taxi (airport transfers only), . SkyExpress 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), . Transfers from Sochi International airport to any part of Greater Sochi and back. Order in advance, at least 2 hours, or better one day prior to ride.
Russian Railroads company has completed a two-way railroad to Sochi airport and it is the easiest way to get to Sochi Adler from the airport. Tickets are fairly cheap and the train goes approximately very hour. One way ticket to Adler is 14 rubles and to Sochi is 70 RUR.
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 [www] (at the moment the service is available in Russian only), 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:
- Kiev, Ukraine (30 hours)
- Minsk and Gomel, Belarus (34-39 hours)
- Kaliningrad (64 hours, via Vilnius, Lithuania)
- Sukhum, Abkhazia (from Adler station, 5 hours, 200 RUR one way, service launched on 1 July 2011)
- 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)
- Novosibirsk (81 hours)
- Perm (68 hours)
- Rostov-on-the-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.
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 Fridays and Sundays)
- Odessa, Ukraine (27 hours, weekly by Sundays)
- Sukhum, Abkhazia (4.5 hours, 3 times a day)
Major domestic route destinations:
- Anapa (10 hours, daily, 400 RUR)
- Astrakhan (26.5 hours, daily, 1300 RUR)
- Krasnodar (8 hours, 2 times a day, 350 RUR)
- Maykop (8 hours, 2 times a day, 420 RUR)
- Makhachkala (27 hours, daily)
- Nalchik (17.5 hours, daily)
- Novorossiysk (8.5 hours, daily, 320 RUR)
- Rostov-on-the-Don (12.5 hours, odd days, 650 RUR)
- Stavropol (14 hours, 2 times a day, 750 RUR)
The M4 / E115 road connects Sochi with Moscow (1660 km) via Voronezh (1150 km), Rostov-on-the-Don (570 km) and Krasnodar (300 km).
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 2 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. Please note that entering Sochi via Georgia and Abkhazia is impossible at the moment because of closed border between those two countries.
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 [www].
Unsurprisingly, up to now, most international tourists come to Sochi by cruise ships (please check the itinerary [www]).
The seaport of Sochi [www] operates several regular international routes, mainly in the period from May to October:
- Fast ferry [www] from Trabzon, Turkey - 3.5 hours, 3,500 RUR, May to October, 2 times a week
- From Batumi, Georgia — 4.5 hours, 3,000 - 3,500 RUR per person, daily, open only for citizens of Russia, Georgia, and CIS countries.
Ferry tickets from Sochi can be usually purchased only at the port, 1 day prior to departure.
There are also regular ship connections with neighbouring cities of Novorossiysk,Tuapse and Gagra, Abkhazia.
Transportation - Get Around
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 signuificant spaces between their parts, so it's better to use some transport to get, for example, from Matsesta toKudepsta or from Loo to Lazarevskoe. To walk between districts and sub-districts of Greater Sochi is also usually not convenient due to lack of sidewalks, hilly terrain, and intensive traffic.
It may seem that the city extended along the sea coast should have long promenades. In fact, most of the coastline space behind the beach is taken by the railroad. So, the only real promenade is between Riviera Park and Dendrarium of Central Sochi. The other one is under construction in the Olympic Park of Adler.
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 initial bus transportation system after the collapse of Soviet Union was 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 service is quite frequent and relatively cheap, that makes it the most popular way of transportation in Sochi.
By 2014 Olympics the city authorities plan to provide English signage in buses and even English-speaking drivers. But as for now, neither the first nor the second can be found. So, as elsewhere in regional Russia prepare to bend your intuition not to miss your stop.
The most important bus/marshrutka routes in the city are:
- 3K - from the central bus terminal to Matsesta
- 12 - from Bytkha to Matsesta
- 17 - from the central bus terminal to Novaya Zarya (ring route of Central Sochi)
- 22K - from the central bus terminal to Bytkha
- 36 - from the seaport of Sochi to Mamayka
- 47K - from the central bus terminal to Transportnaya street (Olymp Mall)
- 57 - from Adler train station to Imeretinskaya Lowland and Vesyoloe (to the border with Abkhazia)
- 64 - from Mamayka to Kudepsta via Central Sochi, Matsesta and Khosta
- 99 - from Sochi train station to Vinogradnaya street (ring route of Central Sochi)
- 105 - from the central bus terminal via Matsesta, Khosta and Adler sub-districts to Sochi International Airport, then to Alpika-Service part of Krasnaya Polyana. The 105K bus goes to the airport only.
- 106 - from Sochi train station to Trout Farm via Sochi International Airport
- 125 - from the central bus terminal to Imeretinskaya Lowland via Matsesta,Khosta and Adler
- 130 - from Adler train station to Trout Farm
- 135 - from Adler (market) to Krasnaya Polyana
- 155 - from the central bus terminal to Lazarevskoe via most sub-districts of Lazarevskoe district (Dagomys, Vardane, Loo, etc.)
- 167 - from the central bus terminal to Adler (market / Novy Vek Mall)
Bus / marshrutka numbers from 1 to 99 mean that the fare is fixed for all the distance of the ride (9 RUR). Numbers from 100 have flexible fare system depending on the travel distance.
The 100 km length of Greater Sochi makes the railroad one of the fastest and most suitable transports to travel between the city districts. Until recently, Sochi had the only track along significant part of the route between Tuapse and Abkhazia, beading 5 major stations, 4 minor ones, and 28 platforms inside the metropolitan area. Preparing to 2014 Olympics, Russian Railroads (RZD) built two new lines, connecting Adler, International Airport, Imeretinskaya lowland and Krasnaya Polyana region), having a total length of 48 km, with 5 new stations.
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 or Goryachy Klyuch and back. One or two trains run daily to Krasnodar and Maykop. One-way ticket for a ride in an old train (elektrichka) from Sochi to Lazarevskoe is 45 RUR, travel time is 1 hour 45 minutes. Ticket for a new commuter train is 100 to 200 RUR depending on class, travel time is 50 to 70 minutes. Expect to pay 40 percent more if going to Lazarevskoe from Adler (travel time is 2 hours 20 minutes for a plain old train).
While summer hot season brings more interregional trains to Sochi, the number of local commuter trains is decreasing for that period. So, there are only 6 round-the-year local trains (16 in off-season period). The good news is that each long distance train will also stop at Adler, Khosta, Sochi, Loo and Lazarevskaya stations, so it is possible to travel inside the city by these trains. The bad news is that you will need a passport each time you are buying a long-distance train ticket.
As usually in Russia, putting your hand out on the street will attract several cars willing to earn on your ride, and only a few of them will be licensed taxis. Such unofficial transportation is still popular in the country because it is usually cheaper and faster than official taxi services. In the same time, it is 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 highly recommended to use mediators such as hotel receptionists to arrange a ride.
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.
- New Yellow Taxi (Новое Желтое Такси), Central - Pirogova Street, 26, . A reliable taxi service operating in Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi, using taximeters. Their yellow cabs are easy to recognize.
- Taxi Kapriz, . , Economy class cars allow this provider to set cheaper prices for some popular destinations (e.g. Central Sochi to the airport - 600 RUR).
- Taxi Kruiz, . , Only air-conditioned cars. A ride can be arranged by phone or via the website.
- Taxi Nika, . A bit expensive service, using new Renault Logan cars.
- Taxi Sochi, . Taxi 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.
Driving style in Sochi is more chaotic than in most parts of Russia: southern blood affects it. So, expect the road culture similar to that one in Greece or Turkey and be extremely careful while driving, if you have finally decided to do that.
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.
Car rentals in Sochi:
- Hertz (Independent licensee), Sochi International Airport, . Mon-Sun 0900-2100.
- Sixt, Locations: 1) Sochi International Airport; 2) Marins Park Hotel (Morskoy pereulok, 2), . Mon-Sun 0900-2100.
- ATON / Rentacarov (Sochi local car hire service), Locations: 1) Center (Transportnaya str., 130, office 5); 2) Marins Park Hotel (Morskoy pereulok, 2); 3) Sochi International Airport, , e-mail: [email protected].
- 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, . ,
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.
Sochi authorities recently introduced the city bike rental service. A bike can be taken and left at any of 30 automated terminals (pilot ones are installed in Central Sochi and Khosta districts). The service itself is free, but you need to leave 3,000 RUR deposit before you return the bike.
There is also work on cycle lanes allocation in the city. However, Sochi is still uncomfortable for cycling due to heavy traffic and a lot of construction sites.
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.
So far, at least the airport facilities and new commuter trains in Sochi are accessible. The project to create the accessibility map of Sochi has been launched in 2011, giving the start to the same all-Russian project. Hopefully, next few years will bring the significant improvement in the city's accessibility, as it happened in Khanty-Mansiysk prior to another Paralympic sport event.
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
- Krasnodar tea (Краснодарский чай). This is the only tea sort grown in Russia, being the northernmost one in the world (due to climate conditions, it's impossible to cultivate tea to the north from Sochi). Tea plantations of Greater Sochi are located in Dagomys, Solokhaul (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, such as Magnit, Karusel,Kairos or Perekryostok.
- Abrau Durso sparkling wines. Abrau Durso (plant located near Novorossiysk) is the leading and the best-known Russian producer of a wide array of sparkling wines, from odious "Soviet Shampagne" to the exclusive Imperial and Millesime wine collections. The production technology is based on traditional shampagnoise method. Abrau Durso (Абрау-Дюрсо) wine is distributed to all Russian regions and exported. The price varies greatly depending on the collection item.
- Abkhazian wines. There are several brands of wine from Abkhazia those are widely common in Russian shops and popular for their inimitative taste. 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 Krai. The best wine brands in the region are Fanagoria (Фанагория) [www] and Myskhako (Мысхако), both produced in Novorossiysk area and having the wide assortment. 200-500 RUR per bottle.
- Brandy. This 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. Together with Dagestanand Stavropol Krai, Krasnodar Krai is among 3 regions of Russia, those grape is acceptable for brandy production. The factory inTemryuk town located near Taman makes the best brandy inKrasnodar Krai, including the aged and souvenir collection. From 150 RUR per bottle for ordinary drink, to 2,500 RUR for upper-class souvenir bottles.
- Alexandria (Александрия), Moskovskaya street, 22 - Central. A 5-stored mall built at the place of former city market and combined with a higher office building. Conveniently located in the very center of Sochi.
- Kairos (Кайрос). 24/7. The largest local retail chain in Greater Sochi. Over 40 supermarkets and minimarkets spread all over the city at walking distance from most tourist and residential locations. Good place for minor daily shopping.
- Magnit (Магнит). Nationwide Russian supermarket chain with several shops within Greater Sochi.
- Melodia (Мелодия), Kurortny Prospekt, 16 - Central. A midsize shopping mall, located at Sochi central street.
- MoreMall (Море Молл), Novaya Zarya street - Central (under construction till May 2012), . The first regional-scale world-benchmarked mall is constructed at outskirts of Central Sochi. Is numerous shops and boutiques of the best global and federal brands offer the city biggest variety of goods and services. Over 30 restaurants of various cuisines of the world and a multiplex cinema are also there.
- Noviy Vek (Новый Век), Demokraticheskaya street, 52 - Adler. A midsize mall, located in the center of Adler district. Over 100 shops, restaurants, and a supermarket.
- Olymp (Олимп), Transportnaya street - Central (orbital road of Sochi).Sochi's currently largest mall, having 70+ shops, hypermarket, bouling, multiplex cinema, foodcourt, and restaurants.
- Stroy-City (Строй-Сити), Donskaya street, 28 - Central. Large DIY and furniture mall with more than 80 shops and supporting infrastructure (cafes, parkings etc.).
- Trade Gallery (Торговая галерея), Navaginskaya street - Central.Navaginskaya street became one of the main shopping areas in the city, containing a whole lot of various shops, where it is possible to by everything, from souvenir to clothing, and from food to photo camera spare parts.
- Art-Pizza, Teatralnaya street, 9 - Central (Near the Winter Theatre), . 10-00AM - 12-00PM. A reasonably priced pizza placeAround 500 RUR per person.
- Mama Roza, Moskovskaya, 19A - Central, . 11-00AM - 11-00PM. Conveniently located in the very center, close to the main train terminal, this cafe offers a budget variety of pizza and other Italian-style food. About 500 RUR per person.
- McDonald's, Kurortny Prospekt 17/1 - Central, . , , 8-00 - 24-00. The only McDonald's restaurant in Sochi, as of 2011. Traditionally popular for its fast-food and free wi-fi. 100-300 RUR per person.
- Frau Marta, Sovetskaya street, 2 - Central (near the seaport), . Cosy and stylish German restaurant with a good variety of beers and nice Nuremberg sausages. 500-1,500 RUR per person.
- Lighthouse, Morskoy pereulok, 1/1 - Central (near the seaport), . 11.00-0.00. Uzbek cuisine garnished with Russian and European dishes. Shashlyk and pilav are strongly recommended. 500-1,500 RUR per person.
- Vody Lagidze (Воды Лагидзе), Primorskaya street, 16 - Central, . A popular restaurant of traditional Georgian cuisine with live music. Russian and European specialtes are also offered.
- Zhily Byly Teremok, Demokraticheskaya 50/7. Local cuisine with a cosy atmosphere. about 700-1000 for a person.
- Kalipso, Moskvina street, 2, Central Sochi (near the seaport and Mayak aquapark), . 12.00-0.00. Elegantly-designed, fine and expensive restaurant of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. 2,500 RUR per person and more.
- La Terrazza, Kurortny Prospekt 105 B - Central, .12.00-0.00. Italian cuisine. 2,500 RUR per person and more.
- Sinee More (Синее Море), Chernomorskaya street, Sunny Beach (Solnechny Plyazh) (Central Sochi), , e-mail: , 90-20-02[email protected]. 12.00-2.00. Probably, the most luxurious restaurant in the city. Mediterranean fish & seafood cuisine, plus several meat specialties. Good cocktails. 2,500 - 5,000 RUR per person.
Sights & Landmarks
- Stalinist period Empire Style buildings.The 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 numerous resort hotels, such as Metallurg, Lazarevskoe etc.
- Stalin's Summer Residence, 120, Kurortny - Khosta district, . 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 Chinese 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 street, 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.
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 Cannon, Pushkinsky 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 Stalin, Vinogradnaya, 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. 2 copies of the monument were granted toUSA and the UK. At the same place, a historical museum of World War II was opened. Neither the Statue nor the museum are available to visit now (8th Oct 2014) - the property on which they were located seems to have closed down.
- The Feat for Life memorial (Подвиг во имя жизни), Riviersky 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 Fleece, Ploschad 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 Fontains, Kurortny - Central. Located 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 Memorial, Zavokzalny subdistrict - Central. The 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, 1000 days before the start of Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games. An innovatively looking construction, worth to see.
- Riviera Park, Yegorova, 1 - Central, . , 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, . daily, 8AM - 9PM. The 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. Entrance 180 RUR.
- Park of Southern Cultures, Adler 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 Park (Парк имени Фрунзе), Chernomorskaya 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 location. In 2014 the Olympic Park was for the Games opening and closing ceremonies, hockey, skating and curling competitions, and all medal award ceremonies.
- Sochi Discovery World Aquarium, Lenin 219а / 4 - Adler, . Tue-Sun 10AM - 6PM. The 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 Zoo, 4 Cheltenham alley - Khosta district (New Matsesta), , e-mail: [email protected]. Open daily, summer 9AM - 8PM, winter 10AM - 6PM. Open in 2005. It is possible to participate in feeding animals, such as sharks, penguins, hippopotamus etc. Adult 300 RUR, kids (6-11 years old) 100 RUR.
- Oceanarium at Riviera Park, Yegorova, 1 - Central, . Open daily, summer 10-00 - 0-00, winter 10-00 - 21-00. The most centrally located aquarium, however, not the most impressive one. Adults 300 RUR, kids (6-11 years old) 200 RUR.
- Adler Dolphinarium, Lenin 219а - Adler, , fax:. Summer Tue-Sun, 11-00, 14-00 and 16-00. Winter Sat-Sun and holidays, 15-30. Sochi representation of Utrish Delfinarium of Novorossiysk. 50-minute performance of dolphins is conducted round the year, the pool is 20 metres in width and 6 metres in depth. The place holds up to 1,000 spectators. Adults 450 RUR, kids (3-12 years old) 250 RUR.
- Monkey Nursery Center (Обезьяний питомник), Vesyoloe, 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, entrance 200 RUR.
As a rule with some exceptions, Sochi outdoor sights are located inside the area ofSochi 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 (Агурское ущелье), 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 (Орлиные скалы) 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). Entrance 100 RUR (Mt. Akhun viewing point), 100 RUR (Agurskoe canyon), 50 RUR (Eagle Rock).
- Yew & boxtree wood (тисо-самшитовая роща), 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. If you are not going to use car or taxi to reach it, take marshrutka route 122 from Central Sochi to Khosta. The stop you need is "Khosta-most". From that walk by Samshitovaya street (Самшитовая улица) till the road turning and the pointer. Soon after the turn a usual group of taxi cars act as the sign of the entrance to the wood.Entrance 150 RUR.
- Vorontsovka Caves (Воронцовские пещеры), Vorontsovka village - Khosta district. The 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 length 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 Houses, Dagomys 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 samovar, pirozhki, 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 length 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 (Форелевое хозяйство), 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 Cave (Ахтыршская пещера), Adler district. Many 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.
Museums & Galleries
- Sochi Art Museum, Kurortny, 51 - Central, . , The 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 organized.
- Sochi History Museum, Vorovskogo 54/11 - Central, . 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, archaeological findings, nature and famous people. In total, there are 14 museum halls and about 150,000 items.
- Museum of Sochi Sport Honour, Sovetskaya, 26 - Central, . , (tours)Daily, 11-00AM - 9-00PM. 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. Entrance 80 RUR.
- A.A.C. Art Gallery of Wood Plastic, Zvezdnaya street, 1, office 24 - Khosta district, . 10-00AM - 8-00PM. 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.
Things to do
- Boat tours (Sochi port), . 11AM - 9PM. 1-hour regular sea boat tours. Organized by Sochi seaport, May to October. 300 RUR.
- Nautilus Aquapark, Pobedy str., 2/1 - Lazarevskoe, .
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.
- Russian Grand Prix. The annual Formula One event is held early-mid October, and is based around the coastal Olympic cluster in Adler.
- London Bar, Nesebrskaya street, 6 - Central (beach zone), . 24/7. Stylish restaurant and bar, offering business lunches during the day and transforming into a music club by nights. European and Japanese cuisine, wide array of cocktails and spirits. Concerts (rock, disco, chillout, both Russian and international) and parties each 1-2 weeks. 500 - 1,500 RUR per person.
- Shum Karaoke Club (Шум), Navaginskaya street, 9 - Central, +7 9882 37 54 20; 26 30 30, e-mail: [email protected]. 24/7 (9AM - 6PM - restaurant of European cuisine, 7PM - 7AM - karaoke. Luxury karaoke club with fine design and wide assortment of cocktails. Professional sound and back vocalists, songs are free on Sundays to Thursdays.
- Treugolnik Rock Bar (Треугольник), Kirova street, 56 - Adler. 12-00 - 03-00. A democratic rock-n-roll club with an authentic atmosphere and a large musical collection: from rock classics to newest trends. Regular parties and concerts of mainstream and underground teams (primarily from Russia and former Soviet Union countries). A library of books and DVDs on rock topics. The club provides not only drinks and parties, but also breakfasts, lunches and dinners, its pizza seems to be the best in Adler. Transfer to Central Sochi is possible. From 500 RUR per person..
Things to know
Like elsewhere in Russia, Russian rouble (RUB) is the only currency officially accepted in the city. Money exchange is not a problem, but use only official counters at banks and avoid people offering you exchange at major transport hubs. By Russian legislation passport is needed for exchange operations. The approximate exchange rate is 48 RUR for 1 euro or 52 RUR for 1 US dollar (as of April 2015).
Sochi has many ATMs, especially in Central Sochi and Adler. You may withdraw not only roubles, but also dollars or euro at some of them (approximately 10% of all ATMs). Take into account, that Visa and MasterCard are widespread in Russia, but American Express cards are usually not accepted even at major tourist places. Also, expect possible problems with paying by card at minor shops or restaurants and at small private hotels. Have some cash with you for such cases.
Ethnicities and religions
Sochi is one of the most multinational cities in Russia with people of more than 100 ethnic groups living there. Most of them are ethnic Russians (68%), the important minorities are Armenians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Greeks, Circassians, Belorussians, Tatars, and Jews.
Russian is the predominant language spoken by almost everyone in the city, including nearly all minorities, but many local placenames came from Abkhazian and Circassian languages. The most commonly used ones include"pse" / "psh" / "psta" (water), "akh" (high), and "nykh" (holy).
The major part of Sochi inhabitants are Orthodox Christians (80%). There are also Muslims (5%), Catholics and Jews. Orthodox cathedrals are represented in all the parts of the city. The only Catholic cathedral located in Central Sochi was built in 1997 (most churchgoers are Catholic Armenians). There is also a mosque, albeit a very small and remote one (in Tkhagapsh community, 15 km towards the mountains from Lazarevskoe). The city authorities are planning to build a new mosque and a synagogue by 2014.
There is no sustainable practice of learning Russian as a foreign language in Sochi at the moment. Two places can offer such classes potentially:
- Russian University of Peoples' Friendship (RUDN), Sochi Branch(Department of additional education), Kuibysheva, 24 - Adler, , e-mail: [email protected]. This university is among leaders in Russia by number of international students. Sochi branch is, however, a small one, so your case with Russian study will be probably solved on individual basis.
- Sphere Travel, 11 Navaginskaya Str. - Central, , e-mail: [email protected]. This company several years ago offered the following programs of Russian: general, intensive, business, speaking, and academic Russian. Due to low number of students please check the actual situation before planning study.
Getting a work permit in Russia is not usually an easy process, at least if you are not a former Soviet Union state citizen. Sochi can possibly be an exception, as the preparation of Olympic Games will create many new workplaces. Some of the potential vacancies will require international expertise. Highly qualified international candidates will have simplified visa and work permit procedure.
There are potential vacancies for English tutors, as the demand for English study in the city is constantly growing. It is also possible to find sport instructors' jobs, in both winter (skiing, snowboarding) and summer (diving, yachting, kitesurfing) sports, but knowledge of Russian is essential for those positions.
Safety in Sochi
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.
Several reports of explosions in Sochi area luckily were more vandalistic than terroristic, and their organizers were arrested soon after.
Sunburn can occur in summer, so use sunblock during the hot season.
Tap water is practically safe and Sochi was awarded with first in Russia drinking tap water certificate (2011).