Surprising Sochi: An Off-the-Radar Travel Gem of Olympic Sites, Beaches, and More
Sochi, Russia’s favorite resort on the Black Sea coast, is sometimes called the “Russian Riviera.” Its theaters, clubs, casinos, and spas fill with European and Russian vacationers from spring to fall, and its surrounding mountains attract skiers from fall to spring. The black sand and pebble beaches encourage young and old to kick back and relax.
Why travel to Sochi and how do I get there?
With inviting beaches to enjoy in warm weather, and snow sports to pursue in winter, Sochi is a year-round destination for all budget-types. As our Senior Private Journeys Specialist Olga Hayes reports, “The good thing about Sochi is that there’s something for all price ranges. You can overnight and dine in luxury and be pampered at exclusive spas, or sleep simply and cook your own food or eat out casually.”
It makes a great (and easy) pre- or post-tour addition to any trip your planning to the area.
Air travel is simple to arrange from Moscow, Istanbul, or Yerevan. It’s best to ask a MIR destination specialist or a travel specialist from your own city to get the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on the best ways to get to Sochi.
For such a place that’s still fairly off-the-radar for Western travelers, there are a lot of reasons to add Sochi to your travel bucket list — even when there’s not a world-class event going on.
Things to do and see in Sochi
If you’re in Sochi, you really should check out the Olympic sites. Two compact districts, called the Coastal Cluster and the Mountain Cluster, contain the completed venues for the Sochi Olympics.
If it happens to be winter, bring your gear and ski the Olympic slopes!
Dagomys Tea Farm
Set among the hills outside of town, the Dagomys Tea Farm offers an opportunity to see how the aromatic leaf is cultivated, harvested, and packaged. This area is the only one in Russia where tea can be cultivated. Learn about the long history of Russia’s favorite hot drink, including its arrival from China along the Great Tea Road through Siberia, and the way it is grown around Sochi. Enjoy a tea-tasting accompanied by subtropical jams, hazelnuts, and piroshky while you take in the views from a mountain izba, a traditional Russian log home.
If you have more time…
An active adventure to Vorontsovsky Caves
Located in the Khosta and Adler districts of Sochi, the Vorontsovsky cave system is one of Russia’s most extensive limestone cave systems. It runs along the coast of the Black Sea for about 11 km, and has several entrances. The most popular trail meanders some 3km through a relict forest to an opening that leads to Prometheus Grotto. Near the entrance, ancient bones protruding from the walls have been identified as those of a cave bear. Archaeologists have also found evidence of human habitation in the caves dating back 15-20 thousand years.
What the locals recommend
When you ask the Russians who flock here for their summer vacations, they say the best thing to do in Sochi is to slow down and relax!
As our travel expert and Russia native Olga Hayes explains:
Sochi’s a popular destination for Russians who only have a few days off from work and want to chill out a bit — a little R&R. Foreign travelers like to book Sochi at the end of a tour, a chance to simply rest and relax after their culturally and perhaps physically challenging adventures.
This is what you can do to relax in Sochi:
- Walk in the gorgeous parks.
- Breathe deeply: the air smells like roses.
- Sit on a sandy beach and watch the waves, play in the sand, and of course, swim.
- Splurge on a spa; there are plenty to choose from.
Travel to Sochi with MIR
MIR has over 30 years of travel experience in Russia, with affiliate offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Siberia offering on-the-ground support and tour managers that clients rave about. Our full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”
There are several ways to travel to Sochi:
- A small group tour:
- MIR’s Return to the North Caucasus (NEW for 2018!) small group tour has an eight-day pre-tour that takes the traveler from Sochi to the Caspian Sea before setting out to explore the food, culture, and scenery of Dagestan, Chechnya, and more!
- A rail journey by private train:
- NEW for 2018! Travel on the North Caucasus & South Russia by Steam Train itinerary and inspect Russia’s balmy Black Sea resort, Sochi, and its 2014 Winter Olympics venues, including the alpine skiing areas in nearby Krasnaya Polyana.
- A personalized, private journey
- Two of MIR’s small group tours (Treasures of the South Caucasus and Village Traditions of the South Caucasus) end in Yerevan, and a private, custom post-tour to Sochi could be easily arranged.
- Contact us to find out more about our custom and private travel expertise – each trip handcrafted to your interests, dates, and pace.
Chat with one of our destination specialists by email or by phone at 1-111-111-1111 to start planning your travels today.
Top photo: Sochi, Russia. Photo: Michel Behar
PUBLISHED: February 6, 2018