Sochi – A Unique Destination That Has a Lot to Offer
The famous Black Sea resort city of Sochi, as well as being host to the 2014 Winter Olympics, is considered to be the Southern capital of the Russian Federation. Its rapid development has helped to create many new tourist attractions and facilities for the locals alike. In 2012 Sochi was named the best city for business in Russia by Forbes, which is not surprising as there was a long list of initiatives and projects brought on by the development for the 2014 Olympics. Businesses were all fighting for a chunk of the circa 500 billion rubles ($7.7 billion) that was up for grabs.
The Winter Olympics definitely helped potential tourists to learn a bit more about the city, particularly those interested in visiting the brand new ski resort, sunny beaches and popular nearby towns, such as Adler and Dagomys. Sochi is packed with things to see and do; so much so, tourists often struggle to fit everything in. So here are some “must see” highlights.
Hit the Beach
Sochi’s beach has been loved and cherished by generations of Russians who began visiting the city during the time of the Soviet Union. With the enticing water of the Black Sea, its warm sand, and popular kebab and corn vendors, Sochi holds a special place in the hearts of many who visit from the colder parts of the country to get some “vitamin sea”. Make sure to pack your beachwear, as you will want to spend time sunbathing and swimming here. In the daytime, it is advised to try local corn on the cob and “trubochka”, a pastry made into the shape of a tube and filled with condensed milk.
When you’ve relaxed enough on the beach and feel like escaping the city, the Sochi Arboretum is a great option. It’s quiet and winding paths are lined with over 1,600 different species of plants and trees, including famous rare specimens like the Dawn Redwood metasequoia. You can get to the Arboretum by cable car, which will also allow you to see spectacular views of Sochi.
Krasnaya Polyana is one of Russia’s most popular ski resorts. It is around 40km away from the city of Sochi, but tourists often combine the two destinations together into a single trip. It was home to the Alpine events of the Sochi Winter Olympics, with events like skiing, snowboarding and luge being held there. These facilities remain in place, so snowboarders and skiers will thoroughly enjoy the Olympic slopes. You can get to Krasnaya Polyana by bus, train or taxi, with the former being the two cheapest options.
If extreme sports are not your cup of tea, Casino Sochi in the Gorki Gorod complex will be your ideal boredom cure. It is a grand casino that brings Las Vegas style, grandeur and offerings to Eastern Europe. It boasts three different restaurants, regular entertainment and shopping. It is also host to events throughout the year including the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.
Sochi has definitely increased in popularity recently, thanks to its warm and welcoming reputation and international fame from the Winter Olympics. No matter if you’re relaxing on the warm beach or up in the snow-covered mountains, Sochi has plenty to offer. Whilst Moscow and Saint Petersburg are the main destinations for tourists to Russia, make sure you add Sochi to your list as well.