Visit Sochi in Russia | Best Places to See & Things To Do

Sochi, Russia

Sochi, Russia

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About Sochi

About Sochi

Sochi is Russia's only subtropical resort city that stretches along the picturesque coast of the Black Sea. With a permanent population approaching 350,000, it holds the record as the largest resort city in Russia. As the unofficial capital of the Riviera of the Caucasus, its many beaches make the city popular in summer. In contrast, skiing in the nearby mountain makes it an ideal place for winter vacations.

The city is set in the Krasnodar Krai, which stretches 145 km (90 miles) along the Black Sea, making Sochi the second longest city behind only Mexico City. The resort has a long history that dates back to Ancient Greek and Roman times when the Zygii people inhabited the Area. The first Russian settlement on the site was called Fort Alexander, founded in 1838 at Sochi River's mouth.

History of Sochi

In fact, Sochi is a relatively new name for the city, as it was first called that in 1896. The name has two possible sources: it could be a variation of the term "sshatche," was used by the local people to mean "place by the sea" or "shacha," which locals used to mean "sell ahead" because the territory of the town used to be where slave markets were held.

One of the first big names to put Sochi on the map was Soviet leader Joseph Stalin - he built his favorite vacation home or dacha here. The city was also known as the "All-Union health resort" of the Soviet Union, and after the collapse of the USSR, the city was, in fact, the only Black Sea resort in Russia. It is still famous today for its recreation facilities.

Reasons to travel to Sochi

It is here that many well-to-do Russians go to rejuvenate in some of the most popular healing mineral springs in Russia. These vibrant spas are the best known of the Matsesta Sulfur Springs, renowned since antiquity as the “fiery river” springs because of the tanned hue that treatment in its waters leaves. A legend says that a local girl bravely wandered into the underworld and brought back its healing waters to the surface as a gift from the spirits below.

Natural mineral springs are a component of Sochi’s vast collection of natural attractions encompassed in the nearby Caucasian State Nature Biosphere Reserve. The Agura and Orekhovskaya waterfalls are perhaps the most strikingly beautiful representations of these attractions. Still, the mountains also hide mysterious caves where traces exist of the first humans migrated northward through here into Neanderthal-dominated Europe some 35,000 years ago. Sochi also boasts a large trout farm, as well as a spectacular dolphinarium and aqua theater.

What is more, the air quality in Sochi is excellent, due in part to the fact that the city boasts nearly 500,000 acres of forests, with about 10,000 of those acres located in the city center! Sochi has a beautiful collection of parks, including a botanical garden and arboretum with rare and exotic species of tropical flora, as well as beautiful coastal promenades and trails.

Many local experts consider daily walks as important for the restoration of health to the body and mind, so it's not unusual to find many strollers on scenic pedestrian byways like the gorgeous Eagle Rocks path.

Sochi also contains a special tea plantation, the only one in Russia and the northernmost in the world. Its tea-house’s picturesque view of the Black Sea from the exclusive Dagomys district provides the perfect setting for sampling Russia’s home-grown offerings. Another interesting fact about this city is that it is merely a 37-hour train ride away from Russia’s capital Moscow!

In addition to its status as a resort city, Sochi is known for its sports facilities. For example, Sochi tennis schools have trained such athletes as Maria Sharapova.

With so much local attention to health and exercise, the International Olympics Committee found Sochi to be the obvious choice to host the 2014 Winter Games.

The 22nd Winter Olympics welcomed thousands of visitors, and the attention of millions of international television viewers, to this proud resort area. The Games were a first for the Russian Federation - the Moscow Olympics of 1980 were, in fact, hosted by the Soviet Union, a now an extinct country.

The city has undergone several immense changes with billions of rubles spent preparing the city and the nearby Krasnaya Polyana skiing area for hosting this world event. All competitions took place in two areas: the newly constructed Coastal Cluster, for indoor ice events, and the Mountain Cluster - featuring a renovated Krasnaya Polyana for all downhill and skiing sports.

The two clusters are only 30 minutes apart, making the 22nd Winter Olympic games one of the most compacts ever held.

The Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix is held here until at least 2020, and Sochi is one of the host towns for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. So it is fair to say that Sochi is clearly familiar with top-notch athletes! It would be fair to say that Sochi is long used to being among the most glamorous spots in Russia.

Since 1909, Russian glitterati have thronged here, and movie stars have been a regular feature at the city’s Kinotavr Film Festival every June since 1991. The Russian president himself maintains a dacha near the tea plantation in Dagomys, which is used to entertain foreign heads of state.

Best Things to Do in Sochi

  • Catch the relaxing vibe of resorts and beaches of the Black Sea
  • Explore the Olympic Park of 2014 and the famous Riviera Dolphinarium
  • Get inspired bu the natural marvels in Sochi surroundings