The Black Sea Pearl, the Russian Riviera and the summer capital of Russia are some of the terms commonly used to refer to Sochi. Stretching 145 km along the Black Sea coast and bordered by the Caucasus Mountains, this resort city in southern Russia is a thriving and popular holiday destination. Every year, over four million visitors descend on this beautiful land blessed with endless pebbled beaches, striking mountainous coastline and verdant forests. A comfortable subtropical climate with lots of sunny days and a lively nightlife are its other compelling attractions.
Apart from the climate, several mineral springs in the region has led to Sochi becoming a popular health tourism spot. Probably this was what attracted the former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to this place as well—it was during his time that Sochi emerged as a fashionable resort area. Stalin’s favourite dacha,a cottage used as a vacation home, is now open to the public and has become one of the many tourist attractions here.
Kinotavr, the largest Russian film festival is held in Sochi every June and it attracts the best of Russian movie talent including actors, directors, writers and camera persons.
The Caucasian Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies just north of Sochi. Other attractions include numerous parks, botanical gardens, monuments, museums and imposing neoclassical buildings. Home to 33 waterfalls and challenging hiking locations, nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts are sure to have a great time in Sochi.
Sochi is a year round destination, though the tourist season peaks during summer between May and September. While it attracts mostly domestic tourists from all over Russia, lots of international holidaymakers also head for Sochi annually. Come summer, the city’s population more than doubles. Swimming is great at this time and conditions are excellent for yachting and leisurely cruises on the Black Sea. Winter in Sochi is skiing time when tourists head for the snow capped mountains. The mountain ski resort of Krasnaya Polyana—venue of several events of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics—offers excellent skiing.
All set to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the Winter Paralympics 2014, Sochi will also be a venue for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The city is being spruced up and all efforts are on to put its best face forward for the eagerly awaited events. Sochi is readying itself to welcome all its visitors with improved infrastructure and other facilities.
A memorable sojourn lies ahead for you in Sochi, so pack your bags and be on your way with family and friends.