Transportation in Sochi is good; Sochi is easily accessible and has excellent transport links. Well connected by air, rail, road and sea, this popular tourist destination on the Black Sea offers travellers several hassle-free options to get in and move around. The Sochi airport is a major gateway while many tourists, particularly international ones, prefer the sea route, especially in summer. Lots of people also arrive by train and road from across Russia and even from parts of Europe.
Public transport is good and transport infrastructure is getting spruced up in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics. So travelling around the city is not a problem. The city centre can be easily explored on foot or on bike as distances are short.
Use our Sochi Transportation Guide to find out how to get to and around Sochi.
The easiest way to get to Sochi is by air. The newly reconstructed Sochi International Airport is located at Adler, 25 km from the city and on way to the mountain resort of Krasnaya Polyana. Regular connections with international destinations such as Istanbul, Vienna and Tel-Aviv as well as many former Soviet Bloc states are readily available. Several daily flights link Sochi with Moscow and St Petersburg; while there are also regular services to other major Russian cities. Flight frequency increases during peak season. In winter, delays due to weather are not uncommon.
The scenic Russian countryside is one of the high points of a road trip to Sochi. Roads are generally well maintained though they are winding and narrow in certain areas. Regular bus services are available from Moldova and Ukraine apart from destinations in Russia. The main bus terminal is located in Central Sochi near the train terminal. A car trip is preferable if you want to travel at your own time and convenience.
An efficient rail network connects Sochi with other parts of Russia and a few destinations in Europe. There are direct trains from Sochi to Moscow and St Petersburg and other major cities. International destinations covered include Kiev (Ukraine) and Minsk (Belarus). The number of trains, schedules and destinations increase during the peak summer season (June through October). Tickets can be booked online and it is best to book in advance during peak season.
Sochi is a popular port of call for cruise liners during summer. For travellers, there is the added attraction that a Russian visa is not required for stays up to 72 hours provided they live on the ship or at specially arranged hotels for group tourism. International tourists frequently make use of this opportunity. Regular ferry services also operate between Sochi and other Black Sea destinations during summer.
Sochi has a decent public transport system with a good network of trains, buses and marshrutka (mini buses). Taxis tend to be expensive, but are easily available. A metro is also coming up and should be ready in time for the Winter Olympics. Biking is promoted in a big way these days and free bicycle rentals are available. Walking is also a popular way to get to know downtown Sochi as distances are short. For people with disabilities, improvements are being made to make the city more accessible.
The marshrutka or minibuses are the most popular mode of public transport. They run frequently across all parts of Sochi and are cheap. As part of the preparation for the Winter Olympics, English signage is coming up and even drivers are being given basic English language skills; this will make communication a lot easier for tourists.
Although expensive, taxis are easily available and you can flag them down anywhere. Meters are rarely used so it is better to agree on the fare beforehand.
Several car rental companies operate in Sochi and hiring a car lets you travel at your own convenience. Traffic in the city can be chaotic and parking spaces hard to find.
Train services are efficient and fast and new lines are coming up. Trains are convenient to travel between city districts and over longer distances.
Bike rental service is a recent trend in Sochi. The service is free though you need to leave a deposit. Bikes are available at 30 automated terminals. Do watch out for the heavy traffic.