But apart from the Olympics, what else is there to see and do in Sochi?

dendrarium sochi botanique

What to see and do in Sochi

With its unique blend of climates, botanical gardens and moderate winter temperatures, the city of Sochi is often referred to as the Russian Riviera. As the Black Sea resort prepares to welcome the world next month, here’s a closer look at the host of the 22nd Winter Olympics.

It’s a contradiction in terms for Sochi to have been chosen to host the Winter Games. Spread across the foothills of the Caucasus along the Black Sea, the « subtropical » city of Sochi is actually on the same latitude as Nice and Toronto, and is one of the hottest cities in Russia.

Average temperatures hover between 8 and 10°C in winter along the coast, while dropping to sub-zero temperatures in the mountains, creating ideal skiing conditions. In summer, temperatures can soar to 38-40 degrees.

Famous as Russia’s summer capital, the resort is a popular destination for Russians seeking to recharge their batteries on the beach, in one of the many wellness spas or in the botanical gardens.

Adventure seekers also descend on the region to take advantage of the wide range of outdoor activities available, including rafting, caving, canyoning, horse riding and mountain hiking.

However, until the Sochi Olympics came along, no one knew about this city. So here’s what you can visit, see and do in Sochi if you’re passing through:

The Georgian Trinity Convent

It is said that those who undertake the pilgrimage to the cathedral, hidden in the Caucasus mountains, and pray before Our Lady of Vladimir (or Theotokos of Vladimir), find healing, hope, faith and love. Don’t miss the nearby village of Galitsyno and the Akhshtyr cave.

The Atchichkho mountain range

With breathtaking views of the Caucasus mountains and home to sub-alpine meadows, large flowers and waterfalls up to 30 meters high,Achishkho is described as a jewel not to be missed.

Sochi’s Dendrarium (botanical garden)

Located in the heart of the city, the park is home to Russia’s largest collection of oak trees, as well as palms, cypresses and other subtropical species. You can also visit theaquarium, which recreates the marine life of the Black Sea.

dendrarium sochi botanique

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Tea time

Between sightseeing, spas and mountain hikes, make sure you find time to relax in a traditional tea room. Taste homemade cakes and jams served with a steaming samovar of strong, rich Russian tea, one of the most popular drinks among Russians.

Would you visit Sochi during or after the Olympic Games? Does the Black Sea coastline appeal to you? Comment and share!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Russia