You may be surprised to hear, but one of the fastest growing holiday resorts in Europe, which is gaining popularity among vacationers from all over the world, is Sochi, the beautiful Russian city on the shores of the Black Sea. Until recently, the city was known mainly in Russia, but after the 2014 Winter Olympics took place and the 2018 summer World Cup games - the city experienced a development boom and with it growing interest and tourism, which is now at its peak. Thanks to its unique climate, the city is known as an international center of winter sports and as a city with pleasant beaches, which can be enjoyed all year long. To get to know Sochi a bit more and what attractions it holds, we’ve collected 9 especially recommended destinations in and around the city, which you can enjoy while visiting.
If you have a hidden dream to explore all the natural forests of the world, you can start fulfilling it in the botanical garden of Sochi, one of the city's must-see sites. There are no less than 1,800 exotic and rare plant species in the garden, which covers 120,000 square meters. Thanks to their abundance of beautiful trails and fountains, the botanical garden is considered the green lung of Sochi and one of the most diverse botanical gardens in Russia, with plant species from all over the world, divided between the different regions of the garden according to their continents of origin.
Stalin can be said to be a controversial leader - in Russia itself, there are many who admire him for leading the country to victory in World War II and leading it for many years in general, but in the West, he is usually seen as a megalomaniac and murderous dictator. Either way, this is one of the personalities who shaped the 20th century immensely, so you should visit his dacha (summer house), located near Sochi. You can wander around the rooms that were preserved there, as well as the rest of the remains, souvenirs, and objects that belonged to the "sun of the nations" as he called himself, which tell his story. In addition, there is a restaurant on the lower floor of the building serving traditional Caucasian dishes, which Stalin himself loved to eat.
There’s no doubt that the region which Sochi sits has been blessed with many natural sights, but among the many great sites here - the 33 Falls is considered one of the most impressive. As can be gathered from the name of the place, no less than 33 waterfalls of different heights (with the tallest at about 10 meters) flow here, and all are no less than picturesque - especially when the snow from the nearby mountains melts at the end of March. Don’t miss it - it's a wonderful sight you’ll never forget!
If you visit Sochi with the whole family - don’t hesitate for a moment and come to Riviera Park. Here you’ll find points of interest for everyone in the family: the children can enjoy the endless amusement rides while the adults enjoy a relaxing stroll along the blooming paths in the garden area of the spacious park. You can finish the day together in one of the largest aquariums in Russia, where you’ll see a wide variety of fascinating marine creatures and a dolphin show displaying wonderful stunts at the pool.
Lovers of art and architecture among you will certainly be delighted to visit this art gallery, built in 1936 during the time of the Soviet Union. The powerful style of architecture in which the building is designed in surely leaves its impression on everyone who sees it and the experience only improves when you enter the museum - where you’ll find a huge selection of no less than 5,000 exhibits and works of art dating back decades and even centuries. You’ll find works by local artists from Sochi along with the works of some of the greatest Russian painters such as Ivan Shishkin and Valentin Serov.
To get a good view of the entire Sochi area and the Black Sea coast, all you need to do is reach the top of Akhun Mountain, located 15 kilometers from the city center. At the top of the 700-meter-high mountain, which is the highest point in the region, is a tower built in Romanesque style bringing you 30 meters higher, from which you can observe the city and the region in all its splendor. If you arrive here on a day with nice weather, there’s even a chance that you’ll be able to spot Turkey's coastline, which is only a few kilometers away.
Thanks to its unique weather conditions, Sochi is known as the only place in Russia where tea is produced - and the Dagomys tea plantation is, in fact, the northernmost plantation in the world. Apart from these interesting facts, visiting here is an authentic and fascinating experience, as there are plenty of activities and events for the whole family. As a visitor you can take a tour of the extensive plantation, learn about the history of tea growing in Russia and even participate in an authentic 19th century tea party in an ancient wooden house located on the top of the mountain - where a folk singing group will help you pass your time with traditional Russian folk songs. Needless to say, you can taste and purchase all the different types of teas that are grown here.
For the ski and snow enthusiasts, it is highly recommended to reach the Rosa Khutor ski resort. While it's less known than its counterparts in northern and southern Europe, it is the largest ski resort in Russia. The site was built in honor of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in 2014 and is located near Krasnaya Polyana, an area in the city's Adlersky district, which also houses the Olympic Village built four years ago. No less than 132 km of snowy slopes and 56 ski lifts await you here, along with a wide range of hotels and bars, all for enthusiasts and those who enjoy the favored winter sport.
Sochi's singing fountains are one of the city's most exciting attractions located in the heart of the impressive Olympic village built here, which we’ve already mentioned. These huge fountains are made up of a large pool with dozens of spectacular currents coming out furiously and lighting the night sky in a coordinated and captivating way while pleasant music accompanies them to your full enjoyment. Please note that the fountain usually operates during summer evenings.