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A Guide to Visiting Sochi, Russia, During the 2014 Winter Olympics

sochi logoSochi, on the Black Sea, is on the stretch of Russia that is often referred to as the Russian Riviera, the summer capital of the country. An estimated 4 million people visit Sochi every year for its endless beaches, sunny days, hilly coastline, and bustling nightlife. But, of course, that’s not why Sochi has come under the limelight so much these days. This resort town in Russia is going to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, held between February 7th and 23rd. After that, Sochi will also host a few games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Interestingly, just about 3% of visitors to the city are from outside of Russia. Most holidaymakers are from within the country. With Sochi hitting the news big time, the city authorities are expecting that this will change for good.

So, if you’re going to be one of the hundreds of thousands of people making their way to Sochi to experience the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, here is a quick guide of what to expect from the host city.

Weather in Sochi

sochi skiingWhile it can get quite humid during the summer months, winter in Sochi is chilly and difficult, much like elsewhere in Russia. Of course, it’s nowhere near as intense as Siberia. Sochi can be divided into two parts – the mountainous regions and the beach area. There is never a complete snow cover on the coast, but the climate is significantly cooler in the hills. The full ski season is on here during winter, making it an ideal spot to host the Olympics many skiing events.

Where to Stay

sochi cityThere are plenty of accommodations in Sochi. You will find some of the swankiest resorts that house the premium clientele during the summer months and skiers during the winter. The Radisson Lazurnaya and the Rodina Grand Hotel & Spa are the two best hotels in Sochi. There are also many budget and mid-range hotels and resorts in Sochi as well, so, no matter your budget, you’ll have plenty of lodging options.  Plus, many new properties have come up in recent times to house visitors during the Winter Olympics and the increase in tourism after that.

Things to Do

There are a lot of things to do in Sochi apart from the Olympics festivities. There is the Discovery World Aquarium, which is the biggest oceanarium in the country. Visit the Marine Zoo to see penguins, sharks, hippopotamus, and other animals. Stalin’s summer residence is also located in the city, as are quite a few museums and parks. You should see at least few of them.

sochi arena

Day Trips Out of Sochi

Hike up Mount Akhun or explore the Yew & Boxtree wood, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A trip to the Vorontsovka Caves is also going to be a memorable one. You will want to catch some of these sights whenever you can take time out from your 2014 Winter Olympic Games.