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Introducing Sochi

The gateway to the optimistically named ‘Russian Riviera’, Sochi is a Black Sea resort that received massive investment and media attention as host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics. However, what was billed as 'Sochi' for the Games actually embraced both the neighbouring resort of Adler – home to the Olympic ice-skating arena – and Krasnaya Polyana, a mountain village that hosted skiing and snowboarding events. No actual Olympic events were held in the city of Sochi.

Sochi's lively, pedestrian-only sea embankment is packed with restaurants, cafes and bars, some of which are ideally placed for watching the sun drop slowly behind the Black Sea horizon. In the summer, coastline nightclubs pump out disco hits from dusk till dawn. However, while the sea is warm and the climate subtropical (among Russia’s warmest destinations in winter), the beaches are disappointingly rocky and grey, although imported sand is used on some beaches in the summer months. Away from the embankment, magnolia- and cypress-filled parks provide a fine setting for relaxing strolls, while just outside of town you’ll find memorable hikes amid waterfalls and sublime views in the Agura Valley. A little further north lie the towering peaks of Krasnaya Polyana.

The high season is early May to late September, with the big crowds arriving in July and August, driving already exorbitant prices up.

Kurortny pr runs the length of Sochi a few blocks from the sea. The train and bus stations are centrally located a few blocks north of Kurortny pr.