European Poker TourWhile it may not be an obvious travel destination, the Russian city of Sochi is a popular resort for tourists who make their way there from across Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe. Sochi is a paradox; it is simultaneously a beach and ski resort, making it the only beach resort to host a Winter Olympics (which were held in the city in 2014). The Olympics are not the only sporting event held in the city, after major redevelopments across the region, Sochi has become a regular host of the Formula One Russian Grand Prix, and hosted several matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It’s not surprising that Sochi is brimming with things to see and do, no matter what time of year you decide to visit.
The Olympic Park
Naturally, Sochi is home to the Olympic Park used during the 2014 Winter Olympics. This $50 billion complex was the most expensive Olympic facility to be built. The park now houses many buildings used during the Olympics and is pleasant to walk around, especially if you enjoy looking at architecture. Some of the facilities continue to be used today, such as the Bolshoy Ice Dome, which has hosted basketball and hockey games.
In addition to hosting other international sporting events, Sochi is home to a round of the European Poker Tour, which is played in the Grand Casino Sochi. As well as boasting nearly 600 slot machines, 70 gaming tables, and a separate poker room, the Casino Sochi has expensive restaurants and bars and hosts a variety of entertainment throughout the year, including concerts and themed nights.
Located close to the Olympic Park, Sochi Park is a theme park that was built in 2014. It is themed around traditional Russian folklore and fairy tales, with multiple zones, each dedicated to a different theme and containing several innovative rides and attractions. While certainly not the biggest or best theme park in the world, Sochi Park does have four roller coasters, including two that are classed as “Extreme” and will keep you entertained for hours.
Located inside the Sochi Olympic Park, these fountains provide an hour-long show of color changing, dancing fountains that are set to music. The show operates daily during the summer season and attracts tourists and locals alike.
Rosa Khutor Ski Resort
A year-round mountain resort, Rosa Khutor is situated close to the ski slopes, providing guests with spectacular views. The magical winter wonderland created by snow is contrasted sharply by the autumnal colors of the wild nature. It’s not just skiing on offer at Rosa Khutor, with several restaurants and bars and live music on offer whenever you visit.
Beach resorts always have some form of embankment or promenade to take a long relaxing walk on. New Jersey has its Board Walk, Blackpool has its Golden Mile, and Sochi has the Imeretinskaya Embankment. In Sochi, the embankment is host to a great selection of bars and restaurants, as well as giving you great views of the city’s many landmarks, including the shores of the Black Sea and the Olympic Park.
Dagomys Tea Plantation
That’s right, a tea plantation. The Dagomys Tea Plantation is the world’s northernmost plantation for tea, thanks to the unique microclimate of the Black Sea region. As well as growing tea leaves, the plantation is also a tourist attraction hosting a wide range of events. Visitors can also explore the farm and learn about the history of tea in Russia. Guests can sample plenty of different types of tea and also take part in a traditional Russian tea party at the top of a mountain.
What is clear when exploring the many things to see and do in Sochi is that the city has a truly unique mix of attractions, being both a beach and ski resort brings together the best of both worlds. It’s recent hosting of the Olympic Games, and World Cup means it has recently benefited from a huge wave of investment that has brought massive redevelopment, including a new theme park, Olympic Park, skating rink, and infrastructure. Yet, this contrasts sharply with the centuries of tradition found in places like Dagomys Tea Plantation. Sochi really is the bringing together of many worlds.