Although the Western world knows Sochi as the location of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia thinks of Sochi like a kind of Eurasian Miami.
It may surprise you to learn that Sochi is a summer resort town, complete with sunshine, beaches, and palm trees. In fact, Sochi’s busy season is the summer and spring months, with much slower business during the winter.
However, don’t let that deter you from making Sochi your winter destination! There is plenty to do here in the colder months, and you won’t have to deal with the typical Russian frost as you would in other areas of the country.
Here’s a few suggestions and things to do when you visit beautiful Sochi in the winter.
- 1. Go Skiing
The most popular winter activity in Sochi is skiing. When the snow finally falls, the summer beach resorts are converted into stunning ski resorts. You can stay in one of these while you hit the slopes and take advantage of their spa offerings when you’re not outside.
One of the most popular Russian ski resorts is Rosa Khutor, a lovely cluster of buildings nestled into the side of a mountain at the edge of a lake. At this resort or any of the others, you’ll find enough fantastic slopes to distract you for the rest of your vacation. Even if you’re not really into skiing, you’ll enjoy the ski lift and the wintery white views of the snow-covered trees.
You can also take advantage of the beautiful hiking areas all around Sochi. It’s not too cold to take a walk, even in the winter!
- 2. Visit the Museums
In case you don’t want to spend your entire trip strapped to skis, you can enjoy other Sochi sites, like the museums.
Sochi Art Museum is housed in an 80-year-old historic building, and its exhibits include those from styles across the centuries.
Sochi History Museum is nearly a century old. You can wander its 14 halls to learn all about the history of the city and its key people.
Museum of Sochi Sport Honour was opened not long ago. It debuted in 2010 in anticipation of the 2014 Olympic Games. The museum displays all sorts of items that have to do with the history of the Olympic Games, as well as objects from the games in Sochi.
Finally, you can visit the gallery of Alexander Sobol, a local sculptor of wood who creates incredible masterpieces.
- 3. See Historical Monuments
Winters in Sochi are not so harsh that you won’t want to walk around and explore a bit.
Check out Loo Temple, a Byzantine-era ruin, as well as Godik Fortress, a fort constructed around the same time.
For more modern structures, you can visit Stalin’s Summer Residence, where the famous Soviet leader spent the warmer months. Around the city, there are also various memorials signifying the end of wars, great leaders, or significant events in Russian history.
- 4. Relax and Rejuvenate
Sochi’s many spas are open year round! You can soak your sore skier’s feet or get a relaxing massage while you spend time in the city. Depending on which resort you choose to stay in, you may have a top-notch spa right in the building.
Can you say “Me time”?
- 5. Visit Sochi Olympic Park
Olympic Park has seen its heyday come and go, but you can still visit the monstrous sports facilities and imagine that you’re an Olympian, ready to show the world your abilities.
The Olympic village is a bit far from Sochi’s city center, so you’ll need to keep that in mind as you plan your trip’s transportation. Once you get there, you’ll be surprised to find the huge complex nearly deserted! In the summer, locals enjoy rollerblading around the complex, but you won’t see much of that in winter.
However, the lack of people means you have more space to yourself. It’s fun to rent bikes (150-200 Rubles) and zoom around the buildings. You spent so much time watching them on TV a few years ago, and now you can see what it really looks like!
You can’t go inside all the buildings, but if you plan it right, you may be able to catch a show. On certain days in the winter there are ice skating shows and different kind of concerts available at Olympic Park.
I hope you’ll enjoy your winter visit to Sochi, Russia!
Written by Breana Johnson for Russianblogger.me.