Find out what this Russian city—and home to the 2014 Winter Olympics—has to offer.
When you think about great adventure destinations, the American Rockies, Interlaken, Switzerland or just about anywhere in New Zealand may come to mind. This year, after watching the Winter 2014 Olympics, you’ll probably want to add Sochi, Russia to your list.
Sochi, which is located on the Black Sea near the breathtaking Caucasus mountain range, is part of the beautiful “Russian Riviera.” Full of high-rise buildings and grand Stalinist architecture, it’s a popular resort town for Russians, yet it’s not on most Americans’ radars—not yet, anyway. Soon after the Olympic games begin, the entire world will know exactly where Sochi is and what it looks like.
If you’re looking for some outdoor adventures, visit this seaside town. Temperatures don’t drop much lower than 50 degrees Farenheit (10 degrees Celsius) between December and February when you’re at sea level, so you can take a winter trip without feeling too chilly. But if you plan to hike or ski at higher altitudes, pack warm, winter clothes in a compression sac to save space in your suitcase.
Heli-Ski or Heli-Board
In Sochi, you’re about an hour away from Krasnaya Polyana, a renowned heli-skiing and heli-boarding base. Head there so a helicopter can fly you to a mountaintop along the range for the ultimate woodland skiing or snowboarding experience. You’ll find slopes and bowls that are sheltered from the wind—but the scenery will still blow you away.
Hike Mount Fisht
If you feel like a climb, try to conquer Mount Fisht, the 9,409-foot (2,868-meter) peak that is located in Adygea, Russia, not far from Sochi. The name of the peak means “White Head,” which is apt, because that is the color of the summit. Just before you get to the top, you have to cross a glacier, which can be steep and slippery, so hike with a guide and bring appropriate footwear and gear. While you’re climbing, catch a glimpse of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s elaborate “dacha” or palace.
Tip: After you’re done, store your hiking shoes in a travel shoe bag, so they don’t dirty up everything else in your luggage on the way home.
One of the coolest excursions in Sochi is checking out the Vorontsovskaya Caves, which are an astounding 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) in length. Interestingly, the temperature inside the caves remains roughly consistent (around 50 degrees Farenheit or 10 degrees Celsius) all times of the year. There is very little bacteria within the caves, so the air is especially clean and pure. While spelunking, you’ll find a “musical” room (which contains a rock platform that resembles a stage) and a “mystic” room (which features stalactites that look like an eagle and other animals).
Once the 2014 Winter Olympics are done, and the crowds clear out, book a trip to this anything-but-sleepy seaside city. You’re in for at least one heart-pounding excursion that you’ll never forget.
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research, talk to local guides, and use your best judgment.
Jane Bianchi is a freelance writer who has worked for a variety of national magazines, including Seventeen, Family Circle, and Good Housekeeping. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.