Image source: Flickr - killerbass
Your airfare has been booked for a year, you managed to find
a hotel and you even snagged those hard to find tickets to one of the biggest
sporting events of the year, but you're still wondering what else there is to
do in Sochi. In February the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will officially open in
this popular Russian resort town, but while it's well known in Russia, most of
us in the West don't know a whole lot about the region. Here are a few
not-to-miss experiences whether you visit during the Olympics, or any time of
Stalin’s Summer Villa (Dacha)
One of the most notorious leaders of the 20th
century, Joseph Stalin used to relax in his private dacha in the woodlands near
Sochi. Today visitors can get a firsthand look at how this brutal leader once
lived and even learn more about his family at a small museum. Not a
light-hearted visit, it is still important to learn more about Stalin to
understand how he shaped the former Soviet Union and the Cold War.
Visit Mount Akhan
This is more of a summer activity, but a visit to the
observation point on Mount Akhun is a great way to really appreciate the
surrounding region. The highest point on the coast, you can climb to the top of
a tower to get 700-meters high and see the city of Sochi and even the Turkish
coast on a clear day.
Black Sea Cruise
Situated on the Black Sea, Sochi is known as the summer
capital of Russia thanks to its position on this beautiful body of water. While
weeklong cruises are possible, first-time visitors to Sochi should plan on
spending a day on the water to get a better understanding of the city and
surrounding areas. Be sure to book an excursion that includes a stop at one of
the many shingle beaches and keep your eyes open for celebrities. Many world-famous athletes, musicians and politicians can be found sunning themselves on a
warm summer’s day.
Sochi Discovery World Aquarium and the Adler Dolphinarium
Great family friendly activities for any time of year, be
sure to include these maritime experiences on your list. The Aquarium is one of
the largest in Europe and includes many different types of sea life from around
the world, but has an especially great assemblage of Russian freshwater species
as well. The Dolphinarium is known for its hour-long dolphin shows in a massive
facility that holds more than 1,000 spectators.
Museum of Sochi Sport Honour
If you're visiting for the Olympics, then this museum is a
must-visit attraction. The newest museum in town, the collection shows the
history of the Olympics, the Olympic movement and Sochi's participation in the 2014
games. The museum also includes miniature models of the 2014 Olympic venues, a
great way to get your bearings before setting off on your own.
Are you planning on attending the 2014 Olympic Games?